Whitney Boyd | Whitney Boyd Photography

PHL 18 | Natural Light Photographer

 

In today’s episode we sat down with Whitney Boyd. A local photographer right here in Palm Harbor, FL. Whitney has been a photographer for about 15 years now but has had this passion for photography all her life. She is at her best when she utilizes two things we have lots of here in Florida. Families and Sunshine! Bringing out the best in people and showing them that anyone and everyone can take great photos are part of what Whitney enjoys about being a photographer.

Listen in as we discuss this and more with Whitney! Looking to connect with Whitney Boyd!

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Whitney Boyd | Whitney Boyd Photography

In this episode, we have a fantastic guest. Before we get into that, I wanted to share a little bit about why I started this show. I am extremely passionate about inspiring people and communities to fulfill the life of their dreams, reach their full potential, and be the best they can be. I also love everything that the Palm Harbor area has to offer, everything from the food, outdoors, lifestyle, and the people in the community. Through this show and my real estate business, I’m able to connect people with their dream homes and local communities.

To learn more about why I believe the Palm Harbor area is so special and why we call it home, head on over to my Instagram account. It’s @Donnie.Hathaway. I love engaging and interacting with the community on Instagram, and I would love to know from you. Follow me to learn more about what makes Palm Harbor so special.

With that being said, let’s jump right into the episode of the show. Our guest is Whitney Boyd. She is a local photographer here in the community and has been doing it for many years now. She specializes in portraits headshots like family photos. Whitney loves bringing out the best in people who don’t think they look the best on camera. She loves empowering and showing them that they look good and can take great photos as well. Let’s drop right into it. You are going to love Whitney and what she has to say.

Whitney, thank you for joining us. I’m excited to pick your brain, learn more about you, your business, and what you do. Why don’t we start there and tell everyone about your business? You have a photography business. Tell everyone a little bit about that.

I am a natural light photographer. I don’t have a studio or anything. I do everything on location. We find cute downtowns, parks or beaches. My main focus would be families and headshots. Those are two areas that I love, everything from maternity, newborn, kid, and family headshots branding. I do some couples but I don’t do weddings. I don’t get a ton of couples because wedding photographers pretty much get those.

Tell me a little bit about natural light photography. Is that outdoors? What is that?

For headshots, you can have a studio photographer or even someone who brings equipment to a business. They bring flashes and backdrops, and I don’t do that. I like the look of natural light. It’s relatable. You are in a more natural element, so I don’t work with flashes. I schedule when it’s good light and find some great spots.

Is that challenging to find the best lighting and work with natural light?

I know the good times of the day. If it’s an urban or downtown shoot, you can hide in the shade of buildings or front porches if you need to create your own shade. There are options with that.

What got you interested in photography? How long have you had the business?

About a couple of years already. It has always been on the side for me. I haven’t done it full-time. It does feel like full-time hours but I have always done it on the side. I like making people feel beautiful and capturing time. I have kids. Everyone knows that it’s over in a blink. As soon as you master one stage, they change and all that. You know that with a one-year-old at home, so getting to capture that is special.

When my son was nine months old, he got his two incisors, the two little fangs on the side, before his front teeth. He looked a little vampire, and we always called him that. A couple of months later, I showed my husband a picture. I’m like, “Isn’t that so cute? His vampire stage.” He was like, “I forgot about that.” I’m like, “It was a couple of months ago.” We are too tired to remember things.

When you are doing something like photography, you are also giving your time and talent.

When you started doing photography, have you always done this style or does that change over time?

It’s pretty much the same style. I did do weddings for are a bit but they are hard. They are long days, back-breaking work. You can’t control the light. If it rains too bad, you can’t reschedule. There’s a lot that goes into a wedding. I dabble with that for a bit but I’m not going back. Kids are the cutest anyways. I love kids and being around them. They photograph well with their big eyes.

Is that something you have been passionate about for a long time?

Yes.

What was the moment where you were like, “I’m going to start this as a business?” How did that thought process go for you?

When I graduated college, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do. I decided I was going to go to PA school. My dad is in medicine. He’s a doctor, and he was like, “Don’t do medicine. You have a gift for photography. You have an eye for it. I will buy you a nice camera to get you started. You can work from home and set your own hours. It’s easier to have a family. You should go down that path.” I was like, “No way.” I didn’t see photography as a career at that point because you are editing pictures in front of the TV or at home in yoga pants, and it seemed like not a real career for some reason.

Looking back now, I’m like, “Have you tried yoga pants? They are so nice.” I didn’t listen. I went to PA school. I am a PA, and I still practice. I wish I would have taken it seriously sooner because I love it. It’s nice to use the creative part of my brain, not just the other part. I don’t know at what point. I have always done it. As I’ve got better and better at business, it created itself over time.

Where did the photography stuff come from? Did you grow up naturally attracted to that?

I have an eye for it.

Is that something you taught yourself over time, how to work the camera, edit, and all that stuff?

Yes. I didn’t take classes until I was way involved in it. It was a self-taught, slow process, tinkering away at it.

In high school, were you into art or anything like that?

PHL 18 | Natural Light Photographer

Natural Light Photographer: It’s hard to be comfortable in front of a stranger. Regardless of this, phone them ahead of the session to address questions and concerns immediately.

 

I did take a photography class in high school. That was fun. It was in a dark room, so it was different. It wasn’t digital. You had to learn the basics better and get it right in a dark room. You don’t get to click and delete. I did take that. I took another art class and got a B in it. It was one of my few Bs, and I was upset about it. Artistically, not so good but photography-wise, that’s my niche in art.

What do you want to do? Do you want to grow the business? You are part-time. Is this something you are passionate about, want to continue, and grow with?

It’s one of those things that I love to do. I will always do it no matter what capacity. I do it part-time because I have another job but it sure feels like full-time hours. I’m putting a lot into it. It’s something I always see myself doing.

We talked about some challenges that you have had. Talk a little bit about you putting down selling versus serving, the mindset of selling a product, and how you’ve got past that.

That was a tough one for me. When you are doing something like photography, you are giving your time and talent. It’s easy to, in the beginning, not value yourself because you are like, “It’s just a little time and extra editing.” It’s hard to put value to your work when you are starting. I don’t have a business mind. Photographers were good at the art and maybe not so good at marketing and the business stuff. All of that takes time.

I realized that the service I’m offering is very valuable, not the photographs and the style but in helping people learn what to wear like consulting. I give them a style guide. They text me some outfits, and I help them coordinate the family, and they will model for me on the phone. It’s hard to know what to wear. Not that I’m a fashion expert but I have experience with what looks good on the camera, what kind of jewelry will show on the camera, and those things.

I realized I was not selling. I’m providing a service that people want. They want beautiful pictures of their family and some guidance on preparing the kids and the husband. Sometimes the dad doesn’t want his Saturday taken up by pictures, too. I’m prepping them on what to expect and what to do with your pictures afterward. A lot of people keep them on the thumb drive and never get to it if they don’t have any guidance. I will try to help with that as well.

You are providing a service from the beginning of like, “We want to take photos until they are printed.” You are there for all of that. How did that transition work for you? Was there any moment or anything that you did to come to that conclusion?

Something that has helped me in my business is I’ve got very user-friendly software. It keeps everything organized from the client’s perspective as far as contracts, documents, and invoices. The cool part about it is the galleries at the end. Instead of a normal gallery where I send you the pictures, you can download them. They are on your computer somewhere, and that’s the end. We have these mockups in the gallery of like, “Here’s what a living room looks like. Here’s a mockup of a hallway and a bedroom and all these pretty-styled rooms,” or the client can upload their own living room if they want to take a picture.

You can drag your pictures to the wall, enlarge them and say, “These two look good together.” You can right-click and add them to your cart. I have made it easy to visualize the final product on the wall. A lot of people will be, “I’m going to order a bunch of 8x10s.” They don’t realize an 8×10 cannot go behind a couch. It’s this big. It helps to see your images to scale how they look in the space.

They upload an image of their living room or space wherever they want to put the photos. They can select the photo, change it out, and see how it looks in the space.

They can enlarge it, right-click, and say canvas or print.

Photographers are usually good at art and maybe not so good at marketing and business.

Do they order everything from there?

I try to make it super easy. They don’t have to email me and say, “Can I have image number 2021 in an 8×10?” That was a big turning point for my business, making everything user-friendly, streamlined, and helping the client.

Is that typical for a photographer to order the prints or do they normally say, “Here’s your thumb drive of photos, do whatever you want with them?”

It varies a lot. There are a lot of photographers out there with skill and experience levels. It’s easier to say, “Here are your digitals,” rather than the back and forth communication, me putting the print orders and coordinating when to meet them. It’s easier to be what we call the shoot and burn. I find that people don’t get it done. They forget about them. They mean to get them printed but they don’t get around to it. They don’t know where to print from. I use Professional Lab. It’s so much better, the quality, the fine line and texture on the prints, and it’s mounted so they won’t bend.

I had my daughter’s birthday. This was pre-pandemic. In a pinch, I was like, “I don’t have any pictures of her around, and these people are coming.” I have Second Child syndrome. I have pictures of my firstborn all over. I was like, “I’m going to print these real quick because her birthday is coming up.” They were so bad that I would rather not have pictures than displaying them. I couldn’t believe it. It looked like she had a spray tan. It looked terrible. That allowed me to see this Professional Lab is worlds above where you could print on your own. The average person can’t go and print through a Professional Lab. They have to have a photography account. It is nice to be able to offer that.

The only place I would think to print photos would be CVS. Are there other places and businesses that specialize in printing those?

There are some online ones, and they are better than the places locally but they are all bad once you have compared them to a Pro Lab.

How does that process work when printing them at the Professional Lab versus CVS? Is it materials and the printer that they are using?

It has to do with the printer. The Pro Lab uses museum quality. It’s not going to fade in a hundred years. The texture that I add when I print on a fine line texture doesn’t glare when the light catches it, depending on where you hang your photo. You might not even be able to see it if the sun is coming at it. It’s softer.

What about the difference? If you took an iPhone photo that may not be the same quality as using a professional camera would, could you tell the difference between if you printed it at a Professional Lab?

Yes.

I never thought about it because everything we have done is printed through CVS or something. You are right. There are times when it’s the quality of the image. Even if we have taken them on our DSLR cameras, some of the photos we have taken came out not looking good from CVS. You are like, “Wait a minute.”

PHL 18 | Natural Light Photographer

Natural Light Photographer: Time is money. It allows you to say what you will charge for a photoshoot because of how long it will take you from start to finish.

 

When you have paid for a photoshoot, styled your family, bought all these outfits, and bribed your children, you don’t want all that disgraced by the spray tan look of a bad print.

Let’s go back to the photography business a little bit. Talk about some of the challenges of having a photography business. What are some of the challenges that you have had to overcome or deal with?

It’s a lot of self-management, to be honest. You are your own boss. There’s no one saying, “You need to get this blog post done right away.” Putting in systems in place took me a while to do because it was just, “I have a shoot. I’m excited about it. I edit it. It’s this burst of energy,” but you also have to back up and plan your content and marketing strategy. Putting systems in place was hard for me. My husband would be good at that. That would be no trouble.

That’s a good point. Something I struggle with in my business is the time management aspect, planning out your week. There’s a learning curve there. Is there a system that you have created that is like, “This is how my editing process works?” How have you dealt with that time management?

Creating a workflow for each client has been helpful, which is a checklist. The client reaches out. Have I responded within 24 hours? I didn’t hear from them. Let me do a follow-up email. Did I send them the questionnaire to learn about their family and talk about location? Did I schedule a time to talk on the phone with them?

I don’t want people meeting me the day of the shoot. It’s hard to be comfortable in front of a stranger. I want to already feel like friends by chatting with them. I’ve got the phone call, questionnaire, outfits, and the style guide. I can send them links about posing. Whatever they are worried about, we talk about ahead of time and try to get ahead of it. In the shoot and afterward, my checklist is editing, exporting, resizing for the blog, and uploading to the gallery.

That’s what you are saying that it took time to figure out how you want your workflow to look.

You want to have it all in place, so you give everyone the same client experience. I don’t want anyone slipping through the cracks of, “I forgot to respond to this.” I want everyone to feel taken care of the whole step of the way.

The time commitment aspect helps you be more efficient with your time, too.

It took me a long time to realize how much time I spent per client. You think, “This is a one-hour shoot, and then I can edit when I watch a movie,” but it’s like, “I have spent hours talking with you and helping you.” I’m keeping track of my time because I have to protect my time, too. it’s better to be on top of it.

Time is money. That allows you to say what you are going to charge for a photoshoot because of how long it’s going to take you from start to finish. That’s awesome. That’s a struggle for anybody who’s starting a business, especially like me. I didn’t have a business background, so getting to real estate is the same thing. I had to learn all of those different ways. You struggle through it. You fail, and you learn, and you are like, “Something’s got to change.”

There’s not something I can go out and say, “Here’s how to run your real estate business from day one or here’s how to run your photography business.” My next question might be similar to what we talked about. What’s something in your photography business that you wish you knew on day one? Maybe it’s something with working the equipment or something along those lines.

Photographers must never mess with their subjects. Let clients feel themselves and showcase their unique beauty.

The time I spent learning how to pose, stand, position your body, and what to wear. I have done a lot of research on my client’s behalf. Years ago, you will take pictures, and you are disappointed with the result, and you’re like, “The lighting was good. The models were beautiful. What went wrong?” Maybe their outfits were not coordinated, their outfits clashed with the background or you didn’t know how to coach them as far as how to stand.

Those things have helped things a little more editorial. I can tell people, “Tuck your shoulder and put your hand in your pocket. Keep your thumb out. Take your cell phone out of your pocket.” It’s a big one. Everyone has always got a big box in their pocket. I did yell at somebody one time for having a cell phone in his pocket, and he was like, “It’s my insulin pump.” I was like, “Sorry. We will let you keep that.”

That stuff is ever-changing, too. You had to keep up with the poses and the style.

That mostly has to do with coordinating the colors of the family. It’s the part that I help with but styles, too.

Everyone has their own style. That makes sense. You are coordinating colors but the person themselves has their own individual style.

I don’t try to mess with that. I want them to feel themselves, to be beautiful and confident. If I were to dress them, that wouldn’t work. I don’t have a client closet or anything where I’m like, “You wear this.” If they’re like, “I’m worried about my arms.” I’m like, “This is what you should wear for your arms.” Someone would say, “I have a family of six,” and we will say, “Start with the mom. She’s the hardest person to please. Pick your outfit first and show me what that is. We will pick the colors for the rest of the family.” You want to vary the outfits. You don’t want everyone in jeans and a black shirt. It looks like, “We are here for a photoshoot,” instead of being natural with your family, and I happen to capture it.

This is the last question I ask everybody. What is your favorite local business? It could be in Palm Harbor or outside Palm Harbor.

I will have to give a shout-out to Canes Cafe. They did name a drink after me. I owe them one. I go there every morning. That’s called addiction. I altered one of their smoothies to put coffee in it. People started ordering it, so they added me to the board. You can go in and order the Whitney.

What’s in the Whitney?

It is banana, cold brew, almond milk, a little chocolate, and peanut butter. It’s a more filling version of coffee.

It’s coffee and breakfast all in one. Is that your daily drink there?

I can walk there from my house. I can get the kids in the stroller, take a walk, and get some fresh air. It’s pretty great. They are so nice there, sweet and friendly. They will learn your names in a second and ask you about your life. It’s a good place.

PHL 18 | Natural Light Photographer

Natural Light Photographer: Back up and plan your content and marketing strategy, even if it means extra effort.

 

How can people get ahold of you if they want to schedule a photoshoot? Where can they find you?

It’s my name, WhitneyBoydPhotography.com. They can go to my contact page. I send out a monthly newsletter. If they could fill out my contact page and get on my email list, they could be the first to know of all the deals or tips and tricks. I do a small business spotlight every month too, so I feature a local business as well. That’s pretty much the best place to keep up. My Instagram is pretty much just my iPhone and my kids. It’s too much to keep up with. That’s, @WhitneyBoydPhoto, as well on Instagram.

Thanks again, Whitney. Everyone, go check her out and see what she’s all about.

Thank you so much for having me.

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