PhotoBiz makes running your business easier: Meet Clark Sanders
Aug 27, 2020 | By: Jeremy H.
Clark Sanders has been a people person his whole life. Maybe that’s what drew him to photography. Living and working most of his life in Arkansas, Clark's talent grew from the connections he made with people. His work captures a moody expression with a cinematic quality.
Primarily focused on senior portraits, his style brings out his client's personality. He brings sports to life with energy, not just posing. His clients look like sports stars because they are. He is able to capture more than just the subject, but the personality behind them making rich photos. Clark’s work is simply stunning.
We were fortunate to speak with Clark about his history, what he loves about photography, and how he uses PhotoBiz’s new Original Files premium feature with Proofing to deliver his clients the best product possible.
Thank you for speaking with me today Clark. When did you realize you had a talent/creative side?
Clark: To be honest, I've never really considered myself that talented or creative. If I had to say what my talent is, I would say working with people and seeing a location that might not look that great to others or a client, but being able to light it in a way that transforms the final image to something they're quite happy and surprised with.
When did you realize that you were going to pursue photography as a career versus a hobby?
Clark: I have always liked "taking pictures" and after seeing a future mentor's portraits that really drew me in, I knew I wanted to improve my skills and eventually do this for a living. Although, I had NO clue what would be involved in actually making that work!
Portrait photography seems to be your specialty. What do you most enjoy about it?
Clark: Mostly, I enjoy interacting with people, meeting new people, and I just love creating portraits. I especially enjoy creating dramatically lit portraits oftentimes using just one light.
They’re amazing. You also do high school senior portraits with a focus on teams, tell us more about that.
Clark: My primary clients are parents of high school seniors. Senior portraits have always been a favorite and I'm happy to say that they're probably 75% of my work/income. I have NEVER been a big sports fan, but creating sports portraits is one of my favorites, too.
That’s funny, maybe it is the outsider approach that works. Describe setting something like that up.
Clark: I shoot with off-camera lighting 90% of the time and it's become second nature and easy to set up and get ready. So, when I photograph little league, t-ball, etc. teams, I thought, why not create just as unique and dramatic sports images for them as well — even though it's more high volume, taking the time to set up just one light can make them look really cool … even if they're little kids!
For sure! I assume that’s why customers come to you if you do something different.
Clark: I would say my style possibly because a lot of senior girls, mainly, want their portraits to look different from their friends and most of them use photographers that shoot mainly natural light.
Plus, I do in-person ordering appointments in my studio and provide more of a boutique-style experience than just posting them in an online gallery or providing digital images only. Plus I get to walk them through the process of choosing favorite images and sell prints, canvases, albums, and graduation invitations/announcements.
You use PhotoBiz for your website and proofing. How do you use these tools for your business? Clark: I LOVE my website with PhotoBiz! Being able to update it is so SIMPLE!! And there are so many options with forms, email marketing, appointments, etc. I used to use other services for all of those things and now they're all with PhotoBiz … makes running my business a little easier!
Plus, I LOVE that you have Square as a merchant option! I use the proofing tool a lot! Especially showing my clients their custom album designs and graduation invitation designs. I direct them to their gallery with a password and it's so simple! How helpful has it been for your client's experience?
Clark: My clients love the proofing tool and the invoicing tool is great as well! I have recently set up my Ecommerce to offer clients that are ordering from their kids sports teams the ability to pre-order before "Photo Day."
So many forget to send their printed order form back with their athletes so having an option where they can pre-pay and pre-order is great!
That’s fantastic! How have you used the new Original Files premium feature for your clients?
Clark: I just recently upgraded to this feature and it will be very helpful especially for my headshot clients. They are typically the only clients I sell high-res files to. I did photograph our local high school's graduation in July.
I did a photo of each graduate as they received their diploma. I created a gallery and used the original files option for parents and students to be able to download their images. Yet another feature that makes my workflow easier!
What is your favorite thing about PhotoBiz? Clark: That is hard! There are many favorites, but if I had to pick one ... Customer Service! Being able to speak to a live person is awesome!
What gets you most excited about your next project?
Clark: That would have to be working with a new senior client. I try to schedule in-person session consultations before all of my senior sessions. I like to cover all bases — most importantly to me anyway — pricing! I don't want my clients to be caught off guard with pricing.
Most photographers in my surrounding area mainly offer digitals for a low rate. I like to offer more than that. The session consultation lets me get to meet them for the first time so we're a little more comfortable with each other when it's session day!
I also get excited when my clients are excited about the day of their session and at their ordering appointment. I love what I do and when my clients love their end products, it's just icing on the cake for me! What are your business’s future goals?
Clark: With how 2020 has been for a lot of us, I have learned it would be very beneficial to try and focus on another area to bring income in other than senior portraits. So I'm working on a new project with a current client that hopefully will spur this little extra income idea along.
What would you tell other photographers reading this today? Clark: I get asked from time to time on social media platforms about what to do to make money doing this. I do this full-time. My wife teaches 4th grade. One of my hardest lessons I had to learn was how to price my work.
I learned from an industry leader that once you raise your prices where you'll make enough profit to pay yourself a salary, you'll lose some of your past clients because they were more focused on the small amount you were charging instead of the quality of the service and end product you provide.
That was so TRUE! And never listen to someone if they tell you, "you can't charge that much here, no one will pay that!" We live in a small town in North Arkansas and I've been told that by several people. When clients value YOU and what you provide, they will pay.
Some of my clients have spent over $3,000 and some spend $500 or less. It all depends on what they want. Some clients have more disposable income than others and some don't. That's where payment options are great to have and the invoicing feature with PhotoBiz is a great tool if you want to offer payment options.
And another little tidbit … don't get too focused on gear! You need to know how to use the gear you have and create consistent images. Most clients aren't going to know or care what camera brand you use or what lighting brand you use. They are tools and you have to know how to use them.
No one ever asks your grandma what kind of stove or oven she uses to cook all of her amazing dishes, she just knows how to use the tools she has! Photography is the same.
Clark, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us!
Clark has used his personable skills to create unique photographs that resonate with his clients and community. He uses PhotoBiz’s ecommerce tools like invoicing to take pre-payments and private galleries with PhotoBiz Proofing to sell original resolutions files to his clients. The value he brings allows him to earn more for the quality and overall experience.
Already a PhotoBiz client and want to enable Premium Features like Original Files? Log in and click the GET MORE tab in your PhotoBiz control panel or call our Passionate Support® team today. We’ll be happy to assist you.