Entrepreneurial Pizzazz with Milena Perdriel

December 6, 2021 Artist Spotlight

Episode 105: Milena Perdriel

In Episode 105 of the Portrait System Podcast, Nikki Closser chats with Milena Perdriel, a Bulgarian photographer who is the corporate portrait photographer people want to book in Paris. Melina began her photography journey working many jobs — except being a photographer — with a stock photography company back in the days before digital. She and her now ex-husband decided to return to Bulgaria to create their own stock photography company there, and that is when Melina learned the craft of taking photographs. After returning to Paris, she did not work as a photographer again until the economic crash inspired her to create her own economy by becoming an entrepreneur. After joining a women’s entrepreneur group and having a sales pricing lesson with a friend who is a successful salesperson, Melina was ready to have her own studio and launch her own business. She recently released a book on corporate portraiture and largely gets her clients by referral and also by merit of the SEO on her website.

Be sure to listen to the whole podcast to hear how Melina incorporates SEO on her webpage, such as:

  • in file names,
  • in titles on new pages,
  • keyword placement,
  • and in blogs,

as well as how finding the right person to guide you through it can make a big difference.

As always, Nikki brings great perspective. This time she reminds us that when people reach your website, they really need to know in just a couple seconds what you are offering and what they can gain from you before they lose interest and leave. It’s so important to make this clear right off the bat.

Here are links to some things mentioned in this conversation: Felix Kunze Lighting Series, Sue Bryce Backlighting, and Nikki Closser’s Personal Branding: The Contemporary Headshot System.

In this blog, you’ll find some of Milena’s potent portraiture, links to her websites, and answers to some bonus questions.

Get to Know Milena Perdriel

Q: How has Sue Bryce Education changed your life for the better?

A: I started learning from Sue Bryce in her first Creative Live in 2012. She put words on my thoughts, and I found myself soooo grateful for that, and I was not alone. I quickly understood that even though we had the same thoughts about what photography brings to people, she was way more advanced business-wise than I was. So, I was happy to follow her teachings and felt like I was mentored by Sue Bryce in a way.

Then, at WPPI in 2016, I met Sue and the team in real life. I heard her keynote, and I immediately subscribed to SBE. I wanted more of that strong energy and belief.

In 2016, I already knew that I was not “a glamour photographer,” but I also knew that I could learn my craft, my value, and my money progression. I am always in a learning process.

I would love to make friends all over the world with all the photographers I read about and see in this group. Every day has inspirational aha moments, and I am so grateful !

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment since starting Sue Bryce Education?

A: In December 2017, I was exhausted. Happy, but exhausted. One evening with my dearest friend Pauline Goyard, in the middle of my 2nd mojito, she told me, “You have to choose. You raise your prices, or prepare to burn out.” She is very direct like this, and I love her for that. So, I took a day to think on it. I had to chose what to change — my service or my prices. And I decided that I love this job because of the service I offer and that service is beauty and joy. So I raised my prices to Sue Bryce standards. My average since 2018 has been 1400€.

I am now working to step to a next level for a higher average with wall art.

Q: Making a connection with your subject is one of the most important parts of a great portrait. How do you make lasting connections with your clients?

A: I am a very curious person. I always want to know people’s stories and adventures. I am also very empathic, but I learned how to protect myself and not to be in the ‘savior’ role. Being a photographer is the best excuse to have the authorization to look in the eyes of someone and ask them real questions. I can almost physically feel the connection. And I love that. Clients love that. Because they feel the authenticity of my intention — all I want is for them to feel good, beautiful, proud, and true. They feel that I see the beauty because I see the good inside of them.

Sue says, “Find your word.” Mine is PHILOKALIA, which means, the love of beauty. Beauty comes from kindness. I believe everyone is profoundly kind. And from this belief comes the attention I have for everybody and the connection is happening.

Q: Do you regret any decisions you have made in your business?

A: I think I made some wrong choices, but I don’t believe in regrets. Or maybe, I would like to be able to take all the steps I want to take for my business and not have regrets like, “Oh, I should do this.” I trust my intuition, and I learn something about me or about my service every time when it is going a wrong way.

Q: Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?

A: I think about, “What if I leave Paris, and I go to the ocean?” or, “What if I have two studios, one in Paris, and one close to the ocean?” I already did my vision board about that. In my vision board, I also have a picture of a microphone — for the podcasts. 🙂  I have The Portrait Masters Master badge. I have the Associate one for now. I have a picture of a TED talk scene, and a cover of GQ magazine. And my personal fun life, too. I installed this vision board on my screens — my computer and my phone. I love my life now. I am happy with what’s next 🙂

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Milena Perdriel

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Click Here to Read the Podcast Transcript

FULL TRANSCRIPT: Please note this transcript was generated by AI and may contain errors.

00:00:00:02 – 00:00:02:07

You’re listening to the Portrait System podcast.

00:00:02:21 – 00:00:19:19

I think that we have to ask help for these important things. And I ask, it a someone to help me with this SEO and the things he did, it was teaching me what to do in my everyday posts, in my everyday uploads of images and things.

This is the Portrait System Podcast, a show that helps portrait photographers and people hoping to become one. Navigate the world of photography, business, money and so much more. We totally keep it real. We share stories about the incredible ups and the very difficult downs when running a photography business. I’m your host, Nikki Closser, and the point of this podcast is for you to learn actionable steps that you can take to grow your own business and also to feel inspired and empowered by the stories you hear.

My guest is Melina Perdriel and she is a photographer in Paris.

00:00:52:15 – 00:01:28:24

She worked so hard to become a great photographer with beautiful work, but she realized she had no idea how to actually run a business, which I know a lot of people can relate to as artists. Fast forward, and she now has a successful portrait business in Paris with a heavy focus on corporate photos, and she is amazing at it. During our chat, Melina talks about just how her main source of clients is both from referrals and also from internet searches, and she has spent quite a bit of time on her SEO to make that happen. It’s always great to interview people from around the world, and I’m so happy to introduce you to Melina and her wisdom.

00:01:28:26 – 00:01:32:25

OK, let’s get started. Hi, how are you?

00:01:33:08 – 00:01:39:07

Hi, Nikki, thank you. I’m really, really fine. Here is the end of the day, so I’m fine. Thank you.

00:01:39:09 – 00:01:45:00

Good. Good. Where are you now? Because I know you’re your Bulgarian, right? And but you live in France. Are you used to live in France?

00:01:45:08 – 00:01:51:00

Yes, I am Bulgarian, but I live in France since twenty two years now. I live in Paris.

00:01:51:14 – 00:01:57:17

Awesome. Very cool. For some reason, I thought you had moved. Away from Paris and then came back,

00:01:58:00 – 00:02:10:27

I came in France in ninety seven, and then I was back in Bulgaria for two years in two thousand to two thousand two. But I live in France. Yeah.

00:02:11:06 – 00:02:28:26

OK, so that was a while ago. I don’t know why it was thinking that, OK? Cool. OK, so before we get into your story and just talk about your whole journey as a photographer, can you just tell our listeners what you mostly focus on now with your photography business?

00:02:29:16 – 00:02:56:12

Yeah, so I am portrait photographer. I almost do only portraits and I am specialized corporate portraits like you say, personal branding, but I call them portrait corporate because it’s larger than the branding portraits of I also do a personal portraits for one solo person for families and some couples.

00:02:57:16 – 00:03:21:05

OK, so when you say larger, do you mean? Like more people or just, you know, explain that just a little bit, and I I’m always humbled when I only speak one language and any time I have a guest on that speaks multiple language. I just I think it’s so amazing. So so but I just want to I just want to make sure that everyone understands, you know, exactly what it is that you do.

00:03:21:21 – 00:03:33:05

Yes, thank you. Because I’m I’m a little bit afraid of my right English, but I try to to speak slow, so I have to think of it before,

00:03:34:07 – 00:03:47:06

and I don’t want you to worry at all like that. I mean, it’s I think it’s just absolutely incredible that you when people speak more than one language, so. But I just want to make sure that, you know, we’re getting exactly what what you mean.

00:03:47:10 – 00:03:51:09

I think I love speaking so I can speak every language I can learn.

00:03:52:05 – 00:03:59:18

Yes, so awesome. I love it. I love it. OK, so when you say larger, do you are you saying like larger groups of people?

00:04:00:07 – 00:04:03:02

I mean larger because because when

00:04:04:27 – 00:04:40:17

when I say branding portraits, I mean one person, one entrepreneur, solo entrepreneur, you know, so that’s why I have this type of clients. They are my favorites, but I also have corporate clients, larger groups and small companies who I try to work the same way, looking for personality. I’m looking for building some image who is particular for every company, but it’s not the same demands, you know, it’s not the same.

00:04:41:07 – 00:04:44:14

They are not looking for the same thing. That’s why I say larger.

00:04:45:03 – 00:05:02:14

OK, gotcha. Gotcha. OK, so most of your work then, is photographing a corporate company who needs photos for their employees type thing mixed in with some personal branding for, like, one entrepreneur. Would you say that kind of sums it up?

00:05:03:09 – 00:05:17:04

I think that it’s 50 50, 50 50 because I have individual clients a lot. And corporate portraits are maybe less in sessions, but more in-person, you know?

00:05:17:15 – 00:05:27:01

Yeah, that makes sense. OK, so take us back a little bit and tell us how long you have been doing photography and you know just how you got started.

00:05:27:21 – 00:05:31:22

Yeah, I started. It was a my ex-husband’s idea

00:05:33:12 – 00:06:06:06

because actually I was when I came in France in 97, I was twenty-two years old. I came here for my studies. I was studying something like a contemporary art business project manager or something like that. And I was I was looking for working in a contemporary art. So, I study this. And when I finished my my university two years, I was looking for a job, but I didn’t find something in the art industry.

00:06:06:16 – 00:06:38:02

And actually, it was not a good experience for me when I was studying. So it was nuts. I was OK not to find this job, and I find a job in the photographic agency, something like, you know? Corbis and Getty Images. It’s like, I’m going to France. Yes, stock company. Yes, exactly. Mm-Hmm. At this time, it was in two thousand, and this time everything was not digital. But how does it film film? Yes, exactly.

00:06:38:04 – 00:07:22:12

Yeah, yeah, everything was filmed. So I was supposed to to work with films and make some cleaning process, and I was the last step of the of this company, you know? And I started to look at the images and I started to try to find this industry interesting. So it was my first working experience and then I just evolved in this company. I started to to do stuff I cannot say in English, but I will try just to explain that I did different jobs in this industry, in stock industry without being a photographer.

00:07:22:15 – 00:07:43:18

And I was not dreaming about photography, and my ex-husband was in the same industry like me, and he was not happy with his job, and he was trying to find the great ideas about how to make his his life wonderful. You know, like everyone at 32

00:07:45:08 – 00:08:16:06

and one day, she he he came home and he said, I know what we will do. We will go back to Bulgaria and we will do stock photography. And I say, Oh, wow, maybe. That will be a good idea if you go first to Bulgaria to see how it works. What is it? This is what it was our first trip in Bulgaria and then I said, so we were in Bulgaria. He said, OK, I like it.

00:08:16:08 – 00:08:16:28

Let’s go there.

00:08:18:17 – 00:08:28:15

And then I said, OK, maybe that will be a good idea. We buy a camera and then maybe I have to learn how to use a camera.

00:08:30:02 – 00:08:53:01

And he said, OK, so that was my starting. I was we left for Bulgaria. We bought the camera. It was the first digital cameras. I just choose a Nikon. I don’t know why. I think that the guy in the in the store told me I could take this one. I said, OK.

00:08:55:25 – 00:09:28:25

And then actually, I learned photography in Bulgaria with a personal professor. Teacher, I take personal lessons and just we started to do stock photography. So we did that for one year and then the market was crushed. That was the end of the stock photography in general, and that was a crisis. So I was I knew how to make pictures, but I didn’t know what what it means to be a photographer.

00:09:29:04 – 00:09:39:05

Right, right. It’s different being able to do that and running running your own business is definitely different, different than just knowing how to take photos that you’re doing for another company.

00:09:39:14 – 00:10:01:19

I didn’t even knew that I have to run a business, you know? Hmm. It was. It was a idea that I didn’t have this idea. It was out of me. I just wanted to make pictures so much. I wanted someone to tell me, Go there, make these pictures and bring it to me. That was my idea of photography.

00:10:03:21 – 00:10:48:09

So, yeah, then I was back to the stock photography to two agencies and I was working as a vendor seller. I was in sales and I was selling other other photographers pictures for advertising in the in the magazines and this kind of stuff. So, I know a lot of things about using pictures. And then I was a little bit how to say maybe not bored, but I saw so many pictures of professional photographers and I was so frustrated not to do my pictures.

00:10:48:22 – 00:11:22:06

Now that was starting to I think that it was starting to wish make pictures and imagine what kind of pictures I can do. And then I I just tried to do portraits of actors because they need it. You know, it was the only one I had in my in my head that I can find people who need pictures, portraits. And I started to with two or three friends.

00:11:22:08 – 00:11:59:09

I had to make these portraits and to understand what they need exactly. Yeah. And I tried to sell those. But it was I had no what. No one called, no one. No one, no. One, No one. It was crushed. I was really, really sad. And I said, Oh to me. And I said, You have to. You have to find another job. So I find a part-time job. And tried and tried and tried again to make pictures, but again, it was in two thousand, maybe ten,

00:12:00:27 – 00:12:33:19

and I didn’t have an idea what it means to be a photographer. And I do have idea what, what kind of pictures I want to do. I knew that I want to photograph people because photographing people helps me to be curious and to make connection with different peoples and to smile them and to talk to them and to be more open. And I am very curious person. And it was great. But someone has to pay me.

00:12:34:23 – 00:12:35:18

But why?

00:12:36:09 – 00:12:55:07

Yeah, so so at this point, you are, what, six or seven years in with a camera and still not sure how to run a business? At what point did you start to think like, OK, I need to start learning about business or charging what I need to in order to sustain.

00:12:55:24 – 00:13:29:21

It took me time because in 2010 I divorced and I was losing my my job. I had my last job was a photo editor for the same company I was working before. So I was the person who selected pictures and who was looking for new photographers. So I was a little bit more aware about making pictures and making good pictures and making sellable pictures.

00:13:29:27 – 00:13:30:15


00:13:30:28 – 00:13:32:06

Which is great experience.

00:13:32:13 – 00:13:38:06

Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah, that was the best experience in my life. I mean, professional in other companies

00:13:40:22 – 00:14:13:05

because this one I have now is better. Of course, when this job was finished, I was so mad about the the company because they they finished my job, but I was good, you know, they just finished because that’s what here was the crisis, the crisis, economic crisis. And they don’t want to to pay someone to do this job. And I was mad because I wanted to do a good job and I think that I was divorced.

00:14:13:07 – 00:14:23:09

I lost my job. I I what, but I felt I felt myself in the good vibrations.

00:14:24:24 – 00:14:58:11

And I said to me, OK, if the economy don’t want me, I will do my own economy, so I don’t have to to blame someone else to the crash if there is another crash. Mm hmm. And I met a German photographer who was working for this company. It was maybe the last week in my job and I tell him everything, and he just said it’s only a phrase. He said, Oh, maybe just your moment.

00:14:59:03 – 00:15:06:26

And I think that this moment was the beginning of my my journey to be a photographer. The real one.

00:15:08:15 – 00:15:14:10

And I even don’t remember the name of this guy, but I am grateful for that.

00:15:14:23 – 00:15:29:10

Yeah, sometimes it just takes that one one person at that one moment when you’re ready to hear it and decide it. So, OK, so at that point, you’re you’re ready and someone inspires you and you’re like, OK, I can do this. Then what do you do?

00:15:29:29 – 00:15:31:12

Then I go.

00:15:33:03 – 00:16:09:21

I joined associations, Yeah, it’s a successor of working entrepreneurs, women, working women entrepreneurs. Mm hmm. And in this association, I wanted to learn how to be a entrepreneur. And I started to say. I was a photographer, but now I want to start a company. And the director of this association told me, OK, what will you will do in this company? And I said, I want to be a photographer.

00:16:10:20 – 00:16:18:05

As she said, OK, sorry, you was a photographer. I said, yes. And you want to be a photographer.

00:16:20:26 – 00:16:43:18

And she said, I don’t understand. OK, I will explain. And I was explaining this maybe half an hour. And in this in the in the end of the half an hour, I was mad and I said, What do you don’t understand. And she told me, You are photographers insincere? What do you want now? And that was the other aha moment.

00:16:45:13 – 00:16:51:01

And is it OK? For sure? I am a photographer. I have to train myself to say it.

00:16:53:20 – 00:17:24:03

Yeah, that was funny. And then I was contacting a friend of mine who was his a salesperson, and I asked him to teach me how to make my prices. And that was a great decision for me because he helped me to build my prices. And I was so confident in his abilities that I said, OK, that’s that that are my prices. And I start to sell.

00:17:25:18 – 00:17:38:17

And it works a little. It works for me at this moment, but I learn how to how to make a price, and that’s very, very useful. Mm-Hmm. Mm-Hmm.

00:17:39:03 – 00:17:42:12

So at that point where you charging the same prices that you charge now?

00:17:43:00 – 00:17:46:13

No, no, no. No, no. No. Because

00:17:48:01 – 00:18:18:06

I thought that I need maybe twelve thousand euros per year. I saw that need that. So my prices were for this. I think that my first offer for corporate portraits was 60 euros. OK, so really low. I remember that. Is it this? Yes, I changed this for 90 very quickly, but it was almost the same offer.

00:18:18:08 – 00:18:43:14

I always offer five portraits. So I started for 60, then I was 90, then I was 120. Then I was one hundred eighty. And then for maybe four, maybe three years, I change it like this. And now I am four or five pictures, I am five, five hundred forty.

00:18:43:22 – 00:19:04:26

Oh, great. OK, so you’ve gone up quite a bit. Yes. Yeah. OK. OK, so let’s talk a little bit about during that time when you started getting your prices up, even though you know it wasn’t where you are now, but you started. Did you have a studio at that time? How were you getting clients in in Paris? Talk to us a little bit about that.

00:19:05:17 – 00:19:39:00

What I learned photography. I learned a studio. So I love the studio because I’m in because it’s cozy, because I have the sun I want to have. I don’t have rain and clouds and everything. So I love the studio and I love to be in front of the people it close to the people. So I knew that I have to have a studio in the very first year 2011, I had so many clients that I was working at my home.

00:19:39:28 – 00:20:10:03

I work from home. And then I started to look to looking for other spaces and I found a beautiful space near my, my house, my apartment. I live in Montmartre, so it was a Montmarte and that’s the great area for for everyone because it’s beautiful because it’s something like romantic and it’s very Parisian. So people like to come here and I find a great place.

00:20:10:05 – 00:20:29:27

And so for three years, I was working for this shared space and I was renting one day per week. That’s how I started. So I tried to have every sessions in the same day for a week. But that was not full every day, every sessions.

00:20:30:10 – 00:20:34:09

Yeah. So oh wow. OK, so so how many should for doing in one day?

00:20:34:25 – 00:20:38:08

When I went, it was a good day for me. I did three.

00:20:38:23 – 00:20:57:11

Yeah, OK, that’s a lot. And one day, yeah. But you know, that’s kind of a good strategy, though, especially for people listening who are just starting out who maybe can’t afford yet to have their own studio full time. If you can just rent a studio for a day and back to back do shoots, it’s a long day.

00:20:57:13 – 00:21:30:21

But oh yeah, that’s that’s a great, great solution for someone who don’t have the belief or the money for renting their own space. Because because you have to shoot, I was certain that I had to shoot and I have to be, you know, I have to be responsible about rent costs because that was teaching me to be an entrepreneur. When you are entrepreneur, you have charges. You need to have it for being serious to be engaged in this business.

00:21:31:00 – 00:21:47:21

I felt my save from business when I knew that I have to pay this rental costs. Yeah, yeah. And it’s great to have a studio. And when someone calls you, you can say, yes, I’m available next week on Monday, Tuesday, Friday.

00:21:48:07 – 00:21:56:01

Yeah, exactly, exactly. So then how are you finding your clients? And even today, how do you where do most of your clients come from?

00:21:56:14 – 00:22:30:06

Most of my clients now come from Google. And recommendations. I am now eight years in, nine, nine years in business, and I have very, very good referrals. So yeah, basically is Google and clients. OK. OK. I have a great website for for this. I am very I talk too much in my website, so it works because people understand what I what I mean.

00:22:30:13 – 00:22:40:03

People understand who I am and people understand why. My images, my portraits are as they are. Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

00:22:40:21 – 00:23:19:24

This I love this. I love that you said that because something we often talk about is if someone goes to your website and they can’t tell within just a couple of seconds what it is that you do, what they’re going to get from you. I mean, they’re just going to leave. So the fact that you have everything really spelled out, both visually with text and you show the service that they’re going to get from you, that for people listening, this is so important. It’s so important to really showcase what you are going to do for the client as quickly and as beautifully as you can on your website.

00:23:19:26 – 00:23:21:13

And I love that you talked about this.

00:23:22:06 – 00:23:41:18

Oh yeah, I agree. A hundred percent. I am. I am. The only thing I miss in my website is a video, and I still don’t have the clips for hiring someone to make beautiful videos for me. But I know I have to do it because it’s very, very useful to it.

00:23:42:12 – 00:23:44:05

Yeah, I’m not so great at video either.

00:23:45:20 – 00:23:53:00

I just don’t do it a lot, so I totally understand. But this is great. What about SEO? Do you do any sort of SEO?

00:23:53:29 – 00:24:25:17

Oh yes. I started when I when I built my my website, I asked help. I think that we have to ask help for this important things, and I asked someone to help me with the SEO and that things he did. It was teaching me what to do in my everyday posts and my everyday uploads of images and things. So that’s why I do my files names. You know, that’s very important.

00:24:25:26 – 00:24:55:07

And I know that every time I upload a picture in my website, I have to do something special, some special things any other way. I know that when I build a new page in my website, I know how to use the titles I know where to to put the keywords. So I use SEO and I don’t make Google ads.

00:24:56:07 – 00:25:17:17

Yeah. OK, so. I feel like this is something that could truly help to get people to your website more, is this is this something that you’ve spent a lot of time learning? Or, you know, how did you go about learning what to do and how to put these specific words in a specific place and all of that so that Google sees it?

00:25:18:06 – 00:25:58:29

At the beginning, it was not hard because I was curious and I was also curious because I wanted. First, I was attracted by working on the look of my website. And then I heard someone talking about the SEO and I said, OK, I don’t know what is it? I am not technical at all. I am not technical. But when something interests me, I am able to to go inside. And this person I heard in the beginning, he explained this so easily, and he was so nice with me and with my ignorance.

00:25:59:17 – 00:26:26:24

That I learned. Actually, it was easy for me. I don’t know why it was not there for it. And now I do it easily because it’s not effort. I just know how to do it. Sometimes I’m lazy and I don’t do it, but sometimes I take my time and I go to my to my intense posts and pictures, and I do. It’s late lately.

00:26:28:09 – 00:26:31:09

But I think I’m sure it helps. Yes.

00:26:31:18 – 00:26:41:15

Yeah. OK. OK, that makes sense. But I feel like when it when it does come to SEO, it’s got to be something that you do consistently in order to really make it work. Have you found that?

00:26:42:02 – 00:27:13:02

Oh yeah. Oh yes, for sure. You know, last year in the first when when we first was close at homes, I was, I changed my website. I changed the team. I’m on WordPress and I don’t know what, but something gets wrong. And it took me a month to to see that my website is not working. I mean, is that’s not working. It works, but it’s not on Google. Mm hmm.

00:27:13:08 – 00:27:28:05

And now, one year later, I am still working to go on the same level that what it was before. I don’t know what is it, but it’s hard. You have to do it constantly. Constantly. Yes, for sure.

00:27:28:07 – 00:28:00:12

Yeah, it’s true. It is something that has to be consistent. And it’s like, I’m not. I basically hardly ever use SEO. I really rely heavily on on referrals, which I know you do as well. But if there’s someone out there who doesn’t have a strong referral base yet again, it goes back to having. Because if someone does google you and finds you based on your SEO, if that’s great. But once they get to your web site, it has to be right there for them or they’re just going to click away.

00:28:01:00 – 00:28:28:29

So make sure your website is super strong if you’re going to rely on SEO, but OK, so. Let’s move forward. So tell me now, how do you structure your business with your corporate corporate portraits? How does that work? Like, OK, great. Let me be more specific. Do you have packages? Do you do ala carte? Do they come to you? Are you photographing big groups? That was a lot of questions, but

00:28:29:18 – 00:29:06:01

yeah, I see what you mean. So I have I have three packages in my website, so people who comes to my website, they can see the prices in the offer. So these packages are available for individual entrepreneurs or individual people. So the first package, the lowest package, is for two pictures 20 minutes, two pictures, one background. And they choose straight after the session and I send the pictures the day after.

00:29:07:17 – 00:29:40:28

The second package is the one I sell the most is for five pictures. I have 45 minutes to an hour. We can change the backgrounds, we can change the clothes, we can change the light. Everything we can do in forty five minutes, we can do it. So after that, after a decision, I send the gallery so they can choose five portraits. Of course, they can choose more. But in the offer is five portraits and the last one is for one hour and half.

00:29:41:15 – 00:30:15:01

We can also go outside, we can go outside, we can go in the studio, we can change every outfit we want. We can change every background and lights setup what we want. And then the people choose 10 portraits. And in the end, when they choose portraits, they can choose a design for a banner. Oh, OK. Yes, I design a banner, a special for them, because in France, no one does it.

00:30:15:27 – 00:30:37:29

So if someone do it is not mainstream, you know. So every entrepreneur who see that and who has the budget for that, she said. Oh, that’s so great idea. And it’s really fun for me to do. I am not a designer, so I use Canva. Oh, nice, but I like to do this kind of design.

00:30:38:13 – 00:30:42:24

Explain what you mean by banner. Is this like a cover? You know, Facebook?

00:30:43:04 – 00:31:16:17

Yes, that’s OK. Yep, that’s a cover for Facebook for LinkedIn. For YouTube, for Twitter. I don’t know what else they have to tell me for which platform they want this cover. So I know the the the specific dimensions. And I know, for example, for LinkedIn, the portrait pictures is in the left and for Facebook now is in the middle. You know, so I have to know which platform they want to to use.

00:31:17:14 – 00:31:21:17

And I can do the banner specific for that for this platform.

00:31:22:06 – 00:31:52:16

Yeah, this is great. And again, I know I keep saying this, but it goes back to service and providing what your clients want, and it sounds like this is a unique offering in Paris. And if you can find a unique offering, you know, wherever you live, or just make sure that what you’re offering really is amazing. It’s really going to draw people to you. So that’s great. Now, now, is it an extra charge to do this banner or you said it was in your top package? But what comes in that package

00:31:52:29 – 00:32:28:20

is is only the top package. No one asked me without this package. Actually, it was for me, it’s something like a maybe trick for having a biggest package. And I wanted the so the in this package, there are 10 pictures, 10 portraits and two banners. And the last time I, I had a client who chose this package, she told me that she wants this covers what can I do? And I said, OK, you can have two more portraits, OK, and it’s fine for me.

00:32:28:27 – 00:32:37:08

Yeah, it’s almost less work for me to do her more portraits and instead of two banners so I love that.

00:32:37:16 – 00:32:56:28

Yeah, I would do the same. That’s great. Very cool. OK, this is awesome. And your portrait work really is very, very beautiful. I mean, I feel like you’ve really nailed down lighting and tell me a little bit. You use strobes, right? Yes. Tell us a little bit about what you shoot with and how you create your portraits.

00:32:57:19 – 00:33:00:21

Oh, that’s a tricky question for my English.

00:33:02:06 – 00:33:44:13

I shoot with one or maximum two strobes. OK. I am not very technical again, so I don’t. I try, I try, and I feel like my lights can move every second. Now, right now I actually I use I use the right now almost almost every time the the signature lights for of Felix now are in the lighting series, you know, if you don’t know what you have to to look at them and the signature light of Felix, I have a small studio space, so I have this.

00:33:44:26 – 00:33:58:19

I have a one light back on me in the wall and the other lights in the forty five degrees with the grid for the subject. It is clear what I say.

00:33:58:27 – 00:34:02:15

Yeah, oh yeah, absolutely, yeah. Oh, you’re doing great.

00:34:03:29 – 00:34:25:24

I wasn’t sure. So that’s my basic light. Sometimes I also learn to use this back light in the studio, as Sue teaches us. Same in the studio. I put my lights behind the V flat and on the on the seller. No, on the on the top of

00:34:26:15 – 00:34:39:15

yeah, like coming over the top so that there’s less just barely coming over the top. I think Sue calls it there’s a contrast back light video on the SBE website where it’s such beautiful lighting, if you can get it right.

00:34:39:20 – 00:34:48:06

I love it very beautifully. Yes, because I do have a window in my in my studio. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. So I only have strokes.

00:34:48:23 – 00:34:55:19

Yeah, that’s awesome. Very cool. And you also wrote a book right about, you know, how you create your corporate portraits?

00:34:56:06 – 00:35:30:05

Oh yes, I am very proud and a little bit shy. But yeah, I wrote a book, but it’s amazing. I am the digital create a new collection who calls my photo session, and they wanted to be very practical, very personal about one photographer in one specific session. So I’m known in in France as a portrait for the corporate photographers, so they they ask me to do this.

00:35:30:26 – 00:36:07:02

And the biggest part of the book is I have four models two women and two men, and I show everything about the session. Who they are. What question I ask them. How do we compose together the the brief and the decisions, the choosing clothes, choosing the backgrounds? How do I decide the posing who is different for for a director or for a creative? If I used some accessories? Yeah.

00:36:07:15 – 00:36:09:12

And it’s very, very practical.

00:36:09:28 – 00:36:22:10

Yeah. I mean, you’ve come a long way. It sounds like you’re you are actually a photographer now, like you like with that lady. You were telling her, No, I want to be a photographer. It sounds like you made it.

00:36:23:08 – 00:36:27:11

Yes, I think I did. Yeah, I made the book. I have a book.

00:36:27:27 – 00:36:37:06

Yeah, it’s pretty exciting. And I have another question How often are you? Are you shooting? Like, how many clients would you say you? You have per month?

00:36:37:24 – 00:37:01:29

I have. An average maybe two corporate sessions in a week and one personal session in the week. Sometimes I have one corporate clients in the week, so sometimes I can shoot 50 people in the week. You know, when the average is this, I have to portrait session, corporate portrait session in the week and one personal.

00:37:02:20 – 00:37:33:04

That’s yeah, the corporate ones that high volume of people, man, I just finishing up photographing three hundred people. It’s a corporate shoot. And oh my gosh, I am like, it’s been over. It was four days and then I have a makeup day. Oh, man. Like the work itself, the shooting I felt like was pretty easy. But it’s just the aftermath, the organizing of the files and the editing. And I have a retoucher, but I still do my own edits and wow. So it’s a lot

00:37:34:19 – 00:37:51:03

I find this interesting because we meet so many different people and it’s very you can learn so many things in one day with 30 14 people is amazing, but it’s exhausting.

00:37:51:05 – 00:37:54:18

Yeah, it’s true. I just I just found my new dentist this way.

00:37:56:17 – 00:38:17:01

There was one girl. I just I really loved her and the insurance agency who hired me to take the photos of these. These dentist said, Oh, where are you? And she said, I’m in Chelsea, Michigan. I was like, I live in Chelsea and I need a new dentist, and I was so happy because I loved her personality. So now I have a new dentist, so you never know what you can get out of booking these big jobs.

00:38:17:03 – 00:38:35:17

We have an amazing job because we can meet so much different people. And I find this amazing. I found a jobs and I was, What? you do this and exists and someone needs you? That’s great. That’s amazing. Yeah, that’s good.

00:38:35:29 – 00:38:47:18

Very cool. Well, I appreciate you sharing everything with us. This is cool and and I love that you’re in Paris. And you know, we’ve had some people say like, Oh, I can’t do this in Paris, I can’t do this in Paris. And and you can, because you are.

00:38:48:06 – 00:38:48:21


00:38:48:28 – 00:38:49:26

Yeah. Very cool.

00:38:50:00 – 00:39:23:21

I think it’s different. We have to. I have to agree that is very different because people are different than the the needs. People know the needs are different and maybe something like they are not conscious. They need this because I was I was looking for your branding series systems. And in your system, your the way people in the United States communicate with their portraits is not existing in France, that’s for sure.

00:39:23:23 – 00:39:38:04

Because, for example, your your clients, I forget the name Stacy. She sees real estate’s because Kinsley. Yet she’s a real estate manager.

00:39:38:18 – 00:39:40:06

Yep, she’s a real estate agent. Yep.

00:39:40:15 – 00:39:55:21

Agent. Yeah, sorry. And in second, she can use this for his portraits. Her portraits for a for a big, big office in the town aren’t all the time in France. Nobody does that

00:39:56:09 – 00:40:05:28

on a billboard. I will say, though, most of my clients do not do not use a billboard. That’s not normal. I mean, I guess some do, but it’s that’s not really a super normal thing.

00:40:07:28 – 00:40:27:03

So I have to disagree with you. Even though you’re in Paris, a lot of it is the same. And if it’s not, why not, you know, not necessarily the billboard part, but just because it might not exist yet in Paris. Maybe you could make it exist just like you’ve done with the Facebook banners and the, you know, Twitter banners and that sort of thing.

00:40:27:24 – 00:41:11:20

I’ll be happy to do this. I’m trying to do this. Actually, I’m trying to explain every clients that that they need more than two for certain order in five portions because they have so many little personalities inside inside of them and they meet so many different people like clients or partners, they need to to say different things. So I explain every time. What is the different use or specific use of this portrait, this portrait, this portraits? And sometimes when they have an entrepreneur, clients, solo entrepreneurs, I said, OK, you have your website great.

00:41:11:22 – 00:41:43:26

You have a Facebook page, great. You have a LinkedIn page, great. You write the blog. You may be invited in write an article in another blog. They are different people who will listen to you. See you. So you have to you have to to have different messages and Every time people look at you, you speak to them. And I know because I know you and I know that you have different things and interesting things to say.

00:41:44:05 – 00:41:49:09

So just say it, use it. Spread the love and the good things in the world.

00:41:50:01 – 00:42:19:20

Well, not only that, like I always say to people, too, when you have more than five photos or more than one or two. You don’t have to stress the rest of the year what you’re going to use any time you want to make a post or any time someone needs a new headshot from you or you know you just want to draw attraction to your page, you swap out your your. Profile photo, I mean, there’s so many reasons to use, you know, to need more than just a couple of photos, so

00:42:20:11 – 00:42:35:18

yeah, it’s you with me. Can you share with me, Nikki, please? If when you say that to your clients, are they telling you, Oh no, I will not post so many photos of myself. I am not selfish enough.

00:42:35:28 – 00:43:10:09

I don’t get that anymore, honestly. You know, Melina, I used to on occasion. But I just don’t anymore, and especially with personal branding, I think entrepreneurs because I do so much personal branding. I think they understand, they understand why they need the photos. They know that they’ve got a post on social media. They know they need LinkedIn. They know if they’re writing blogs, they have to have content for it. What I also am very specific about communicating this through my own like on my Instagram and on my website about why, why they need these photos.

00:43:10:11 – 00:43:31:27

So if if someone has been following me for a long time, you know, and waited a while to actually book me for a shoot, if they’re reading what I’m posting, they’re getting these messages from me about why they do need these photos. So I think I’ve kind of nipped in the bud through my marketing that I just don’t get that question as much anymore.

00:43:32:09 – 00:43:33:15

Okay, I see what you mean, or

00:43:33:24 – 00:43:35:12

that response as much anymore.

00:43:35:14 – 00:43:44:25

Yeah, I am still explaining all the needs they have. Yes, for sure. I think that I have to write another blog post about this. Yes.

00:43:46:08 – 00:43:55:11

Yes. Yeah. Because eventually, I think it’ll stop. I mean, on occasion, of course, like someone will say it, but it’s just not as often at all anymore.

00:43:55:27 – 00:43:58:06

Yeah. Normal. OK, great.

00:43:59:02 – 00:44:15:12

But yeah, anyway. Yeah, thank you again. Just for sharing everything, and I’m really excited for you. And especially if, gosh, if you are the corporate branding photographer that people want to book in Paris, I mean, you’re in a great place. It’s really cool. I’m excited for you.

00:44:15:28 – 00:44:21:28

No thank you. I’m happy. Yeah, I’m proud of. I’m proud of my road.

00:44:23:00 – 00:44:35:24

Good. I’m glad. I’m glad you should be OK. Well, I do have a couple more questions for you that I always ask at the end of each episode. And the first one is what can’t you live without when you’re doing a photo shoot?

00:44:36:23 – 00:44:48:22

Oh yeah. Every time I listen to your podcast, I am asking myself this question and I always have the first answer in my head is the apple boxes.

00:44:50:09 – 00:45:08:09

Yeah, I love the apple boxes because I’m not so tall. I’m not small, but I’m not so tall. And I have a lot of clients who are taller than me, so I really need it. And it works amazing and it works for everything. So yeah, my apple boxes are my treasure.

00:45:08:21 – 00:45:14:28

I love my apple boxes too. I have the half one as that is what I always stand on. When people are a lot taller than me,

00:45:16:07 – 00:45:18:27

I have every sizes of them.

00:45:19:23 – 00:45:24:12

Awesome. OK. Number two is how do you spend your time when you’re not working?

00:45:25:04 – 00:45:58:03

I guess as someone something curious about me, I am OK. I am meditator. I am also a yoga practitioner, but at home and I wanted to practice again the sport I was practicing when I was young and it was it’s a shooting. I shoot with a rifle in the precision. You know, it’s a precision. Precision shooting is not what I’m there for, the things that are moving, but it’s a precise sizing things.

00:45:59:00 – 00:46:11:10

And I love this. I love this. It brings me so much peace and I love this and I was very good. I’m pretty good for someone who is not professional in this.

00:46:12:01 – 00:46:18:25

Yeah. Very cool. All right. And number three is what is your favorite inspirational quote?

00:46:19:19 – 00:46:55:12

I thought about that, too. And I can say that it’s a translation that I don’t know if it’s really, really sounds so good in English. But the thing is that I believe that you can and you will. Mm-Hmm. Mm-Hmm. I think that that is the quote I really love because one day I have two daughters. They are now 20 and 15. And one day the little one. Maybe she has something like eight years in and she tells me that.

00:46:55:22 – 00:47:05:09

And I said, Whoa. How do you know that this quote? How do you know this? And she looked at me and she said, You always say that, mom.

00:47:07:02 – 00:47:09:01

And that was, Oh my God, that’s from me.

00:47:10:13 – 00:47:16:03

That’s awesome. She said, Oh, that’s so sweet. Isn’t that great when you’re actually what you’re teaching actually they’re learning.

00:47:16:10 – 00:47:35:12

Oh yes. Oh yeah. I learned from myself and I learned my my daughters. But yeah, I really believe this thing. I have to believe things. That’s why I was I was a photographer who wanted to be an entrepreneur. Photographer. Yeah. No, I think I believe it.

00:47:36:14 – 00:47:43:06

Yeah, that’s great. Awesome. OK. Number four is what would you tell people who are just starting out?

00:47:44:00 – 00:48:18:28

Oh, you have to believe it. You have to really, really want it because it’s hard. And it can be hard there’s so many levels and it’s so many points and in so many moments that you really, really have to want to do it to be a solo entrepreneur. I don’t believe that being a photographer is difference is different from being a designer or something else creative. You know, you just have to want it and you have to believe yourself that you want it.

00:48:19:08 – 00:48:40:22

It’s not a caprice is not. So it’s not just a wish for a young, rich people, you know, it’s just the core of our soul and heart and everything it have to be inside of. You guys really believe it and and find people to help you.

00:48:41:07 – 00:48:53:00

Yes, that’s great advice. I love it. All right. Awesome. Well, thank you again. I really appreciate you taking the time out. And yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited for you.

00:48:53:16 – 00:49:12:13

Thank you very much. It was a pleasure to talk, to speak with you and speak with someone who understands everything about portrait photographer and corporate photography because sometimes people think it’s boring. And yeah, we both know it’s not great.

00:49:12:15 – 00:49:17:24

Exactly. Exactly. Awesome. Well, thank you again. And you take care. OK?

00:49:18:01 – 00:49:20:14

Yes. Thank you, Nikki. Bye bye.

Thank you so much for listening to the Portrait System Podcast. Your five-star reviews really help us to continue what we do. So, if you like listening, would you mind giving us a review wherever you listen? I also encourage you to head over to SueBryceEducation.com, where you can find all of the education you need to be a successful photographer. There are over 1,000 on-demand educational videos on things like posing, lighting, styling, retouching, shooting, marketing, sales, business, and self-value

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