You just hit post on another set of beautiful photos you took of your kiddos. People are commenting like crazy:
“OMG these are amazing! You should start your own photography studio!”
“ So talented I want you to take pictures of my kids!”
After months and months of seeing comments like these, you figure what the heck, why not start my own photography business!? It would be fun to make money from something I absolutely love doing! You put together a free WIX site and start your own business Facebook page. Your finger twitches with excitement as you push the button to post about your new business launch, including details for a mini event you’re having as a launch promotion. Oh ya baby, you can just see the dollar signs rolling in!! But days later…crickets!
Where are all the people that had been commenting like crazy on the photos you posted of your children?!?!
You decide to research what other photographers are doing in your area.
You price yourself below the other photographers and offer one low fee that includes the session and all the digital artwork. You think to yourself, “There is no way people will be able to resist such a great deal!” After making a couple of social media posts about your new prices, you start to gain some traction and receive some inquiries – Yay!
Fast forward a few months later: you’re burnt out from taking any and every gig to make ends meet, but have nothing in the bank to show for it – NOTHING! You’re stressed; your kids notice; you have no idea how some photographers have a full time profitable studio; you’re simply ready to pull out your hair!
As you think to yourself, “That’s it! I’m DONE!,” you stumble across yet another post in a photography facebook group of someone holding an invoice from their last session showing their total sale as $3,000! “WHAT THE HELL!!!!! What am I doing wrong?!”
Well, let me sum it up for you in one sentence: You’re not treating your photography business as a true business! It takes far more than a few social media posts and a free WIX website to bring in continuous income you can count on. It takes a proven business model, an actual marketing strategy, and knowledge of your numbers to create a price list that will not only cover your costs, but bring in a profit.
Here are my top 3 tips for turning your photography business into a true business:
1. Know your numbers! Don’t rely on the prices the photographer next door is charging. Not only could their cost of doing business be completely different from yours, but they could be struggling just as much – or more – than you are. You never know what’s really happening in someone else’s business, so ignore your competition and focus on you! Not sure how to determine your cost of doing business? Don’t worry I’ve got your back! Check out my cost of doing business (CODB) calculator to determine what you really need to charge:
2. Be an expert! Set yourself up as an expert in one particular type of photography, instead of dabbling in all kinds. People pay for those who perfect their craft. Choose a niche that will set you up for long term success. For example, maternity and newborn photography. Catch your ideal clients at conception and they will become your most loyal customers! They will use you for all their photography needs.
3. Correct your pricing! Create a pricing structure that attracts your target audience and not the deal seekers. Research pricing structures to find one that will bring in at least the minimum revenue needed per client, yet have no ceiling so clients will purchase far beyond your expectations.
Just remember, dreams taste sweeter once they’re crusted first. We all experience failures in our life, but those who truly succeed are the ones who learn from their mistakes and become stronger because of them. Don’t let your crushed dreams hold you back from accomplishing your goals. As the wise Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figure-out-able, you can create a business and life you love!”