Featured Photographer: Rhee Bevere
December 15, 2010
How did you get started in photography?
I’ve had an SLR in my hands since the sixth grade, but to go pro took an 8×10 Christmas gift and my old creative director barging into my office to say, “Ya know, you’re pretty good at advertising, but THIS is what you should be doing.” Light bulb moment! That was nine years ago. Sheesh, I’m dating myself.
Who have been your influences in photography?
I’m a wedding storyteller, so I appreciate those who excel at weaving a story and creating emotion the most, including classic cinema and early 20th century masters like Brassai, Frank, and Lange. But I’m constantly moved and impressed with other Bay Area photogs like Tanja Lippert, Anna Kuperberg and Jen Skog who are nothing like my style, but encourage me to take chances and break out every now and again.
How would you define your style of photography?
I call it CinemaFotography. Moment and emotion are everything to me! It’s a little lush but genuine, heavy on things I seek out rather than what’s just there in front of me. I’m constantly shooting and my team has to remind me to drink and eat. Except for cake. Must have cake.
What has helped you grow your business?
My clients. I feel super loved because they tell everyone they know how much fun and easy it was with me.
My clients’ vendors and venues. They would see their clients’ albums or prints and start to recommend me.
My team. Without them I’d be doing a ton of the nitty gritty and wouldn’t have any time to think about next steps and ideas.
My post production and products. My albums are top of the line, as good as I can make ’em. They’re such a huge investment for my clients, and for me – I’m super nit-picky when it comes to design and artworking my images! To have all that work in a substandard or non-proven album would kill me.
My style. There are not many photogs who excel at those little moments. My couples seek me out because that’s exactly what they want.
Our customer service. My studio manager is amazing! Handwritten thank you notes, surprise gifts, follow up calls, timeline help, bustling dresses when everyone’s forgotten how to do it…that’s us!
My fellow photographers! Sometimes they create these amazing products or teach seminars that completely change my workflow. Like the Boutwells or Kevin Kubota with their actions, or YOU with Album Builder and Batch-O-Licious, or Yervant with his retouching tips, or Andrew and Rachel of LaCour developing ShootQ. And of course, the DWF and PPA.
What is one thing that has helped you grow as an artist?
Getting to know other photographers! I love seeing their work and being inspired, or having a network of friends I know I can count on with problems or advice.
What is one failure that helped you grow as a business person/artist?
That’s easy – the economic downturn caught me without as much in the bank as I should have had, and forced me to really look at the business side of what I do. To offset the lack of weddings, I decided to try portraiture, something I was not as strong with, and really force my comfort zone by offering boudoir and baby/child portraiture. Lucky for me all my past clients are having babies right now!
What is one piece of advice that you would give to a person that is in the first few years of their photography business?
Understand your craft, but even more so, understand the business of your craft. Charging next to nothing is fine with the first few weddings or sessions, but then really evaluate how much you want to make from your business and then price yourself accordingly. Fundy, your pricing calculator is a great resource for that very reason. Also, PPA’s Studio Management Services seminar is a MUST.