Join host Chelsy Weisz and Emily Davis of KiddieClicks Photography as they walk through marketing tips for preschool photographers, how to get your foot in the door with preschool directors, and build a relationship that creates repeat schools season after season. Emily is also offering listeners an exclusive offer for 20% off her premiere preschool course where you will learn everything from lighting and backdrop choices to posing, marketing and so much more! Find out more at emilydaviseducation.com and use code: WISEPHOTOGRAPHER at check out.
I’m actually the podcast. I’m so excited today. I have my good friend Emily Davis on the podcast episode. So welcome to the podcast, Emily. Thanks for joining us.
Thank you. I’m excited.
So for anyone who doesn’t know who you are, can you kind of give us a little bit of backstory about who you are and what you photograph and kind of what your kind of career path has looked like over the years?
Well, my name is Emily Davis and I own kitty clicks, preschool photography. That is my primary business these days. I started out as a wedding photographer coming straight out of college and I had majored in music education. So I thought that I wanted to be acquired director. Got into junior senior year and decided that that was not the right career box for me. And so I started looking at other options and had wanted to be a wedding planner back in high school. So I looked more into that and realized, Oh, I’m looking at all of these photographers wild posts and it’s not even really event planning that I’m interested in the photography. And so I decided I was going to be a wedding photographer, didn’t own a camera, had never taken a picture with anything but like a cell phone. And I bought a camera the summer between junior and senior year of college and never looked back.
And um, started my photography career right out of right out of college and I shot my first preschool back in 2014 for my own church. They have like a little mother’s day out program. And so I shot that. I picked up a couple of other preschools, just kind of off word of mouth in the area and didn’t really see that as as a career path more, it’s just kind of like a supplemental income to my wedding income. I have my kids in late 2016 and early 2018 so they’re like 13 months and some days apart. My life just totally flipped on its head. Two babies that close together will change your life a lot and so I decided I really needed my weekends back to be with my family. And by 2018 my oldest son was going to a mother’s day out and my daughter was about to start and it really likes freed up some daytime space for me and I decided to just go all in on preschool photography and see if that could viable my income from wedding photography and preschool photography has been so, so good for my family and my and the lifestyle that I want to have with my kids.
Sort of being a stay at home mom type, but I’m making a fulltime income.
Yeah, I love that. And where are you located at again? I don’t know if you said that.
I’m in Dallas, Fort worth metroplex. So I live in a really, really small town town on the edge of DFW. So I’m really close to everything, but we’re in a small community.
Awesome. I love that. So what has been like your favorite part, aside from the way that it’s been able to let you live your lifestyle? What’s been your favorite part of preschool photography?
Well, one thing that I really love about preschool photography is that once you get over the hump of booking the preschool, they will stay with you and they will be so loyal. If you just do a good job, treat them right, give them a good product. And the most important thing is that you have to make it really, really easy for these directors. So things that I’m doing in my business are, everything is online, no papers, no iPads in the lobby while parents are trying to pick up their kids, we do it all online. Photos are shipped straight to the parents. And then digital images go via email. So the directors aren’t having to deal with a lot of the back and forth with parents. It’s kind of all just coming to me. And so that has allowed me to do like the double picture days per year. We do a fall spring for almost all of our schools because some of the ones in the past who have said like, Oh, we only do fall because it’s too hard. Like it’s just too much for me to try to do it twice a year after they come to us once they’ll say, Oh yeah, we could do the spring. Like it’s so easy. Why wouldn’t we? Hope that answers the question?
Yeah, I think it did. Yeah, for sure. I could definitely see how that could be very beneficial. Um, now that we’re going into this, this quarantine, maybe like two weeks before our schools shut down, we had spring picture day for our schools and they, it’s kind of a larger company that did them well. Now all the prints have been delivered to the school. So now the secretary today predominant Facebook that she’s going to be there for like an hour and a half for parents to come and get them. And I could see how that could be so much easier just to have them ship directly to the parents and the schools not to have to mess with that as much and really a benefit to schools and parents as well. Because right now I’m having to have my sister go pick up Skyler’s pictures today cause we’re doing an interview during the time that they were gonna hand them out where yeah, we’re, if they’ve been shipped to the house we would have gotten them earlier, which has been wonderful. It’s a good
thing for that is KiddieClicks is expanding. So we’re based in the Dallas Fort worth area. But we’ve got a couple of schools down in Houston from the spring and I was able to get to one of those before everything shut down. And so it was like the week before shutdown. So parents were getting their images in getting their prints in directly to their homes in the mail. And I just can’t imagine having to like drive down to Houston or ship there and then just worry. Are my images getting to the parents or you know, are they getting held up at the school? Are people going to be mad at me and it’s my fault. So I have found that to just be so easy. It hardly ever gets messed up. Like the points don’t get delivered or anything. But my labs are incredible and on the very few accidents that has happened, the labs had send them out like same day and it’s been no big deal.
Awesome. That’s amazing. I know that this year is certainly a weird year and not something you would definitely have to worry about in the future, but it, the way you’ve set it up sounds like it has worked really awesome. So you run KiddieClicks and you also have just started an online course teaching preschool photography. Right? You have. So that is kind of the reason I’ve invited you on the podcast today is to kind of maybe do a little bit of a deep dive into maybe one of the modules or topics that you kind of cover within the course. I think this would be super valuable for all of our listeners here today who are looking to kind of diversify income or look into finding repeat clients type things instead of trying to reinvent the wheel to book individual clients over and over again. So yeah. So what would, what would you like to cover today? You just kind of mentioned marketing possibly.
Yeah, we will. We’ll kind of deep dive into marketing, but I was gonna tell you a little bit about the course and what it covers and it really is everything you need to know about preschool photography. That’s what I named the course and that’s what it is, is a super comprehensive deep dive into everything from booking the school. How I set things up, the style of photography that I chose, which was really strategic actually. We do all inside with a backdrop with lighting. So I’m not having to worry about rain out or um, you know, the light not being perfect, set up by a window and then there’s clouds and then theres sun, I think we just zeroed in on the perfect easy, same every single time set up. And then in the course we go through gear and equipment, everything you need to know editing, how to make the, the class composites in a really simple way with Photoshop. And you’re not having to use InDesign or anything like that, but it sets it up super duper easy. So let’s go ahead and talk about marketing. on how to books with schools because preschool photography, as far as just like taking the pictures go, it is not rocket science at all. Anyone who is working as a full time or part time photographer will 100% be able to take the photos in a way that will sell. But marketing is kind of, if you’re not used to marketing in this way can kind of seem
Yeah, a little daunting. So we’ll talk about how to book the schools. Well, the most important thing was looking schools. You have to ask for the work. And if you’re not used to work with charter or preschool photography, if you’ve been shooting families or bride and groom couples or anything like that, it would be super duper awkward to walk up to people that you know and say, Hey, I heard you’re getting married. I’d love to shoot your wedding. But because the money’s coming out of their pocket, so that’s just really awkward and something that you would never ever do. But with preschool directors who is actually your clients, even though the parents are the one buying the pictures, the preschool director doesn’t have any financial, you know, she’s not the one who is paying for this. And so it’s easier to ask for the work because
they don’t have anything to lose. They don’t have anything.
Yeah, right. You’re basically just asking them to work with you, not asking them to pay you. So you’ve got to ask for the work and it will, this will not work for you if you don’t get comfortable with selling your services to schools and asking them to hire you. And giving them reasons why you’re the best, why you’re the easiest, why you will change, why you’ll change what they’re doing and make their parents happier. So how do you do this? You just start talking to everyone you know. And this includes social media. So how have you used to feel about promoting my business on social media versus how I feel now? When I was shooting weddings, I never really wanted to put my work on my personal social media page, like my personal Facebook page or Instagram because I just kind of felt like it was a little desperate and I didn’t love working with brides and grooms who I knew in real life.
It just kind of, the lines get blurred a little bit and I preferred working with strangers, so I wasn’t marketing myself as much on my personal Facebook page and social media channels. But now I’m looking to inform my audience that if they know anyone who is a preschool director or if they’re a parent who’s really involved in their preschool, that it would be great to get all businesses together and let me do their preschool pictures because I know that I can give them an incredible product really, really easily and seamlessly, so I’m just looking to talk to anybody who I might know in my real life to get my foot in the door at some of these preschools. Another thing is you can create marketing tools to be able to hand to people in real life or even walking through the door. Preschool. I’ve done that a thousand times.
I’ll be driving down the road, see a preschool that looks like it’s in a good area and just walk through the door with, I have business cards and I have informational magazine that is 12 pages long and I sell the template to right on the website, but that’s been a game changer for my businesses to be able to walk into a business and give them this magazine. But I feel like they’re not immediately going to chunk in the trash like a business card might be. So I’ll have those tools to be able to market in person. But I can also use it direct email, which is really my main force of marketing that I do. So I use a website called MailChimp and I’ve heard of it. It’s kind of like constant contact or um,
the convert kit or flow desk.
Yeah, MailChimp is very, very similar to those except for I think it’s a thousand times a year for a year. I’ve tried constant contact and convert kit and MailChimp has just been really simple for me to use. It’s really, really user friendly. And um, that is how I use it to do cold email to a bunch of different preschools in my area. And so I just started compiling email addresses probably three or four years ago. And, um, I get on Facebook, which kind of seems different to not just go to their website, but I get on Facebook pages and I’ll just type in like preschool and then go to pages up at the top. And then I click on the left where I can put local businesses. So then I know it’ll pull from places close to me and then I will right click on the preschools, um, Facebook page that comes up, go to about, and there’s the email address right there.
So it’s really simple and fast to get a whole bunch of email addresses for these different preschools to be able to cold email them. And then I can use the marketing magazine in those emails. And that gets clicked a lot with, um, with MailChimp. You can look on the back end and the reports and it’ll show you who all has opened your email and how many times they’ve opened it. And then also if anyone clicks on links and how many times they, so that allows me to send a personal email to that preschool director or even call them on the phone and say, Hey, I saw that you opened up our informational magazines for preschool photography. And I was just calling to see if you had any questions or if there’s a time that we can get together for me to tell you a little bit more about how to book with us in the fall. So that’s worked really, really well for me. You just kind of have to get out of your bubble and say what’s the absolute worst thing that could happen? They tell me no.
So yeah, that’s kind of the short version of the marketing tools that I’m using. The other thing is kind of are you casting a wide net or a small mat? And I’m casting a really wide net. I’m just, you know, any preschool who’s in the Dallas Fort worth area who has more than about 40 kids, but I’m using in-person stuff where I’m going through the doors of the preschool and ask them for the director and tried to talk to somebody in person. I’m using that for more targeted schools that I know have a lot of children at the preschool who are in target areas with young families that are good. Um, socioeconomic like mid to upper level income and focusing my marketing efforts on the target when it comes to in person.
Yeah, that makes sense. To cast your wide net with their quote unquote cheaper option and then target with something that’s a little bit more either hands on or costs actually has some cost involved with it. Um, that’s a really smart idea for sure. Where can everyone kind of find you online and find a little bit more about your course and everything?
Perfect. And we’ll have a link to that down in the show notes as well. So when it comes to kind of photographing these, you said it’s very simple for anyone who’s kind of taken pictures before to really set up the your your lighting and backdrops and everything, but are there any specific poses that you do? Do you do the same pose over and over or do you vary them? Do you have any suggestions as far as that goes?
Yeah, so I used to do two poses per child and I knew that I could get two poses for each child. That was a really easy way to start out and I would just do a headshot and a full length vertical shots, so fully vertical headshot, horizontal and we went with the next child and then I added a third pose, then about two and a half years ago. And I really saw a bump in my sales. And so I said, okay, what if I increase it a little bit more? And now I have what I call the five key shots that I try to get for every single kid. And if they’re cooperating at all, I am able to get these five key shots. So what it is is a fully vertical, a headshot, horizontal, tighter prop, has shot horizontal or vertical, half squatting and then a horizontal half body.
And I’m trying to get different expressions in all of the different shots. So first of all, I’m getting pictures that look different because of the way that I’m cropping it, but the kid’s not moving. I’m the one who was moving back and forth. I have a little rolling chair that I use and I go back and forth to be able to take photos of the kids and it just really gets me a lot of variety without taking a lot of, so I’ve seen pictures from other photographers, especially in the preschool genre where they’ll have like four different props and chairs that they’re using and having the kids stand up and then sit down and then you’re sitting on the floor and kneeling. And while that will give you a lot of clarity, it takes a ton of time. And I have some preschools where we have up to like 300 kids that we’re getting through into four hour days. Wow. So we don’t have time to be spending like multiple minutes with each child. So if you would like to download that five key shot PDF, you can go to bit.ly/5keyshots.
Awesome. We’ll definitely link that down in the show notes as well for everyone so you can check that out as well. But yeah, that sounds, that’s really smart to be able to have those five different shots that are going to increase your sales on the backend and they’re easy for you to get through quickly. I feel like that’s so smart. Um, I’ve known you since, when did we meet? 2013 14
Oh my goodness. It’s been forever. I think so. And I feel like everything that you’ve ever done has always been so strategic and very thought through. So I know just going into, without even seeing the course fully, that everything that you’re going to present is going to be so well thought through from beginning to end because you were so good at like troubleshooting things and finding what’s wrong and finding an easier way to do it. So anyone who is interested in checking out Emily’s course, I definitely recommend it if you’re looking at diversifying your income or maybe even replacing kind of portrait photography with more of a volume photography concept. Um, I think she’s done so many amazing things with her business throughout the years and it’s been awesome to watch you kind of Polish things up and keep going. So, but yeah, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. Where can everyone find you online for social media? So they can go, uh, Instagram stock you,
so you can find me on Instagram at Emily Davis photo and then also at KiddieClicks at my website and emilydaviseducation.com. And if you’re interested in the course, like Chelsy was talking about, I’m going to do a 20% off coupon code for the wise photography podcast listeners so you can put in the code WISEPHOTOGRAPHER in all caps, WISEPHOTOGRAPHER and get 20% off the course.
Awesome. Thank you so much. That’s so wonderful. That is amazing. I think, I hope that anyone who’s kind of looking at diversifying definitely takes advantage of that coupon code and we’ll have that link down in the show notes as well so you guys can check that out. But thank you again for coming on the show today. And um, I miss you. I want to come down to Dallas and see you. Um,
we live way too far apart.
We do, what should I tell them? We actually saw others.
yea, you can
sure. Down in San Antonio for a little vacation with her husband and she got a delayed flight in Dallas and I was so pumped. I was like praying they would get delayed. I know it’s kind of bad, but when got to pick them up from the airport and go have dinner together and we didn’t get a picture.
I know, I can’t believe we didn’t get a picture. Two photographers and no picture. Oh that was so good to see you. But I want to come down and see you again and come stay with you and see the new house and soon. So hopefully you’ll plan something in this fall or something that. All right guys, thank you so much for tuning into this episode. Oh wait, I almost forgot. I have one more question for you. Alright, so this is a question I ask all my interviewees. As you know, I’m a crazy plant lady. If you could be a plant, what plant would you choose?
Okay, you’re going to like this. I’ve got one plant in my house, single plants cause I’m in black thumb and it is a faux fiddle leaf fig
Oh I love it. Oh yeah. fiddle leaf figs are pretty finicky but the faux ones
but like fake can’t kill it. That’s what I want to be.
I love it. I love it. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. I love your answer to the plant question and make sure you guys check out the show notes below for all the links to find Emily online to check out her course and to get the 20% off code, which is WISEPHOTOGRAPHER. All right guys. I’ll see you next week. Bye.
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