I am Alisha Cline – a Photographic Craftsman, Certified Professional Photographer, sponsored PPA educator, and current Georgia Photographer of the Year. In 2018 I earned 10 photographic awards in the Georgia print competition including Best of Show – Portraits, 1st Place in Portraits of a Man, CPP Award (print score of 100), and Photographer of the Year. In 2019 I’ve earned my Craftsman Photographer Degree from the PPA and was accepted into the American Society of Photographers.”
Tell me about your studio and practice.
I have a home studio and I’ve been in business since 2009. I do newborns and babies, children up to 12 and some high school seniors. I also do some black and white work as well as character studies where I focus on peoples’ careers and children’s hobbies.
I speak quite often; I do programs over marketing and sales as well as lighting. I have a mixed media variety pack of programs that I do when speaking. I’ve been doing public speaking for 5 years.
So when you’re speaking do you speak more about your childrens’ portraiture or is it more the business elements?
It’s a mix of the business elements of it and the creative aspects of lighting. I enjoy teaching lighting 101 sort of stuff and giving people that light bulb “aha” moment, but I also do more advanced lighting workshops in bays and privately. I also do monthly meetings for the different PPA affiliates and guilds. I’ll also do mini sessions. I like teaching being creative with lighting and I enjoy using Larson lighting to teach the fundamentals of portraits.
You spoke of mini sessions. What exactly are those?
They are themed 15-20 min sessions with a client. They are a taste of what I do. They get a little bit of the experience with me, but they’re not the full experience which leaves them wanting to come back to book a full session with me. They buy products after they do the session with me and they order some family heirlooms from and some prints and hang them on their wall.
My mini sessions are not about turn and burn but developing meaningful, lasting relationships with families that grow into long term valuable clients. When I speak, I’ll teach about how to successfully navigate through a mini session event. I explain how to develop a budget and why staying on it for each event is the key to profit. I’ll demo mini sessions flow beginning to the end. And I share how to create a product catalog just for mini sessions that sell unique and quality signature heirlooms without competing with your full-sized sessions. And because so many people are intimidated by IPS, I walk-through how-to sale in person immediately after the session for maximum profits and discuss work flow on retouching and ordering.
What would be a single thing that you would tell a new photographer to help with their business?
Get with the local state affiliates or the state guilds the local guilds. That way they can get educated. It’s important to get educated in the fundamentals of photography and not just go out and start a business. So, you need to understand how to run a business and learn how photography is supposed to be run professionally before you just jump in full steam ahead. Find a mentor, find someone to work with that can get them a good foundation and you will go much further than where you would go trying to get there by yourself.
What was the single best resource that helped you in your growth?
My single best resource has been working one on one with a mentor. And people always ask “How do I find one of those?” and it’s by joining an affiliate group or joining the PPA or joining an organization that will put you in a group of people that will help you find a mentor. Join a group and get educated!
Check out Alisha Cline at the following events: