I’m still amazed that so many photographers are clueless about the two most important ingredients to their success: building relationships and fine-tuning their skill set. Great photographers need both. Neither of them ever stops being important. Year after year, I hear photographers say, “If only I had the money for better gear.”
For the past two months in The Business Corner, we’ve been building your price list from the ground up by first determining a retail value for each product you sell. Last month, we looked at alternatives to the cost-based pricing model, examining products and situations for which cost-based pricing doesn’t work (November 2018, “Your Dream Studio: Strategies Beyond Cost-Based Pricing”). One product we briefly discussed last month that breaks the cost-based mold is digital files. For this month’s theme of digital strategies, let’s further explore how to price and sell digital files.
I remember the switch from film to digital like it was yesterday. And look where we are now. I’m about to write an article about your workflow…and it’s going to be all digital. If I wrote this 15 years ago, a computer wouldn’t even have come into the equation. But what does that mean for you? Has life gotten easier? Nope. It has gotten harder. You have more to do and more possible ways to do it (i.e., screw it up). Clients are more demanding than ever (I actually had one the other day who, after I gave her 10 preview pictures, asked for more before the proofs were ready). Marketing is a constant effort. So how do you keep up and keep your sanity?
Bringing in strategic partners for any project helps expand your reach, creativity and brand awareness. It’s time to expand the concept and go beyond just sharing the cost of production and mailing for a brochure or postcard. Here are a few ideas to start thinking about.
Cost-based pricing is an excellent place to start when trying to determine what to charge for a product, but it doesn’t work for everything. This month, we examine additional factors that may break the cost-based mold. Some strategies allow you to charge more than what cost-based pricing suggests, while others force you to charge less (or get creative).
In addition to being a professional in your field—competent, experienced, skillful—you can leverage your personality simply by being human and allowing those you work with to show their personality as well. This creates much stronger relationships, and people and companies will want to hire you again and again because of how enjoyable it was to work with you.
While it seems that good photography is the biggest factor behind any successful studio, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, you have to produce consistently good imagery and offer a great customer experience, but that is just part of the equation. This month, I provide you with five truths to help you build a brand that outperforms your competitors.
In last month’s Business Corner, we discussed controlling one of the two types of expenses in your business: general expenses, also known as overhead. This month, we examine the other form of spending, cost of sale. Cost of sale includes all money you spend serving a client.
A common mistake that many new photographers make is assuming they keep every dollar they make. Businesses cost money. Whether you only offer digital files or you are a full-service studio, there are still costs involved. Cameras, lenses, memory cards, computers, hard drives, ink, paper, pens, internet, electricity, gas in your car—it adds up. If you’re serious about making money in this business, it’s important to treat it as a business. That means recognizing your expenses and learning to budget for them.
Are you sitting there wondering why your business is struggling? Why your phone is not ringing? Why your email leads are nonexistent? Are you convinced that it’s not your fault? That it’s somehow the Russians? Or even worse, all those dastardly shoot-and-burners? In this article, I show you some ways to change your “luck” and take control of your destiny. The sooner you realize there is plenty of business out there for all of us, the sooner you will start taking a healthy and realistic look at your business—because then and only then will you accept that you control your business.