This week in our Photographers Who Inspire interview series we are happy to have the creator of the wildly successful Let’s Click Workshops, Julie Paisley! She is a true teacher at heart and her proudest moments in life are seeing her past workshop students grow to reach their potential. Please welcome the humble yet incredibly talented, Julie Paisley!
Who or what was your original inspiration when you started your business? Who inspires you now?
When my children were 2 and 4 we were gifted a lifestyle session on the beach. It was not posed, just played with the kids and the photographer snapped away. After that session I knew if I could ever just “have fun” and follow my dream, I wanted to give someone else that gift…the gift of just being natural and having those moments captured. That inspired me then and it still does today.
What was the hardest part of starting your own business? What do you wish you would have known?
PRICING! Hands down! I had no idea what goes into running a photography business! I seriously worked for pennies for the first two years of business. I wish someone would have been honest with me and helped me in that area.
Many know you as an incredible newborn photographer, but recently you announced that JPP will shoot weddings exclusively. Can you give us the “shortened” version of how and why you came to this decision.
This was so hard! I LOVE newborns but I know that my passion is in weddings. They are so different and it’s really hard to put 100% into both. I will still be doing a select number of newborn sessions a year but it will be lifestyle and outdoor “newborn art” sessions. No more studio work. My business is so busy and I constantly struggle to find balance between work and family. By concentrating on weddings and workshops and limited portrait work, I am hoping that will give some peace and I can give the time and attention needed to both family and clients.
Your “Lets Click” newborn workshops are highly sought after. Did you attend workshops when you first started? Do you still attend workshops? Why are workshops so valuable? How will this aspect of your business change now that you are shooting weddings only?
Workshops are amazing! Hands-on learning is best! Since I am self-taught, workshops are so valuable to me! I have attended several and my goal to attend at least 2 a year. I go to be inspired, to meet others, to find new ways to improve my craft. I am a firm believer that we should never stop learning and should never feel like we have “arrived”. I will continue to teach workshops for 2013 but they will be a little different. In 2012 I offered 2 different types of workshops, children/family and wedding ones. I even started something new, REAL wedding workshops where you actually were able to watch me in a real wedding setting. These workshops have been incredible. I have received very positive feedback and I’m so blessed by all the friends I have made along the way. The 2013 workshops will consist of REAL wedding workshops. Workshop retreats and I are partnering up with other amazing photogs to offer combined workshops. The focus will be on the whole aspect of running a photography business. No matter what your specialty, these workshops will be very beneficial for you in your journey. I am so excited for what the future holds. All workshop info can be found on my site.
What was your original gear and when did you start upgrading your equipment?
I seriously had no plans to become a professional photographer. I started with the Canon Rebel T1i. I just wanted to shoot for fun! Then everyone was asking me to take their pictures so I upgraded in 6 months to the Canon 50D. One year later I upgraded again to the Nikon D700 (Yes, I switched) and then a year later I bought my current camera which is the Nikon D3s. I basically upgraded as my business grew and I paid cash for everything. My business is 100% debt free! :)
Tell us about your favorite lens and why it is #1 in your camera bag over your other lenses.
The 35 1.4. LOVE it! I like to be close to connect with my clients. The 35 allows me to do that. I also love big shots. I shoot mainly outdoors in nature and I go for the art, the 35 fits my style perfectly!
Photoshop or Lightroom? Or both? How long does it take you to get your proofs to your clients?
Both! :) I start with LR and then finish up with Photoshop. I have the editing down! Being a high volume photographer you cannot get bogged down with editing. I try really hard to achieve the best SOOC images and LR and CS5 just enhance it. I work really hard to have galleries up for portrait clients within 2 weeks and for wedding clients it’s 6-8 weeks.
How do you break the ice in the beginning of a session?
I talk to them! I ask about their day, play with the kids, compliment them. If your clients are comfortable with you, their pictures will show that! Walking is good ice breaker too…have them walk and talk.
How many photos do you typically take in a full session? How many do you edit, and do you ever show your un-edits to clients?
Since I’m not “posy-posy” and most of my images are real and candid moments, I usually give my clients 40-60. I edit them all and I never show un-edited images to my clients. I only want to show my best, no questions asked.
Who helps you behind the scenes? Do you have an assistant or a family member?
I have both! I always have an assistant for my newborn sessions and weddings. My husband is the business manager and takes care of contracts and all fun tax stuff! :)
With the demand for digital images on the rise, do you offer them as part of your packages for your clients?
I do! But first they have to purchase wall prints before the digital images are available. I want to see my work on their wall! :)
Can you share a story of a difficult shoot and how you handled it?
I have one that comes to mind and I know the mom will not be offended and will agree with me! I have a family that I’ve photographing for years. They were pregnant with number 3 and wanted to do a family/maternity shoot. The middle child is as cute as she can be but as we would say in the south, “she is a mess!” We had a time getting her cooperate so we could get at least one good picture of all them together! I basically just had to get on her level be PATIENT and what for it! We have A LOT of outtakes but by the end we were successful! The picture below is an outtake but one of mom’s favorites! It’s real and shows her family at that time in their life!
How do you handle family and close friends who want to hire you? Do you offer any discounts?
I’m a softie, so yes, I do give discounts to immediate family and very close friends. But, at the same time, they respect me and I don’t feel like they take advantage of me at all.
What is one thing we would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a VERY picky eater. I’m “one of those people” who special orders everything when dining out and I don’t like my food to touch each other! I also LOVE coke icee’s, actually obsessed with them!
Name one person you would love to photograph.
Reece Witherspoon! I love her! Oh and Adele because I love her style!
What is on your “Bucket List”?
Shoot a wedding in Europe, hold a Koala bear, go to Hawaii, live on a farm, with a barn…the list goes on and on…I’m a dreamer! :)
Aside from this wonderful IMB interview, what has been your proudest moment in your business?
Watching the girls who have attended my workshops grow. Seriously makes my mama heart proud!
Name two photographers you would like to see IMB interview.
Joy Purdy – Wildflowers Photography
Val from The Red Balloon Photography
Julie is married to her best friend and is a mama to the 2 best kiddos in the world. Julie lives in North Florida but travels around the country teaching workshops and shooting weddings. Her style can be described as dreamy, whimsical and real. Julie is a lover of natural light and sunflare makes her happy.