This week we head out to California to sit down with Renee Bowen who owns Renee Bowen Photography and also runs a successful coaching business for photographers.
SeniorInspire I see on your Facebook page you have a new puppy. Tell us about him.
Renee Bowen Yep! His name is Bodhi, and we think he’s mostly German Shepherd (but yes, we are those people who will do a DNA test because we just HAVE to know). We lost our golden two years ago (she helped me raise my kids and was THE most amazing dog … so my husband and I were too heartbroken to even think about another dog for a really long time.) Then, last year, my husband started trying to convince me to get a puppy; he’s an actor and had a LOT of time at home, and he also had a pretty big trauma he wanted to work on regarding German Shepherds. He was attacked by one when he was seven & nearly lost his eye (the dog bit his entire face). All these years, he has loved our dog but deep down, he really kept his distance — never truly trusting any dog. So he made the decision to do some work on this and figured the best way would be to raise his own German Shepherd. I was reluctant because I’m just so busy and at the studio most of the week, but caved when we found this little rescue — he is SO precious. I told my husband to think of me as the cool Aunt who babysits and gives treats but isn’t going to be the one raising this dog 😜. He’s an incredibly smart little guy and is really just what our family needed right now. My cats aren’t too happy about this development, but they’re training him!
SI Before we talk about Level Up, I remember you being involved in the old Seniors Ignite. Describe that experience.
RB I loved being involved with Seniors Ignite! I joined as a way to help market my senior business way back in 2010 or so, and I was asked to become a speaker/educator with them in 2015. Jen and Nancy took me under their wings and taught me everything they knew. I’m forever grateful to them because I didn’t even know I would LIKE teaching until they threw me into the fire. Turns out, I kinda love it 😊 I miss all the amazing shoots we did — it was a great group of photographers and I’m still friends with so many members!
SI There are a bunch of examples of new social media platforms getting super hot and then fizzling a slow death — think Periscope which is shutting down this year. Explain why we will still be on Clubhouse a year from now.
RB Well, most social media “experts” are saying that Clubhouse is not only here to stay but that it’ll be a leader in that world. I tend to agree with them, but just like any platform, I think it will definitely go through some changes. As more people gain access to it, it will be interesting to see features they add or change/take away. I personally like it and think it’s an amazing opportunity while it’s still new and in beta. There are tons of rooms with amazing photographers just dropping killer knowledge for free — as well as amazing business education.
SI Who wins a cage match between Gen Z and the Millennials?
RB Ha! Well, anyone who knows me, knows that I love me some Gen Z. So my money’s on them. 🙂 As a generation, they are just so fun to research (which I do a lot of). I think they’re pretty awesome and I absolutely love working with them.
SI If animals could talk, which would be the most annoying.
RB Birds — because they are already annoying.
SI You have to give up either photography or mentoring photographers. Which one do you keep doing?
RB Tough call but ultimately, I don’t think I could ever stop shooting … even if it were just for fun. I absolutely love mentoring and coaching photographers and I’ve learned so much doing that over the years — not just about them, or how to be a better coach, but also about myself. But I can’t imagine never being able to shoot again!
SI If a new photographer has $100 to spend on a new prop, what's going to be the best bang for his or her buck?
RB Okay this one stumped me lol! I don’t really use props in my biz but I guess if I had to say something that was useful … it would probably be to invest in a “shoot emergency bag” — with all the reinforcements you’d need to McGyver any situation on set. 🙂
SI Okay, let's talk about Level Up. What is it and how do people sign up for it?
RB Level Up is my deep dive Senior Photography course and coaching program that helps photographers start or revamp their business and scale to six figures. Currently, it includes four months of group coaching, as well as every single thing I have done — and still do — in my senior business. The online course portion of it covers everything from mindset, to finding your target clients, to editorial shooting/posing — as well as ALL the templates and emails I use in my business, and is infused with marketing throughout. It’s the most in depth senior photography course out there and I continually add to it, as I test new marketing tactics in my own business. It also includes other courses I created, like the Influencer Model Program and my Psychology of Pricing course.
I wanted to create something that was a one stop shop for senior photography and provide as much value as I possibly could. I have a BA in Psychology, and in 2019, I completed certification to be an NLP Life Coach & Hypnotherapist, so I coach my students not just in business but also in all things personal development. I’ve found that most of the time, it’s the limiting beliefs that get in our way. Our businesses are reflections of who we are, what is happening in our subconscious minds — and our HABITS.
A good coach will help uncover what’s really keeping someone stuck and give real strategies to change it, but ultimately, the work is done by the student. I have loved offering this type of course to photographers and I’m currently reworking some of its structure, so it will be changing this year. It’s not for everyone — it’s a commitment for sure, so anyone who is interested in it can book a call with me, so we can chat about whether it’s right for them. They can find more info here.
SI Looks like our time is up. Thanks for sitting down with us today!
People, if you're looking to up your photography business game, go check out Level Up. You won't be disappointed!