Photographer We Admire: LaJune King
This interview was supposed to focus on LaJune’s client experience, position in the market, how cohesive everything seems across her business. However, in the first few minutes the conversation took a turn that I couldn’t ignore.
It’s a short detour, but it’s one of the most important and powerful conversations I’ve had in quite a while.
“And then the whole thing with George Floyd happened. And I just said, ‘no, I have to figure out a way to let the world know that I’m here. Let people know who look like me know that I exist… And my whole purpose in life is just to push out joy about them. You know? So if they ever became a hashtag, I will be the one to put out the positive images of them.”
It’s honestly hard to write a blog post about this because the interview itself is what everyone needs to listen to.
As a middle-aged, middle-class white guy, this isn’t the life I live and I’m here to learn more and listen to LaJune’s perspective.
Chris: “There has never been a time in my life where I have thought that my job as a photographer is to document the good in my clients, just in case I need to put those photos out there. If they become a hashtag.”
Now, let me make one thing abundantly clear – even though this conversation covers some very heavy topics, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone more naturally joyful and caring than LaJune.
You know how some people seem to light up any room they enter? That’s not LaJune. She doesn’t light up rooms, she dazzles them.
So grab a beverage and block off some time to join us in a somewhat meandering conversation covering everything from diversity and inclusion to sales and branding.
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As you can see, you don’t have to be in the same room with LaJune to feel the joy and positive energy that she radiates. Being able to approach her business and day to day with this much joy speaks volumes about her as a human being, as a business owner AND as a voice for a community that needs voices like hers.
Standing Out in Your Market
When you look at LaJune’s website you’ll see that she is a phenomenal photographer but besides that, you’ll see that she communicates on her website exactly who she wants to work with and what the experience is going to be like. She is known for her “Pink Starburst Experience”.
LaJune goes into detail on why her client experience – which converts at a staggering 90% – is so special.
LaJune: “I don’t want to be basic ever in life. So when it comes by client experience, um, it comes down to my visuals. It comes down to what I stand for, my values and every single thing, me talking about why it is that I do what I do.”
LaJune brings her pink starburst with her in every aspect of her business. She explained how yellow starburst are just not for her, and relating that back to clients, she wants their energy to match hers. Not yellow starburst energy, pink starburst energy!
LaJune: “So when someone comes to me and inquires, I try to give you as much information as possible. I try to put as much information as I can on my website. So you don’t have to ask those questions. I do understand that sometimes, they may not want to read everything on your website. So, hey, whenever we have a consultation, I have some information to send over to you and it’s not just, you know, basic email stuff that you can just type up really quick or take a screenshot of notes or something.”
What makes LaJune’s experience stand out:
- Her website is clear and concise with detailed information
- She schedules a consultation with her clients to go over questions and expectations
- She delivers her client galleries within 24-48 hours
- She knows exactly who her ideal client is and creates a bespoke experience for each and every person who comes through her door
LaJune’s sales workflow:
- Cull through the images and do light edits
- Schedule a time to go through the images with her client
- Watch the images in a slideshow format with music with her clients
- Clients pick the images they want
- She places their orders based on what they chose
- Fully edits their picks and delivers
LaJune: “You know, from their gallery reveal, I’ve made dads cry. That’s like my, my joy that my takeaway, you know, from this don’t get me wrong. Hey, I mean, I love when the ladies cry, but if I could get a dad, I did my job.“
So many photographers are intimidated by in person sales but the way that we teach it here at Swift Galleries, and the way LaJune runs her sales experience, is a great example of how to take the stress and pressure out of it.
No one wants to be that person who is trying to do a hard sell to their clients. That is not only stressful for you but also for your clients.
On Setting Pricing Expectations
LaJune explains how she has set the expectation for how much her clients are going to spend at the very beginning of the experience. They have her price list from the beginning and know the average range that people will invest while working with her.
This is a key point because if your clients don’t know what to expect, then you are going to get so much pushback during the sales process (which isn’t fun for anyone).
Chris: “So much of what you’ve said already just falls so perfectly in line with the process that we teach and the philosophy that philosophy I have on sales and, and that this kind of thing is not selling. This is serving. This is what it actually looks like to serve your client. Rather than saying, hey, here are your files. Good luck figuring out what to do with them.”
Key Topics Covered:
- What it is like to be a person of color running a business and the challenges she faces at home and in her business.
- How she creates a stellar client experience that stands out from the crowd.
- What her client experience looks like during the sales process