Over the course of the past 4 years I’ve had the opportunity to travel in both Canada and the US to attend workshops with some of the most talented women in the photography industry. One of the most profound observations I had after attending these events and having the chance to talk to photographers from all over North America is that each person created their own path to creative and financial success.
Become an expert on your own business
There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to owning a photography business and while that means the possibilities are endless it also means photographers often feel overwhelmed by the options available to them when it comes to running their business. I am here to help you create goals, processes, and plans that meet your creative and financial needs.
Why I created these workshops
My goal is to create a community of photographers who are committed to their own professional development, adhere to professional standards, but also who want to support others. The purpose of the workshops is to provide accountability, support, education, and problem solving as workshop members navigate their way through their new plans, goals, and strategies.
Why I’m passionate about these workshops
These workshops are an opportunity to share my experiences as a professional photographer with you but also for me to share my professional background as a group facilitator to help you learn, plan, and focus on what you want to achieve.
Building my business has been one of the most inspiring, frustrating, exciting, challenging, and fulfilling experiences of my life. When I graduated with a Masters degree in educational counselling I certainly didn’t expect that this is the path my career would take. In addition to managing a full-time schedule of sessions for the past eight years, for the past four years I have welcomed hobbyist photographers into my studio for Learning to Use Your DSLR classes as well as Intermediate workshops on low light photography, baby & child photography, photo walks, nature photography, and editing with Lightroom. These courses, and the "For Photographers' workshops, allow me to combine my professional background in education, facilitation and counselling with my passion for photography.
Who these workshops are for:
Part-time and full time photographers
New and experienced photographers
A photographer with an open mind and who has set time aside to dedicate to moving forward with the plan you develop as part of the workshops. These workshops are for people who are ready to problem solve, learn, and support others as they work to find the best way to run their business.
What these workshops are not
If you expect that in one workshop you’ll be provided with a cookie cutter business and marketing plan and have all the solutions to running a successful business, these are not the workshops for you.
In-Person & Online Workshops
1. Business Planning 101
2. Workflow: Portfolio and Editing
3. Behind the scenes: the client experience
4. Budgeting and Finances
5. Marketing & Social Media
How do you feel about your business? Scared? Confident? Uncertain? Frustrated? Excited? Burned out?
"Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose." — G.K. Nelson
One on one support is available for new and experienced photographers who are ready to problem solve, learn, and move forward with concrete plans for their business.
I hear you: change is scary; investing time and money in your business can feel overwhelming; let me help with some of the 'what if's' in the back of your mind.
I can’t afford the cost
What about the cost of your current business structure? Are you paying yourself enough for all the work and time you invest into your business? Can you really afford to continue working for your current rates, at your current pace? You can earn back the workshop fee when you book just one new client using your newly developed plan. These workshops are designed and priced so that they are accessible but still maximize participants’ returns.
I don’t have time
I know it’s hard to find time, especially when you have a family or run a business. Or both! I have created these workshops in modules to allow participants to work at their own pace and to choose their learning priorities. Online workshops are broken down into manageable modules so you don't have to worry about childcare, travel, or coordinating your schedule with your partner. Learn, plan, and grow, all from the comfort of your own home.
I’ve already been in business for several years and already have lots of clients. What will I get out of this?
You may have noticed that people who are successful never stop learning and never stop investing time, money, and effort into their own business, education, and skills. Do you have a solid business plan? Have you consistently met and / or exceeded your artistic and financial goals for the last two years? Are you making money that covers your costs or are you making a profit, paying yourself a salary, and investing money back into your business? If your answer is yes, then send me an email and we can talk about your own next steps. If the answer is no, then these workshops will be a great fit for you.
I’m scared to commit the time, money, and to set goals that I may not be able to meet.
Fear of failure stops a lot of people from doing so many things. Going into business for myself and taking risks on a daily basis has been the most challenging part of the past seven years for me. I am risk-averse and prefer the ‘path well travelled’ rather than forging ahead on my own. So why did I do something so outside of my comfort zone? My passion for photography and admittedly because so many people told me I would fail. Send me an email and let me know what you’re scared of: let’s talk through it.
I can give you 10 good reasons why I shouldn’t take the workshop
I will give you one why you should: you’re worth it! It’s so easy as an entrepreneur to put your head down and work through the exhaustion and frustration of trying to build a successful business. It’s time to pause and take the time to evaluate what you’re doing, why it’s working (and not working), and what you need to do differently.
Why would I want to be a part of a group of photographers?
Owning your own business can be an isolating experience. The combination of business and artistry makes photography a unique industry that most people outside of cannot relate to. The workshops and private online groups gives you access to others in your industry who can support you, encourage you, and help you problem solve.
Still not sure?
Send me an email with any questions you have, even the ones that you think 'can I even ask this?'. I’m happy to help you figure out how you can benefit from this workshop!
The Behind the Lens small group intensive workshop is for both new and experienced business owners. The workshop is here to help you focus on:
Proactive business planning based on your ‘why’ and values. When all our decisions are guided by the same values we have consistency, clarity, and authenticity. Our clients are able to identify with our business and remain loyal and engaged because they are attracted to our shared values
The Artistry (Shooting & Editing): The learning opportunities for photographers to develop their photography and editing skills are endless however the seemingly limitless availability of photography courses and workshops can sometimes be detrimental to business owners. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your current skill set as well as what professional development opportunities would best meet your business needs is key to meeting client expectations, saving time and money when photographing and editing sessions, and solidifying a style that is in line with your brand.
Business Systems and the Client Experience: Choosing the right business systems for your style of photography and business model is daunting when the options seem endless and every photographer has a different program or system to recommend. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your current business skill set is key to understanding how to choose business systems that meet your needs, how to implement systems that you can use with ease, and helping you to create a client experience that is both positive and profitable.
Pricing and Budgeting: Establishing profitable products and services is one of the most challenging aspects of business ownership for both new and experienced professional photographers. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your current pricing model and budget is key to understanding how to structure your budget, how to improve profitability, and how to critically analyze your revenue and expenses.
Advertising and Social Media: Marketing, advertising and social media strategies that are built on the ‘why’ and mission of your business are not only effective but efficient. When all our promotional decisions are guided by the same values we have consistency, clarity, and authenticity. Our clients are able to identify with our business and remain loyal and engaged because they are attracted to our shared values.
60+ page workbook
Support and feedback during the two week workbook completion component
Five 2-hour online courses and Q&A
An hour long private one-on-one either during or after the course for individualized support
Ongoing support and accountability throughout the workshop and after the completion of the workshop
WHO IT'S FOR
Photographers who are considering starting a business or who have just started one
Established photographers who are looking to improve upon the business they've already built but need additional business skills, accountability, and support.
Identifying your why, values, and mission statement
Understanding and overcoming the biggest obstacles you face in business
Establishing your support system (family, personal, business)
Identifying inconsistencies in your business and style and creating a plan to overcome them
Clarifying your business brand
Creating content to use on your website related to your style, the services you offer, and your about you page
Analyzing your business needs and priorities and establishing boundaries and a plan to ensure your needs are met
Workshop 2: The Artistry: Portfolio and Editing
Creating a resume of your professional development activities related to editing and photography
Identifying your strengths and weaknesses related to technical skills, lighting, posing, creativity, and editing, and developing a plan to fill skill gaps in a reasonable time frame
Analyzing your session and editing style and remedying inconsistencies
Reviewing your specializations and their relevance to your current business model and brand
Developing a weekly and monthly plan to focus your learning efforts on skills that meet both your artistic and financial needs.
Critically reviewing your current editing workflow to identify inefficiencies and re-structuring your editing process to save both time and money
Workshop 3: Business Systems and the Client Experience
Identifying gaps in your current business systems and processes
Reviewing the quality and usability of online content (website, blog, social media, newsletter)
Creating efficient client management processes that encourage client referrals and repeat business
Developing workflow checklists for sessions that ensure key information is collected and client expectations are met with confidence
Critically reviewing your client experience to identify gaps and challenges in service and product delivery
Creating templates and automated processes to save time and improve consistency
Identifying your business strengths and weaknesses and choosing systems that best meet your needs
Workshop 4: Pricing and Budgeting
Identifying your short term and long term financial needs and any existing discrepancies between your current salary and needs
Critically reviewing how your time is dedicated to each area of your business
Reviewing the different pricing models and which best meets your business and artistic needs
Developing an actionable plan for revenue generation
Creating a detailed expense report for projected variable and fixed expenses
Analyzing your current pricing structure and creating an action plan for profitable sessions, products, packages, and other services
Critically reviewing your profitability and return on investment
Workshop 5: Advertising and Social Media
Identifying and analyzing your marketing 4Ps (product, pricing, promotion, place)
Identifying your current clients, sources of clients, and creating a client profile
Critically reviewing your current marketing efforts (online, in person, referral etc).
Creating a detailed plan to guide your social media efforts
Analyzing your sales funnel and identifying actionable steps you will take to reach and connect with potential clients.
Developing a weekly and monthly plan to interact with and book new clients.
What Others Are Saying
"When I enrolled in the Behind the Lens workshop, I was unsure if I really even needed this workshop. As a operator of a small existing photography business, I believed I already had everything worked out. Once I received the workbook, I realized that there were many parts of my small business that I hadn’t taken into consideration. Sara challenged me to really rethink my branding, editing workflow, marketing & finances. I throughly enjoyed meeting & learning from other talented, local photographers during the workshop. Thank you to Sara & the other photographers, they have all helped me to make improvements in my business. Even though I still do have many improvements to make, the Behind the Lens workshop has given me support & a roadmap to help me to accomplish my business goals." — Jennifer
''Behind the lens was such a valuable opportunity to pause, reflect and answer questions and find more clarity, vision, courage and dedication for my business. Sara created a space for everyone to share, grow and learn during the workshop. She understands the value of community and also created a platform for continued exchange of ideas, ressources, inspiration, challenges, opportunity to ask questions, get intelligent feedback and be positively challenged toward more joy and success. Sara is a wealth of knowledge from her years of experience and success as a photographer, business woman and from her heart as a mother, wife, friend and mentor.’’ — Sophie
"Although starting my own storytelling photography business was something I was thinking about, I had no clue where to begin! The class and its workbook really helped me solidify what I wanted my business to be. When you sign up for the course, you sign up for so much more than just a one day class : you become part of a unique community of photographers that support and encourage each other. I’m so grateful for Sara’s Behind the lens course. It gave me the tools and confidence I needed to start my business. Don’t hesitate and sign up! You won’t regret it!" — Myriam
"Starting a business is a big step. I wanted to ensure I started on the right foot and get all my ducks in a row. So I registered for Sara McConnell's business workshop. I left feeling empowered. At the end of the day, a photography business is not all about photography. It's also about the sales business. Without a strong knowledge of marketing, the risk of a business failing is high. Not only was this covered in the workshop, but the daily support after the workshop has been gold. Learning from other photographers is extremely helpful. I recommend this workshop to anyone wanting to take the leap! Thank you Sara for all your support and sharing so much vital information. I know I can make this business work!!!" — Tammy
"The Behind the Lens workshop helped me figure out the steps I needed to take to get my photography business going. The course manages to help people who are at different steps in their business journey. I myself am just starting out, and taking it slow. Sara's workbook, workshop and online group have helped me to figure out my goals and to align my actions to meet them. I've found the community of photographers who have taken this workshop to be a wealth of not only information, but invaluable support and encouragement. Thank you Sara!" — Kelly
"Behind the Lens was a great source of realism to start my photography business. It gave me a in depth look at what I need to do as ground work to start a successful venture. It also allowed me to join a network of fabulous photographers in the region who are also going through or went through the exact same thing as I am. I don’t feel alone in this journey. I think that that alone is priceless. I still have so much to work to do, but I’m looking forward to achieving every step in making this happen!" — Dominique
"The business of photography has provided us valuable insight into how to run a successful photography business. Sara's course provided us tools, templates and advice on how to properly launch our business, and also enabled us to connect with other photographers in which we can draw valuable expertise and share experiences. We definitely recommend it for photographers at all stages of their business whether starting out or already established and looking to optimize their business model. The course has set us up for success, and allowed us to consider areas of the business that aren't inherent to picture taking. Great course!" — Meghan & Maria
"I highly recommend this class to anyone who is interested in starting a sustainable photography business and I believe it is also a great course for established photographers to continue to build community and develop professionally. There really is always something to learn! Thanks for a great day, Sara!" — Kim
"The biggest obstacle prior to taking Sara’s course, was hesitation on the financial investment. After taking the course, I cannot believe that was even a concern of mine. It’s only been a week now since the course ended, and my business has truly never been so successful. Sara taught us to set goals for our business, and make ourselves accountable for them. I really like this approach. She also really made me realize that this is a business. I had a huge problem of over delivering images, giving clients unnecessary discounts etc., but this course taught me to value my work and my time. I’ve been taught really exciting tasks to take my business to the next level and I’m really excited to implement them, and see the results. I could not possibly be happier with the course and would recommend it to everyone! I think it’s especially useful for those just starting. I could have saved myself many headaches if I took this first." — Karen
"As someone who has only just begun to explore the possibility of starting my own photography business, I was nervous about taking this course - I wondered whether I would have enough of value to contribute to the group, and whether my questions would be too simplistic. Sara was excellent in creating a safe and welcoming space for us all to contribute to discussions and to learn from one another, regardless of how far along we were in this journey. This course challenged me in positive ways that I had not anticipated at the outset, and forced me to ask myself some tough questions regarding my planned approach, style and business logistics. Moreover, the support and knowledge that I received from this amazing group of photographers has been invaluable in helping me to avoid some of the common obstacles that professional photographers may encounter, as well as enabled me to learn from their diverse business practices. This course has been instrumental in helping me to clarify my business plan, identify my goals, and begin to take the steps to turn those goals into reality." — Jennifer