Our second studio spotlight is Emily Johnson Photography in the Milwaukee area. Emily’s team is made up of fun and talented photographers that love creating environments where people can feel free to express themselves. Since 2004, Emily has photographed hundreds of weddings and and is able to combine her love for art , storytelling, and working with people. Her studio continues to document these couples lives by also providing maternity, newborn, children, family, and senior portraiture. Additionally, Emily works with Tailwaggers 911, where she expands her love for dogs into fostering them until they reach their forever home. Her photographer, Jason, donates his photography services to the Susan G. Komen and College Possible organizations as well!
Emily, 90% of your customers receive an album! What is you strategy?
Nearly all of my package options include a guest book and a wedding album. By making my packages all-inclusive it makes it easier for couples because they don’t have to make so many separate decisions about what to add to their package and albums add a ton of value to my packages allowing me to have prices that sustain my business and lifestyle.
– At sales appointments I show couples an 8×8 PhotoBook with satin pages that contains a mix of pictures from all different engagement sessions so that I can easily segway into talking about location ideas for their session.
– I show them another 8×8 PhotoBook designed as a guest book that is a copy of one of my former couple’s design and they always love the idea.
– I show a variety of wedding albums and I believe this really helps drive sales towards packages containing albums.
– I show a 10×10 Lustre album with a leather spine and back because that is our base album.
– I talk with them about the upgrade options available and I show a 10×10 Lustre Splash Cover, a 12×12 Lustre with a full silk cover and square cameo image with embossing, a 12×12 Zook Book and I have 5 Splash covers that are not attached to albums.
– I always have a couple more albums with me so that I have options to show them as we discuss the plans for their day so that I can match their style or location with another wedding I’ve shot.
When I explain the process for album image selection and design they’re always happy to hear that I help them get started with a selection of images they can view and change from anywhere, it won’t require multiple meetings and they can view their design online.
What do you love about shooting in your area?
I love shooting in the Milwaukee area because we are blessed with so many beautiful parks, amazing architecture in our downtown area and picturesque venues in the suburban areas.
After an event is done, what is your work flow from uploading the images from your card reader to delivering the album?
I feel like after 12 years I have finally mastered my workflow to be as simple as possible.
– After I shoot a wedding I come home and upload to my computer and if it’s not too late I will cull the wedding immediately using PhotoMechanic. I used to HATE culling but this program is lightning fast and it takes the pain out of it.
– I import only the keepers into Lightroom directly from PhotoMechanic.
– Once the files have rendered 1:1 previews I export the folder as a catalog and send it to Photographers Edit for processing where they use my presets so everything matches my production style.
– Within a week I get my completed catalog back and I import it to Lightroom, check everything over to make sure it’s to my liking, choose the images for their highlight slideshow and the blog post.
– I export from Lightroom directly to Zenfolio for their online gallery and directly to Animoto for the slideshow. If it’s a very large package with multiple shooters I will also make a selection from the finished files to appear in their online gallery because these are the same images they will choose from for their album and I don’t want my couples to feel overwhelmed.
– I start my selection order with Zookbinders once the gallery files have uploaded to Zenfolio and I instruct Zookbinders to choose an additional 10 images over and above the amount included with their package.
– I upload the zip file my client will receive to my website, finish off the slideshow and make a blog post using BlogStomp (another game changer, worth every penny!). BlogStomp uploads a draft right to my WordPress blog and once I add some SEO and finishing touches I email the client their download link and link the blog post to social media.
– Zookbinders is pretty quick with the selection process and when their selection site is ready I go in and set it up and check over the selection, tweaking it here and there.
– My couples have 3 weeks to complete their selection process and once I get the notification that they have submitted their images I will download the files from Zookbinders, do some retouching and artistic processing and submit an album design order with Zookbinders.
– When I am really busy I have Zookbinders do the basic retouching like airbrushing shiny faces. About half my clients add more images to their album which is awesome!
– When the design is ready, I set up the shopping cart and send it to my clients. They have 3 weeks to submit revisions or approve their album. Most couples approve their album design with zero to 2 changes and once they are in the shopping cart portion about half of them will upgrade the size to 12×12 and/or add on replica parent albums.
– The albums drop ship directly to my clients and I always do my best to get an address from them where someone will be available to sign for it to avoid them having the hassle of picking it up from FedEx.
– So, all in all, I feel like my company provides convenient, full service for my clients in a way that is easiest for my lifestyle. My goal is to deliver their wedding album in 10 – 12 weeks from their wedding date.
If you had a magical genie lamp, what would you change about the photography industry?
If I could change anything about the photography industry it would be that everyone who enters the industry would have a good grasp on how to price themselves to be sustainable and not make what we do a commodity.
What is your favorite website/book for photo inspiration?
When I am in need of some motivation and inspiration I log onto my ICE Society account with Jerry Ghionis. Being able to watch him shoot, find light in places I wouldn’t have thought to look and make amazing images from ordinary locations is so inspiring. I was also lucky enough to attend one of Joe Buissink’s week long workshops and I absolutely adore his work and ability to capture moments so I like to check out what he’s been up to on Facebook.
What was your first camera? What do you shoot with now?
The first camera that I photographed weddings with was a film camera, the Canon A2, and I thought it was super awesome because it had eye controlled focusing. I now shoot with the Canon 5D Mark III and I LOVE it!
Every month we will showcase a studio that is challenging the norm in the photography industry by doing something new and interesting. They could be an established studio that has innovative ideas on how to stay on top, or a brand new studio that has managed to break through and present themselves boldly.