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As mentioned in my first blog (thanks for all the comments/messages on that) I wanted to talked about one of the newer aspects to my business, the transformation shoot.

Transformation shoots have gotten some bad press recently using before and after images and they can be abused by many people especially to make sales and transformation shoots are not for everyone, either coaches or clients. However in all shoots I have carried out in this area, a transformation shoot is the culmination of a journey and I am a firm believer that the journey is often more important than the destination. Every journey will have it’s up and downs but having that accountability will spur you on to the end.

There are so many reasons why someone will chose to embark on a transformation and all of them I believe are positive:

  • Build confidence
  • Set a challenge
  • Learning to love your body in all aspects (body confidence)
  • Sense of achievement

As with anything the harder you work at something, the prouder you are of it, regardless of the outcome. Dedicating everything you have towards a goal can be very rewarding and will often be a journey of self-discovery. “Wow! I didn’t know I could do that!”

“Often the reason we set out upon a journey is not the same reason that encourages us to finish it.”

Of course the reason you set out on a transformation might not be the one you achieve at the end, it could be that you set out to overcome something from your past or to prove people wrong but you end up with a love for the process and the industry and chose to pursue that as a career. One thing I learnt from my own transformation was that people’s opinions of looked weren’t of any value to me anymore, it was how I felt about myself.

Transformations are about routines, sticking to things when they are hard to gain that sense of achievement.  You may have to track foods, which leads you learn more about nutrition which can potentially change your outset for life and not just the transformation period. You will try new foods, learn to prep food, writing food lists which will make you more efficient with your time and money.

A transformation shoot acts as the social and financial accountability that you may need to get you over that final hurdle. You will want to look as good as you can in those images, you have paid for that shoot and you will want them to show how hard you have worked. To show your friends and family that this was the reason you couldn’t make that night out or have that take away. Transformation shoots take weeks and weeks of hard work, dedication and sacrifice, getting those professional images at the end is a well-earned reward (the icing on that cake you have been eyeing up!).

The truth is most people’s condition at a photoshoot is not sustainable but people most transformation clients develop a better relationship and understanding of food.  They discover what they are capable of when they set their minds to something, a sense of achievement when they complete something they never thought was possible of themselves. They uncover a balance between food, training, work and social life that they can apply to their lives going forward. Many clients don’t train or track food as much following a transformation but know what can be achieved when they really want it.

So for me a transformation is a journey of self-discovery and the photoshoot at the end is that final fear, like jumping out of a plane.  You have worked relentlessly for weeks but standing in a gym with your top off or in a sports bra is the final challenge to overcome. That final moment to prove to yourself you have done everything you could, here is the result of all my hard work and I am proud of it. Have one of your proudest moments captured through the lens of a professional photographer.

The photos you get back from the shoot act as social proof and maybe inspire others to embark on their own journey. They will also act as a lasting reminder of what you are capable of or be a marker for the first step of a longer journey

Often the reason we set out upon a journey is not the same reason that encourages us to finish it.

December 12, 2018

COST VERSUS VALUE

One thing I have discovered over the last few years developing my business in the fitness industry is that Cost and Value are too completely different things.  Not just what I charge for my service but how I invest my money to better myself, my business and my service or even what I spend my own money on.

For example I would have changed my car every two years on the button and probably paid more than I could afford on monthly rentals, at the time it was what I found value in. Now when I think about buying a new car I ask myself what will it bring me I don’t already have.

I use this question regularly when considering an investment in my business.  Am I considering purchasing something as others will think it looks good or does it really bring me value.

Coaches or personal trainers have contacted me enquiring about the price of a shoot and I have been too expensive for them which I understand as my price is not determined by the market average, it is determined by the worth I place on my work and its potential to benefit someone’s else business.  It is based on the amount of effort, time and hardwork I have put in to honing my skills, the many times I gone out of my comfort zone to continually improve. So just because I do not fit into everyone’s budget does not mean I will drop my prices. That being said I am sure there has been occasions when I have been too expensive for a coach and they have 4 times the cost of a shoot in new trainers at the bottom of their wardrobe.  I am not sure a fresh pair of kicks ever got anyone a new client.

I have reinvested back to into business to develop my service and I will be honest a few times I was worried I was paying a lot of money for something I wouldn’t see an immediate return on, although that was down to doubt in myself and my potential but also I didn’t yet know the value in developing my knowledge and the positives mentorship would bring.  Not only have I made my money back on my business investments within the year but I have gained knowledge and personal attributes that will benefit me for years to come in my business and generate me additional income for me to reinvest again.

To charge quality we must first display quality

We can consider this when weighing up the worth of a shoot.  What do you get from say a coaching shoot?  Professional magazine standard quality images that show potential clients here is someone who is willing to invest in themselves and their business to better their service.  Say that shoot is the equivalent of 10 sessions, used correctly there is easily enough potential to generate enough business to cover that initial investment.

How do you justify increasing your prices when there is no visible reinvestment in your business.

The time came for me to update my website, my previous was so out of date I refused to tell people what it was. Now I had a decision to make, do I attempt to design and build it myself to save money like I did last time and make a half arsed job of it or do I be practical about it and consider is my time better spent doing what I am better at.  Knowing roughly what my hourly rate is I quickly decided it would be more cost effective letting someone who is very good at what they do do what I am not good at.  I will not waste time checking out new website designs, new features, finding out what SEO is, procrastinating over small details that don’t really matter. No I will spend my time taking and editing photos because that is what I am good at and where I make money. So I get an amazing new site without it getting in the way of where I am most productive and save my time and money in the end.

Price was the first thing I considered but then I had to consider quality and time.  Which of these three principals was most important to my business. QUALITY, TIME or PRICE. Quality comes first for me because to charge quality we must first display quality and I take immense pride in the quality of my work. Then TIME, as they say time is money and how I spend mine is an integral part of my business and the quality of service I provide. Then comes COST!! Although money or value are the main factors behind both Quality and Time it is not the same as COST.  COST doesn’t not determine quality or time. When deciding to use a web designer I knew the quality would be there, it would save me time and although it would cost me money up front but would save me and make me money in the long run.

So I ask anyone thinking about working with me to consider the quality of my work first, if you believe the quality or the value of my work does not warrant the cost I understand and we are probably not a good fit.

I want to work with people that are serious about their business and the quality of their content

 

December 12, 2018

WHO AM I?

I have touched on previous posts about who I am and what I do but this blog gives me the chance to tell you my back story and how you have come to reading this post on my website.

I worked a 9-5 job and enjoyed going to the gym with friends. About 4 or 5 years ago I got my my first DSLR camera and became hooked on photography as a hobby, I quickly realised I had an eye for a good photograph and was keen to learn all techniques with regards to photography itself and post processing work, I loved youtube for tutorials to expand my skills. I began taking my camera on photowalks, holidays and focused on landscapes and urban exploring. I would post these on facebook or Flickr (anyone remember that?!), the only real social media platforms at the time for photographers and people always reacted well to my photos.

Around this time one of my training partners in the gym had mentioned to me that a friend of his was prepping for a fitness competition and was looking for photos, we got in contact and arranged for a shoot, this was to be the beginning of my future career and I never realised it at that moment in time. This was going to be a new challenge and I needed to research what these photos should look like to best show off physique, posing, lighting etc. I took to google for fitness images and it was then I stumbled across the greats in the industry at that time, Chris Bailey and Giles Crofta. I was blown away by the images they were producing and still am to this day. I downloaded as many as I could to try and replicate for my shoot. I arrived at the shoot with whatever makeshift lighting I could gather and used a café wall as the backdrop, the final product was pretty good for my first attempt.

The client then posted the image on social media, with my first attempt at a logo, it was well received (the image, the logo not so much!) and a few more enquiries began to come in. A few more people were requesting similar type shots against a plain back drop, so I hired a studio for shoots and began to learn different lighting techniques with the equipment the studio provided. Then next came the request to shoot inside a gym, once that first shoot was done, I knew this was what I wanted to specialise in, my love and passion for fitness photography was born.

I loved being in the gym environment and like everyone else I bought all the big publications like muscle and fitness or flex magazine. The images and the physiques in these magazines were always inspiring but now I was actually looking at the photographer’s names as well as the photos. I invested in some starter lighting kits and roped in training partners and people I knew from the gym and I experimented and experimented with lighting and angles and lens to achieve the right look. A look that I would call my own. I enjoyed trying to imitate the great names as mentioned above but establishing my own style was important to me.

“As with anything we learn and we adapt”

Year on year, the enquiries grew and grew, in tandem with the fitness industry and the social media scene and I was working many evenings and weekends on top of my 9-5 office job, but I loved it and wouldn’t change it. In the beginning when I created my look I opted for a grittier look, to rally emphasise every last detail of the physique but sometimes the images could turn out very dark. As with anything we learn and we adapt, I adopted new techniques with lighting, invested in the best equipment, applied softer editing techniques and was able to achieve the same level of detail with a more aesthetically pleasing look.

As mentioned with the increase in social media, people were now aware that they had the ability to promote themselves, their physiques and their business all on-line. The demand changed from images for magazines to images for social media where their reach could be just as good if not better than publications. This also presented new opportunities for me to work with not only competitors but also with coaches and with their clients who were perhaps going under transformation programmes (maybe my next blog idea, stay tuned!). To keep up with demand and to provide the best service, I began to spend more time on my photography business and went part time in my 9-5, this however wasn’t working for me, my passion and love was with my photography business and this year I took the step to go full time photographer.

I do this all with the support of my wife, my daughter and family and friends but is you the clients and the fitness industry that I love that have given me this opportunity.

This is who I am. Who are you? How did you get to where you are? Let me know in the comments section.