Liam is a Photographer/Videographer and Owner with Bentley Studios
Introduction: Liam specializes in photography and video, mostly in the wedding industry, averaging about 40 weddings a year, and incorporating the drone. He also takes photos of the transitions of projects for roofing companies.
David: Let's go back, let us know how your business started from the beginning...
Liam has been an entrepreneur since he was 15. He started in the iPhone repair business, doing that for three years, repairing over 300 iPhones and saving $10,000 to fund his photography business. He got his first camera was when he was 13. He became the school photographer in High School, when a teacher asked if he would have any interest in filming her wedding. At 16, Liam sweated through five shirts filming his first wedding. He also realized he loved being a part of someone’s special day, giving them their video or photos and seeing them tear up. After that, he started doing social media videos. He’d call local businesses and say, “I'm starting a business and want to try to get into social media. I see you guys are lacking in that area and I would love to help.” He got a lot of practice doing video production this way.
David: What kind of reception did you get when you'd reach out?
Some turned Liam down, saying they had their own thing, or they didn’t want to dabble in that. Some said they appreciated that he wanted to do it for free and would give him the opportunity to do so. Liam valued that as a networking opportunity. He got turned down a lot and found out he’d get a better attitude and could find a way to not offend anyone and help people out.
David: How did the transition happen from dabbling with free stuff and reaching out to businesses to progressing into your first paying client?
Toward the end of high school, Liam did a lot of senior photos which led to more paying opportunities. Every once in a while, he’d try to reach out and get opportunities to film a wedding. As he started to have more work to show people, he started to get booked more. Liam owes a lot of his success to word of mouth. He loves to go out and talk to people and create those friendships.
David: When did you start first dabbling in drones?
Around the end of his senior year, Liam bought a Phantom 4pro and fell in love with it. At that time, not many local people had any drones, so there was a lot of good opportunity in front of him.
David: A lot of people get a drone, then want to know how to start getting clients and paying gigs. So, did your free work just turn into paying gigs or did you have a strategy to start making money?
Liam had a gradual increase since he’d started out pretty cheap. Over time, as he had more experience, and his portfolio got larger, he gradually increased his prices because of his experience and equipment. Also, people would see his work on Instagram and message him. Liam says, “It was like a large spider web that expanded, but it was a lot of networking that led to those opportunities.”
David: What do you do for your social media? Do you have a system, every time you shoot something, you put it on Instagram or Facebook?
Liam has a system. After every shoot, Liam always puts a nice grid on Instagram. He says the first thing people look at when they go onto your page is your grid. The “grid” is some type of theme on your whole feed. Liam says if people see your page and it’s too eclectic, they will bypass it.
David: What were you charging for a wedding when you first started out?
Liam would charge $500 for a wedding, giving clients an 8-15 min highlight video. He wanted the experience and was young at the time so to make $500 on a Saturday was great. Now, his videos showcase the whole day and the client has total control over what’s in the video. The average price for that is $3000. For photos, he charges an hourly rate of $300 and then there's no minimum or maximum on the hours. An entire wedding run