I sometimes get a little annoyed when I see photography teachers talk about their sales.
I know, I know, I do it too sometimes.
The difference is I’m not in LA, or New York, or Sydney, or London.
For example, in San Francisco households earning $117,000 are considered low income so when someone tells you they want to help you get a 4 figure income that might not mean a lot!
So just make sure you’re comparing your photography business with a relatable business.
I’m in Peterborough – a low income city among the carrot fields of England.
Just like you, I’m in the photography trenches.
Just like you I feel icky talking about money.
Just like you I HATE feeling awkward when people are struggling with my prices.
Just like you a lot of people in my area can’t afford what I want and need to charge.
Just like you I work from home.
Despite these handicaps I have a really comfortable and chilled life without even working myself that hard (hence I have time to talk to you lot).
I think most photographers just want a happy, chilled life doing what they love.
We didn’t get into photography to become rich, but we do want to go on nice holidays and not worry about money.
So how do I find local wedding clients who pay me £2400 when the average in the area is less than half of that?
How is my average family portrait order £500 when you won’t find anyone in the area charging more than £200 maximum for a CD of all the photographs?
The trick is to do things differently to most photographers.
Most family photographers do shoot and burn.
Most wedding photographers do shoot and burn plus the option of an album and maybe an engagement session.
They’ve got nothing else to give.
Think about Apple for a second.
They don’t just do the cheapest option – an iPod Nano.
No, they have an iPod, an iPad, an iWatch and then there’s the MacBook, Mac Air and MacBook Pro.
And then there’s the accessories.
So what’s the lesson?
The lesson is 3 fold…
Firstly, when you’re in a low income area you have an entry level that’s attainable for the lowest level of client you want to work with. I.e. if you consistently earned any less than that amount then you couldn’t survive. That becomes your base package. For portraits I do A la carte but I have a session fee where all of the fee goes towards their final artwork. It’s like a minimum order without saying it’s a minimum order.
My lowest option for families is under half my overall average because I know that once people go through my system they’ll usually invest around double what they thought they would.
If someone can’t afford your lowest option then they won’t be a good fit.
Secondly, you offer some high end choices and lots of add-ons.
For families that means beautifully framed wall portraits at decent sizes (30×20 inches and above).
For weddings that means creating Animoto presentations of their growing up photographs to be played at their wedding. It means Rock the Frock and Trash the Dress Sessions. It means creating a framed portrait of the bride on the engagement session to give as a gift from her to her father on the wedding day. It means signable portraits from the engagement session for guests to sign at the wedding.
Most of my competition don’t even offer most of those things, so if they like the sound of them then they have to hire me.
The overall strategy is that my entry price is low enough to bring in enquiries and once they see what I can do they’re happy to spend more than they expected.
Finally, you look at your average order value to check you’re meeting your income goals.
If you’re not making as much as you’d like from your portraits and weddings then let me know your current process and I’ll help do some troubleshooting with you.
To discover how to bring in the enquiries in the first place then two great places to start are the ‘Facebook Advert Client Tornado’ under the ‘courses’ tab and the ‘Genius Wedding Photography Marketing Ideas’ video under the marketing tab.