Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by CThomas817, Mar 14, 2019 at 7:44 PM.
The entire photographic community breathes a sigh of relief!
Considering his location, there might be some serious frostbite concerns in places you really don't want to consider. LOL
I know a guy who tethers his camera to his macbook. The clients choose their images at the end of the session. He then edits the selected images. Or at least that's how I understand it. I have been to a couple of his shoots in his Detroit studio. His stuff is live and very interactive, I have no idea if that's right or wrong but his method. I even seen a lady take a flash drive from him. I heard him say something about pre-sets, I assume some are edited automatically? I was there for the strobe learning experience.
Yes, your math is about right. Studio space is so expensive by me. I have looked for even a small office in a corporate park and for 500 sq/ft I'm looking at $2k. I think I need to be making about $4k per month before I can commit to something like that.
I have been going back and forth with this idea. My home is not small but also not practically laid out. When I offer indoor mini sessions I do them at home, but I have to clear out my entire living room to do so. It's not any more convenient to do this because I still have to setup and break down.
We are looking to move next spring and we plan to purchase a home with studio space.
I am also not sure if this is just the client that I am attracting but no one wants to spend on products. The ease, availability and affordability of ordering consumer grade gallery wraps, wood prints, acrylics, etc. is cutting out the middle man. If you sell a client a high res file, they can easily order any product I offer for half the price. Perhaps lower quality, but half the price.
Perhaps I need to work on marketing to higher end clients. Any ideas?
In addition to rent, you will have utilities to pay. So here's where you need to be very creative. Don't stop at the first commercial property available, but look everywhere. Network with business people and keep mentioning your need for inexpensive space. That 500 sq. ft. office is not going to be big enough, IMO.
He probably used preset editing filters in lightroom. For newborns this is harder to do because clearing blotchy or flaky skin isn't a one click fix. I would consider this for older children or adults.
One of the best sales tools I have is a four-sheet portfolio. In it there are four copies of the same print. One from the lab I use, one from Costco, one from Wal-mart, and one from London Drugs (large regional chain with decent in-house "labs"). The differences are very noticeable in terms of colour, clarity and quality of print. I explain that they can X for a digital file and purchase cheap prints from one of these labs, or they can order from me. I also keep samples of canvas gallery wraps, metal prints and large-format prints. Being able to see a big print with their own eyes helps a LOT.
As far as marketing, increase your prices. Martha Stewart often relates a story from early in her career. She was selling pies at a local market at a price slightly lower than her competitors and having no luck. She raised her prices to be significantly higher than anyone else around and they flew off the shelf. Why? Because of the perception by soooo many people that price = quality/value.
The Client doesn't see the Raw files as there are so many options in a Raw file that can be tweaked in post. I render small JPEGs of the files and package them in a PDF. Some have presets applied but typically very little retouching is done prior to proofing. The client selects the ones they want and I finish them off, no point in working on a file they don't want. I may choose different ones for my use but the client doesn't pay for those.
One way to get around the issue of pre-editing, is to explain in detail to your clients that the proofs are just that, no extensive adjustments are done until they pick the ones they like. Full colour grading and adjustments are done to the finals which is time intensive and no point in doing that to all the proofs as it saves the client money. BTW, I don't work for free, any work on files to render proofs is charged out to the client, usually embedded in the estimate.
If that's per month you definitely can't afford it, unless you're doing a whole lot more gross then I think, and retail service businesses don't belong in a Corporate office park anyhow. They don't need to be in the high rent district but they need visibility. In general the rule of thumb is roughly 3-8% of your gross revenue as an allowable percentage for rent. Business that relies on high traffic counts will be more toward the high side, but that's something that you will have to analyze carefully. Case in point there's been a lot of Mall property for rent in about every city, businesses can't justify that expense. Thought you might find this online calculator interesting. Calculator Not saying it's totally right as presented, but by entering in your own numbers it will help you realize where you need to be.
If you want to be a photographer as a business, then you really need to operate as a business. Photography is like any other product it takes marketing and business savvy to actually make a living at it. The hardest part is convincing the customer to purchase your product/service in the first place, but once they've made that buy decision, they're in a unique position, and more easily open to suggestion to up sell and cross sell. The further away from that buy decision in time, the less likely you can generate additional sales. Expanding on Tirediron's comment above, having samples to pull out at the right time is paramount to capitalizing on that buying mode. In the above link look at how increasing the "non-assignment" income (up sales and cross sales) can affect your daily cost of business.
I've always got ideas! That's what I do.
As I wrote earlier; you absolutely must provide a top-notch product. If you can't do that, then that is where you should start. Get good. Get so good that even other professional photographers and artists will say; "Wow!" when they see your work. Obviously, you never show your mediocre stuff to anyone. Assuming you are there, here are some ideas:
Advertise and network mainly in the more affluent parts of town. Create a checklist (that only you see) by which you "grade" new inquiries. For instance; they have to be a referral from one of your previous clients, and they don't flinch when they see your prices, (you can make up the rest of it). Yes, even wealthy people try to stiff the hired help, but the money you make from the ones who pay will make up for those losses.
Speaking of losses; always have a contract. Pay a lawyer to write up the "boiler plate" and you fill in the blanks.
Practice "selling" yourself with supreme confidence, especially when you talk about your prices. You can practice with a close relative, but you are going through a transformation, so this is the "new you". Always wear nice clothes, keep your studio and automobile spotless, and hire a young person to run the office. He/she needn't be full time, but they need to be present when you have a client appointment coming in. They greet the client, offer to hang the overcoat, offer a place to sit, and offer a drink.
If your studio is in your home, never let a client see/hear/smell any domestic aspect of your home. There is a door, and it is always closed. You should try to have a separate entrance. Your studio is never cluttered or frantic, but always serene and professional.
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