An Interview With Vanie Poyey: Voted One of LA's Favorite Photographers by Backstage Readers 3 Years in a Row
Q: Could you please provide our readers with a brief introduction to your
A: I have been in business for twenty years. I was juggling 2-3 jobs at the time when I first started my business. The biggest blessing turned out to be that my boss at my waitressing job fired me. I was doing photography part time and I never really got the sort of the balls to just go ahead and dive in 100% and I didn’t really even know how to.
So when my boss fired me, I was just sort of fed up with having my fingers in a bunch of different things here and there and just wanted to focus on photography so I sold my car at the time and I had 3,000 dollars in the bank, no job, no waitressing, just my part time photography income and I took that 3,000 dollars and I put it towards an ad in the newspaper and I took out a 6 month ad. And what people would tell me about branding and making sure you have an ad run for a few months so that it’s effective actually is true and it worked. From there on I started to get more and more business and I overnight didn’t need another source of income literally and photography became full time for me all because of an ad, and of course
I had practice and I was good at closing the deal so I got the client, and it was just instinct and that sort of changed my life and as business grew, I started to hire more and more professionals. I had a professional website done, I’ve had 3 different studios we’ve occupied and now we’re hopefully in our permanent home in The Valley in North Hollywood.
Q: Do you have tips for our readers on how to take the perfect portrait/selfie
A: Make sure that you are standing in front of flat light source like a window,
straight in front of it so that you have flat lighting with no shadows, unless you’re not afraid of showing imperfections in which case you can stand to the side and give yourself some nice deep shadows for a more dramatic effect, but you want to have a flat source of light. You want to hold the camera just slightly above your head, not too crazy above your head that drives me crazy because it actually yes while you look good and your double chin goes away, you take away power from yourself. The higher the camera is, the smaller you get and the less powerful you become. So just slightly above your face and then also I always tell my clients to stick their chin forward and down a little bit and what that does is it defines your jawline much better especially if you have a double chin.
Q: Awesome, can you share with us tips that would help new photographer
entrepreneurs out there get clients and have a successful photography
A: I feel like the number one essential thing is your web presence and with limited funds these days you can get on social media and get noticed and get business. So right now the place to be is TikTok because TikTok for beginners it’s sort of prime real estate in a sense that TikTok has less creators than viewers and so creates tend to go viral a lot more frequently on TikTok than they do on a place like lets say Facebook which you know you’d have to spend tons of money to advertise to have the same exposure or even Instagram now. So that’s your free ticket to exposure. That’s number one.
Number two is you have to understand how to use that exposure so just like
everyone else out there you have to give people free information and then ask. You know, in other words ask for the sell after you’ve provided people with tons and tons of free information which is the classic “call to action” right and so that ties in to some apps that I recommend. One way to get again a very inexpensive way to get business is to build your mailing list and that should be like the firs thing that you focus on. And right now it’s actually again prime real estate it’s a little bit more expensive but it’s now texting phone numbers so your texting list instead of your mailing list is what you should be building, you know and I mean I haven’t even started doing this but I’m very aware that I should be, I’ve researched and figured out the companies that I should be using.
So one app that I would recommend is Avochado which is a texting service that I think you know it’s basically compatible to mail chimp which is another service I would recommend for your mailing list and you know for emailing people.
I definitely think you can get a website up and running on a tight budget if you do it yourself at the beginning which is what I did and then hire a professional later don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do everything. And on your website a great way to build your mailing list is by giving some people a gift. Giving them something that they’re interested in, so I for instance have a wardrobe guideline that people download to figure out how to dress themselves for a photoshoot and because they download this you know I build my email this way. I have another one I use it’s called Invite Box it’s an app that actually creates a contest for people that can join and then there’s one winner. So that’s another great way for me to you know build
my mailing list.