The money in the traditional photography business

I recently ran into someone who has been in the photography business for a long time.  I was thinking about ways that she can make her business soar although I have very little experience in the industry.  However, general business skills apply to all industries.  I scoured the web and found some good postings too.

  • 1. The money is in the printed products.  You should charge a premium for digital photos (or negatives).  I had a friend who just sent out her holiday cards.  All of the photos were taken by a professional photography and the photographer got the holiday cards made.  I asked my friend how much she paid for each card and she answered $10 a piece.  Whoa!  So, as a photographer you should first get the client to pay for the products, then maybe offer the digital prints as an addition at a high price.
  • 2. Article on 52 ways to monetize your photos.
  • 3. Article on Sending out holiday cards.  If you are sending out holiday cards anyways, might as well put your website and contact information on the greeting card photo.   This year, I actually put my blog website somewhere on my holiday cards.  I figured might as well take advantage of the print media and promote my blog to family members.  Hahahaha.
  • 4. Spend more time marketing than behind the camera.  You need to find the clients first then take the photos.  Make sure your website rocks.  Give out your business card everywhere you go.
  • 5. Be professional with your time lines.  If you are telling folks 2-4 weeks, then have the photos / products in 2-4 weeks.  If you want people to pay a lot for your service, then satisfy their requirements.
  • 6. It’s OK to give your family members a discount, but be careful with the friend discount.  Like a hairstylist, you start to develop good relationships with clients who become friends or were already friends.  This is more so because of the time that you spend with the clients while taking pictures and what not.  Try not to get emotionally involved when it comes down to talking about business.  Your prices should already be set and probably already discussed before starting the picture taking process.  Stick to what you think that your work is worth.
  • 7. Create packages so that your clients don’t have to think about what they want.

Have more ideas?  Post a comment!

Sophia Perl

Sophia Perl is a product manager for a database tool at IBM. She has over 10 years of software development and management experience. Sophia holds a BS in Computer Science from University of Southern California and an MBA from University of California at Davis. She is the creator of iPhone apps PicPredict and Eventabulous.

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