We are excited to introduce a series of Q&A’s from some of our fabulous contributors. These blog posts will include 5 questions and showcase some of the artist’s recent work. Are you a contributor (or interested in becoming one) and would love a feature? Contact us here!
Tell us about your studio, style and approach.
I’m a photographer who lives up in the farthest northwest part of Washington, snuggled up to the Canadian border. I don’t want to brag, but I do have the best studio that no amount of money could buy.... the great outdoors of the Pacific N.W. I live in a very small quiet farming community with my beautiful wife Tracy and our 19 month old daughter January, with Mt. Baker as it’s backdrop (1hr drive away) and a short 1/2hr drive to the bay viewing the San Juan Islands. I do eventually want to open a studio, more for meeting my clients and displaying my work vs. shooting in it. I love new scenery and locations and I on purpose try not to scout out the location before my session, I love literally shooting from the hip and let the image appear vs trying to force a picture. Everything about my photography is dictated by the lighting that is present at the time. I love photographing people vs. landscapes, even though they are both beautiful in their own way. My approach to photography is very basic; earn your clients trust and keep it simple.
If you had to sum up your style in 12 sentences, what would you say.
The hardest question you could ever ask would be how to sum up your own style in 12 sentences. I guess I would have to say natural light photography inspired by life. Another words, I try to keep things as simple as possible, from my gear to how I portray my clients. I don’t use props and am very bullish about not allowing my clients to bring them and I never shoot from a photo list that they might have. I want my clients to be center and the main focus of my photos with the least amount of artificial additives.
How do you ensure you have a sustainable business?
I dummified my business plan. Photography has only become a passion of mine in the recent years, otherwise my background was in business and marketing. I use to love analyzing financial spreadsheets and writing up business plans etc., so you would assume I would treat my photography business the same way. But in fact, I decided early on that I wanted my work to drive my business. I wanted to be honest about it and let it grow organically. I want to know that every time I gain a new fan on Facebook or a new follower on Instagram that it was because they truly appreciated my work, not because I was offering a freebee when I reached x amount of fans or followers. I wanted to earn my clients the old fashion way, word of mouth. I purposely leave off pricing and my packages off my site, because I want my clients to want to contact me because they love my work, not because the price is right... or I’m a great “value”. Up to this point, I have only spent money on business cards, and have never paid for any form of advertising or submitted any of my work to wedding or fashion blogs. Again, I want my work to grow organically. Heck, I haven’t even blogged 75% or more of my work that I have done in the past couple years. But what I do tho is base my growth not in number of clients, but limiting how many clients I take every year and raise my rates every year to maintain that level. I’m not in this for quantity of clients but for quality of clients, and also to ensure that I can be profitable at the same time.
What are your best selling products? Do you sell in person?
So this is where Design Aglow is going to help me into my next phase of my business, by getting me organized and selling quality products to my clients. So far up to this point I just hand my clients a disc or a generic thumbnail drive with their final images. But I do this accidentally on purpose, I keep everything about the clients and their images and not about packing etc. But, I am now at the point in my career where I am ready for the next step and tightening up my branding/marketing and selling products, but with keeping it simple and clutter free.
What are your top 3 tips for success?
I feel like I’m not qualified to give tips for success as I am still trying to find my way in this photography business. But this is what I do tell new photographers who want to get into this.
1. Make sure your passionate about it and be honest with yourself and your work
2. Put together a 3 year growth plan and do not do work for free as part of your business plan for growth. If you have to give away sessions for you to grow your business, then that should be a red flag, again it’s about being honest with yourself and your work.
3. Keep it simple, have your own style, and always keep it about your client, and stay humble. Don’t ever make your photography about you, cause your clients will suffer for it. It’s about you being fan of your clients not you being a fan of your own work.
To view more of Dan's work, visit him at hatchphotography.com.