The Dead Pixels Society podcast

Growing a portrait business with Lisa Staff

December 15, 2022 Gary Pageau/Lisa Staff Season 3 Episode 95
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
Growing a portrait business with Lisa Staff
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Show Notes Transcript

Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talked with Lisa Staff, of Hilton Head, S.C.-based photography studio, Lisa Staff Photography. In this interview, Staff talks about brand strategy, reinventing your business, and lessons learned from decades of location shooting. 

Staff has been photographing fashion and connecting with people from all walks of life for more than 20 years. She heads one of the most sought-after photography studios in the Carolinas and photographs Design, Weddings, and Fashion in Hilton Head, SC. She is also an internationally featured wedding photographer featured in publications in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. A Canadian transplant to Hilton Head, she now loves calling the Lowcountry her home. In addition to running Lisa Staff Photography, Lisa is currently the acting photography director and Instagram Strategist for the upscale boutique magazine Local Life-based in Hilton Head, S.C. See her work on Instagram at

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Produced by Gary Pageau
Edited by Olivia Pageau
Announcer: Erin Manning

Erin Manning  0:02  
Welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, Gary Pageau. The Dead Pixels Society podcast is brought to you by Mediaclip, Advertek Printing and School Photographers of America.

Gary Pageau  0:19  
Hello again and welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. I'm your host, Gary Pageau. And today we're joined by Lisa Staff, who is your photographer and brand strategist based in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Hi, Lisa, how are you today? 

Lisa Staff  0:33  
I am great. I love having this conversation with you. I'm excited about it. 

Gary Pageau  0:39  
So Lisa, you've been in the business for 30 years, you've seen a lot of things. What is can you talk a little bit about how you got into the business and what's what's kept you in the business.

Lisa Staff  0:52  
Okay, so this sounds super nerdy, I got into the business because at the time, I was modeling, and I was uncomfortable being on that side of the camera, but being behind the camera just fit. For me, I loved fashion, I love design, I just loved capturing beautiful things. And I think there's something about photography, that allows you to sit and be in a moment.

The moments are a lot faster now because of because of the cameras and because everybody has an iPhone and everybody's a photographer now. But at that time, that's that's the one thing and be able to connect with people in that way, and just collaborate with them. And I think that's been the longevity that's kind of carried me through. It's, I guess, you know, a language of love, isn't it? Well, you know, it's, it's funny you said because almost every actor you talk to says they want to be a director. So you are a model who wants to be a photographer so it's it's not that strange of a of a jump actually. So how long did you model before you transitioned to being behind loans? Or did you do both for a while to kind of keep get your get your business going?

I was modeling for a few years and then I got married so then you know kind of went all in because of the travel and everything and made it difficult for transfer transferred over into photography business and spent a lot of time in the darkroom a lot of ti me loading film, like

I know sold those cameras for like nothing. 

Gary Pageau  2:21  
Those cameras are hot right now.

Lisa Staff  2:23  
 I mean, no. 

Gary Pageau  2:24  
Can you wait, hold on, you could probably make a pretty penny off of them now.

Lisa Staff  2:29  
It's the thing now people are like, we're film photographers. And like, ya know, been there been in the darkroom a lot.

Gary Pageau  2:36  
Yeah. And, and then the attitude is like, do you when you remember what it was like shooting film, which was it was mostly positive. But you know, there were issues, right? Yeah. And then you're like, Yeah, I really want to go back to that the double exposed frames by accident and things like that.

Lisa Staff  2:52  
Yeah. Shooting a Polaroid first when you're doing commercial jobs. And then I keep pushing this, or can you pull this and just seeing trannies you're just looking at trainings for everything and hoping that you got that light reading, right? When we were talking about gels before let's throw some gels in there, too.

Gary Pageau  3:06  
So what kind of photography did you get? Did you were you doing because it sounds to me like you're doing a little fashion little commercial, you weren't really doing portraiture.

Lisa Staff  3:16  
So in Canada, I was doing mostly commercial work. Here, I'm living in a smaller community. And I've been able to make some great relationships and great connections with people that in this town, you're it's one degree of separation. So your name gets passed on to other people. So you hope that they like you, and you've done a good job. But I was able to connect with somebody that I had just had conversations with, I've done a little bit of work with her. And she started out a magazine with a group of other fabulous individuals, and I've been able to work with them do lifestyle, do fashion, just a lot of people and that's kind of my jam. So whether the people are, you know, shooting fashion shooting, editorial shooting lifestyle shots, that's kind of the connection that I love. And then that kind of goes into everything else, whether you're doing families, whether I'm doing I've, there was a low country speakers event here where I was doing Sanjay Gupta and Condoleezza Rice, and they were bringing in, you know, big people big names, or shooting for the other week, or shooting a four day thing for neutral blend, where it's just, it's just connecting with people and most people I find, tend to, as soon as connecting with them, they're like, I hate getting my picture taken. And I think that's most people that are old, you know, our age are actually over 20 that haven't grown up taking selfies, like one foot away from their face. Most people either they're running from your they're trying to ghost you or they're having a drink before you shoot them, you know, but just being able to kind of connect with people in whatever situation and have fun with them and make it a good experience and relax, like that's my jam. And I Think understanding what your flow state is all about where your success comes from. And talk to me

Gary Pageau  5:07  
about flow state, because I've heard that phrase before, how do you how what are you saying, when you say that,

Lisa Staff  5:13  
I think, you know, if you really love what you're doing, you have that technical background and everything and you you love what you're doing. But every job that you do always has a different component to it. So you walk into it, sometimes blind, you're a little bit anxious, or I am, I'm like, I don't know what to expect, where these people are going to be like, you know, what's the set like all of that, because a lot of the situations I walk into, there's not a lot of pre production, you're just going and you're you're bringing a team together, where I have publishers, and stylists and makeup artists and all of that, and you're trying to bring everybody's vision together. I think when you when you step into the power that you have, which sounds like a little ridiculous, but you step into it, and you enjoy it, you enjoy it so much that you're not caught up in the small intricacies, you're actually automatically doing it and envisioning it, and it just, it starts to float starts to come automatically. You're not questioning things, you're just feeling what needs to be done. But

Gary Pageau  6:12  
you have to have a lot of confidence when you go into that, right? I mean, up, I mean, you're not going to get into the flow state in your first three or four shoots in the sense that you know, because you may feel yourself kind of letting loose and going there. And it's like, well, is that okay? Or whatever. So how long did it take you to kind of get develop that skill to get into that zone?

Lisa Staff  6:35  
I think just with with opening up my business and just being in my own name now that it automatically started to happen. So in the last five years, I would say I have become, and it could be like, honestly, it could be that I'm older now. And I'm just comfortable. And I don't, I don't care as much what other people think I'm comfortable. And you engage in people with people in a different way that you're just you know, trying to fake who you are, and posture and all of that you're just comfortable with who you are. So I think that's a big thing. A lot of it too is is the experience, like honestly, I've got to say there's been a lot of situations that I've walked into. And I usually bring four or five cameras with me, I have a big pack out different cameras for different things. You have your favorites, you have your your work horses, I bring a bunch of lighting, with me all for location. But honestly, there's always situations where something doesn't work, and you're in the middle of shooting, and you need to figure that out. And if you don't have an assistant that can figure it out, you're you're that person. So I think a lot of it as well comes from the fact that you've had bad things happen, you figured it out, you get confident from that you move on to the next thing and experience just builds confidence, doesn't it?

Gary Pageau  7:51  
Surely some of that, you know, the the benefit of getting older is when you realize, you know, not only what you do know, but what you don't know. Right? So can you talk a little bit about some of the things you may have learned on the fly, right? Let's say you're at a shoot, and, you know, maybe the brief to photograph a piece of equipment, you know, was oh, well, that's different. And we're not going to do how do you adapt to a change in a situation like that? 

Lisa Staff  8:21  
I think a lot of times with lighting, you need to know lighting, you need to be able to walk into a situation, whether it's indoors or outdoors and be able to assess that and exactly how you're gonna light that. And I've honestly been in a situation where I brought all my lighting, except for that one beautiful case that has all my umbrellas and my Octa bank and all of that and you're like, What am I going to do now? And it's just being able to have that creative knowledge to be able to still make it work and not let them know. You're gone anything that's perfectly fine. Don't cry, just don't cry. That doesn't help.

I think is well, if you if you know, like if you're confident in who you are, if you're aligning with your clients, if you're aligning with your business model, if you're aligning with your pricing, all of those things help to give you that confidence to that you're you're meshing with the right people, you when you get to a point where you don't have to say yes to everything. A job may come in. And you might say no, there's not that scarcity, energy flows. You know, you say no to something, you're gonna make room for something else that comes in that might align more with you. So you know, I think we've all been in a position where we're shooting for a client and in the back of your mind, you're like, Why did I pass or I'm not charging enough or this is like, they're me, working with them. I know, I know. And I've been to jobs that I've worked for days on and you leave and you're so glad that you're leaving because it was sitting heavy on you. There's something about it that just wasn't a good fit for you. And I think understanding what that good fit is, then you perform a lot better as well, you know, money will always come, you just need to align the right way make room for it. So again, is that scarcity saying no to certain things, and then bigger things always seem to come? Or hope they do, it seems.

Gary Pageau  10:18  
You know, one of the things I find with photographers who may started in the film world, and migrated to the digital world they've made the transition, is they tend to have a propensity to want to get it right in the camera, right, where they're going to do the setup, they're gonna do the lights, and they're not in they're gonna do it. Whereas people were kind of born digital, just had this idea, well, I can fix it in post. So is that something you've seen as well?

Lisa Staff  10:51  
 I think that's all encompassing across the planet. Now with everything, they, they would rather sit in front of the computer, and spend all the time throwing fancy filters on it, and all of that, and a lot of that stuff. And I don't want to date myself, but a lot of that stuff is so transient and trendy, that Oh, that's so 2021. There's certain things if you're looking at any Liebowitz, if you're looking at the great photographers that you're seeing, remember Phil Dixon, all the great photographers that you would see in magazines, whether they're an 80s 90s 2000, whatever, there's a consistency to them. And it's fantastic lighting, depth, richness, all of that. And if we understand the lighting, then even on the back end, we are saving hours and hours and hours of time in front of the computer. There's times that that when you're hitting everything, right, you're downloading onto your computer, and you're like, I really do not need to do anything to these images, like it's slight tweaks, the consistency, you can run the whole gamut all the way through, and you're done. As opposed to sitting for days people talk about editing and how long it takes Well, if you do it right in the beginning, it makes a difference. 

Gary Pageau  12:03  
Well, though, I'm in the always be something with cropping and that kind of thing. But I think you're right, when you have to go through a wholesale cleanup, you know, return it, throw lumps on it, and all those kinds of things. Anyway, but when you have to do that, you know, I think you're relying too heavily on the technology and not so much on the art of it. And maybe that's the old school way of thinking, right? Maybe that's a dated way of thinking it. But I think there's some value in that perspective, where you're trying to get it right at the moment of capture.

Lisa Staff  12:37  
Absolutely. And I think, you know, times change styles change, but there is that consistency to Qwerty nicely and looking over the portfolio of on your website. It's like you said, it's a very classic look, are there people who, obviously they're coming to you because they liked the look? Are you seeing that spanning generations because obviously if you're doing wedding, no weddings, now you're doing people in their maybe mid 20s, late 20s. And you know, they grew up with maybe a different look. And do they want that classic look for that kind of work. A lot of them want, you know, either saying light, airy, or dark and moody. And in between those, there's good and bad, light and airy sometimes ends up being like, low now no detail in the whites just like is cringy you're gonna you're gonna regret that, or, you know, 30 years from now, when your kids are like, Why can't I see your wedding dress? What's the white blob, they're gonna have problems with that. So I think sometimes it's a little bit of education, you can still take that, you know, a good file and, you know, manipulate in whatever way. So a lot of times, I'll just see what their their vibe is, what they're loving, where they're getting married, just all of those things to create the assets first. And sometimes I'll do something I'm like, let me just get the vibe of the day, we'll do that. And if you want a special collection of you know what you're saying you want, we'll create that for you. But you'll still have that consistentportfolio of images that will stand the test of time. I think to a lot of times when clients are younger they are jumping on onto these fads that again, you're going to see something in six months or a year that nobody's going to like when it's a higher profile client. They appreciate being able to see details and things or to have not have an orange skin tone, you know, they want to look healthy and all of that so

Gary Pageau  14:32  
You know it's changing six I remember the trend What was it about 1012 years ago was it was trash the dress, remember the one that was like the hot thing? And yeah, I look at something like that. It's very dated right now. You're not seeing that so much now.

Lisa Staff  14:50  
I guess it depends on what you're building your portfolio and if you're niching into a certain group and that that group is able to withstand like you're able to price properly for them. And that's enough. But if you're trying to grow your business, and if you're trying to do commercial work or larger clients, they're going to want those things that are not as trendy that are going to print well in a magazine, if it's going to go to a magazine, or anything like that. 

Gary Pageau  15:16  
When do you have when do you when you get the Inkling you need to fire a client?

Lisa Staff  15:24  
It happens, doesn't it? It happened 

Gary Pageau  15:27  
It does. That's what I'm saying. I mean, it sounds to me, like, you know, you've got the maturity and the experience to say, this isn't going to work out.

Lisa Staff  15:38  
You know, there's, there's certain situations that you can work through when I've been on sets before and in between the, again, the publisher, the fashion stylist, and they're, they're making each other cry, and you're kind of I'm like, I'm Switzerland, I'm gonna, I'm not taking either side, we're gonna make this work. And there's situations where you can just see, you know, there's egos at play, and I think, becoming a little bit more mature, you can, it's not as dramatic because like, we're not, we're not curing cancer, kids to deal. But I think when you're when you've take your ego out of it, and you're speaking to clients, and you're just bumping heads, and I'm not a I'm not seeking drama, I'm not seeking, you know, a lot of validation. But when you're going and you're just they're just not respecting you, or you're walking away from conference calls where you've accomplished nothing, you're frustrated, continually, there's no joy, you just are dreading it. Again, you just need to have that conversation where you say, I don't think we're a good fit. Or just raise your rates so high that they can't pay it.

Gary Pageau  16:47  
Well, that is the best revenge, right? If you can just raise the raise the rates for I've got a special rate just for you.

So you came through the pandemic? And how did that affect your business? Because clearly, there was a lot of events that didn't happen. weddings were postponed. So I know a lot of wedding photographers and social photographers who are, you know, now they're overwhelmed, because people are catching back up with those activities. But were, you know, when the pandemic happened, what were your some of your responses to how it impacted you? 

Lisa Staff  17:27  
Um, there's a few things I think we all tried pivoting, which was the word of 2020, pivot, right. We all tried to pivot. I had started a podcast as well with a partner, because we realized at that time that our friends weren't that interesting, and we needed if we're going to be quarantined, we need more people to speak to you. So you know, we tried some different things as well. But as far as photography, the small community live in, I think there was a lot of accommodating things. So with me working with if I'm working with a 200 lens, I'm far enough away that I could shoot, I did fashion for a few months where the models were wearing masks, and I was wearing a mask. And it, it wasn't the most fashion forward. But hey, it was so easy to shoot because you didn't have to worry about their expression. And we would be having conversations the whole time was what was we're shooting because you couldn't tell. So you know, you, you. You made accommodations for that. And it worked a lot of the events because, you know, in this community, I'm shooting events, I'm shooting corporate, I'm shooting weddings, I'm shooting people, I'm shooting, like just, I'm shooting interior design, a lot of those things can still be done. The events became smaller, which I think is fabulous. So you got the four groups smaller, more intimate, more meaningful. And that compared to 300 people at a wedding

Gary Pageau  18:53  
100% better. Yeah, that's actually what happened. My my oldest got married in 2020. And at the time, but we just kind of thread the needle because at the time, the state of Michigan changed its regulations so that outdoor events, no more than 50 people could happen. So the event hall change natural was a great wedding.

Lisa Staff  19:14  
 to know what and not to throw shade on it. But the best thing about it is you could tell people Oh, we would have loved him invite you even if she but we couldn't. I'm so sad. I would have loved to have had you there. But

Gary Pageau  19:30  
So basically, you tried some different things, but you're not continuing to do those things. Can you talk a little bit about that? How you've kind of like realize you can't spread yourself too thin as a business owner as and as an entrepreneur? 

Lisa Staff  19:42  
Yeah. So there was a Gan through COVID We started a business I started a business with a partner where we were doing branding, social media strategy for small businesses. And it seemed like a great idea, right? Like on paper. It's fantastic. But when you get into the nitty gritty of running a business and you end up spending and and some people are fine with it, I'm more, I want to have those relationships like one on one and having the experience the creative experience. When I found that I was spending most of my time in zoom calls or, you know, creating posts, that's, you know, they needed this, this post to go out right away. And I ended up being the one that was doing it or something and doing these small nitty gritty things that you're like, that's just not where I thrive. So I think sometimes you you try things if they fit great if they don't, what have you learned from it? What's the lesson I've learned from that, and there's a lot of things I learned in those two years, a lot of experiences and things that I can bring to my business, and have been able to uplevel my business too. So more talking about aligning and energy flowing, I think as well, we need to be militant about our time, we need to decide, you know, when we're doing something that we love, what are the things that that if you're talking about the Pareto principle, the 8020, what's the 20% that's gonna move the needle and gonna bring me happiness. 

Gary Pageau  21:00  
And again, I see a lot of that with high temperature entrepreneurs who a, they either want to do it all right, so they won't ask for help. Or they focus on the things that become tangential to the business, because they either don't trust anyone else to do it, or they think they have to do it all. And, you know, one of the advantages about today's world is there are a lot a lot of online tools that can help you do some of these things like billing and invoicing and all those kinds of things which used to take crazy amounts of time. Now, it's much easier, 

Lisa Staff  21:31  
yeah, you've got to use all of those things, you know, get that system going, like I'm not, there's no affiliate links, I use honey book that has, like, streamlined as we're turning the book. So for me any, any inquiries that come in, they get an automatic, they fill out my contact form, it automatically sends them out something, they go into a workflow that I've automated. So they're there, there's so many, there's so much nurturing that goes into that there's never anything that's missed, I put all my tasks in there, I can build through there, all of that stuff, all of that stuff is done through there. Whether I'm using that with our Music Flow desk for news newsletters or anything like that, I've just, you know, trying new things out and seeing how they work, like the most that we can make out of our time is better for our business, there's a new thing that I just tried to expedite my conversions when I'm in Lightroom. You know, like, let's try that out. And let's just stay up to date with any of the updates that come out with Lightroom. So that your quality is better, and your time is better spent as well. And being again, militant about how you're how you're, you know, spending your time even How long are you on the computer? Like, let's talk about, oh, I've built out it this much. And it sounds like a lot of money. But let's let's track your hours. How much are you making? $10 an hour? Are you making $500? an hour? Like, where? Where is it at? So yeah, that is one of the things a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with is understanding what their cost of goods sold are right. So and so you've got you know, your your cameras may be paid for right? But maybe you need to rent a piece of equipment to do a shoot. Or maybe, you know, you're you haven't you have to have insurance, you have to do all this overhead, you need to have been in the business. So a lot of photographers who are newer to the business tend to overlook that it's okay, I need I got a camera and I can shoot and that's great. It's like, no, there's a lot of overhead. Yeah, absolutely. I think the competition now to people I've had, I've had someone call me don't think they looked at my website. They called me they're like, Hey, can you come right now and do a family shoot? I'm like, Well, usually we have a conversation first. And we you know, have you seen my work? And let's make sure that we're a fit and all of that. And he's like, Well, if you can't come right now we'll just stop somewhere on the beach to take a picture with their iPhone. So when you're competing with people that are just taking pictures on iPhones, or you need to what's what's that difference? Let's make sure that that difference is there's it's qualitative, as 

Gary Pageau  24:01  
well. And the reality is, is you probably can't charge that guy. What it would take to get you out there, if that's what he if that's what he values, right? If he wants the immediacy of an image, and he's looking and he sees maybe Googled local photographers, you came up he called you and because you're obviously an SEO Rockstar, so you came up first. And he called you and it wasn't the right fit for the type business he was looking for. I was just gonna say Do you think that there's a challenge for photographers? In today's technology work, quote, everyone has a camera or everyone has an iPhone, and they all have apps to justify their rates and their existence because there's always somebody willing to go lower. 

Lisa Staff  24:42  
Yeah, absolutely. And I think I think there's, you know, there's competition like through COVID. Again, every bit grabbed a camera in there, you know, like there's always going to be competition. I think if you can professionally show up 100% of the time you're showing If you're getting Google reviews, you're getting everything that shows that you're professional. You're creating the relationships. You're not a jerk, as my son said, and like you're doing really well with, you know, he works in production does film and everything over in the UK, and he's like, Mom, I'm just not a jerk. If you can show up consistently like that, people know that they can, they can count on, you've got that reputation. People don't mind spending the money. They are the people that you want to mind with don't mind. And some people want to spend more, they feel better. If they're spending more money, they're like, I'm gonna get I'm gonna get quality.

Gary Pageau  25:36  
Well, it is interesting how you kind of see because the internet with raising rating systems and reviews and things where you see, you know, photographers who, you know, either don't show up, or they do a terrible job, or they don't give the couple an album until, you know, months later, and then they are they go out of business and they lose it. There's no, I mean, there's a lot of because the barrier to entry is so low. There's a lot of sketch photographers out there. 

Lisa Staff  26:05  
I know. And I've actually I've had a couple haven't done this recently, but just ask like, Hey, could you help me out, I need a second shooter. And I've gone on a few things, just as I want to see how other people work too. And I've been surprised by you know, the guy kilo knapsack. And they pull out one camera with one non professional camera, one lens, and then they're switching it out trying to switch on the other lens in between shooting, they're doing count downs, like on the count of three, I'm gonna take the picture. So I think a lot of times we think everybody else is like, you look on on the internet, you're looking on social media, everybody else is doing it. And you're not like, how are they? It's all smoke and mirrors, right? You need to be able to consistently see all of that. And I think you need to consistently understand what your brand is and who you are, what you love doing what what your niche is, as far as not not maybe just doing weddings or whatever, but what that niche is what you are specializing in, because there's always a bright, shiny object on on Instagram, and people are like, Oh, okay, well, right now I've got to dance and do reels. And I've got to point at things or I've got to wear yoga pants, or I've got to do that, or this is everybody's going dark and moody. So I should just change everything. I think if you stand on your power, and are consistent with it, and concentrate on, like, use those things as tools to inspire you. But you're you can't be inspired, personally, if you're just always feeding off of other people as well. So I think that's a big thing right now.

Gary Pageau  27:41  
That is a big thing exactly. With marketing, especially is what I call chasing the shiny, right? Where, you know, a lot of my audience are all you know what to say their camera store owners in their 40s. Right? Should they be doing reels or tiktoks? Probably not. Not to say that they couldn't their business couldn't do it. But not sure that's they're probably not comfortable doing it if you're gonna do something like that should come natural. And organic, right? I mean, I bet you see that a lot in marketing. For almost any business, I'm sure we've seen in photography, where there's trends, there are trends that people want to hop on the trends, but there but like you said, things can look dated.

They're transitory, and there may not be something you're good at. I mean, I don't strike me that you are a dark and moody person. So doing the dark and moody shoots would probably be a little challenge for you. And

Lisa Staff  28:39  
I can do that. And I'll do that for people specifically. But that's not that's not how I'm going to show up to, to align with some of the clients that are a little bit more high minded as well or want more. Right. And I think too, there's there's nothing wrong with doing reels. You can do great educational reels, you can do all those things. But it has got to be something that fits you and fits your brand. You need to know who you are and what your business is. There's so many things. This is going to be my little rant, my little vent on Instagram right now, where they take one little clip of a soundbite of someone else saying something, it's the most popular thing. And you go on Instagram, and everybody's using that and saying it. So you don't hear someone's voice. You don't hear any value. What's making them different. What's making me shine? Why would I because we're all kind of doing the same thing of for photographers. It's just a different way of doing photography. So why am I going to connect with you? There's millions of fabulous photographers out there. So what makes you the person that I want to connect with?

Gary Pageau  29:39  
Yeah, no, you're right. following trends is very, it's very difficult for someone to break out when they're just following trends. So in your marketing, are you doing some of that stuff? Are you just kind of putting your toe and just being somewhat irrelevant?

Lisa Staff  29:58  
I haven't done that many reels. I have a whole bunch that I've banked and I'm not putting out. Like, that's cringy. Can't do that. But I have some other ones that I'm coming into to do a little bit more education. A lot of my I just kind of, you know, uncomfortable with that I'm comfortable with going through and talking about how, what's the what's the editing process? How should you show up for this, you know, as far as education for photographers or education for my clients, so that they, you know, as we spoke before, they don't need to drink before they see me.

Gary Pageau  30:32  
Well, you know what, I mean, you hit on a great point, because I know someone in volume photography space. Who does short videos, and they are no more than two minutes. And this is, again, an older person, right? So and but what he does is, he does it for his clients. And he says things like, this is how we're gonna stand the students. And this is how, so this is how I'm interacting with you, as the customer is not trying to really is that a sales thing? It's more instructional. And I think that sort of thing would be beneficial, as opposed to just the you know, the happy, snappy real of, hey, you know, when I come to your wedding, shoot, these are the things these are the props you ought to bring or something like that. 

Lisa Staff  31:15  
I think as long as you're bringing that value and volume, value, let's do value and that connection, then it's then it's cooled. And if not just dancing point.

Gary Pageau  31:29  
So why do you think there are so many photographers who are challenged by that, who who do chase the trends without really distinguishing their own voice, because there's a ton of them out there.

Lisa Staff  31:44  
I think a lot of it is that insecurity of, of not doing the same as everyone else. Sometimes doing that different thing is going to bring you the tribe that you want. There's only so many people that you can facilitate in your business. And if you're if you're niching, to a certain thing that you love, there's going to be and if you think you're a weirdo about it, there's always other weirdos out there. Like I love weirdos, you know, anything that you know, we align with? You just need to be secure with that.

Gary Pageau  32:15  
So Lisa loves weirdos is going to your new?

Lisa Staff  32:18  
No, but you know what I mean? Like if you're kind of nerdy or something, or if you appreciate certain things, or, you know, like, find the thing that brings you joy, there's gonna be other people that that are engaged with that as well. And I think as well, like, when you're starting out, yes, you've got to go through that nitty gritty of earning and learning and educating. But at one point, you've got to stop oversharing. And by oversharing. I mean, whether you're getting on social media and oversharing things that have nothing to do with your business, and you're not speaking to your client, like the typical avatar that you would have oversharing that way, but oversharing as well, when you get on the phone with a client, and they're like, Oh, this is your pricing, but this is our budget, you're like, oh, okay, well, I'll give you 10 extra hours, and I'm gonna throw in my firstborn child and anything else in an album and like, you've got to stop oversharing and you've got to be fine, where that confidence is in yourself as well.

Gary Pageau  33:18  
So are there any resources that you would recommend for photographers to kind of build that confidence maybe exercises or things they could do? 

Lisa Staff  33:27  
Okay, I would say first of all, start your day off with a holistic approach. And I'm not going to get woowoo on you, but figure out what that thing is. That feeds you because once your day starts, once you're with clients, once you're on your computer, you can be on there till midnight sometimes. So finding some way to start your day that whether it's just having a coffee and reading something, whether it's going for a walk, whether it's doing yoga workout, moving your body, you know, hanging out with your dog, reading education, listening to a podcast, first of all, start your day, right, don't touch your phone. So you've done something that's fed yourself. Make space for ideas to come in and a lot of times that comes through movement and energy and all of that that ideas pop in document that write it down because that will maybe it's just me but that will drift away. And when you get into the nitty gritty of everything else you do. And podcasts I frickin love podcasts. So align with some podcasts that that inspire you listen to those if there's ones that you can listen to while you're editing or working. That's great. Whether you're driving but honestly podcasts are the one thing that that kind of are my jam. I love listening to them. I'm not just like, just sucking up you're like honestly, honestly a good conversation. I would rather listen to that all day every day then put on Netflix. 

Gary Pageau  34:51  
So are there industry podcasts you recommend or just other ones that are just great conversations, they are the ones that start your engine in the morning. 

Lisa Staff  35:04  
I, I usually do a lot of business, business photography and all of that. Yeah. Yeah. I think I think some of the there ones like health ones and stuff, it gets to a point where, you know, I'm concerned about my health and all of that, but it gets to a point that you're like, oh my gosh, I can't eat or drink anything anymore. Nothing is good for me. So business ones, photography, one's always helped. And you're inspired?

Gary Pageau  35:35  
Yeah, there's a lot of really good business podcasts that are out there that are not really self helpy but they're really geared towards entrepreneurs like Jon Acuff and people like that, who are, you know, really more about the holistic business owner than I think are you get a lot out of I've shared some of them with my wife. In fact, just I think you'll benefit from this, you know, she hasn't run her own business, but I think you'd get something out of this approach.

Lisa Staff  36:00  
Yeah, absolutely. 100% 100%

Gary Pageau  36:03  
Well, cool. So where can people go to get more information about Lisa staff and her business? You're gonna have a book to pitch I aren' t classes.

Lisa Staff  36:15  
 I don't have a course.

First of all, you should come to Hilton Head It's beautiful here even in the winter. I'm found on Instagram at Lisa staff p hoto li s a s t a FF photo. And my website is Lisa 

Gary Pageau  36:34  
Consistency and branding is very important. Thank you, Lisa, for your time and best wishes and thanks for being on the podcast today.

Lisa Staff  36:43  
Thank you for being a joy.

Erin Manning  36:47  
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