Show #21–Rachel Brenke

Host Mike Howard, Tim Kemperle and Kathleen Bowie are joined for Show #21 by Rachel Brenke of Rachel Brenke Photography.  After a couple of news stories, we have a great discussion with Rachel about what she has been doing since her last appearance and what she has planned for 2012.



  • Adobe maintains stance on new pricing structure to limit discounts only to owners of the most recent version.
  • Adobe releases Lightroom 3.6 and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) 6.6


  • Latest Updates
    • New Business model
      • Only in Person ordering
      • Opening a studio outside of home
      • Marketing branding, better materials
      • Contracts
        • Ensure it is solid and has everything you want
        • Is it written or digital (
        • Ensure your photographs will not be edited
        • Write down what you want and then check Google for possible contract provisions that contain the wording you want.
      • Reword / redesign website
    • Hired new assistant
      • Found through Facebook / Forums
    • Plenty of Christmas orders
  • You have mentioned many times people should have a business plan, tells us more about that and why it is so important.
    • Ask yourself – What is your business plan?
    • Do you have a BP?
    • Where do you see yourself in 6 months, 1 year etc.
    • Set a timeline to get yourself set
    • Ask yourself – “What am I going to do to be successful?”
  • Facebook growth…300 fans to over 5,000 in one year
    • Reach out and talk about yourself
    • A lot of business and a lot of photography
    • Been blessed
    • Word of mouth
    • Post on social websites “It’s Free”
  • Rachel’s post on Facebook about Lexus not worrying about Kia’s pricing.
    • Quote came out of  blog on pricing
    • Know your pricing based on an analysis of your services
    • Different target audiences require different strategies
  • How do you know what to start charging for your photography services?
    • What are your break even costs
    • What are your direct competitors charging?
    • Are you marketing to “Kia” customers with “Lexus” prices
  • What is the mix of photography to workshops
    • 50 / 50
    • Christmas is higher in the photography while February may be workshops
    • No real preference between the two…like both equally and if I stop shooting I may become stagnant and stop learing myself
  • What are you main subjects?
    • Couples and seniors (adults)
    • Will venture into infant photography
  • On your website you mention you have taken many workshops.  Which one is your favorite and was the most helpful.
  • Did you always know you wanted to have a photography business?  If not, what inspired you to start one?
    • Going to law school drove me to Photography. 
    • Husband bought me a DSLR and charged too much for poor photography
    • Received camera in December 2009 and started business in May 2011
  • Tips
    • Best photography tip for someone just getting start?
    • Get as business plan and get legit (research state for licenses, taxes etc.)
  • Biggest mistake people make
    • Not knowing anything about photography and starting to shoot
  • Likes/Dislikes
    • What do you like the most about running a photography business?
      • The people in the business
    • What do you like the least?
      • How cut throat the business can be…people not helping each other
  • Editing
    • What do you use to edit your images?
      • Photoshop
    • How much time do you spend on a single image editing?
      • Three or four minutes tops per photo
      • Created own actions for workflow that I do most often
      • Typical family session is 45 minutes in editing – 20 images
      • I have limited the photos in my gallery as I determined the cost of my time was not being compensated (cost benefit analysis)
      • How many are you shooting?  
        • Don’t spray and pray
        • Multiple photos of same image
        • Take around 100 pictures with 2 to 3 of same pose
    • Which do you enjoy more, editing or shooting?
  • What are your long term goals for your photography business?
    • Any plans to do traveling workshops (ie, in different towns)

Questions from chat:

  • My biggest issue at a session is being a little bossy and giving ideas for poses…how do you get over that?
    • Don’t fret…the clients want direction and usually will need it
    • Clients believe you are knowledgeable about the pose
    • Check out a posing guide
  • Did you design your website or hire someone to do it?
    • Yes but I’m not currently pleased and am looking to change
    • Used HTML from what I previously learned
  • Touching on the subject of pay taxes etc…where do you go to find out for those of us who move from state to state with our military husbands
    • Know you need to know the Federal / State and local jurisdiction.  Look up what is required via Google
  • What hosting service do you use?
  • Do you collect by Credit Card or Check
    • Usually clients pay by Check to a seperate business account or pay via PayPal.  While I can collect via Credit Card no clients have utilized
  • What are your minimums for ordering?
    • Don’t have a minimum.
    • A deposit fee is required to ensure they:
      • Show up
      • Covers my time
      • Deposit is refunded if package is purchased
  • What is your favorite lens?
    • 85/1.4
  • What camera do you use?
    • Nikon D700
    • Backup is a Nikon D90
  • Do you only shoot outdoors?
    • No I do both but that is what is generally requested
  • here do you leave your business cards…do you ask
    • Dressing room
    • Gym
    • Store…I will usually ask. 
    • Leave with my check when I pay

Rachel is donating one of her workshops?  Details are on the website under jpeg2RAW giveaway and on Facebook.  








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About geephotant

geephotant (Geek-Photographer-Accountant) (aka. Mike Howard) is the creator of Nov Studios and the jpeg2RAW podcast. Mike is an accountant by day as the Controller for a large US based corporation. By night, he is a geek and has appeared on the Home Server Show Podcast & the BYOB podcast ( both found at He has also appeared on the Home Tech Show podcast ( and is now a regular guest on that show. Mike's true passion is photography and shoots when ever he can find time. As an amateur photographer, he is always looking to learn more about the craft.

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