brand photography

I hope you feel like an imposter today

CourtneyPaigeRay_ManifestBox_BrandPhotography-15.jpg

Does running your business suddenly feel easy to you? Do you know exactly what’s going to happen next? Is the path to success totally clear?

Lol, if you answered ‘yes’ to all three of these—good for you, you can stop reading now.

For the rest of us, let’s take a step back. One of the most common things I hear before a brand shoot is this: “I’m so nervous. I feel like an imposter doing this shoot.”

GOOD.

I hope you feel like an imposter before your brand shoot. It means something REALLY, REALLY major is about to happen.

What’s this major thing?

Stay with me. Yes, Imposter Syndrome rears it’s ugly head at the worst times.

Or… are they the exact right times? What if Imposter Syndrome is a good thing?

It is! Or at least, it can be. Instead of letting the anxiety eat your brain, think of it like this (yes, this is the major thing):

When it comes to your business, you’re constantly growing, evolving and reaching for new levels.

That feeling of being an imposter happens when you’re not comfortable; when you’re trying something brand new; when you’re taking a huge risk and finally going BIG.

Imposter Syndrome crawls into your mind when you’re stepping into a whole new level of your business.

Yes, it’s there to convince you to stay safe and small—so we definitely shouldn’t listen to the dang thing.

But the fact that it’s there to begin with—you should give yourself a pat on the back. YOU never settled. You never rested on your laurels. You never took the easy road. And THAT is a big deal.

So I hope that you do feel Imposter Syndrome today—whether it’s before your brand shoot, at the start of a major launch or simply in the decision to buy a ticket to the networking event that feels intimidating to go to.

It means you’re about to see a major shift forward in your business, and no matter how scary it is, it’s definitely what you’ve been working for.

What major move are you making today that makes you feel like an imposter?

How to Charge Higher Prices with One Easy Step

Winn Clark, business coach, the dream client who told me I should raise my prices.

Winn Clark, business coach, the dream client who told me I should raise my prices.

When was the last time your clients told you that you should raise your prices?

(Did you just LOL big time?)

Yes, it’s possible to work with people who WANT to pay you and know when you’re worth more than you’re charging.

Last year, while working with a wonderful client, she started her brand photo shoot planning meeting by saying, “By the way, you should raise your prices. I would have paid more.”

You guys. I had to take a mind-blown minute.

“I WOULD HAVE PAID MORE.”

Would have paid… more?

I know we all hear the opposite all the time:

“You’re too expensive.”

“Your prices are too high.”

“That’s way too much money.”

Uuuuuuugh, right?

So how did I stop attracting clients who told me I’m to expensive and START attracting dream clients who are happy to pay me—and would pay even more?

I made a promise to myself at the start of 2018: I would show up EVERY. DANG. DAY. and share with my audience (all, like 250 of them on Instagram—whoever would listen, even if it was just 1 person) what makes me UNIQUE as a brand photographer and as an artist.

It took 11 months of showing up every day before I booked the client who told me to raise my prices.

(Which I immediately did, btw.)

What can YOU do right now to show up and share your unique value?

Take them behind-the-scenes. Your audience—they want to know the ins and outs of how you do what you do, AND how you do it differently.

Stop everything and hop on IG stories, take a photo or go live on FB. Share exactly what you’re doing with your audience, and remember, no detail is too boring OR too complicated. (Trust me on this.)

Most importantly, remember to tell them WHY you’re doing it. That’s where the connection with your audience fires up, is in your WHY.

Instead of fitting in—you should STAND OUT

Hi there.

I see you. You’re hustling. You’re working. You’re losing sleep. You’re doing everything you can just to keep up with every other creative around you.

Bad news though: That’s a mistake.

Not that you shouldn’t work hard or dream big—that’s a given.

But trying just to keep up with everyone around you?

That’s a waste of time.

I see this in my inbox often: A request for photos just like this creative or that CEO. You think that if you can re-create their marketing strategy (including their imagery), then you can re-create their success. You want to keep up with the other creative entrepreneurs in order to fit into their version of success. 

And you might! But I promise, you won’t want to.

Everyone already knows what special about THEM. But do they know what’s special abut YOU

How can you ever show it if you’re busy being someone else?

If you fit in, that means you’ll really fit in: with the noise, with the norm, with everything that’s already been done. In other words, your audience has already seen it before, and they don’t have a reason to give your message any new attention.

Here’s what I won’t do when you drop into my inbox.

I won’t take photos that help you fit in... fit in to an industry, fit into someone else’s ideal, fit into the trend of what everyone else is doing... No. That’s not what you came here for. 

Here’s what I will do.

I’ll make photos that help you STAND OUT. From the crowd, from the competition, from the “been there, done that”—that’s where you belong, you bright shining star.

How do we work together to make sure you stand out? With evocative imagery, carefully crafted for your one-of-a-kind vision. 

Want to learn more? Get in touch: click here to email me or send a message to hello@courtneypaigeray.com

xx

Courtney Paige

My big WHY: Making money after divorce and thriving as a brand photographer

CourtneyPaigeRay_BrandPhotographer_EmmaFeil-9.jpg

Oops. 

I’ve been remiss, and I owe you an apology. Why?

I ask my clients, every day, to share their WHY with their audience and to go deep with it. I also encourage them to share the emotions BEHIND their story. It takes vulnerability and courage, and sometimes a big push.

I never ask anyone to do or share something that I haven't done myself. But I recently realized... I haven't ever shared my WHY with you.

Last week, I was chatting with a friend said these words: “So that NO woman ever has to be in the position I was in.” 

I stopped immediately and had to take a breath.

It dawned on my that I’d never said this to YOU GUYS before… I have never actually shared my WHY (and the emotions behind it) with the amazing people who show up and read these posts. I appreciate so much that you’re here! 

So today, I want to talk to you about WHY. 

First, we have to time travel back in time four years. Allllll the way to my second year in business, when I was still a newbie photographer.

My then-husband and I made a difficult decision. It was time for a divorce. Suddenly, I had two months until we closed the joint checking account and absolutely no plan past then about how to pay the rent.

Reality check: That year, I had made $9,000 in my business. You read that right.

Can you spell Y-I-K-E-S?

I was terrified, and I had a very real decision to make: I could go back to my 9-to-5 job as a journalist—something that made my stomach do flips because I had no interest in working for someone else again or in not being a full-time photographer (and that was only IF someone would hire me after I’d been gone from the industry for two years.)

OR

Or, I could find a way to make money in my business. Like, LEGIT money. Pay-the-bills money. Fix-my-car money. Build-a-future money. Save-for-retirement money. MONEY money.

Obviously, I chose to stay in my business. But it took years to figure out how to turn a profit. It wasn't a pretty time.

These years were filled with worry. 

There was a lot of crying because I thought I might not make rent; taking photo jobs from people who were rude and treated me as less-than human; wishing I could update my wardrobe or get a haircut; and wondering how everyone else was doing it—making legit money, charging high prices, working with awesome clients and THRIVING.

It was through many (many many many) trial-and-errors that I finally figured out how to bring in clients who made me excited to work, charge prices worthy of my skills and actually turn a profit.

And after all those years, when I could finally see the light at the end of the financial tunnel, I promised myself one big thing: NEVER AGAIN.

courtney_paige_ray_brand_photographer_currentlykristen.JPG

I promised myself that I would never again put my financial well-being in someone else’s hands. 

Do I want a billion dollars in my bank account? HECK YES.

Am I going to be the one who put it there? YOU CAN BET ON IT.

After this realization of "never again," I knew my why—the reason I’m driven to support creative women in building their empires as a creative force for their industry. 

I don’t want any women to ever be in the position I was in—a position of no options, of constant stress and strain, of staying up late trying to squeeze enough pennies to pay the bills.

Here's WHY I do what I do: To empower and inspire women by giving them tools to build a profitable, successful business that feels authentic and exciting.

You CAN stand out in your market. You CAN make money by leveraging your special sauce. You CAN build your dream business. This is the power of purposeful brand photography.

The dreams you have, they come to life in photos. And my special sauce? I translate your vision into images in a way that is UNIQUELY YOU, so you can connect with your audience on a deeper level, build trust, and convert them to clients. 

How do I do it?


Let’s talk. Email me at hello@courtneypaigeray.com. And don’t forget to share YOUR why with me in the comments. Thank you for being here, you amazing, creative human!
 

xx

Courtney Paige

2018 in Review—A Badass Year for Brand Photography

"Why are you so expensive"

It's a question that creatives get ALL THE TIME: “Why are you so expensive?”



It's not a question we love.



It's a question that feels, well, a little insulting.



So... what's the best answer?


CourtneyPaigeRay_EmmaFeil-8.jpg

The myth of "expensive"


Here's the thing about being expensive: It's a myth.



Our prices aren't just based on cost of materials, overhead, tools, etc. It's what we create from those tools that makes us unique. Our work has a special signature that only we can add.



The creative magic that we bring to the table? It can't be replicated. THAT is where our prices are determined.



If your clients understand that value, then nothing becomes too expensive if it addresses exactly what they need.



But how do you communicate that to your clients? They've seen your stunning work, your website, your Insta, your lead magnet, your live videos—what else could there be?



The answer is simple. Really, really simple.

How to respond, every time

Here’s my answer when someone tells me I’m expensive. I want you to practice this phrase over and over until it rolls off your tongue easily. It’s the only answer you need to give when someone questions your pricing:

Good work costs good money.

And I’m very good at what I do.


Need some help with this? Get in touch; I offer 1:1 mentoring sessions for photographers to help you grow your business and refine your process. Email hello@courtneypaigeray.com to find out more.