Today I’m sharing this framework – which is usually part of my paid program, the Photography Business Accelerator, but as an early listener of the Shoot Booking Secrets podcast, you get to learn this system for free!

Here’s a preview of this podcast episode:
  • [01:45] – A simple rule to increase your chances of success in business 
  • [03:40] – Download the 6 Step Framework Blueprint [PDF] 
  • [04:01] – How to stay motivated and driven, no matter what is happening in the world
  • [05:45] – How to attract your ideal clients and avoid awkward conversations
  • [08:03] – A MAJOR operational risk to your business.
  • [09:33] – A shift in your client’s mindset since Covid, and how to stop the “now is not the right time” objection” 
  • [11:34] – The biggest mistake photographers make when trying to find clients and grow their business
  • [13:01] – The difference between the amateurs and the pros 
  • [13:31] – The most overlooked step that is preventing photographers from success
  • [16:59] – [Summary] 6 Step F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Shoots on Autopilot
  • [19:39] – [Q] “I’’m a landscape / wedding / glamour / newborn photographer, will it work for me?” 
  • [20:23] – [Q] “I’m just getting started, will it work for me?” or “I’m an established photographer, do I really need this?”
  • [21:38] – [Q] “There’s another software that is cheaper (or free), will this still work for me if I can’t afford to invest in the systems you suggest?”
  • [23:08] – [Q] ““Do I have to invest in paid advertising for this to work for me?”

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Podcast Episode Show Notes:

I have LOTS of amazing stories about my clients getting extraordinary results. 

And such as $9,200 in her first month in business when she had never done a paid shoot before.

Like $29,437 in 2 weeks in the middle of lockdown.

And like $17,202 in one month when her usual months were $3000-$4000.

Like $75,000 in just 3 days. 

These fast and big results might seem impossible for you right now, however here is a simple rule that I have followed ever since I worked as for Deloitte as a graduate straight out of uni.

When you find someone who has succeeded before, you just need to model what they do. 

There is usually some sort of plan or step by step process or framework that the people who have the success you want, have followed.

And ALL of the success stories of photographers I share with you have followed one specific framework:

They all have committed to and implemented my 6 Step F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Sales on Autopilot 

– or in other words – they have created their own automated sales funnel system using the steps in the framework. 

They’ve trusted the process. They’ve implemented step by step. And then they’ve achieved super fast (and big) results.

Ok so here’s what you can expect from today epsiode – I’m going to give you the birds eye view or the Blueprint of the F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Sales on Autopilot for Photographers. Then, over the next 6 episodes, we will be diving DEEP into each of the 6 Steps in the Framework – you’ll discover the what, the why, the how, the when. Plus the software and tools I recommend for each step. I’ll be sharing exactly the process I take the photographers who work with me through to get the amazing results you hear about on this podcast.. 

By the end of the 7 episodes you’ll have your entire plan for repeatable, reliable shoot bookings and sales on autopilot.

After you listened to today’s episode, go and download the F/STOPS Framework Blueprint www.shootbookingsecrets.com/fstops, print it out and have it hand to fill in as we break down each step.

Ok, are you ready? Let’s go!

Step 1: Foundations 

Step 1 in the F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Shoots on Autopilot is to build the Foundations.

A successful business starts with you. 

In my experience, photographers do not spend enough (or any) time creating the FOUNDATIONS of their business.

And what happens when a house is not built on solid foundations? 

We’ve all seen those horror stories…. 

All that money and energy and years spent building the structure and putting in the heating and plumbing systems and painting and decorating and furnishing and landscaping… All the love and time and effort creating traditions, making it feel like home, creating family memories..…  

….only to have it become unliveable and valueless overnight – simply because something wasn’t right with the foundations.

It’s the same with your photography business. 

Without solid foundations, you won’t have the motivation nor the discipline nor the drive to be resourceful and creative when you hit the inevitable roadblocks that WILL happen to you in business.

The businesses who have SOLID foundations – especially when the unexpected happens, like a global pandemic – those are the photographers who are able to quickly adapt – and know how to thrive no matter what is happening in the world. 

So if you want a business that LASTS and to build a business you LOVE, that makes you feel like you are in FLOW, then it all starts with creating solid foundations.

Step 2: Stories 

The next step in the F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Shoots on Autopilot is telling yours and your customers Stories.

People don’t remember facts.

They don’t remember numbers. 

They care how you edit or how long it takes you.

They often don’t even remember what’s included in your packages or how many photos they get. 

They remember STORIES. 

Most photographers worry about when and where and how many times they should be posting on social media. 

They worry about whether they should be doing stories or images or posting links or carousels or tick tocks. 

They worry about going live versus recorded videos or long form posts versus short form posts. 

What you really need to focus on is WHAT you say, HOW you say it and in what order you say it.

Step 2 in the F/STOPS Framework™ is all about telling stories WITH A SPECIFIC PURPOSE in mind.

 When you tell stories with a specific purpose, you will find and attract your ideal clients.

And – to your ideal clients, you will seem like a mind reader and they will devour every word you you write or say. 

And – those same stories will repel clients who are not a good fit for you – they will self select out. They will unfollow you and unsubscribe. 

This is great news! It means you won’t waste any valuable time trying to convince people who are not a great fit energetically. 

When you follow our 5-Step Story System, you’ll never have another block about what to write in your posts, your emails or your sales pages. And when you learn how to create stories, you create engagement, connection and mobilise clients to take action.

Step 3: Traffic 

The next step in the F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Shoots on Autopilot is to understand, direct and own your Traffic.

Most photographers spend their time worrying about whether should they do an Instagram course or a Linkedin course or a Facebook ads course to find clients. 

But guess what – that’s not what you need to worry about!

When it finding more clients, the main thing you should worry about is OWNING your own traffic.

When you own your Traffic, you are not beholden to Facebook or Linkedin or Pinterest or Instagram’s rules and algorithms, which could change overnight. What happens if you have 20000 followers and your account gets closed down with no warning? You might think that if you don’t do anything wrong, it won’t happen to you – but this has happened to at least 3 online business owners I know.

If you are relying solely on social media to find clients, no matter which social media platform it is, then you will never be able to control the flow of enquiries and sales because you don’t OWN the traffic.

And this is a MAJOR operational risk to your business.

Step 4: Offer

The fourth step in the F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Shoots on Autopilot is to create your Signature Offer.

Most photographers focus on selling photos and photoshoots.

They create their offer based on what other photographers are doing and charging. 

And this is exactly why you get price shoppers and people saying “not right now”.

People are more value conscious now than ever, especially since COVID, but that doesn’t mean people don’t have money to spend. 

It simply means that your potential clients are being more discerning with their spending, and they are spending money on what they perceive is valuable and important.

As a business owner:

It is your responsibility to create a VALUABLE offer

It is your responsibility to learn how to tell Stories so you can communicate that value through your Stories.

It is your responsibility to create solid Foundations so that you genuinely and passionately BELIEVE in what you sell

It is your responsibility to communicate the IMPORTANCE and IMPACT on your potential clients’ lives and why they need what you sell, now more than ever.

Without a Signature Offer that differentiates you from other photographers, that has inherent perceived value, that is easy to understand and that is priced in accordance to YOUR costs of doing business – you will constantly be dealing with price shoppers, people who say “not right now” and selling will always feel hard.

Step 5: Promotion

The fifth step in the F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Shoots on Autopilot is Promotion.

The biggest mistake I see photographers make when they are trying to find clients and get bookings? 

They place all of their focus and emphasis on this step – when the amount of focus and emphasis literally should be 1/6th of their time and energy! 

AFTER you’ve created your Foundations

AFTER you’ve learned how to tell Stories

 AFTER you have a system in place to own your Traffic and 

AFTER you’ve created your Signature Offer.

— THAT’s when you start to promote and sell.

When you skip steps, guess what happens?

You wonder why your promotions are a flop. 

You wonder you’re struggling to stand out

You’re feeling like your Facebook page is a ghost town

You tell yourself BS stories like “noone is buying photoshoots right now”  

You wonder why you are constantly tired 

and whether having a business is worth it afterall.

The good news is, when you follow my F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Shoots on Autopilot, and you get to step 5 – Promotions,  you’ll use my 8-Step Supercharging Sales System that not only ensures you get bookings on the front end, but you also get a continuous flow of sales through upsells, referrals and repeat sales, well after the shoot has finished.  

Because the difference between the amateurs and the pros when it comes to marketing and sales in your photography business?

Amateurs focus on the front end.

The pros know that when someone books a photoshoot, this is actually just the FIRST STEP in the sales process. 

Step 6: Scale

And the final but maybe the MOST important (and the most overlooked) step in the F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Shoots on Autopilot is Scaling your System. 

Most photographers have it backwards.

They spend all their time thinking about how to promote their Mothers Day offer or Christmas offer or mini session offer or whatever offer it might be. They figure out the pricing and what’s included and create all the social media posts and hope for the best.

And whether that promotion is a flop or a complete success – guess what the next thing they do is?

They move on to the next promotion.

They are constantly starting again, month in, month out.

So what do photographers need instead? They need to SCALE.

So instead of creating date-based promotions that expire and constantly reinventing the wheel, 

They need to create an EVERGREEN promotion to their Signature Offer FIRST.

An evergreen promotion is simply an offer that never dates and is 100% automated. Once you have made even just ONE sale, you can analyse your results by looking at 4 main conversion statistics. From those statistics, you can calculate exactly how many people need to see your offer for you to be able to book the number of shoots you want each month. 

So instead of spending your time and energy starting from scratch every month, you spend your time creating content related to your Core Signature Offer, telling more stories, testing new traffic sources, tweaking your bonuses or sales scripts to get a higher average sale, and adding in layers of paid advertising.

You continue to tweak, test and measure, until your conversion statistics for your Signature Offer meet the industry standards.

Then, and only then, do you move on to the Date Based promotions like Christmas or Mothers Day or mini sessions or whatever..

Using this method, your Evergreen promotion is selling your Core Signature Offer 24/7 – 100% on autopilot for you.

And then any additional seasonal promotions are simply icing on the cake (or in the bank).

Doesn’t that make WAY more sense?

Doesn’t that feel WAY easier?

A portion of your income is cashflow you can control.

The rest of your income is cashflow that comes from creativity.

When you start from scratch each month, you come from a place of lack and scarcity.

When you start each month knowing a portion of your expenses are covered by your Bookings on Autopilot system cashflow on autopilot, it creates SPACE for you to be creative in your business.

6 Step F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Shoots on Autopilot

So to recap: when you follow and implement the F/STOPS Framework™ for Photographers::

  • You’ll have an action plan (and a business) that is aligned with your unique strengths, passions, lifestyle and income goals
  • You’ll learn how to tell stories that are magnetic and connects with your ideal clients. You’ll know exactly what to say and when and help your potential clients to convince themselves they need to work with you (removing any awkward sales conversations altogether)  – how good would that feel?!
  • You have traffic that you OWN so you’re no longer beholden to changing algorithms or third party platforms
  • You will create your own signature system with irresistible inclusions, tailored to your unique style and strengths. You’ll know how to passionately communicate it in a way that eliminates the competition, shows how important and valuable it is and results in more sales, faster. 
  • You’ll have premium polished processes that creates expert status in the eyes of your clients (and yourself)
  • You’ll save hours each week, because you will no longer be posting aimlessly on social media and you’ll cut the time in your inbox and FB messenger by at least half
  • You’ll have more energy, because you’ll no longer be dealing with stress about requests for refunds or discounts or more time to order or chasing people who haven’t ordered – because your systems will answer all of that for you
  • And once you have followed and implemented the entire F/STOPS Framework™, you’ll have a reliable and repeatable system for Bookings and Sales on Autopilot, week in, week out, giving you consistent clients and cashflow – and most importantly – creativity and control.

Sounds pretty amazing right? 

Usually when I tell photographers this, they feel like it sounds too good to be true.

Or they feel like it won’t work for them because of their specific circumstances.

I get this all the time, so I will just cover this right now, so you know whether this will be relevant for you:

Here are some of the common questions i get all the time about my signature F/STOPS Framework 

“I’’m a landscape / wedding / glamour / newborn photographer, will it work for me?” 

This F/STOPS Framework™ can be applied to ANY photographer in any niche: I have clients who have used this system to sell glamour shoots, weddings and engagements, personal branding and corporate headshot sessions, family shoots, newborn and maternity sessions, dog and equine portraits and even real estate, architectural, drone photography and videos and printed landscape artwork.

“I’m just getting started, will it work for me?” or “I’m an established photographer, do I really need this?”

This F/STOPS Framework™ can be applied to ANY photographer at level of experience: I’ve worked with photographers who have never done a paid shoot, who get paid bookings within 15 mins of setting this system live. The sooner you go through the entire Framework and  create your Evergreen Bookings on Autopilot system, the sooner you can leave the job you hate, go on that holiday or simply be the successful photographer you always aspired to be. 

I’ve also worked with 7 figure studio owners who already have a proven systems and clients but know there are leaks in their processes and are leaving money on the table and have made $75k in 3 days from simple tweaks in this system. If you want more control, more consistency and more clients, and what you are doing right now isn’t working, then I would say it’s worth giving it a go, right?

“There’s another software that is cheaper (or free), will this still work for me if I can’t afford to invest in the systems you suggest?”

This F/STOPS Framework™ can be created with free or paid software: I’ll be upfront with you – The tech stack (or in other words, the software combination) that I recommend is not the cheapest. In fact you COULD create the same system with your own website if you really wanted to.  I’ve tested the alternatives (including doing it on my own website) and I recommend the tech stack based on two factors: speed of implementation (and therefore speed of money) and functionality.  The faster you have your system live, the faster you are making sales in your sleep. Who wouldn’t want the fastest option?! And just like we all know when it comes to photography – cheaper is not always the best. In my experience, the cheaper alternatives usually are missing something that seems insignificant but has a big impact on results. I guess the only way to know the best option for you is to weigh up the value of your time and how soon you want to get results. 

“Do I have to invest in paid advertising for this to work for me?”

The first 5 steps of the F/STOPS Framework™  is based entirely on free traffic. Only after you have proven the concept – what I mean by that is that you have made at least ONE booking on autopilot – once you know it works, do I suggest running paid ads. Spending money on Facebook ads or boosting posts is like throwing money down the drain if you don’t have a converting Bookings on Autopilot system to send the ads to.  

If you have other questions about this Framework that I haven’t answered, feel free to hit me up on social media or send us an email to support@clarestephens.com.au and we will make sure we answer them for you!

Thanks so much for listening today – 

As I mentioned at the beginning, you can go and download the Blueprint for my F/STOPS Framework™ for Bookings and Shoots on Autopilot at www.shootbookingsecrets.com/fstops.

And make sure you tune in to the next 6 episodes where I break down exactly what you need within each step to create your Foundations, tell your Stories, own Your Traffic, create your Signature Offer, sell out your Promotion to prove your Bookings on Autopilot system works and then Scale your System 

See you in the next episode!

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Clare xx

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