Monday, April 26, 2010

meet {and greet} Alicia Caine

We are thrilled to welcome to Alicia Caine from Great Falls, Montana.
Tell us about your style of photography? My life is crazy- so I like to find the calm in my images. As much as I love happy fun images, I just don't seem to capture these types of things. I can't even shoot angles for some reason- I have to have everything perfectly lined up. Someone described my style as a modern classic. I like my colors soft and sunkissed, and my black & whites dark and moody.

How long have been a photographer?I bought my first DSLR in December of 2005 and started my business in May of 2006.

Best marketing idea? I have yet to find a golden marketing idea that works for everyone. The best thing that I have done for my business is in lavishing my clients in every way that I can so that they walk away from the experience on a high and do my marketing for me through word of mouth. For the last 2 years, all my clients have been from word of mouth.

Worst marketing idea?A photographer that was teaching online workshops highly recommended doing Fresh Faces cards for portfolio building/marketing and handing them out to random strangers in mass quantities. Swore that this is how she grew her business. Free session + free 8X10. I did this one month handing out about 100 cards and doing about 25 sessions. I made $300 in sales that month and not a single client ever hired me again once they had to pay. Everyone happily took the free 8X10 and I'm sure scanned the living daylights out of them. Fortunately, I did get a lot of experience that month in what not to do in terms of attracting paying clients and I really grew my skills as a photographer in a short amount of time. So at least some good came out of it, despite the fact I nearly killed myself in the process. (That's my horror story and I'm sticking to it.)

Do you work out of a studio or your home? I currently am back to working out of my home. I had a natural light studio that I closed last fall due to us moving. I was only using the studio for shooting newborns in and all my other sessions are outdoors, so it was kind of a wasted space. It was fun while I had it- but I discovered that a studio for me wasn't necessary.

Do you feel having a studio made your business grow? Not at all. Maybe if I had it on the main street downtown (which would have cost me 4X as much for rent), it might have given me better exposure. I think all it did for me was just give me credibility with my clients, but then, since most of my clients came from word of mouth- I already had it. I love the convenience of having a studio, but I don't think it grows a business, just creates more overhead. With the extra clients I was taking on because of it, I was still coming out with the same income than when I was working out of my house after all my expenses.

Any regrets on having the studio?No way! I loved the experience and it was my dream to have one. Once I obtained it, the dream felt somewhat hollow and I realized that just dreaming about having a studio was setting my sights too low. It helped me to see that I could think bigger!
What do you think makes a photographer successful?Solid pricing strategy and an always-growing business plan.

Do you twitter? Facebook?


Savvy indulgence?Sephora. I walk in the store and I hear angels sing.

Ideal getaway? My husband and I have still not had our honeymoon after 9 years of marriage. I don't care where we get away to- I just want to get away for a week of just him & I. I keep having babies, so this keeps getting harder and harder to make happen. One day- one day!

Are you a Nikon or Canon girl? Which model do you use?Canon! Currently I have the 5D- waiting for the 5DII to go down in price some more before I get it. I'm cheap.

Favorite lens? I shoot with my 85mm f/1.8 more than anything else. I guess that it would make it my favorite?

Any children? How many?I currently have 4 children (ages 8, 6, 4, 2) and due to have #5 the middle of June!

How do you balance being a mom and working the long hours we photographers work? The balancing act is becoming more and more of an art form- but something I can't take full credit for as I am blessed to have my hubby home with me full time as my business provides 100% of our income. I couldn't do it without him! Having a schedule (and using a timer) has been a lifesaver for me! I actually included it in my book because I knew it would be an encouragment to so many other mother's in this business that it is possible to balance family & business and retain sanity.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be? A business consultant. I love all things business- as long as I can make the task right brained!

Tell us your proudest moment of your career~I have so many! One of my favorite moments was getting to photograph a good friend's birth for her baby with Trisomy 18. The baby was not expected to be born alive, yet she managed to live a miraculous 52 hours. Being able to give my friend the gift of the images and being able to witness the miracle of her birth was something that I will carry with me forever. It was the first time that I felt like my photography was truly a gift from God. My second favorite moment (which is still a far cry from photographing the birth) was the first day that I got a sale that changed the way I thought about pricing and what people are willing to pay for something they value. It wasn't my biggest sale- but it put me on the path that I am now on and teach others about. It literally changed my life.

We would love to hear about your Easy as Pie pricing guide~ can you tell us more?

Easy As Pie actually started as a one-on-one pricing consult as I had a lot of photographers interested in knowing how I was financially profiting & providing 100% of our income from my business with such a limited amount of experience under my belt. I generated over 100K in gross sales my very first year which is really unheard of, especially when the photographer had only a few months of photography experience and zero years of marketing experience. My consults got to the point that I couldn't keep up with how many requests for them and I realized I was repeating a lot of the same basic information over and over, so I decided to put it all in a book form. My heart was for these photographers who were desperately needing their businesses to provide income for them and didn't have the time for trial and error. I first considered doing workshops- but then realized that it would be impractical (and maybe a little hypocritical) to offer workshops on how to make money to photographers who didn't have the money.

Having a .pdf instead of a workshop made it much more feasible for those who couldn't afford workshops and made it easier on me not having to travel and leave my family constantly to do them.

When I wrote Easy As Pie, there was such a need for guidance in the pricing area. I don't think there is anything available to photographers like it. I had no idea the impact it would make on the industry and I am overwhelmed at the e-mails I receive constantly from the photographers who send me their testimonials of how it has not only changed their businesses, but changed things for their family. I feel like my heart could burst in a million pieces every single time! Over 1K sales and not one single negative feedback or review on it. When I heard that a man who had a business PHD said it was the most solid pricing teaching tool he had ever seen- that was a pretty huge moment for me!

Easy As Pie is written from the perspective that I truly believe everyone can think like I do - sometimes common sense just needs to be taught before you can think that way on your own. Once you know the hows and whys of pricing, you are able to create your own unique pricing based on the needs of your own unique business. It's not a one-size fits all type of book. But, what it meets the need of that everyone has is the need to have a business that is profitable without having to do a high volume. It's also written to cover every range of experience, if you are just starting out and need to be put in the right direction or if you have an established business and need to rework things to go to the next level. I truly believe that it is perfect for every single portrait photographer out there- no matter where they are in their business!

Alicia is offering Savvy Readers a coupon code for $75 off the combo {Easy As Pie & Pastry School} for one week! {april 26, 2010- may 3, 2010} Use the code Savvy75off

Come back tomorrow to enter the fabulous giveaway from Easy as Pie!!!



  1. Alicia has tremendously helped my photography business and I could not be more thankful for her! Her pricing consult was the best thing I did for my business hands down!

  2. This is an inspiring post. I am a working mother of a beautiful 3year old. I've been taking pics since I was very young. I just recently purchased my DSLR. I don't know if I would want to go full-time as a photographer, but added income to our budding family could never hurt! Thanks again and I will be considering the Easy as Pie & Pastry set due to the generous coupon!!

    Blessings to you, Alicia!

  3. I really like this interview. Alicia seems very real and I enjoyed reading every word, although I'm still blown away (and a bit jealous) at what she manages to accomplish with 5 kids! Beautiful photography as well!

  4. Great post!! Love Alicia and her work! Her pricing guide completely changed the way I do business!!!

  5. Alicia is wonderful! We just finished up the candy bar consult. It was the best business move I have made. She is one smart cookie (sorry, went for the baking pun there) and just as nice as they come.