As Laura Cottril, CPP, of Laura Cottril Photography in Walnut Creek, CA, well knows, both natural lighting and home studios can challenge photographers. And that's why she's providing a Super Monday class where you can learn to improve your skills in those areas!
Building a Business with Joy
Although Cottril left the advertising world to open her photography business eight years ago, she says that she became curious about photography long before then...as a child growing up in Hawaii.
"I wanted to learn how to take photographs like those I saw in magazines of beaches, flowers, mountains and people," Cottril remembers of her early interest. "My sister and I would 'model' for each other and photograph the neighbor kids as well. I find it funny that I had this passion in me that early, and I still took the long route to get here professionally."
Eventually, Cottril was inspired to open her photography business by the birth of her son. "I wanted to capture his moods, personality and story through photographs," she adds. And it seems she's never lost that desire because for her, the real joy of photography comes from being present in the moment and being able to capture those moments with her camera.
"I love when I connect with my clients emotionally through photography. It creates a scenario similar to connecting with someone I love," explains Cottril. "My images are better, my client's experience is better--everything is better!"
Expanding a Business with Balance
While Cottril's business originally focused on baby and maternity photography, it has since expanded to include both family and children's portraiture.
"I always said I would grow my business as my family grew. And it turns out that as my kids get older, I'm attracting more and more clients my kids' ages," Cottril says happily. "I love watching the family dynamic at play. The personalities and the spontaneous and often humorous interplay is a gift to see."
Of course, with an expanding business, she is challenged with balancing her family life with managing her studio. To keep this balance, she focuses on marketing toward higher-end clients that will spend more money per session.
"Initially, my goal was simply to get more clients, pushing my total sales toward a certain financial goal. Now, my focus is on maximizing each client and marketing toward higher-end clients so my average sale goes up, and I am not as pressured to shoot more sessions," she explains.
To find these higher-end clients, Cottril partners with other local businesses for marketing campaigns. One recent partnership is with a landscape architect who plans to give her best clients a gift certificate for Cottril's photography.
"The intention is for me to photograph the family in their newly landscaped yard," notes Cottril. "To further the value to our businesses, we will ask the families if we can use the images on both of our websites."
Sharing Business & Lighting Skills at Super Monday
Want to collect more of the tips that have helped Cottril navigate her home-based photography business, including how to capture great images anywhere with natural light? Don't miss her "Natural Light Photography & the Home-Based Business" Super Monday class in Walnut Creek, CA on October 24.
"I hope that I can show photographers the possibilities of choice in running a home-based business," she says.
And those choices include how to keep things simple with natural lighting, which can be an essential skill for a home studio. As Cottril explains, "I photograph with natural light, and much of the time I work at my client's homes or a location special to them." In fact, she'll demonstrate how she works with natural light in her home AND what I she looks for in an outside environment.
So, get ready to build up your skills for better lighting and better business!
Learn more about Cottril's class and browse more Super Monday classes in more locations at www.ppa.com/education-events/sm_new.php.
Super Monday is an educational program sponsored by PPA every spring and fall. These daylong, interactive workshops are conducted in locations around the country, allowing PPA members to earn merits for sharing their craft and enabling all photographers to learn new skills and develop professional networking contacts.
Read more about Laura Cottril here.
ALL IMAGES Â© LAURA COTTRIL