I should start by saying that Sarah Petty is one of my all-time favorites. She is not only an amazing photographer but she’s a marketing GENIUS (yep, an all CAPS genius!!). We have spent countless hours listening to her advice … listening to her webinars, reading her teaser emails which lead to the most informative articles, and pretty much breathing in any and all advice she’s willing to share. My favorite part about Sarah, is how genuinely nice she is. Back during the Boulder 100 year flood, I had an idea to host a toy drive for all the local children that had lost their belongings. I had emailed with Sarah a time or two before and thought, what the heck, I should ask her for her support. Not only did she support our toy drive, she spread the word to 1000’s of her fans and followers. The outpouring of support among our photography community, near and far, was absolutely unbelievable. We collected an entire SUV of toys (most of which were brand new, shipped from Amazon) that we delivered to a teary-eyed volunteer at a local collection charity in Boulder. Months later, Miranda and I ran into Sarah and her lovely studio manager, Erin at Imaging USA in Phoenix. I couldn’t help but run over and introduce myself to someone who I not only admired as a photographer and business guru, but as a human being. We are beyond excited to feature the amazingly talented, über nice, Sarah Petty on our Featured Friday blog today. Huge thanks to Sarah and her team for being nothing less than amazing in EVERY. SINGLE. WAY. xo
Sarah Petty Photography
How would you describe yourself to someone you just met?
When did you decide to become a photographer? Why?
I have always been involved in the arts since I was a child, but it wasn’t until I started photographing my husbands many nieces and nephews that I realized I had a passion for capturing all the fun crazy cuteness of kids.
What gear do you have in your camera bag?
Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200 mm, 100mm, 85 mm, 50 mm, 28-135 mm, light meter, clown nose and squeaky rubber chicken!
If you could only use one lens an entire session which one would you choose and why?
I’m in love with the Canon 100 mm 2.8, it’s the perfect size to tote around and I love shooting with prime lenses when possible.
What advice would you give to someone just beginning in photography and hoping to have a business of their own?
Get yourself some great small business education. You don’t have to go get a college degree but you can study and learn from professionals like myself who’ve been doing it for years. Skip the mistakes we made! Build yourself into a strong brand, figure out how to price yourself for profit and then get your beautiful marketing going, baby!
What type of photos do you take for yourself when not working with clients?
I’ve got young teenage kids so we are all constantly in iPhone selfie mode, it’s such a blast.
How would you describe your style?
Whimsical portraits of children in their natural state, giggling, or maybe being a little shy. Whatever makes them, them. Photos that parents look at and say “That is SO my kid”.
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you during a session?
The whole thing is a riot, we usually talk and joke the whole time to get the client laughing. Probably falling over something, we are known for that!
What is your favorite time of day to shoot?
When the kiddos are happy! We mostly shoot in the studio which means the lighting is always right and it RARELY rains on us. 😉
If you had to stop taking photos right now, what would you do instead?
Teach business and marketing classes at a university.
Have you attended college or had any formal education in photography?
Yes, I went to Memphis State, now known as University of Memphis. where I played Divison 1 volleyball and studied marketing and art.
What do you do to get your clients to relax with you?
We get to know all our clients through a consultation before each session. We ask them about themselves and their family, so when they come in for their session a few weeks later we can call them by name, ask them how their vacation last week went, etc. Just find an affinity and chat like you are old friends!
What do you do to become a better photographer?
I invest in training all around the country with some of the greatest photographers shooting today. I try to get together with a few at least once a year to refresh and pick up new tips.
How do you set yourself apart from the crowd?
Through developing a strong brand and consistent marketing.
What do you think your next photography related investment will be?
Our own studio, hopefully coming very soon!
If you had to recommend ONE thing that a photographer needs in their camera bag, what would that be?
Trinkets or a “treasure chest” for the kids, never forget the power of bribery in a desperate situation!