Cuyahoga Valley National Park | Hine's Hill Wedding Workshop

Last month we hosted our first "official" workshop. We shared and learned so much in our two-days in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, we even put together a styled shoot and photographed the work of some of the best vendors this area has to offer! Our models for the Hine's Hill wedding shoot were not only gorgeous in front of the camera but their acting skills were award-worthy! 
We loved sharing our documentary approach with like-minded photographers and we learned more from them and our experience than we ever imagined! Take a look at our day one recap! Vendor list below!

Venue: Hine's Hill Campus
Models: TJ Alleshouse + Grace Dwyer
Stationery: Baci Designer
Tablescape: Oak & Honey Events
Florals: Ashley's Floral
Ceremony Chairs & Table: Miller's Party Rental
Dress: Woosea Designs (Amazon)
Neck Tie: I print stuff
Not Pictured: Taproot Catering, Brothers Band Oh, CVNP Stanford House

2017 Collected| Wedding inspiration

This rustic yet modern wedding inspiration is for the couple who has really good taste in design and in food + drink but doesn't need anything traditional at their wedding. This look features a build-your-own bourbon cocktail bar set in front of a handmade weaving installation, a custom made table, mismatched bridesmaids and a stacked rug ceremony stage...the earthy and slightly moroccan vibe the vendors pulled together for this collaborative shoot make for a beautifully eclectic wedding style that touches on some really great trends for the 2017/2018 seasons.
This style inspiration was created by a collaborating team of wedding professionals for an event we founded called Collected. You can learn more about it below and also get in touch with all the vendors!

//About Collected//
Four years ago this event was a hair-brained and selfish attempt at making more friends in our local market. We didn't know any wedding vendors or any other photographers back then and it was lonely. So we reached out to some really amazing people and asked them to work with us. Everyone far exceeded our vision and expectations not only with their work for Collected but with their giving spirits and kind hearts. Those people are solid, real life friends today and we couldn't be more thankful for that hair-brained idea that turned into something we never imagined. For the last four years, Collected has been an event for wedding photographers and vendors to retreat. To make photos we want to make with stylish details and on-brand models. The photos and inspiration are for our couples! The style, the ideas, the handmade items it's all in hopes of encouraging couples to think outside the box when it comes to their wedding. And to be personal, unique and purposeful in the design. 

Collected is a true collaborative event meant to build the networks and portfolios in the vendor/photographer/model markets. As the founders, we collect the wedding vendors and encourage them to work as a team creating work for the style/vision we set before them. Each year is better than the year before, I swear, I don't know how that's possible.

For the photographers and models, things get crazy and chaotic (hence the new hashtag #collectedchaos) but there is a method to the madness. The alternative group shooting style get's us out of our little bubbles, out from behind the camera a bit and tests our boundaries. At the end we're more in-tune with who we are and what we want for our own businesses. Shooting the work of each vendor allows us to use our creative passion to help others grow their own businesses and that part feels pretty good, but selfishly we're also boosting our referral circle by making friends. 

There's food, drinks and it's always a really good time. The theme is always on-trend so we can all make beautiful, impactful images to share and showcase our skills! If you're interested in joining the Collected chaos in the future, you can check out the new website here and sign up to collaborate. 

We'll eventually be doing vendor highlights over on the blog there but for now, here's the Mallory + Justin take on 2017 Collected. Be sure to check the list of amazing contributors at the end!  We're humbled by your friendship alone but the amazingness of this event continues to surprise us!

Thanks so much to these amazing creative collaborators:

Venue:
Varian Orchards
Styling By:
Oak & Honey Events
Backdrops & Installations By:
Elbowgrease
Florals By:
The Red Twig
Catering By:
Bahler Street
Bourbon Bar By:
Tom's Foolery Distillery, Chagrin Falls Ohio
Cake & Cupcakes By:
A Cupcake A Day
Stationery Design By:
Lovely Somethings
Table & Leather Accessories By:
Linen & Timber
Chairs, Silverware & Plates By
Lasting Impressions Event Rentals
Wedding Gowns By:
Moon and Back Bridal
Hair & Make Up By:
Beauty by Mermaid
Bridal Accessories By:
Entwine Bridal
Some Decor Accessories (Vintage Rug & Goblets) By:
Birchwood Supply
Wedding Rings By:
Liza Michelle Jewelry

Models:
Katie Rosiu
Grace Dwyer
Whitney Prather
Anthony Alleshouse
Mark Hoover
Jonathan Mullins
Kate Bee
 

How to Price your Photography

We all struggle with this. Let's just get that out there. I don't think there is one of us who doesn't go back and forth on our pricing structure. It's a hard thing to determine what you're worth and what people should pay you for your work. It's hard because most of us don't have a formula for pricing, we just throw numbers out there and see if someone books. What we don't consider at that moment is all of the other parts of the equation; our cost of doing business, taxes and our actual income or our market value. 

LakeErieBuilding-Wedding-Becca+Vic-MJPhoto-127.JPG

There's a fairly simple formula creating a price structure that will earn money and profit. I'm not a finance expert and I'm pretty terrible with accounting but when we worked out this formula for our business, our business starting working for us instead of the other way around. 

So here it is in my simple terms. 
1. Service Pricing
First figure out your cost of doing business PER WEDDING or SESSION. Use this simple calculator to help you figure out what your cost of business is per year. It's a good place to start figuring out what your break down will be for each wedding or session. You may have more items in your specific list than this calculator offers so be sure to make your own spreadsheet and add in all your costs (and add to it often when you change things in your business). Consider things like your website subscription, gallery subscription, printed collateral that you send to clients, USBs, film, lens cleaning, gear/equipment etc, etc. 

2. Cost of Living
Figuring out your own specific cost of living is a challenge that requires many cups of coffee. Here's a calculator to help get you started. Once you've determined your accurate cost of living, you can accurately determine what your hourly/weekly/yearly wages NEED to be and work that into your base hourly/wedding rate.

3. Profit Margins/Perceived Value
This is where things become blurry for photographers (no pun intended). How do we determine our hourly rate or wage and our perceived value? Our business is everything to us, our hearts, it's our blood, sweat and tears. Well, there are a few places to start thinking about it practically and not emotionally.
A. Educate yourself on the pricing in your market/area by connecting with other photographers/vendors and seeing what they charge. Compare your services, your work and decide where you stand in a mixed group of peers. 
B. Outline the list of "perceived value" items you offer for your customers. By items I mean the elements of your business that separate you from the crowd. Quality, experience, unique services or offerings; for example we are a husband & wife team, that is a perceived value to our customers.
C. Once you determine all of your costs from Section 1 and Section 2, you need to mark up your services to account for your perceived value and that is your actual wage. You can do this in a few different ways but the most important thing to make sure of is that you find the sweet spot, not too much/not too little by doing the research I mentioned in part A. You don't want to price yourself out of your target client's budget but also don't want to undercut yourself out of your livelihood.

4. It doesn't add up?
This scenario is pretty likely if your business is new or you are just starting out as a photographer. If you did all the steps above and the end figure doesn't turn you a profit then you need to raise prices and/or reduce your cost of living and cost of doing business. It's very important to note that most small businesses don't turn a profit in the first few years. There's a lot of start up investments spent on gear, equipment and software in the beginning stages. You can also charge more the more experience you have and the better your work stacks up against other photographers in your market. It's always the goal to at least break even. Most photographers have supplemental income until they reach a point of consistent profit. 

This process for establishing your base pricing will have you on the right track to managing a business that'll work for you. It's not a get rich model by any means. There are also a number of other elements to be added to this equation down the line such as taxes, deductions, product sales and paying independent contractors/employees but that's for another time. 

As many times as I have read this, it seems comprehensive to me but I'm sure I left something out. As always, ask any questions, I'm happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge!