Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographer’s Kickstart

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Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographer’s Kickstart

This week I had the privilege of interviewing Jessica Grieves, of Bubblegum Tree Photography, and the author/designer of the new Photographer’s Kickstart program. And as a BONUS – we also have a contest where you can win the Kickstart Training Module. Scroll to the end of the interview for contest details and your chance to win. If you have ever dreamed of teaching photography, now is your chance to make an impact and money at the same time.

Jessica, tell us about your photography studio? How long in business?  What type of photography?

  • I started my photography business just about four years ago when I was pregnant for my second child.  I had not gone back to work after the birth of my son and was looking for something creative I could do stay active.  I specialize in newborn and preschool age casual outdoor photography although I will occasionally pick up an engagement session or band photo just to mix things up.  About three years ago I also added in teaching beginner’s photography classes which has been great fun!  I am currently working mainly on-location although I do share a loft space downtown with some other businesses for times I need to meet with clients or need a starting point for urban photo shoots.

What was the moment you knew you were meant to be a photographer?

  • I never really had an “ah-ha” moment where suddenly I knew.  After the birth of my son photography was so much more important to me and like everything I do, I did it 110%.  I went to workshops and classes and studied online so that I could improve my technique and my technical know-how.  I started out really just wanting to take better pictures of my own family and stumbled into a photography business.  There are few things I can think of that are as important as having photographs of your family – both portraits and candid – that can be reflected upon as time marches on.

How did you get started teaching photography classes to moms?

  • A few years ago I was asked to be a guest speaker at a mother’s share group in my area to talk about taking better pictures of your own children.  For that talk I developed my “10 Tips for Photographing Your Kids” which worked out to be about a one hour talk.  Perfect for a mom’s group.  After I gave that talk to a couple of other moms groups, I started getting email requests to offer a more detailed class that went over how to use their cameras too.  Given the explosion in DSLRs and that the price to attain one keeps going down, more and more moms have these “fancy” camera and use them essentially like a point and shoot.  I met with a few moms that were interested in learning more about how to use their camera as a focus group to find out what they really wanted to know, and built a class around that.
  • I make between $250-$800 for every three hour class I teach – and the best part is that now that my materials are created, I spend almost no time outside of the class doing prep work which means my hourly rate for a class runs from $60-$200/hr depending on the number of participants in a class and including travel time.  Figure out your hourly rate for a portrait session and for most of us, this is a GREAT add-on income (I usually consider $45/hr my “take home” from a portrait session so I love the classes because it works out to a higher hourly rate in most cases).

How long have you been teaching and how has the class changed?

  • Back before I was a photographer, I actually traveled the country teaching a programming class and then started working internally for another company teaching their staff how to use new software we were implementing so the teaching part comes naturally to me.  I’ve been teaching this beginner’s photography class in some form for the last 3 years.  I’ve updated the slides over time as I see areas where I get a lot of questions or that are topics that are harder to understand.  I also recently added in some more advanced topics for those moms that are maybe a little ahead of the pack.

What is the Photographer’s Kick Start: Training module?

  • Over time I had a number of photographers contact me to ask me questions about my training materials and formula for pricing my classes. When it got to a the point where I had multiple photographers asking me in the same week, I knew there was a need for a product to help get them started in creating their own training program. To be honest, I think the biggest hurdle in creating a beginner’s photography class is putting together the class materials.  I know I spent considerable time coming up with an outline and building a presentation.  It is much easier to customize something to use for yourself, than to start from scratch.   There was a huge trend in photographer’s offering classes to moms as a way to generate extra revenue – especially during those months where portrait sessions are light.  January was a HUGE month for me for photography classes because it seemed everyone got a new camera for Christmas.  So I went back and took a hard look at my training materials, and from there built a full product that photographers could purchase to use as a foundation to offer photography classes.

Who is the Photographer’s Kick Start: Training module designed for?

  • The package is designed for photographers who want to start teaching photography classes to moms in their market.  The materials include a 55+ slide Powerpoint (and Keynote) presentation with detailed speaker notes covering tips for photographing your children, the elements of exposure, the basic camera modes, and lenses in addition to the advanced material covering shooting in Av mode, manual mode, and changing your focus point (the three areas I am most frequently asked to cover when I teach advanced classes).  In addition, all the PSD files for the slide background and all the diagrams are included so you can customize them to match your branding.  And there are additional materials to help you with pricing, marketing, and customizing the materials for different audiences.  The materials can be completely used as they come but I recommend that you personalize them with your own family photos to make it easier for you to talk about the photos.

What is the price of the Photographer’s Kick Start: Training module?

  • The retail price for the materials is $299 and includes a one year listing in our online photographer’s directory at iwanttoshootmykids.  The directory is already sending potential customers to photographers offering classes.  However, readers of the MCP Actions site can use the discount code “mcpactions50” to save $50 off the retail price.  You should be able to make back the purchase price with your first class.

And now for your chance to win! CONTEST DETAILS!!!

To enter: Add your comment to this interview post (not on Facebook) and let us know why you might want to teach basic photography skills to new camera users in your area. The winner will be picked at random on Sunday. If you decide to buy now, and you win, your purchase price will be refunded!

Plus get bonus contest entries:

How to get extra entries in the MCP Actions Photoshop Contest

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  1. June 9, 2010 at 9:32 am —

    subscribed to RSS

  2. Toniette
    June 9, 2010 at 9:31 am —

    Wow, this is amazing! I’ve been planning on purchasing this program over the summer, what a great prize it would be! Thanks so much!

  3. June 9, 2010 at 9:30 am —

    I have actually considered this in a couple ways so Im interested in the product. I see alot of moms get a “fancy” camera and then ignore the basic rules of photography which is sad

  4. June 9, 2010 at 9:30 am —

    I follow on Twitter! 🙂

  5. Hayley Hines
    June 9, 2010 at 9:30 am —

    I have extensive background in art, just about every format and have found photography to be my true passion. To be able to spread the word and help others find their vision is a dream of mine. This would be very helpful and much appreciated 🙂 Good luck everyone!

  6. June 9, 2010 at 9:29 am —

    I am a fan on Facebook!

  7. June 9, 2010 at 9:28 am —

    already a fan of the mcp page on facebook & also already subscribe to the email updates:)

  8. June 9, 2010 at 9:27 am —

    I would love, love, love to start teaching classes in my area. I get questioned all the time about how to use cameras and take better pictures. I have a background in education so teaching classes would be pretty easy for me. I just don’t have the time to put all the materials together myself. I have been drooling over this Kick Start package ever since it came out!

  9. June 9, 2010 at 9:27 am —
  10. June 9, 2010 at 9:27 am —

    just added the mcp banner/link to my blog!

  11. June 9, 2010 at 9:27 am —

    I have been following MCP and just ordered my first action set last Sunday. Love it!

  12. June 9, 2010 at 9:25 am —

    there are many people in my area who are wanting to take better photos of their families & this is a way i could use what i know to help other & add to my income when i’m not shooting sessions!

  13. Jenessa Evans
    June 9, 2010 at 9:24 am —

    I LOVE Jessica… Everything she put out is awesome… I follow her Hey girl nice shot blog…I would want to teach teenagers and young adults who will mold our future and may take photography to whole new level…

  14. June 9, 2010 at 9:23 am —

    I was a preschool teacher for 10 years and a Preschool Director for 5 years. I know many new mom’s with new cameras that would love this information. I have taught training classes in the Field of Early Childhood and teaching was my first love. Photography is my second. My youngest son graduated from High School two weeks ago and times they are a changing for me. This is just what I need to take the leap. Thank you so much for this opportunity!

  15. June 9, 2010 at 9:22 am —

    I have my certification in art ed as well as being a photographer and I am always being asked to “teach me, teach me”. I would definitely love to combine the 2 areas and maybe get people that can assist me along the way in my business.

  16. I tweeted about the giveaway too (and I follow MCP Actions).

  17. I enjoy teaching others what I learn about post editing. I think so many people are intimidated by Photoshop, but I like to simplify things to help others out.

  18. Michelle Hockman
    June 9, 2010 at 9:15 am —

    I get lots of questions from people who are buying or have bought a DSLR and I would love to help them take better pictures and add that offering to my business.

  19. Chelsea LaVere
    June 9, 2010 at 9:15 am —

    I’m an art/Digital Photography teacher along with being a photographer, and a lot of people have asked me to teach them about their cameras. I have it for younger students, but really need something to address adults! This would be really wonderfully helpful. <3

    Chelsea 🙂

  20. June 9, 2010 at 9:08 am —

    What a wonderful contest! Why would I love to teach new camera owners how to use their equipment!??!? Simply because I know how much joy a great photo brings to me, I would love to share that with the world!

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Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographer’s Kickstart