When I met Matt Mathews, I knew right away that I had to have him on the show. Matt has a really cool and pretty unusual photography story. I can’t wait for you to hear how he went from working at a Walmart portrait studio as a teenager, went to nursing school and ended up being an incredibly successful boudoir photographer and educator.

Here are the highlights, but you can listen to the full conversation below or on the Momentum podcast.

(FYI — this episode contains some adult language.)

Choosing a Niche

Matt bought his first camera with the money he was given for his high school graduation. He photographed everyone and everything and admits that the work he initially produced was pretty bad.

In 2012, he booked his first wedding.

While getting ready, the bride asked if he’d take some boudoir photos of her. Matt had never done anything like that before and felt out of his element. He tried to think of poses he’d seen in magazines and on billboards. Turns out, those images ended up being his favorite images from the day.

Matt continued on as a wedding photographer and did boudoir here and there. For Valentine’s Day, he would hold a boudoir marathon. Each time, the spots filled quickly and he found that he really enjoyed it.

He was tired of weddings and decided to stop doing them and to focus on boudoir. He worked from a home studio in his rural home for two years and then rented a larger space. This year, he built a beautiful space of his own in the heart of downtown Birmingham.

Making the decision to specialize in boudoir is the best thing he’s ever done.

In-Person Sales

Matt started doing in-person sales before he made the decision to specialize in boudoir and his take on it simple:

“If you want it, you’re going to make it happen. If you want to continue being broke and continue to give your clients a CD to print at Walgreens and have your images look like s***, you have that option as well.”

In-person sales don’t have to be an incredibly time-consuming task. Matt doesn’t do pre-session consults or anything like that. He spends an hour shooting and an hour doing an in-person reveal and ordering appointment. This hour gives him the opportunity to provide his clients with tangible products that will last forever and increase what might have only been a $300 sale into a $3000 one.

Marketing with StickyFolios and StickyAlbums

The only way that Matt’s clients can get digital copies of their images is in a StickyAlbum. The digital album is included in his largest collection and also available a la carte after meeting a minimum purchase requirement.

His clients LOVE them and they’ve been a great way to increase his sales and they bring him new clients.

Model Calls

A lot of photographers make the mistake of giving too much away when they do a model call. Matt says, “You have to charge for a model call to work.”

Everyone is interested in getting something for free so every time he does a model call, he gets hundreds of inquiries. How does he narrow down the potential models?

In exchange for signing a model release that allows Matt to use the images anywhere, the client gets a complimentary session ($500 value) and access to his client closet where they can try on signature pieces from his own line of lingerie. They still have to pay for hair and makeup and purchase products.

Matt is completely transparent. Full pricing is shared up front as well as the amount that clients typically spend. There is also a minimum purchase requirement.

Black Friday Sale

Matt had never really considered having a sale before. If not done correctly or done too often, sales can hurt the perceived value of a brand and make it look cheap.

When he saw the online booking and scheduling feature in StickyFolios he decided to test it out on Black Friday. He knew that people would book and the fact that StickyFolios would eliminate the back and forth that typically goes along with booking sessions made the whole thing feel doable. Being able to automate the whole process saved time and helped him make more money.

The deal he offered was for a $99 boudoir session. This price did not include products or hair and makeup. The offer was good for 24 hours and in that time, he booked fifty sessions which filled his calendar for the first few months of 2018.

Links mentioned in show

Matt Mathews Photography: http://mattmathewsphotography.com

Matt Mathews Photographer Education http://www.mattmathewsphotography.com/for-photographers.html

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