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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 10 Apr 2017 (Monday) 14:58
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ckjm
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Apr 10, 2017 14:58 |  #1

Hey there!

After shooting wildlife for a few years, I've found that people are just as fun and bears and puffins. So I've started doing photoshoots on a limited basis. Last year I offered a few free sessions just to experiment and learn the ropes, and I felt that - excluding the inevitable awkwardness of a rookie - it went well enough to pursue and start charging a bargain of a deal at $20 for 15-20 photos, fully edited on the client's personal card/flash drive/device. At the end of the day, I'm just looking for beer money and an excuse to obsess further over my hobby. But my question is, how did you get started? How did you market yourself and attract clients? I've got a fair amount of competition (some of which I feel I provide a better product at a cheaper price) and I want to stand out more. I place up ads on community forums and will be printing ads to hang on community billboards soon as well. Any advice is well appreciated as I'm extremely new to the business side of this... but ready to move to the next step!

Thanks!




  
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breal101
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Apr 11, 2017 11:31 |  #2

If you can't compete at the market rate it means you aren't ready. Trying to undercut the market is a sure fire path to disaster. Eventually you will tire of working for peanuts and have to raise rates to survive. You will find that raising your rate isn't easy, you already established that you are the cheap guy.

One of my mentors told me not to worry about the guys who charge less, they are in the best position to know what their work is worth.


"Try to go out empty and let your images fill you up." Jay Maisel

  
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PhotosGuy
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Apr 11, 2017 11:50 |  #3

Links are in:
At a Cross Road (career advice needed)


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Scott ­ Spellman
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Apr 11, 2017 23:49 |  #4

Real help will require much more info on the types of photography you want to offer, your location, and an evaluation of your current skills. Your location is absolutely critical to all your business and marketing efforts. Personally, if you can't sustain business on the refferals of your current clients, you are in for a very rough ride.




  
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HammerCope
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Apr 13, 2017 12:13 |  #5

Charge market price for your work. In my opinion if you cant do that then all you are doing is helping run the profession in to the ground.


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CygnusStudios
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Post edited over 1 year ago by CygnusStudios.
     
Apr 13, 2017 12:57 |  #6

I've made my living with a camera for a little more than 25 years now and never once have I ever seen an accurate "market price" for any type of photography.

There have always been those will do it for cheap and there have always been those who charge a lot, and every point in between.

What Joe blow down the street charges has nothing to do with me or how I price my time, experience and the ability to deliver. You start worrying about what everyone else is doing and you'll end up driving yourself nuts trying to figure out why.

Like any business, you need a plan. What are your true costs? studio, equipment, insurance, materials, etc. What are the costs of acquiring clients? What are your replacement costs? Then you have to begin factoring in what does it take to make a profit. What will it take to expand your business? Don't forget your legal fees. Lawyers and accountants don't work for free and if you're successful you'll be using both. Also, don't forget about your not so silent partner (the IRS) who needs their cut of every dollar you make.

All of these factors (and more) are different for each individual business and this is why you can't always use the competition to determine what you need to make to operate your business.

Guessing at what you need to earn per hour/day/month/year is a sure way to fail in business.

A big part of your business plan will include who your potential clients are. Once you know who they are, you need to find out where they are. Your marketing needs to be tailored made to attract these potential clients. Showing up and delivering every single time is the best marketing you'll ever have. Always remember that a happy customer will share the experience with their limited circle, but an unhappy customer will tell the world. Never, ever, fail to deliver.

I could spend hours telling you how our studio attracts and maintains clients but that isn't necessarily going to help you in your business. Including myself we have six full time photographers, two full time assistants, and two full time office staff. On top of that my agent takes a percentage off the top. That doesn't include the contract employees we bring in for extra large projects or the extra materials that we use on a regular basis that most other photographers wouldn't dream of needing. So our rates are probably going to be quite higher than most individual photographers who are working full or part time even if they are in the same market. An individual commercial product photographer shooting for mom and pop stores probably isn't going to get the same rate that we get for shooting for ad agencies even though we are in the exact same business.

Think about it like this. Toyota and Bugatti both make cars, but the prices are vastly different. If you went out and started up a car company which end of the spectrum would you be on or would you be somewhere in between?


The business of photography is different than the love of taking pretty pictures. There are millions of people who can take beautiful pictures that would have no chance of running a successful business.

My advice to you if you are serious about running a business is to learn business. Take some business classes, find a mentor, do whatever it takes to learn how to successfully run a business. Learn how to determine your costs down to the penny. Learn how to do some marketing or hire it out. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in the idea that pretty pictures are going to be all it takes.


Steve
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Apr 14, 2017 08:57 |  #7

CygnusStudios wrote in post #18327061 (external link)
Like any business, you need a plan. What are your true costs? studio, equipment, insurance, materials, etc. What are the costs of acquiring clients? What are your replacement costs? Then you have to begin factoring in what does it take to make a profit. What will it take to expand your business? Don't forget your legal fees. Lawyers and accountants don't work for free and if you're successful you'll be using both. Also, don't forget about your not so silent partner (the IRS) who needs their cut of every dollar you make.

Guessing at what you need to earn per hour/day/month/year is a sure way to fail in business.

A big part of your business plan will include who your potential clients are. Your marketing needs to be tailored made to attract these potential clients. Showing up and delivering every single time is the best marketing you'll ever have. Never, ever, fail to deliver.

Take some business classes, find a mentor, do whatever it takes to learn how to successfully run a business. Learn how to determine your costs down to the penny. Learn how to do some marketing or hire it out. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in the idea that pretty pictures are going to be all it takes.

Steve,

Your extremely serious, all-or-nothing advice doesn't seem to be very pertinent, considering the OP's mindset and goals:

ckjm wrote in post #18324424 (external link)
Hey there!

After shooting wildlife for a few years, I've found that people are just as fun and bears and puffins!

At the end of the day, I'm just looking for beer money and an excuse to obsess further over my hobby.

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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tacoman1423
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Apr 16, 2017 14:47 |  #8

Getting started would take a good amount of patience. When I started, I advertised myself to both cold and warm markets, at the same time I let them know that I what my skill level was at the time I was just somewhat of beginner hence the price I offer reflected my skill level. As I continued to grow, my pricing reflected the growth. As for continuing advertisement, most of my clients were word of mouth, networked clients. Facebook and my website helped too when my client 'stock' was low and introduced me to new clients not networked to my existing clients.

So basically, just be confident and put yourself out there, the worst thing they can say is "No." Don't advertise a product at is beyond what you are able to provide, skill wise. But continue to grow and learn the art of photography. And be patient.


Averion Photography (external link)
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CygnusStudios
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Apr 17, 2017 10:54 |  #9

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18327664 (external link)
Steve,

Your extremely serious, all-or-nothing advice doesn't seem to be very pertinent, considering the OP's mindset and goals:

.

Whether someone is opening a "real" business or a "fun" business, the liabilities are exactly the same. Sure if the client sues your "fun" business because you failed to deliver or maybe because because they got hurt on the set, I'm sure that the judge will take into consideration that the photographer was only doing it for beer money. Maybe the IRS will be just as considerate.

Imho if someone is going to play business, they should take into consideration all the liabilities that come with it.

I'm sure that many get away with half a***ng it all the time, but is everyone that lucky?


Steve
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