SSG Business Spotlight Featuring…Devon Jones of Devon J. Imagery

Senior Style Guide

This SSG Business Spotlight is sponsored by Rebooku.

We are so happy to have Devon Jones of Devon J. Imagery on the blog today!

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What is the most valuable business advice you ever received?
Two phrases have changed my business!  The first was one I heard at a speaking event with renowned wedding photographer Jasmine Star at the start of my business about 7 years ago.  She said something along the line of “We, as photographers, are all basically the same.  When it comes down to it, our pictures are similar, our businesses are similar, and while we may charge a little differently from one another, the one thing that is completely different from one of us to the other is US.”  Basically, the
message was to work toward marketing YOURSELF instead of your pictures.  Let people get to know YOU so that they want to work with YOU.  The other was from a speaking event with some other amazing wedding photographers, Justin & Mary.  Mary said, “If you’re worried about competition, then get better.”  That one is pretty self-explanatory, and it hit hard for me!  It’s what I try to do at every single shoot–get better.

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In no more than 12 words, how would you describe your brand?
Fun, fierce, and fashionable modern senior photography focused on making you shine!

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Is there something special you do when your business reaches a goal?
I make a new one!  And I eat ice cream.  Maybe I do that regardless of whether or not I reach a goal. 🙂

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What is your favorite tool that helps run your studio?
Truly, it’s my camera.  I really try to shoot images as closely to how I want the finished product to look as possible.  It makes editing easier and quicker, and it allows me to make my daydreams and ideas turn into something special.

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What product do you sell most of?
Don’t start throwing pies at me (unless they’re lemon meringue), but I’m a disc girl.  I include them with my sessions, because I’ve found that it’s what my clients want most.  It works for me because I don’t have (and don’t plan to have) an actual studio or office space, therefore I don’t have a place to have ordering sessions or show many sample products.  I do offer my clients many product options, including prints, albums, photo cubes, invitations and announcements, and a lot of them order these products from me even though they have their images.

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How do you nurture your creativity?
I’ve been very lucky to have a few senior girls who will let me run with my ideas, and believe me, I get some crazy ones sometimes!  I’ve always needed art in my life, in some form or fashion, so all of these wonderful options that come with making memories through photographs really help me to satisfy that art need.  I can explain to these girls what I’m picturing in my brain, and they’re always happy to help me make it a reality!

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What is the best application investment you‘ve ever made?
My life OUTSIDE of my job is oh-so important to me.  I have an almost 4-year-old daughter and a super awesome husband, so maximizing time with them is a huge priority.  Anything to speed up my workflow is a definite plus!  I really love ProPhoto and BlogStomp to help me make blogging quicker and easier, and frankly, prettier!  I actually quit blogging altogether last year for about 8 months because it had become so time consuming and daunting, but these applications have turned that around for
me!

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What is the best equipment investment you’ve ever made?
Definitely my current babies, my Canon 5D Mark III and my 24-70 2.8L.  One of my biggest regrets with investing in my business has been “building up” to the big guns.  I think I bought every camera and every lens leading up to the ones I really wanted, and I should’ve just bitten the bullet and bought the good stuff to begin with!  They really take my pictures to the next level.

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What’s your advice for better profits?
Don’t be afraid to go up in price.  People who want your art will understand, and they will gladly pay for it!  It’s hard to see amazing photographers selling themselves short and not charging enough because they’re not confident enough to charge what they deserve.

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Have you had to change your game to stay ahead in the photography world?
Yes!  Constantly.  Change is my friend!  Like I said before, I am always ALWAYS trying to improve and think of original ideas at every single shoot I do.  It’s so hard to be original in such an amazing field with such fabulous senior photographers, but to make your mark, you have to.  I’ve found that just being ME and not trying to emulate other photographers that I admire has gotten me farther than anything else!

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If you were to go back in time and start over, knowing what you know today, what do you wish you would have learned early on to help you succeed in your business more quickly as far as image quality?
I wish I had bought the GOOD equipment, and learned to shoot in manual right away.  I’m super great at procrastinating and talking myself out of things because the current thing is “working.”  I did that for way too long, and it cost me!

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Where can potential new clients and our readers see more images and learn more about your business?

My blog (now that I’m active again!) is full of shoots with back-stories!   I also love me some social networking, so check out my facebook page and @devonjimagery on Instagram and Twitter.

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In efforts to help more photographers discover additional resources to help them obtain and maintain a competitive edge, Devon J. Photography was invited to try the professional services offered by Rebooku and provide feedback to our readers.  Here is what she had to say regarding her experience:
As I said before, my time outside of my job with the ones I love is very important to me.  Album design has always been something that I dread (too harsh?  nah!!!!), so when Rebooku asked me to try their services, I jubilantly obliged!!!  Wow, how easy!  They told me how many images I needed to make the best design, so all I had to do was choose the images, upload them, and press go.  They sent me back a preview, which I reviewed and made a couple of changes to, and they made the changes to my liking!  It was really that easy.  It saved me so much time and stress!  I am such a control freak when it comes to my business and the products that I put out there, so even though I strongly dislike (hate is a powerful word, after all) album design, it was hard to let go…until I saw what Rebooku made for me.  Beautiful, clean album design, just like I like it.

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