Listen to podcast:
Humberto: Hi, Natalia. How are you?
Natalia Naa: Hi. I’m good. How are you?
Humberto: I’m amazing, but I know that you’ve had an incredible month. Was that this month, this sale for anyone familiar with the title you guys will probably already have read? Natalia had an amazing sale. Was that this month?
Natalia Naa: Yes, that was a couple of weeks ago.
Humberto: Awesome. And what genre specifically that was?
Natalia Naa: Boudoir slash goddess portraits.
Humberto: And what’s goddess like? How would that be different from like a regular boudoir studio?
Natalia Naa: Honestly, it’s not a huge difference for me, at least the difference. The only difference would be just playing up the set, setting it up and also popping a crown on someone’s head. That is what it is for me. And a little bit more ethereal than the typical boudoir kind of poses, I guess.
Humberto: Gotcha. Yeah. And by the way, I have your website links if you’re listening or you’re on some sort of other place watching this or even live, your work is like out of this world. So before we even get to the sale, obviously there’s a long journey to get here. Yeah. How long have you. Were you doing, like, the goddess stuff before? Were you doing other portrait genres and like, how did you end up with boudoir?
Natalia Naa: Um. Yeah. So I started my photography journey. This was back in the days taking photos of food. And then I got bored. Just because they don’t talk to me, they look pretty, but they don’t talk to me. I’m like, Okay, well, let me just try taking photos of people, and then I’m on a quad enjoyable. I’m like, okay, this is promising. So I did a lot of so throughout the years I was doing fashion, conceptual portraits, events, weddings, the typical stuff, everything except pets and babies. Because I could not, for the life of me do that so, so much respect for all of you, like maternity baby, newborn photographers, so much respect for you guys. And then I was 2019. I was doing a lot of events and weddings and fashion. And then end of 2019 was when I graduated from uni. So when I’m when I finished my degree, I was like, Oh, what else should I do? Should I continue like events, weddings? I don’t really enjoy that. Just because my body would not it would not let me sustain 8 to 10, 12 hours of event like wedding work. So I thought to myself, Oh, I should just drop everything and just focus on boudoir and focus on portraits. But then that was scary because then that was my bread and butter back then. And then COVID hit. So when COVID hit, I took it as a sign of my Well OC. I’ll take this as a sign and there’s no events, there’s no weddings. I’m from Melbourne, Australia for you guys who don’t know. So we’re so far one of the most lockdown cities in the world. So we’ve made it. We made it out, thankfully. And yeah, so I started doing Portrait Slash Boudoir at the end of 2020 when we reopened after almost half a year of lockdown on that year.
Humberto: Oh, wow. Yeah. I’m going to put I’m going to remember that. But what did you study in university? Was it like photography related or. Yeah.
Natalia Naa: Oh, I did psychology and I did a masters in social work.
Humberto: Oh, wow. Yeah.
Natalia Naa: That’s very different.
Humberto: So, like, the whole time you were like also like working on photography and all these other genres and like, did you ever think as you were going through school, like you were actually going to do one of those careers? Or did you always kind of know you want to do photography?
Natalia Naa: No, I have an Asian mom, I think Montreal, who shared the same experience she told me before I started doing my masters. If you want to pursue photography, then don’t study masters. And I’m like, No, not I’m not going to do that. I’m still going to study. So yeah, I just, I just put it on the side and I studied and graduated, made her happy. And now just doing a little bit of, of both I guess, which has been working so far still.
Humberto: Och wait. So you’re still working full time. You’re working in the field.
Natalia Naa: Yeah, a little bit. So I work in private practice at the moment, so. Very cool. Yeah. So it’s great that way. Yeah.
Humberto: And are you ever, like, going to just go all one or you’re just going to keep doing both?
Natalia Naa: I don’t know. I get bored really, really easily though, so I feel like I need at least two things to keep me sane and just to keep me interested. Because I know if I if I just do one thing, I’ll get bored much quicker.
Humberto: And your mom must be really proud of you.
Natalia Naa: Yeah. She doesn’t say anything much. None of that like I get to. To show her, like, yes, I can take care of myself. I don’t have to worry about me, you know, that kind of thing. But so far, it’s been it’s been great.
Humberto: Yeah. How is that dynamic like? You know, I definitely understand the sentiment. My mom was very upset. I joined the Marines. And even when I got to certain levels of my career, I got to Special Operations. My mom on my graduating day was like, son, your brother, your cousins and them. They’re pharmacists and engineers. Like, when are you going to go to school? And my stepdad was like, Emma, like, leave him alone. He’s doing something nobody else does. And I just remember thinking like, mom, like, relax, like I’m okay. But she. Yeah, it was even when I got to things, my mom was always so. How is it for your mom? Like, what did it take or is she. Yeah.
Natalia Naa: Oh, I think she I know she wants the best for me. And especially during the pandemic, I was really, really glad that I still have the other side gig. Like as a social worker. Oh, yeah, just during the lockdowns. Because then, like, I wasn’t able to take on clients. I can’t take clients, which I did, but I couldn’t shoot. So she she told me, Oh, see, just in case, in the future there’s another pandemic or like whatever, whatever, you still have something a little bit more stable. I’m like, Okay, Mom, we’ll just keep it that way for now. And then we’ll see where life picks me in the future.
Humberto: Yeah. So you. This was 20, 22. Did you already where you are, you already have like a portfolio for boudoir or by 2020. I’m sorry, by 2020, yeah. Did you already have like a portfolio or like you were just shooting your first sessions?
Natalia Naa: I had my portfolio for portraits and conceptual portraits, like more on the fashion side of things, but not boudoir per se, because I’ve dipped my toes in boudoir the first, second time that I did it, I’m like, it’s not, oh, well. Like, it doesn’t excite me. It wasn’t until one of my friends so she came from a very similar background as like me and she wanted to celebrate her journey, I guess as a woman and as someone who had gone through a lot of life challenges. And she told me, if I’m going to do something like this for myself, I’m going to do it with you because I trust you. I’m like, okay, that’s very nice of you. And mind you, back then I was I was not like I did not know what I was doing. And that should change both of our lives. That was the one shoot that I finally realized, okay, what photography can do? Like the empowering? I know the word empowerment has been overused and it might have lost the meaning, but that’s the shoe that made me realize, okay, I can change someone’s life by doing this. And because back then I knew and people tell me like, Natalia, you can take really nice photos. I’m like, Yeah, I know, I can take really nice photos. So can you. So can the other photographer next door. But I don’t want to just settle with oh, it’s just a nice pretty photo. I wanted something more and that was the one shoot. I’m like, okay, oh my goodness, this is crazy. And we still talk like years later. We still talk, me and my friend. So talk about that, that photo shoot that changed pretty much both of our lives. And that was the starting point where I decided, okay, you know what, this has potential. And if other people can do it, I can do it as well. So that’s my defining moment for Boudoir. But previously, a lot of my portfolio work will be around fashion and conceptual portraits and a little bit of events and weddings here and there.
Humberto: So I have to ask because like this is just looking at the goddess Paige now. This is genuinely some of the best work I’ve ever seen in any genre. And probably, probably the best boudoir. Yeah. I have to assume that in the other genres, like you probably have the same level of just obsession. So can you talk to me about that? Like, how did you get so good? Like, and don’t be modest because you are extremely good. Like, how did you get so good? Was it just like practicing every second of your life? Like how?
Natalia Naa: Hello. I honestly never felt like my work is good. It’s always like there was something that I’m missing. So before I started, whole goddess thing, I was doing, like, just feminine, kind of like ethereal, like boudoir. So it’s still on the boudoir side of things until I told myself I’m getting bored again. This the theme of me getting bored really pushed me into doing fun, other exciting things. And then I thought, okay, well, who’s telling me that I can’t make fashion or conceptual portraits with boudoir? Because boudoir to me is just like fashion, but less clothing. So I thought, okay, let’s see how that goes. And then the feedback from that is amazing and people really liked it. I’m like, Okay, this is the thing, let’s do this. And so, yeah, it’s just a mix of mixing both worlds that I really love, like boudoir, but also the fun, creative side of the goddess part of it into into my work.
Humberto: And like for some of these images here, like, do you do this for like every session or is this just for some sessions? Is this like an add on?
Natalia Naa: Some sessions add ons. It’s just really depends on what my client wants. So I’m led by the client. I work really close with my clients on say like on a 1 to 1 basis and creating like this very personalized, very tailored photoshoot for each one. So each of my photo shoots with each client would somewhat look different. A similar, yes, but it just really depends on what they want. So we really work on that creative side. I’m like, okay, you want these kind of look or theme or vibe, then we’re going to make it happen.
Humberto: And how is that done? Is that like through the phone? Is that in person? And like, how much planning does it take you? Because I’m assuming I know you said similar, but different like is every single one like a complete project where like going to the store, getting things, ordering online, you know, doing I don’t even know inspiration boards like how much prep is for each one.
Natalia Naa: All of my clients would send me an inspiration board or like a Pinterest board. And then if I see any images there that remind me of, say like, oh, you know, like this location or these props or things that I can get and make that happen, then I will. So some of my shoots, I will go to IKEA, I will go to like thrift shops or op shops, as you call it here in Australia, and like getting sourcing stuff and then making the set for them. And so that is normally I would say that would be 70 30% of the time and then 70% is a little bit more on the on the EP. This is my flow and I can do things, but it’s you never know. Like each, each client is different.
Humberto: Is there anyone’s work maybe starting out, whether it’s fashion or boudoir that like you gravitated towards, that you modeled yourself after or like styles you feel like you put together to put this together.
Natalia Naa: I’m just in times for clients or.
Humberto: No, I’m just saying like even like artists like like was there any place that you feel like or any artist or doesn’t even have to be photographers, that you feel like you drew a lot of inspiration from?
Natalia Naa: Yeah. Yeah, 100%. One of my biggest, like, crush in photography would be Elizabeth Messina. She’s amazing. Vivian Mok. She’s also amazing. I’m like, Oh, so good. And that’s like in terms of getting inspiration, I just follow people who just inspired me. But those starting up, those two people in the creative world, really, really push me into this soft, like, feminine, ethereal, kind of like boudoir sort of things. And then along with like Lillian Liu, she does a really cool goddess, like conceptual. Her work is mind blowing, it’s crazy good. And so it’s just a little bit from everywhere. But yeah, I’m really, really glad that Instagram is the thing and I can get inspiration from from everyone there on the platform.
Humberto: And can you talk about like I know you were saying like that you sometimes you felt something’s missing or that it wasn’t good enough, I guess. How did how does that affect you? Is it like a positive feeling? Do you feel like when you accomplish things you like, feel happy after? Do you feel like it motivates you? Like sometimes people are almost more motivated by, like, fear of like almost the fear instead of like the end state being so great. So, yeah, like, how’d that motivate you?
Natalia Naa: So it’s definitely in the process of and well, in terms of motivating myself, I know I can’t settle because what I know if I settle, I’ll get bored and then I’m just going to be like, Well, what’s the point? So I use that as like a driving force. Like, Okay, next time I’m going to try this, next time I’m going to try something else. Or if I come up with an idea that I want to try out, say with the model, just like for creative fun, shoot just for myself, like, okay, I’ve got this idea that I want to make happen. Like, it’s been in my head, but I want to make it like. Like a reality, like, like a proper shoot. Then I can do that. And then depending on, say, the, like the feedback from my clients, if they really like it, then I know I can recreate that. And then that end process is not so much me feeling like, Oh, I’m not happy with the shoe. Like I might feel like it’s not my best shoot, but just seeing my client’s reaction every single time I show them from the back of the camera, or when we do the ordering appointment or the reveal appointment, it’s it just made my heart just even more. Oh, this is the part where I’m, like, waiting for. So it doesn’t. When it comes to client work and how they feel, I put I try to put, like, my imposter syndrome aside and just like, okay, you’re doing this for them. It’s not about how you feel like, yes, it’s as a creative, it affects me. But I put the client first, I’m like, okay, this is for them, this is not for me. Even if I feel like I didn’t do my best, they don’t know or they feel like a million bucks. So I’m just going to hold on to that feeling.
Humberto: Have you ever had like galleries where like you maybe didn’t feel super confident in, but you had like amazing sales with.
Natalia Naa: Oh, yeah, plenty. And like I don’t like I would tell my partner or like I will tell my sister. I’m like, well, I don’t think today’s shoot is, you know, I don’t think it went well or I don’t think that’s a lot of usable images that I feel amazing. And then we did the reveal and then the clients will be like, Yeah, yeah, I want that, I want that. I’m like, okay, how would you like to pay? So that is that definitely happened on several occasions, always surprised me. So just like just going to tell myself, I can tell you, you shot out like do not say anything. Let them feel what they need to feel. And then you just you just I’m like, but you just have to shut up, like, in my head. Like, that’s what I tell myself.
Humberto: And for obviously extremely talented, the photography side. For those of you watching a live or replay video, you can see I’ve been sharing some of your portfolio and you’re obviously extremely talented at that. But sometimes photographers have like a second journey with the business. So which one outpaced which where you like exceptional at business first and then your photography got good or were you exceptional at photography first and then like your business caught up?
Natalia Naa: I think I’m more of a creative first and a business person first. I’ve always been interested in the business side of things because I think making money is fun. I just see that as a game on like how to how to move things around. But in terms of selling my services, especially as a creative, as a photographer, as like mean to stage fresh graduate kind of thing, it’s definitely the creative side that comes first before I get to know the ins and outs of selling and business as a creative person.
Humberto: So we haven’t even gotten to that huge sale yet. We touched on it in the first like minute or two and then obviously it’s the title of this. But obviously, with such a high sale like I am, most photographers won’t. I have never been there in their career yet. So yeah. Like how obviously that one’s really high, but like, do you ever get close to that? Are you ever like half of that? Like, how often are you in, like the teens? Is that regular? I mean, it sounded like you were blown away when when you when it happened to. So. Yeah.
Natalia Naa: Um. It’s so tense. Ah, quite like 9 to 10. Like 9000. 10,000 is quite achievable for me, like, depending on the client. So I’ve got a few of those before hitting this big sale. The second biggest one I think was last month it was around 15, 15,000. So it’s not super, super. It’s not the closest to the most recent one.
Humberto: And that’s all happening. I IPS and like in person.
Natalia Naa: Yeah.
Humberto: And you have obviously the goddess and maybe. Or is everything going into albums is can someone do like an entire album out of the goddess or like how does that work?
Natalia Naa: Yeah. So I let them choose. So especially if they’re getting such a big collection or there’s a lot of images, I will let them choose. So everyone gets an album. That is what I love selling and that’s what I love as well. So everyone gets one. Whether or not they put their stuff on the wall is a different story. Just because I feel like in in Australia, my at least with my clients, I can speak based on my experience. My clients are normally homeowners. So if they if they own a home, they can put stuff on the wall. They normally want that or if they’re renting they will say, Oh, I can’t put stuff on the wall, which there’s a huge rental market here in Australia. So that might be the reason, one of the reasons why my clients are not too keen on wall art or they would have, they come from a more conservative background and they will say, Oh, if my friends come over or if my in-laws come over or if they’re in the army, that would move a lot. So it’s just if someone tells me that they’re in the army or like working the army base and they move around a lot, I would actually advise them maybe get a box, say like a folio box in addition to an album instead of a wall art. Because then, you know, it’s going to save you the effort to move around each and every time. And they’re normally quite happy with that proposal because they can they can see themselves having to pack everything every single time that they move.
Humberto: And I mean, again, this is also stunning. Like, where are most people finding you?
Natalia Naa: Arms online social media. Yeah. So Tik Tok slash Instagram is where most of my clients found me. And then now that I’ve done this for a year and a bit, word of mouth, I’ve got clients telling me, Oh, I told my sister, I told my cousin, I told my friends they need to do a shoot with you. And then it’s just yeah, word of mouth comes, comes into the picture as well.
Humberto: And is it like your tik tok and your Instagram or is it like other people sharing your stuff, the clients? Because it seems like you’re very active on both.
Natalia Naa: Both. I think like with with tick tock is where I get a lot of new people to be like, Oh, what is this? And then that would hang around on my Instagram. And then they’ll be like watching me stalking me. They’ll be following me for quite a bit before they say, Okay, yeah, I want, I want to do this. And then, yeah, that’s normally how the progression goes. So Tick Tock is where I capture a lot of the leads and then they’ll be in the background just watching what I’m doing until they’re ready to for four for their session.
Humberto: Yeah. And this is I mean, this is so amazing. And I love that, like, you’re showing a lot of like the finished product. So not this just digitals. So yeah, I mean, can you talk to me about that? Like, are you handling the framing like for them? Are you sending it off and they’re doing it? How does that work with some of these items?
Natalia Naa: So I print some currently this might change in the future, so I am still printing some of my select prints, but anything bigger. So say like albums wallet. I just sent it off to a lab and then I just pick it up or get it shipped to me first and then my clients come in and pick it up. So they, they get to see the, the albums like first hand instead of drop shipping it like straight to the client. Like I knew I can do that, but I want to see their reaction. I feel like for myself that is the last piece of the puzzle in this whole experience. Like, okay, we planned this for so long, we planned it for months and months and months, and this final product is finally here. And here you go. Like, this is my the last hurrah. Yeah. So that’s, that’s always the funnest part for me. Like the most fun part with. Yeah, just seeing everything coming together and seeing their reaction.
Humberto: One of the things that’s so interesting to me as I look at this like within one row of tiktoks, there’s like a woman tied up against the background of the galaxy. There’s a woman and it says, I just killed my rich husband aesthetic.
Natalia Naa: And then there’s like an email, like, you do whatever you want. Just want to feel I’m worthy of my original husband, like, done, girl, we can’t do that.
Humberto: And then two down from that, it’s like a woman in a sports coat, like, and it’s super conservative, and it’s just so cool like that. You’re not just saying, Oh, I tailored to my clients like you legitimately. It seems like every single one of these was done by like the best photographer in only that genre. And it’s so cool.
Natalia Naa: Thank you. Appreciate that.
Humberto: And yeah, I’m like, I’m blown away by that because, you know, it’s just such a wide variety here. So how does that work with like because obviously some studios, they might not have as high sales, but they do a lot of volume. So how does that affect you? Like if, you know, I’m assuming maybe ordered this column and like put snow down for her and have like a special background for her. How much time do you need between shoots? Like, can you shoot multiple clients in a week?
Natalia Naa: I can shoot multiple clients in a week, not in a day. So just one client per day. That is that is more than enough for me. I’ve. So when we got out of lockdown last year, that was a couple of weeks where I was shooting 4 to 5 sessions per week. And it killed me. I learned the hard way. That’s how I knew. Okay, that is way too much. So currently I’m only doing two three. And that’s my. That’s my happy place.
Humberto: 2 to 3. Yeah, this is just so good. And I didn’t even I was not even on your Instagram yet. And it’s cool. I mean, it seems like you’re showing everything. How do you work? Is it you and a team makeup artist? Do you have an assistant like who assists you with all this?
Natalia Naa: Mostly during she’s I it’s just me with the client. On very rare occasions would I have a an assistant, especially on location if I need an extra pair of hands to help me bring stuff or pack stuff or do stuff with me, then I’ll be getting an assistant on board as well, just to help with the with the nitty gritty of things.
Humberto: And all this video content, like you’re filming yourself as well. You’re just, like, creating it as you go.
Natalia Naa: Yeah.
Humberto: So yeah, if you don’t mind me asking, like, when did you ever do digitals? Or like, were you always like creating the artwork? We always doing IPS for this.
Natalia Naa: I do the digital only very, very rarely what I offer them. I only offer them to branding or commercial clients so other for branding purposes that I know that there’s no point in selling them the print unless they ask or to online creators like me fans I’ve got plans for in the industry and meeting them for work. So only then would I be doing digital only sales.
Humberto: Yeah. And if you don’t mind me asking, are you doing packages or are you doing cart? Both. Both. So. So let’s just say the average client they respond to your I love. I killed my rich husband aesthetic. I want to do something. You know, whatever the case is. Yeah. How would that work for them?
Natalia Naa: That would be that would go to the pricing list or the investment menu with the products, unless it’s only different if they say, oh, I need content for my own fans or I need some branding headshots, and I’m like, Oh, okay, then it’ll be digital only both of that. Normally my clients would go for the collections and not so much the part because I think of package it in a way after like experimenting with with my pricing that it just doesn’t look very attractive. So they would go for the, the collection with the prints and with the digitals as well because then I would say to them, well, you get the best of both worlds, you get the album and then you get to share with your friends or the family or whatever you want to share with online now. Oh, okay. Yeah. So they, they get to see my perspective in terms of why I do certain things.
Humberto: Yeah. As far as like let’s just talk about this anonymous. Mr. VIP. Mrs. VIP client. Yeah. How did, how did that come in? And was that like something special? Was it a special project or was it just like every other session, like they came in, I guess. What do people do? You have different session fees for people.
Natalia Naa: Same sessions fees for everyone is just currently is just different for weekdays or weekends because in the past a lot of the weekends and then I realized I need time for myself. So I bumped up the price compared to having it on the weekdays and then yeah it’s just two different ones on my or might not change this in the near future we’ll see for the next financial year. But yeah, just back to your question about Ms.. Vip, she’s great. Like she she knew she found out about my work, I think on tape talk and then she was just there watching what I’m doing. And then she decided to send through an inquiry. We had chatting, she booked and she paid for my second highest collection. So I’m like, okay, done. Easy. I can upsell you easy, easy. Which she did, because then I knew I need to give you a lot of images to choose from. And that is how I managed to get that that big sale, I guess.
Humberto: Yeah. So what would you say to someone who they might say? Because in a lot of groups or sometimes among calls, people say Tik Tok and Instagram are the worst. It’s just people that are young or they don’t have money or my clients are only here. Like, What’s your sentiment on that? Because obviously you seem to be pretty busy everywhere. I saw a Facebook group, I saw Tik Tok, I saw Instagram. Like, what’s your sentiment on that? Do you focus on that or do you just create content?
Natalia Naa: I just shared because my like, regardless of, you know, in terms of lead’s lead generation, that might not be the best just because, like getting borrowed might be like a hard thing nowadays. But my intention when it comes to Ticktalk and when it comes to Instagram isn’t to find leads is just a platform for me to showcase my work. So on my Instagram, I just treat it as like a mini sort of. So when a potential leads say, Oh, ah, we love my work, I’m like, okay, which one? Like, What do you like? So that is what I use my Instagram for. And then for Tik Tok is just for me to share all these behind the scenes video that has been living like rent free in my in my phone, not being seen by other people. So I thought, well, rather than having it taking up space might as well show that to people. And then if it does well, it does well. If it doesn’t, then so be it. So I try not to get super stressed about, say like the numbers or getting like the ROI on these two like platforms, that kind of thing. So just I’m just going to share if it, if it’s, if it goes viral, then okay, cool. Yeah, you mean. But then at least it’s not in my phone. Seen by pretty much no one except me occasionally. So even if it’s only like 100 people seeing things on my on my TikTok, then that’s 100 people who have seen the the video compared to zero or just me. Yeah. So that’s sort of like my, my general sentiment on social media, especially on those two platforms.
Humberto: Yeah. And I mean it helps that your work is just so good, right. Like the product. A lot of the times I feel people overlook that, right? Like if your product, the better your product is, the easier it is to market, the easier it is that when you show somebody like they’re just going to love it. And I used to do this, I used to tell people for websites, if they said, Oh, like, what do you think of this? I would say, Go give your phone to somebody, have them scroll through it. And if they tell you, Oh, nice, cool, and they hand it back to you, it’s like it’s bad. You need them. I want them to say, Wow, like, where is this? Like, how do you where do they do this? Like, how do you get in touch? And it’s like until you get that, which obviously I feel like if I handed I know if I handed like your feed to somebody, all my girlfriends are like friends would be like, oh my God. Like, where is she? Does she do work around here? Does she travel? Like, when can she be here? So yeah, I mean, it’s really awesome that you’re that you’re sharing all that. And for Tok, how does that work? Are people like DMing you is it like they’re going links and like how have you been finding out like where people are coming from?
Natalia Naa: Um, so when they submit an inquiry through my website, I would normally ask them also, how did you find me? And most of the time it will be tick tock first. So tick tock. They will go to my, my link and then I will scroll through like my website, my Instagram, things like that. If they like me enough, then they’ll give me a follow and then they’ll, they’ll just stay within Instagram for a bit and then yeah. Like when they, when they get the whim of, oh I should get to do a photoshoot or this is something that I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. I should do it now. And then when they’re ready, then they’ll contact me and that I have clients on me all the time. Like, yeah, I’ve been, I’ve actually been like following you for like months and months and months before sending through an enquiry or I thought about it and then I forgot. And then I see your tick tock again and then I get reminded. So we started chatting and then yeah. So it’s whenever the client’s ready to, to contact me because like I want them to be emotionally ready, I want them to be financially, financially ready to be investing in themselves and investing in this photoshoot experience rather than like, oh, taken aback by surprise. Like even if it takes them a year plus to, to prepare, I’ve got clients who contacted me back in. 2020, and she told me back then that the investment was a little bit too much. And since she enquired, I think I’ve doubled my my prices and she booked.
Humberto: And if you don’t mind me asking, what is the minimum?
Natalia Naa: I don’t I don’t say there’s a minimum. It’s just whatever my lowest collection is. So she when I gave her the range, she’s like, Oh, yeah, I’ll think about it. And then a year later she messaged me again and she said, Oh, you know, back then it wasn’t financially viable for me to do a photoshoot. But after going through the ups and downs in life, like within that one year, I think I want to do this for myself and I’m going to invest in myself. And she, she prepaid my, my little collection so far. So if if they prepaid, I can easily like upgrade them to at least the next collection I like to collections up. Yeah. So it’s I just.
Humberto: How do you, how do you keep in touch with somebody that tells you that? Like do you do they stay on an email list? I know that you post so much on social media, so like if they’re following you and they love your work, they’re going to see you there. But are you following up any other way, whether it’s DM and I don’t know, messengers or email phone?
Natalia Naa: So so far only after I inquire. So if after the chat they say, Oh, let me think about it, and then I’ll just send them like an email, say, Hey, how is it going? Do you want to do a shoot? Yes or no? And then if they say like, Oh, I’ll have to save up or whatever, then I’m like, okay, whenever you’re ready, just let me know. But in the meantime, you can join my, my Facebook group, so I’ll let them know, like at their own time to contact me again or to just join the the Facebook page through to keep updated.
Humberto: I think it’s really cool that I feel like you have like a very, like, not like almost like a troubleshooting mindset or I have like very optimistic where it’s like, oh, even if they said no, now, like, I’ll just keep doing this and I’ll keep being in front of them. And it’s almost like you’re always just, you know what I mean? It’s like very optimistic and it obviously pays off. So is there anything that like that you’ve troubleshoot recently? Anything that like you’ve improved like in your maybe it’s TikTok. Instagram is like just anything that you’ve implemented lately that like you’ve done that and kind of a spirit of like improving, improving processes.
Natalia Naa: Recently it’s it would be around like the system workflows on really nailing that client experience. I know I can nail that easy, but I wanted a little bit more time in preparing for photo photoshoots. So I’m implementing like ways and strategies on how to make that workflow easier and for having like a very organized system for me to do that and to plan in advance because because I was shooting so much, I couldn’t plan for the next few shoots if they needed, like if they wanted an add on or if I need to get some props kind of thing. Like it’s too much of a last minute thing for me just because it was so hectic. So now it’s just creating ways for me to avoid doing that again.
Humberto: And are you doing that with like questionnaires, reminders for yourself? Like what input? Basically, what steps are you automating there?
Natalia Naa: I am a very pen and paper person. I’ve got everything in my CRM, but even then I thought, Oh, having a CRM would be helpful in terms of planning. But it’s I find that it’s in my head, it becomes too much. So I’ve got, I’ve got my handy little notebook and I just write down my, my class name, their session, who I booked for the hair and makeup artist because I do work with a few girls and then all the notes that they’ve told me. So say if they wanted to do like a Shabani or an ad for a bath tub, like a full floral bath tub session, or they want a lot more florals or they want like a more like a darker gothic kind of vibe. So I know who says what. Instead of realising the day before, I’m like, Oh crap, I forgot to book, I don’t know, like the Shibuya artist or I forgot to book a location for, for the shoot. So just preventing those scenarios to happen.
Humberto: Yeah. And this client when they. The big one this month when they booked it was all in your studio. Yeah, everything was in your studio. How often do you need to. Do you need to leave?
Natalia Naa: Once or twice a month.
Humberto: Oh, really? And will you still do part? Part of it, like in your studio or.
Natalia Naa: So if if they say, oh, I want to have like a certain look, we agreed on a location, we booked a location, we set everything up there. So the whole shoot would be at the location because there is no way we can or we have the energy to be traveling back and forth to do that.
Humberto: Yeah. Yeah. And as far as I mean, I mean the booking process because I’m sure for a lot of people it’s kind of like, you know, where do I find these people? I know you talked about being super consistent on tick tock. Is there anywhere else like you’re doing paid advertising anywhere?
Natalia Naa: No, I haven’t so far. It’s one of the areas that I haven’t delved into, so I haven’t spent any dollars on paid advertising yet.
Humberto: And would you even have the capacity like if you were doing like would you want to or are you just pretty busy right now?
Natalia Naa: I’m pretty happy for now. But if say, if, like, if I wanted to try something new because it is something that I haven’t tried and I would like to try and see how it goes for myself, then it’s something that I’ll, I’ll give it a go.
Humberto: And I have to ask some questions before we go for the super fanatical photographers. What camera system are you shooting with?
Natalia Naa: I shoot with Fujifilm.
Natalia Naa: Not a full frame. Yes. I love the colors.
Humberto: You said it’s not a full frame.
Natalia Naa: It’s fine.
Humberto: I am not. I’m not buying this. It’s not a full frame.
Natalia Naa: No, my clients can’t tell. Most photographers can tell. They don’t care what they don’t care what camera I use. And I love the colors I’ve been I’ve been using. I’ve been shooting with Fujifilm cameras since I started, sort of like professional photography ish. I used to have a canon and then I swap to Fujifilm and now haven’t changed.
Humberto: Things like the X, 100, 100.
Natalia Naa: So I am currently using the XP series XP.
Humberto: Is that like higher? I don’t know. I don’t even know. Both sensors, I’m assuming.
Natalia Naa: All of them are crop sensor. The step up would be the GPS system and that is a medium format. So Fujifilm does not have a full frame system.
Humberto: And then lighting wise, because I think that ticktalk some of this behind the scenes I might be like seeing on location stuff, but lighting is your studio natural light. I’m assuming most of it is strobes.
Natalia Naa: Now. All natural light.
Humberto: All of us. I thought I felt like I saw a flash in one of them.
Natalia Naa: Now. I don’t have space for Flash.
Humberto: Oh, my God. I’m even more blown away so far. I thought the lighting was so perfect that I was like. Of course, she’s using all the most beautiful lighting tools in the world. And I never would have guessed you were using a crop sensor camera. I’m assuming it’s a lot lighter. Are you also using the crop lenses and the full frame lenses or the full frame? I don’t even think they have full frame lenses right now.
Natalia Naa: It’s just just whatever Fujifilm comes up with. So I use the native native lenses that Fujifilm has. So yeah, just just roll with it.
Humberto: By the way, the comments are already like, holy crap, all natural light and crop sensor. You’re making us all self-conscious right now at the time.
Natalia Naa: I that was only because. Well, so back then one of my, one of my exes was a photographer. He he was I think he still is. I don’t know. He’s a creative and does photography. And he told me, what’s the point of spending so much money on like on gear when you can just do the same thing, earn more money, but you have less cost up front. And. And I just thought. You make sense. So I just stuck with it when when I had like early on, when I had thoughts about whether should I should I should I upgrade to a fix or should I upgrade to like at least a full frame because that is what the industry standard is. But then after he said it, I’m like, Yeah, that makes sense. So if at any time, if I wreck my karma, I can afford to buy a new one and just replace that. And I would feel less sad if, you know, like if I, if I need to change things with, with a crop sensor versus a full frame because I knew full frame here, at least in Australia, is much more expensive than like a fujifilm system camera.
Humberto: The gfx is what like seven, eight, 9000?
Natalia Naa: Us USD is around around the.
Humberto: And just because the comments, you’re not the standard go, you’re the industry standard. What lens do you have to go to? Lens, prime lenses or zoom?
Natalia Naa: So I’ve got the full frame equivalent of 35. So that is the one lens that normally is stuck to my camera body for most of my shoots. Most of the indoor ones.
Humberto: So it’s like a 24 millimeter crop.
Natalia Naa: 23.
Humberto: 23. Well. And it’s a prime lens like 1.8 or something like that.
Natalia Naa: 1.4.
Humberto: 1.4. Well, that’s really cool. I’m not even familiar with the Fuji line of lenses. So like hearing 23, 1.4 is. Yeah. And do you do your own retouching?
Natalia Naa: Yes.
Humberto: You do all of your own retouching.
Natalia Naa: Yeah, I know. It’s something that I need to outsource, but it’s. Yeah, I’m still doing it.
Humberto: And so awesome. And do you spend most of your time in like Lightroom or Photoshop?
Natalia Naa: Lightroom and Photoshop.
Humberto: You’re in Photoshop.
Natalia Naa: I can do Photoshop, I can do much of Photoshop, I can do basic things, but I kind of manipulate things like some of the photographers in the group.
Humberto: Right now you’re just showing off. Now we’re showing off because we listen. We believe crop sensor got it. We believe natural light. But now you want us to believe that this is not Photoshop?
Natalia Naa: No, it’s only Lightroom. I just tweak a little of the the like the color, the balance, the warmth, brightness.
Humberto: And the audience wants to know, do you do the props like the ones like the like the butterfly on the face? Where do you get the props? Do you make.
Natalia Naa: Most of the most of the props are there. Most of my stuff like backdrops, props, they’re all thrifting or I get it. Second hand from Facebook Marketplace. I’ll go around thrift shops or op shops and a lot of like say for example, that pink dress that is just a piece of very long tulle that I just bunched up and make into like a fake dress kind of look. So it’s just whatever I can do to fake it in the camera and then taking the shot and then. Yeah, and then just go from there.
Humberto: So some photographers have like a, like a boudoir, like wardrobe. Do you have like that and like a whole set kind of like construction site going on or. Yeah, can you pull out all that old things, but things that you’ve used in the past and clients want again.
Natalia Naa: I could. So I’ve got. So when my. My sentiment when it comes to wardrobe is that it needs to fit a lot of sizes. So I don’t stock individual ones. I would stock some lingerie items just in the cases of emergency. My clients would bring in their own wardrobe, their own stuff, and say things like robes, gowns, dresses, wings. I would have them. But in terms of one size item, they would have to bring it themselves.
Humberto: Gotcha. And then, yeah. So for a photographer that’s just starting out in boudoir. Like, what advice would you have for them? They’re starting out. They just did their fourth session. Maybe one of them is paid. Like, what would you do if you were starting over?
Natalia Naa: I’ve thought about this. I think when. If I were to start over again from scratch, I would make sure my portfolio is I’m happy with where I’m at first because that is for me is the creative side first before before the business side of things. And then I’ll just come in with the expectation of I’m doing this for me first. If someone else, like a potential client, likes me for my work, for who I am, then they’ll come. And always keeping in the mindset of, okay, if that person can do it, I can do it as well. And that I guess like life, I’ve taken that phrase, that sentence to be applicable to every areas of my life, every single stage. Back in high school I’ve been telling myself, okay, that student, that kid can get an A. So can I. What’s stopping myself from getting an A? The same as uni, doing my master’s, graduating, doing business like I remember telling myself when I started this journey, doing IPS and things like that, I’m like, okay, if that person can do that, if they can earn thousands of dollars in one, go for one sale, what’s stopping me? So it’s really taking off that self-talk. I feel like that self-talk is one of the biggest things that can make or break something is what you tell yourself. And yes, I’ve got days where I’m like, Oh, can I really do this? But you know, just going to counteract that and like, okay, that person can do it. So can I. Like, what’s stopping me? Like, I’m alive, I’m healthy, I’ve got like, I’m fairly energetic sometimes on some days they are as well. Or if not, they’re a little bit older than me. But what’s stopping me? So yeah, just keeping that mindset of. Positive thinking.
Humberto: What has been the hardest thing for you?
Natalia Naa: In terms of business or in terms of like this whole journey?
Humberto: Yeah, both. Like whether it’s the photography side. The business side.
Natalia Naa: I think it will be going back to the whole, I guess like notion or self worth. So it’s one of the biggest ones. Like I had to say thoughts when I started, like, who am I to be charging? Will people pay what people want me? What people want my work? Like, what makes my work so special? Like other photographers who are charging less are like, so amazing. So that was one of the biggest hurdles that I’ve experienced, like having to go through that. And it doesn’t, it’s not easy. Like, you know, I’m a firm believer in like. When I’ve crossed through a barrier, there would be bigger issues ahead. It’s like new level, new devil kind of thing. Like, okay, if I jump through this hoop, that’s going to be a bigger hoop to jump. And I just have to keep myself accountable to myself, surround myself with people who are supportive of my work, of my journey as well, and just keeping keep doing that and telling myself, okay, it’s just in your head. If whoever, whoever can do this or whoever, whoever can do that. So can uses a lot of the self-talk and the self worth and everything that comes into that.
Humberto: Do you write any of this?
Natalia Naa: Like in the blog?
Humberto: No. Like, just write for yourself anywhere.
Natalia Naa: Um, I, I like, I like writing things down, but when I write things down is the things that I look forward to. So I would write goals. So by like a, like a planner or like, like a little diary thing and then it would ask, oh, for this year. So let’s say earlier this year, 2022, what are your goals for this year? And it just dream think about big scary dreams and I’ll just write it. And then that’s a way for me to keep myself accountable. Like, well, you’ve written this down like you can’t, you can just back it out of it. So I just stuck through it and let’s see if, like, how close I can get to that goal that I’ve set early in the year.
Humberto: Awesome. Well, I really appreciate it. I’m sure everyone’s going to want to click on your link and know more about you. I mean, you spoke before and you told me if anybody wanted to talk to you more about learning what you do, where would they find you?
Natalia Naa: Um, so it was just Natalia Na and Double A, my website, my Instagram, my TikTok, everything is just italiana or my Facebook. Same thing. Everything is the same name. So just find me there if you got any questions, things like that. And yeah, no, thank you so much for for having me today.
Humberto: I’m going to put you now at the top of my list where people are always like, Oh, what photographer should I hire? I’d be like, okay, good, I’m flight to Melbourne, go see this lady, call her, have her plan your shoot. Do anything except kill my American.
Natalia Naa: I’ll be great.
Humberto: Do you come here? Do you ever come here at all?
Natalia Naa: I have it on my list to do.
Humberto: And have you considered doing, like travel workshops or anything like that?
Natalia Naa: I thought about it. I thought about it. But that was the last time that I thought about it was during the COVID lockdown. So I’m like, okay, maybe one day one that world’s opened up again, then I’ll be open to that.
Humberto: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, I look forward to seeing it. And honestly, I would probably sign up. You’d be like, Umberto, what are you doing here with your crop sensor camera? Like me? Like, I don’t know.
Natalia Naa: Come join me now. Phil Crop Sensor Club.
Humberto: Yeah, I will say I appreciate just because it doesn’t hurt your hands. And after a long time and yeah. Again, blown away by learning everything about you. I loved hearing about your story, your journey, and just the pressures and how you overcame everything. So if you guys are looking for her and I’m already getting comments, she needs to be one of the instructors that do our live. That could actually be a good place, a good time to come to the US, come to Vegas next year, be on stage.
Natalia Naa: They’ll be. They’ll be great. Yeah, I’ve got a year to prepare.
Humberto: So yeah, this is a formal invite, so thank you so much. And yeah, we’ll see you in the group.
Natalia Naa: Thank you again, everyone. Have a good one.