I am so excited that Jamie will be joining us at the 2012 Savvy workshop in Alys Beach.
Anyone that has met Jamie knows what a delightful person she is to be around and we are blessed to have her join us.
Now let's talk with Jamie~
Will you share with us how you started a career in photography and graphic design?
Photography is something I've dabbled in since I was in high school. Despite an obvious draw to photography as a hobby I never considered it as a career choice. Instead I focused on my dream of becoming a teacher. While working as a high school history teacher I continued to develop my photography skills and eventually made the decision to leave my teaching position in order to pursue a career in photography. Early on in my business I discovered that my clients often wanted personalized, unique custom birth announcements, holiday cards, books, etc... As I started designing custom pieces for my clients I found fellow photographers asking to purchase files from me to use with their own clients which is how Jamie Schultz Designs was born.
Did you attend any workshops or seminars that made a big difference in your business?
I've attended several seminars over the years, but I've only attended one workshop and it was one that changed the course of my portrait work along with my business model. It was a workshop put on by the one and only Cheryl Jacobs who challenged me to be more authentic with my clients and to provide them with an experience like none other. Attending her workshop was easily the most influential to my business.
What do you think makes your business stand out from the other photographers in your area?
This is a tough question for me to answer because I make it a point not to look too closely at what other photographers in my area are doing. I've found that when I do that it takes focus away from what is most important to me which is making an authentic connection with my clients and delivering products specifically suited for them. When I start looking at what other photographers are doing I tend to get flustered and feeling pressure to try things that aren't necessarily natural for me, nor is it something my clients want from me.
The one thing I will say that I'm hearing directly from my clients is how much they appreciate the fact that I'm a full-service studio. It seems more and more photographers are simply burning a disc of images and leaving the responsibility of printing to the client. In the past several months I've heard from several clients who have worked with photographers who sold them a digital package and they have yet to do anything with the images on the disc. I think it's refreshing that portrait clients are realizing the value of printed products and appreciate that there are still photography studios out there who offer professional printing services.
Who or what inspires you as a photographer?
The thing that inspires me the most as a photographer is authenticity. There is nothing better to me than capturing honest emotions...whether it's a pout, concentration, a belly laugh, or a genuine smile. It's taken a lot of practice over the years finding ways to genuinely connect with people in a relatively short amount of time but it's the one thing that inspires me at the start of each and every session.
What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
High school seniors are always a lot of fun for me to photograph! As I mentioned above, I used to be a high school teacher and so I find that I have an easy time connecting with seniors.
What are you favorite products that you offer your clients?
My entire business is based on word of mouth referrals which often come from clients who send out birth announcements, holiday cards, and/or graduation announcements so obviously I love selling those! Albums and coffee table books are also one of my favorite products because I love knowing that my clients will enjoy looking back at their session images over the years and someday the book will be passed on to future generations.
Do you shoot with Canon or Nikon?
I'm a Canon girl!
Favorite thing in your camera bag?
My new FOTOstrap!! After what felt like an endless search for a comfortable strap I FINALLY found one that I love.
What's your Savvy indulgence?
How do you balance running a successful photography business, the absolute best design shop for photographers (Jamie Schultz Designs) , a wildly popular food blog (This Lunch Rox) and being a great mom to two young boys?
This is a great question...and one I'm asked often. I have to tell you that I really believe that it's the combination of my three brands that keep me balanced. There was a time when I was operating Jamie Schultz Photography and Jamie Schultz Designs and my life was a bit of a mess. My schedule was chaotic and I found it nearly impossible to be in the moment with my family. The stress of keeping up with the demands of my business was taking a toll on me both physically and mentally. Because of that I allowed myself and my family to fall victim to convenience foods (i.e. anything but healthy). I reached a point where I knew something needed to change and I decided to start with the way we were eating. I did a lot of reading about how food impacts our bodies and was inspired to make major changes. It took a lot of hard work to transition to healthier eating habits, but soon I was feeling much more focused and energized. All of which made operating my businesses a lot easier to do than when I was surviving on a diet consisting mostly of caffeine and sugar!
In an effort to get my kids to try new foods I starting cutting food into small bite-sized shapes...which eventually carried over to creating fun lunches for my boys to take to school which is how This Lunch Rox started. Having said that the site has really become much more than just cute lunches for me. As a working mother of two young boys I find I have very little time to do something I love. Some moms find creative outlets in projects like scrapbooking, quilting, beading, etc... Planning and preparing creative lunches for my boys is something I'm passionate about and provides me with an escape from the pressures of work. In the book, "The Happiness Poject", author Grethen Rubin writes "...happiness research predicts that making time for a passion and treating it as a real priority instead of an "extra" to be fit in at a free moment (which many people practically never have) will bring a tremendous happiness boost." I couldn't agree more! Working on these lunches brings me joy and allows me (a person who rarely makes time for herself) a chance to do something I love which in turn helps me stay focused and feel more balanced in my daily life.
Will you share with us the proudest moment of your career?
I'll never forget the moment when I delivered a coffee table book to a family whose son had just passed away from cancer. The boy's father met me at the door and when he saw the book he immediately broke down crying and told me that never in his life could he ever receive a more meaningful gift. That was easily the proudest moment in my career knowing that I was able to capture this boy and his family and the images are ones they will treasure for a lifetime.
Again, thank you for joining us at the Savvy 2012 workshop...can you give us a summary of what you will be speaking about and teaching the girls?
I'm so excited to join all of you for the Savvy Workshop where I'll be sharing information on how I transformed my business model and achieved a level of success I never dreamed possible. During the presentation I will discuss the importance of understanding expectations and the role this plays in creating a lasting experience for clients. Specifically, I will detail strategies for gathering crucial client information that will help you create products to ultimately increase your profitability.
(a sample of the beautiful designs you can find at Jamie Schultz Designs)
You can visit Jamie at Jamie Schultz Photography, Jamie Schultz Designs and This Lunch Rox.