How a photographer landed top TikTok stars as clients

Tati Bruening

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A year ago, Tati Bruening became obsessed with TikTok and would sit and scroll for hours. 

Then she got an idea: What if she could take photos of these rising stars for her Instagram? 

"I saw the potential in the talent and the e-boy scene," Bruening said. "These are good looking boys that could have a career in modeling, why aren't we taking advantage of this?"

This week, I wrote about how the 19-year-old photographer (known as Illumitati online) has built a business taking fashion portraits of top TikTok stars like Chase Hudson and Avani Gregg. Hudson, aka Lil Huddy, is obsessed with fashion, and Bruening has taken dozens of photos of him in looks styled by 23-year-old fashion stylist Tabitha Sanchez.

Together, Bruening and Sanchez have worked on shoots for TikTok creators like Sienna Mae Gomez (7.9 million followers), Larray (17.9 million followers), and Willy Wonka TikTok (16 million followers). 

How did Bruening first reach these Gen-Z stars?

To land her first subjects, she used Instagram to catch their attention, and sent dozens of simple messages like "Let's shoot!" to creators. 

By the end of May, Bruening had her first studio session with TikTok star Zieler, who had under 100,000 followers at the time. 

"Eventually, I got to this point where Lil Huddy DM'd me and said, 'Hey, when are we shooting?'" she said. "A bunch of these really, really awesome people started having interest in me, and I think that was after I had done a shoot with luvanthony and became connected with TalentX." 

Read more about Bruening's photography business here.

The email template an influencer uses to turn gifting offers into paying deals

Emma Cortes Influencer lifestyle
Emma Cortes

Instagram influencer Emma Cortes has about 38,000 followers and she booked $40,000 in brand deals in 2019.

She works with brands on creating fashion and lifestyle content and strategically negotiates with the brands to turn their offers into long-term, paying deals — even if the brand only offered a gift. 

My colleague Sydney Bradley spoke with Cortes about her negotiation strategy, which she breaks down step-by-step, and an email template she uses.

"I never really give a flat rate," Cortes said. Instead, she provides a range.

Right now, her average rates are between $1,500 to $2,500 for an in-feed Instagram post and a few story slides, she said. Business Insider verified these rates (and her income) through documentation provided by Cortes.

So far, this strategy has allowed Cortes to secure some five-figure deals that are multi-month contracts, she said.

Read the email template Cortes uses for turning a gifting opportunity into a paid brand deal here.

A full-time candle maker earns more money from YouTube videos about her products than from selling them

Erica Boucher

Erica Boucher, 26, lives in California and makes soy wax candles for a living. 

Boucher quit her job in June and made the switch to selling candles full time after being accepted into YouTube's Partner Program.

Now, Boucher earns a big chunk of her money through YouTube videos about her business.

I spoke with Boucher about her business and broke down exactly how much money she makes on YouTube and in Etsy sales.  

"The pandemic happened and I wasn't working at my full-time job, but I didn't know how long that would last," she said. "I had a little bit more time to work on my business and it absolutely exploded. Honestly, my YouTube channel and Instagram have brought so much traffic and helped me grow my shop."

Some candle YouTubers, like Boucher, are part of a community of creators who make more money in YouTube ad revenue than they do in their main gig. For instance, one Minnesota farmer makes more money talking about farming on YouTube than from his crops.

Year-to-date, she's earned $14,320 from YouTube ads, according to screenshots of her creator dashboard viewed by Business Insider. She saves 25% of every check from YouTube for taxes, she said.

This post is the latest installment of Business Insider's YouTube money logs, where creators break down how much they earn.

Read how much money she's earned on YouTube by month here.

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YouTube channels made money off of fake election results livestreams with thousands of viewers

On Election Day, YouTube channels — including one with more than 1 million subscribers — livestreamed fake election results to tens of thousands of people.

Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge found three fake elections results broadcasts that had advertisements playing before them.

The top four videos in the YouTube search results for "Presidential Election Results" were broadcasting a fake graphic displaying an Electoral College projection hours before any state's polls closed.

After Insider emailed YouTube with links to three of the fake broadcasts, the platform took down the videos Insider flagged. The platform said the streams violated YouTube's policies on "spam, deceptive practices, and scams."

Read the full post here.

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FILE PHOTO: A Vote sign directs voters to an early polling station for the March 3 Super Tuesday primary in Santa Ana California, U.S., February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Vote sign directs voters to an early polling station for the March 3 Super Tuesday primary in Santa Ana California

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