Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographer’s Kickstart

This week I had the privilege of interviewing Jessica Grieves, of Bubblegum Tree Photography, and the author/designer of the new Photographer’s Kickstart program. And as a BONUS - we also have a contest where you can win the Kickstart Training Module. Scroll to the end of the interview for contest details and your chance to win. If you have ever dreamed of teaching photography, now is your chance to make an impact and money at the same time.

Jessica, tell us about your photography studio? How long in business?  What type of photography?

  • I started my photography business just about four years ago when I was pregnant for my second child.  I had not gone back to work after the birth of my son and was looking for something creative I could do stay active.  I specialize in newborn and preschool age casual outdoor photography although I will occasionally pick up an engagement session or band photo just to mix things up.  About three years ago I also added in teaching beginner’s photography classes which has been great fun!  I am currently working mainly on-location although I do share a loft space downtown with some other businesses for times I need to meet with clients or need a starting point for urban photo shoots.

Bubblegum Tree Child Photo 1 Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographers Kickstart
pin it4 Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographers Kickstart

What was the moment you knew you were meant to be a photographer?

  • I never really had an “ah-ha” moment where suddenly I knew.  After the birth of my son photography was so much more important to me and like everything I do, I did it 110%.  I went to workshops and classes and studied online so that I could improve my technique and my technical know-how.  I started out really just wanting to take better pictures of my own family and stumbled into a photography business.  There are few things I can think of that are as important as having photographs of your family – both portraits and candid – that can be reflected upon as time marches on.

Bubblegum Tree Newborn Photo 1 600x428 Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographers Kickstart
pin it4 Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographers Kickstart

How did you get started teaching photography classes to moms?

  • A few years ago I was asked to be a guest speaker at a mother’s share group in my area to talk about taking better pictures of your own children.  For that talk I developed my “10 Tips for Photographing Your Kids” which worked out to be about a one hour talk.  Perfect for a mom’s group.  After I gave that talk to a couple of other moms groups, I started getting email requests to offer a more detailed class that went over how to use their cameras too.  Given the explosion in DSLRs and that the price to attain one keeps going down, more and more moms have these “fancy” camera and use them essentially like a point and shoot.  I met with a few moms that were interested in learning more about how to use their camera as a focus group to find out what they really wanted to know, and built a class around that.
  • I make between $250-$800 for every three hour class I teach – and the best part is that now that my materials are created, I spend almost no time outside of the class doing prep work which means my hourly rate for a class runs from $60-$200/hr depending on the number of participants in a class and including travel time.  Figure out your hourly rate for a portrait session and for most of us, this is a GREAT add-on income (I usually consider $45/hr my “take home” from a portrait session so I love the classes because it works out to a higher hourly rate in most cases).

Bubblegum Tree Engagement Photo 600x428 Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographers Kickstart
pin it4 Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographers Kickstart

How long have you been teaching and how has the class changed?

  • Back before I was a photographer, I actually traveled the country teaching a programming class and then started working internally for another company teaching their staff how to use new software we were implementing so the teaching part comes naturally to me.  I’ve been teaching this beginner’s photography class in some form for the last 3 years.  I’ve updated the slides over time as I see areas where I get a lot of questions or that are topics that are harder to understand.  I also recently added in some more advanced topics for those moms that are maybe a little ahead of the pack.

What is the Photographer’s Kick Start: Training module?

  • Over time I had a number of photographers contact me to ask me questions about my training materials and formula for pricing my classes. When it got to a the point where I had multiple photographers asking me in the same week, I knew there was a need for a product to help get them started in creating their own training program. To be honest, I think the biggest hurdle in creating a beginner’s photography class is putting together the class materials.  I know I spent considerable time coming up with an outline and building a presentation.  It is much easier to customize something to use for yourself, than to start from scratch.   There was a huge trend in photographer’s offering classes to moms as a way to generate extra revenue – especially during those months where portrait sessions are light.  January was a HUGE month for me for photography classes because it seemed everyone got a new camera for Christmas.  So I went back and took a hard look at my training materials, and from there built a full product that photographers could purchase to use as a foundation to offer photography classes.

Who is the Photographer’s Kick Start: Training module designed for?

  • The package is designed for photographers who want to start teaching photography classes to moms in their market.  The materials include a 55+ slide Powerpoint (and Keynote) presentation with detailed speaker notes covering tips for photographing your children, the elements of exposure, the basic camera modes, and lenses in addition to the advanced material covering shooting in Av mode, manual mode, and changing your focus point (the three areas I am most frequently asked to cover when I teach advanced classes).  In addition, all the PSD files for the slide background and all the diagrams are included so you can customize them to match your branding.  And there are additional materials to help you with pricing, marketing, and customizing the materials for different audiences.  The materials can be completely used as they come but I recommend that you personalize them with your own family photos to make it easier for you to talk about the photos.

What is the price of the Photographer’s Kick Start: Training module?

  • The retail price for the materials is $299 and includes a one year listing in our online photographer’s directory at iwanttoshootmykids.  The directory is already sending potential customers to photographers offering classes.  However, readers of the MCP Actions site can use the discount code “mcpactions50″ to save $50 off the retail price.  You should be able to make back the purchase price with your first class.

And now for your chance to win! CONTEST DETAILS!!!

To enter: Add your comment to this interview post (not on Facebook) and let us know why you might want to teach basic photography skills to new camera users in your area. The winner will be picked at random on Sunday. If you decide to buy now, and you win, your purchase price will be refunded!

Plus get bonus contest entries:

 Interview & Contest with Jessica Grieves of Photographers Kickstart

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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397 Comments and 0 Replies


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  1. 301

    I follow MCP on twitter @sweetdaisyphoto

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    Jessica says:

    When I was younger I always wanted to be a teacher – specifically art or reading. Now I create art for others but still have a passion for teaching, it would be great to have something put together I could use to get started as this is an idea I’ve been thinking about for a few months before even hearing about the Kick start training guide.

  5. 305
    Jessica says:

    Follow on twitter!

  6. 306
    Jenny D. says:

    I’m a FB fan! Great giveaway, thanks!

  7. 307
    Deborah says:

    I always have people wanting me to teach them how to use their DSLR. It would be great to have teaching material to help them learn

  8. 308
    Deborah says:

    I follow on Twitter

  9. 309

    Thanks for this! You guys rock!!

  10. 310
    Heather Perry says:

    I help run a Moms group and there are many more in my area. This would be a great way to make some extra cash. Especially with baby #2 on the way.

  11. 311
    Deborah says:

    I’m a fan on FB

  12. 312
    Deborah says:

    Already subscribed to the RSS feed

  13. 313

    I believe that by teaching basic photography skills to people in my area, I’d be able to “show” them why custom photography is so important versus chain stores…and maybe prove to them the reason for the cost that they shy away from.

  14. 314
    Lauri Glenn says:

    Very interesting interview! I have started teaching Photoshop through my local community education office. During the two classes I have taught so far, most of the attendees have asked me to teach photography classes. Since photography is my passion I would love to integrate teaching how to take better pictures with how to tweak your pictures through editing.

  15. 315
    Bunny Kramer says:

    I love teaching nearly as much as I love photography! I take special joy in watching people (moms in particular!) feel competent and successful.

  16. 316

    I would love to start teaching moms to be photographers. We totally have the market here and I love to teach local moms a way to generate extra revenue. Clients have been asking me for pointers and classes already. Would love to experience this class. Thank you

  17. 317
    Bunny Kramer says:

    and I’m a MCP facebook fan!

  18. 318

    So many moms ask me photography questions and it would be great to be able to teach them some skills. We live in a rural area, with not many photography resources available to us. Offering a photography class here would be great!

  19. 319
    Vicki says:

    There is a huge demand for this in my neck of the woods. I would love to have the information to be able to teach a class like this & I would LOVE to win!!

  20. 320
    Brandi Nunez says:

    i would like to teach basic photography skills because it is such an open form of art and can be interpreted in many different ways. teaching it to others gives room for their interpretation that others may not have experienced.

  21. 321
    JulieP says:

    What a fabulous idea! I think this course would be perfect for my area!

  22. 322
    Kipi says:

    Love to teach and always looking for new material!

  23. 323
    Kipi says:

    Follow you on Twitter!

  24. 324
    Kipi says:

    Facebook fan!

  25. 325
    Johanna Burleson says:

    There are so many moms in my area who have no clue how to use their cameras and want so badly to capture family moments. I would love to be able to help them. I know I wish I had had more help when I first got a camera.

  26. 326
    Kipi says:

    RSS subscriber!

  27. 327
    Bridgette says:

    Wow…this couldn’t come at a better time. I just spent yesterday at the park with moms telling them about their cameras. It would be great to get paid for it.

  28. 328
    joshua says:

    Dads need this, too, in this economy.
    I’ve got a “fancy” camera and love learning more about it. I like to shoot my kids.

  29. 329
    pam mals says:

    I’ve been running into new moms and grandmothers lately that just struggle with poor snapshots of the kids. I have been seriously considering something like this.

  30. 330
    Christina says:

    I’m just starting my photography business after years of hoping to take this step! I’m looking for ways to diversify my business and teaching photography classes would not only give me an opportunity for another revenue stream, but I’d also like to volunteer my time to some organizations to make sure my company is always giving back to the community.

  31. 331
    Joanne Thomas says:

    I get so excited about photography–I am always teaching someone something or at least offering. I love to share what I have learned from people like MCP who so graciously give their time and share their knowledge. Check out my flickr page and you will see that I include all the how too’s on how I achieved a certain picture–and talk about my mistakes and shortcomings as a photographer and how to improve. I think there is enough business in the world to support photographers who strive to improve and offer a good product–a creative image. I appreciate all the blogs and school on the net who help me to be better about my passion.

    I have “liked” MCP on facebook for quite a while now as well as flickr and also have the Html code banner ad for MCP on my flickr profile–

    flickr photostream is under the name of Belladoja.

    Thanks so much for all the opportunities you offer. Joanne

  32. 332
    Jill Ellison says:

    Since becoming a photographer I have had sooo many questions from friends about using my camera. I would love to be able to answer all these in once place like a class. There are tons of moms out there with great cameras just wanting good pics of their kids and the majority know nothing about manual or light or any of that.

  33. 333
    BruceF says:

    I find myself teaching/helping out people with their photography all the time. Especially when they see the big camera hanging off my neck. I love to see their eyes light up when I give them a tip on how to improve their own photography, regardless of their camera, and it just clicks within them. It would be great if I could do this on a regular, structured basis.

  34. 334
    Amy McDow says:

    I would love to have the resources to help people in my area further their photography skills. I have taught a few workshops, but learned quickly that organization is key. It sounds like a wonderful program and a great opportunity for us all. Thank you for the interview…wheels are turning!

  35. 335
    Tami Wilson says:

    I would love to win this! I have so many friends and clients who own DSLRs and would love to know how to take better everyday pics of their families. I’d love to share the love of photography with others.

  36. 336

    I’ve had people ask me to teach them and there is not a single place ANYWHERE around here in pretty much a 50 mile radius that does anything to do with teaching photography. This wouldn’t just be a fun en devour, but it would be more than welcomed and needed up here for everyone and anyone!

    I’m also a facebook fan. Twitter follower. And an RSS subscriber :)

  37. 337
    Becky says:

    I have had a lot of requests for this type of class but since I am only starting my second year in business…I have so much more to do for my business and don’t have time to put a class together!

  38. 338
    Melissa says:

    In my pre-motherhood life, I have taught everything from HR training classes to cooking classes. My journey into photography has me as interested in teaching as it does shooting for clients. I’ve already taught a class for 12 MWCs, but this would be perfect to have the curriculum already road tested. There is CERTAINLY a need for this. When I decided to teach my original group, I sent the invitation to 15 people who have asked about getting better photos with their DSLRs — still on automatic since purchase. Of the 15 invited, 14 signed up. The need is clear.

  39. 339
    Carrie harrison says:

    Great way to educate those with DSLR’s and help them take better pictures. I get lots of people who ask how to do different things, this would be great!

  40. 340
    Carrie says:

    I’m a fan on facebook

  41. 341
    Carrie says:

    I follow on twitter

  42. 342

    I want to teach photography to others in my area as a way to give back to all the photographers who helped me. Kinda like paying it forward!

  43. 343
    Danielle says:

    This would be fantastic. I run a mothers group and am a freelance photographer/designer. What a great idea to put the 2 together!

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    becky says:

    I’d love to be able to help people get their cameras of “auto” and start shooting more creatively and being confident at it. However, I don’t see myself as much of a teacher and would love some guidelines on how to do it!

  46. 346
    linda says:

    I love photography and also love to teach…this would be great thanks for doing this!

  47. 347
    Sarah Watson says:

    Wonderful contest, and fabulous idea by Jessica.
    I’d love to be in a position to teach beginner photography skills. I have a group of friends, all new mums desperate to learn to take decent photographs of their babies. All new mums are susceptable to post natal depression, and being in a group environment, learning a new skill with the support of others in a similar situation, learning something for them that can get them their confidence back would be PERFECT. What a fantastic way to get through what can be a rough time and ending up with some skillzz!! xxx

  48. 348
    Sarah Watson says:

    I’m already a FB Fan xxx

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    Sarah Watson3@btinternet.com says:

    I’m a follower xxx

  51. 351

    RSS feed subscriber also. :) I love your blog!

  52. 352

    love to share ideas and want people to have better photos of themselves and their kids, and sharing is good karma and I could always use some of that! :-)

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  54. 354

    I would love to teach people in my area the basics of use of their camera because~ People think because you buy a nice camera it means instant framable artwork…but the green square is just the beginning. I want to teach them that their new camera is capable of so much more:)

  55. 355

    tweet tweet!

    @JKingPhotog

  56. 356
    Sarah Watson says:

    I subscribe to your RSS Feeds xxx
    Fingers crossed, I SO want to win this one!

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    Sarah Watson says:

    I’m a follower, tweet tweet xxx

  60. 360

    Tweeted: @CatMariePhotog

  61. 361
    Andrea says:

    i’m a mom to a handicap child and i would love, love to teach other moms with disabled children how to take good pictures of their children. for families like ours it is next to impossible to get a decent family photo taken and actually feel good about it because it’s so difficult and usually an uncomfortable process. plus, most of the time the posed pictures make our disabled children not look very good. so snapshots and candids are usually all we have and what other moms can learn to take better and enjoy more if they are given the opportunity. i want to help my friends with the same issues i have, to get good pictures of their special children too!

  62. 362
    andrea says:

    i follow MCP on facebook :) thx!

  63. 363
    Kelly says:

    I NEED the guide because I’m always telling moms I know to just read their camera manuals because I have no idea how much to charge them + how to go about doing what I need to do to teach + have it worth their wile. I’m an Army wife so we move, on average, twice a year. Doing photography AND teaching photography are great gigs to do in a lifestyle like we have as they can go any where.

  64. 364
    Kelly says:

    I am a fan of MCP on FB!

  65. 365
    Kelly says:

    And a follower on Twitter!

  66. 366
    Jen Stephens says:

    I would love to teach basic camera skills to new photographers in my area! I’ve actually had some clients approach me about training them in the basics of using their DSLR’s Photography is my passion and I want to share that passion with as many people as I can. So many new parents and families want to become more proficient with their cameras to capture important memories in their lives and I’m only to happy to help! The Photographer’s Kick Start would be a perfect tool to get me started!

  67. 367
    Tammy says:

    I was very fortunate to have a coworker take me under his wing and teach me a lot about photography when I got my first SLR about 8 yrs ago. I love being able to give back & I have so many friends asking me for camera advice now that I would love to be able to offer a class like this to moms in my area. I love this idea!

  68. 368
    Jamie Ronck says:

    I am a yearbook teacher. I would love to do a better job of teaching photography to my yearbook students as well as others in the area.

  69. 369

    Thanks for doing this!

  70. 370
    Kim People says:

    I can’t begin to count the times both friends and family have asked me photography questions! I’d love to be able to teach a class but am overwhelmed at the thought of where to begin and what I would need to do so. I would LOVE to win the Photographer’s Kick Start Training Module! This program would definitely help to point me in the right direction and save me alot of headaches.

  71. 371
    ali b. says:

    I am involved with a lot of military moms through my work as well as social connections (I live in a huge military base area so there are a lot of young moms with young children) and I would love to be able to offer basic photography skills to these moms so they can capture moments of their little ones while their hubands are TDY or off fighting in a different country!

  72. 372

    I would love to win the how to teach basic photography skills to people in my area. I live in a small rural community and there is not a class like this, not has there ever been. I know there is a need – I have had people ask me already!!! I just am not sure where to start!! :o)

  73. 373
    Cathy W says:

    This is a great contest. I’m am a total newcomer to the photography business. I’ve been taking pictures for many years, but recently decided to take my love for photography and turn it into a business and I’m trying to do it on a very tight budget. This would be of great help to me and my family.

  74. 374
    traci says:

    this is so ironic because i was asked by 3 moms in the last week if they could meet with me so i could show them how to use their cameras! seriously, i am not kidding. i’m all for sharing the knowledge but when it’s in my own hometown, i was kind of thinking i don’t want to just give it away. this would be awesome to put together a program to offer and make a little income! wow, i think fate brought me here tonight! :)

  75. 375
    Rosanna says:

    I always wanted to be a teacher but my passion for photography grew after I had my own children. I now have my own photography business but would LOVE to teach others about their cameras and my love for photography as well!

  76. 376
    jen says:

    I want people to be able to feel as good as I do when you get the perfect shot.

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    Jacqueline C says:

    I would love the module because I consistently asked for tips from my clients.

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    I have your button on my blog list.

  79. 379
    Jacqueline C says:

    I am already a fan on fb!

  80. 380

    I would love to be able to help those who are just getting a new SLR camera. I am a homeschool mom and love teaching. And I would love to be able to help children who are interested in photography, such as 4-H groups, homeschool groups, etc. I have my fingers crossed for a win!

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    Terri says:

    I love being able to pay it forward and teach photography to anyone whoe is interested in learning.

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    Kelly says:

    I would love this little kit!!! I have so many moms in my MOPS group as about vairous photography things this would be a wonderful tool to use to actaully do a presentation on such things!!! How awesome!!! I would love to share my love of photography with others in a helpeful way!

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    Kelly says:

    I follow/like on FB.

  84. 384

    I think its great to teach others the basics of photography so they can produce stunning images of their everyday lives.
    Its also a fabulous income supplement!

  85. 385
    Lisa says:

    I might want to because I recently did a one-on-one training at a coffee shop with a mom friend of mine who wanted to know how to use her camera and she said, “You know you could teach this like a class.” Tada!

  86. 386
    Jeannie says:

    I’ve always had a great love of learning and have always been the “academic type.” I think teaching a small class for moms would be totally suit me.

  87. 387
    Jeannie says:

    Of course I follow MCP on Twitter!

  88. 388
    Jeannie says:

    MCP actions FB fan page is the way I get first notice on the latest.

  89. 389
    Jeannie says:

    I have MCP’s RSS on my reader, too!

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    donnab says:

    What a great idea-what mom doesn’t want to take better pictures of her children!

  91. 391

    I would love to teach basic photography to others in my area simply because I have a lot of people that ask me to mentor or teach them and I’m always scared because I have a hard time explaining things in a way that someone else would understand so I think this would erally help me overcome my fears and help me to better help others!

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    I’d love to share some of my experiences and “expertise” (this term used very loosely) with some other Moms that want to capture images of their little ones.

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    Johanna B says:

    I would love to start teaching photography! I already have had people requesting I do, however I don’t have a formal ‘course work’ assembled. Please- I would LOVE to try this program :)


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