Aspiring professional seeking guidance for the lows in photo business!

alex_ethridge

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Hey there! I'm Alex, and I was born in a photography family. My Grandmother was a photographer, and my mother is a professional photographer. I helped my mother a while and decided to branch off on my own. She was a Nikon girl and I wanted to be different, so I went with Canon. So far, I have really enjoyed Canon. I actually prefer it over Nikon because it's so user friendly. Anyways, enough about my history....

So After being on my own completely for a year and 6 months with my own business, I have learned SO MUCH....THE HARD WAY! I do not say this lightly. There are several things I struggle with so hopefully someone can suggest their way of doing things to avoid these situations.

1. Do you guys have contracts for EVERY session? I only have them for Weddings right now.
2. Do you require deposits to book a date? If so, how much? and When is it due? I have only required down payments for weddings, and allowed my clients to pay me when the session is over on good faith but sometimes they cancel last-minute and I'm stuck with an un-used spot and no money.
3. How on Earth do you get the high-end clients? Charge more?? Or do you only post sneak peeks of the wow-factors? It sounds mean, but I mean the clients who dress the part or take your advice on outfits and actually cooperate?
4. Do you only offer professional printing or digital as well? If so, I feel like the digital has to cost way more than the prints just because they can print as many as they wish and from wherever. I have only been offering flash drives out of convenience for the client and myself to keep from having to meet again to view pictures. I feel as though I am losing a lot of money this way. Thoughts?
5. Do you charge extra per outfit change if any? Do you charge by the hour? Do you have a set-fee? I charge $100 for the session and charge separate for the drive....again, I know, it's stupid. If it's a newborn or smash cake I charge more for time.
6. Do you charge extra for editing? I always include it because I want my work to be beautiful when it leaves me for my business's sake. Is this bad??? Again, I feel like I'm losing money left and right and working my butt off.
7. What do you do if the child/children do not cooperate at all and scream the entire time or pitch a fit and you are unable to get ANY pictures that are decent? Do you apologize to the parents and schedule another day? How do you deal with that?
8. When business is slow, do you ever offer mini sessions to increase volume for cash flow?
9. Do you post sneak peeks? I do 1-5 photos (on FB or IG) only because it keeps the client off of my back until I get their photos ready AND I gain new clients every time I post.
10. Depending on the session, do you offer a complimentary gift?
11. Newborn sessions are extremely exhausting for me.....I get the family, individuals and siblings with baby....it usually takes about 3 hours depending on baby's mood and cooperation. Should it be taking this long or am I wearing mom, dad, and baby out as well as myself? I have recently increased my fees for these sessions due to the work and time put into the session. I charge $200 for the session alone and $100 for the drive. Locals get a $25 discount off of the drive so typically $275. I was charging $175 for the whole thing.......I know, terrible!!

Sooooo sorry for the butt-load of questions! If you can even answer one or a few I would be eternally grateful. I just need to hear what other people are doing because what I'm doing is just causing me a lot of stress and leaving me feeling empty.....mentally and financially. HaHa Thank you so much in advance!!
 

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tirediron

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Your use of the word "lows" implies there's another state that the photo business can be in. I'm not aware of one...

1. No; I do very few weddings (by choice); I generally only use contracts for large commercial work, or other jobs that require a major investment of time/money/gear. As a rule, I don't use them for family sessions, etc.

2. No; the bulk of my business centers around my relatively small town (<25,000); doing business on a hand shake works well. If you do take a deposit, 10% is a standard figure.

3. I don't worry about it; I take the clients I get.

4. Yes; I do offer digital files, but they're priced such as to make prints seem attractive. Yes, you probably are losing a lot of money? How much do you charge for the flash drive? I add $25 to the total just for the flash drive that costs me about $2.75

5. No. I charge per hour/session. How the client chooses to use that time is up to them. I explain the process thoroughly beforehand.

6. No. Editing is part of the package. NOTHING leaves my computer without my review & approval.

7. That's up to the parents. Again, with pets & children, I always explain, that their time is their time, and I will do the best I can, but at the end of the day if Junior or Fido choose not to play... it's not my fault.

8. No, again, by choice.

9. Sometimes; when I get an image that I know absolutely NAILS the shoot, I will, but then it goes out as a 72 ppi, 800 px long edge low-res file with "PROOF" through the middle of it.

10. Usually yes. My pricing is built based on the fact that almost everyone gets a 10% discount, and often I'll add a complimentary 8x10 that I especially like.

11. Can't help you here... don't do 'em. Won't do 'em. I will say that $275 for three hours + travel seems a bit low....
 

Designer

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Bump! for more baby photographers.
 

CherylL

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I am not a baby photographer for hire disclaimer. My daughter recently had a baby and wanted Pinterest type photos with the swaddle etc. I took photos of the newborn son and a month later took family lifestyle type photos. She liked the lifestyle photos best. This Creative Live class helped me with posing ideas. I skipped over the swaddle lesson and the marketing lessons which included sales, gaining clients, booking and prepping clients.


Lifestyle Newborn Photography - In the Home with Emily Lucarz | CreativeLive
 

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