I always say it’s easy to make money in photography, but hard to make a living.
To make a living in photography you need enough clients to keep you busy for around 40 hours a week – like a ‘normal’ job would.
That’s a lot of clients.
Depending on your prices, your overheads, and your financial targets you might need…
…30 weddings, or…
… 100 family portraits, or
…300 babies, or
…a mixture of everything.
It doesn’t take long for the friends and the friends of friends to run out.
I want to give you 3 ways a new photographer can get clients fast. Or any photographer for that matter.
1. The baby plan
A baby plan is where you photograph a baby several times throughout the first year of their life.
I feel 3 or 4 sessions per client is around the sweet spot. I started my plan with 7 sessions but people got overwhelmed by so many photographs.
I now get them to choose 4 sessions out of the following 7 options:
- 3 month
- 6 month
- 9 month
- 12 month
I sit down with the client a few days after each session and show them the photographs using my overhead projector. This gives me 4 opportunities to sell photographs to each client, throughout the year.
20 clients on your baby plan means 80 sessions. That’s 80 opportunities to get paid.
You can get busy fast.
Before I created my baby plan I’d only ever photographed a handful of babies. But within hours of launching it I was getting new clients.
There’s good news and bad news. Baby plans can be challenging to keep profitable because when there are 3 or 4 session people tend to invest less in each session than they would for one.
The great news is not many photographers offer baby plans, so it’s a great way to differentiate yourself and build up your business fast.
We go into huge depth on how to make your baby plan a success in a 90 minute webinar on our membership site.
The other great thing is new parents talk about their babies a lot. This means I get more baby referrals than for any other part of my business.
It also feeds my wedding business because a lot of my baby plan clients are engaged. Of course it also leads to family portraits a few years later too.Baby plans are a quick and easy way to make extra money on the side Click To Tweet
2. Facebook promotion
When you’re just starting out Facebook is the obvious place to turn for new clients. Sadly it doesn’t normally get the results photographers want.
Usually one of the following things happens:
- No-one responds
- Lots of people respond, but it was because the photographer was competing on price and they end up working like crazy for no profit. It then becomes harder to reposition yourself as a quality artist later on.
A few little tweaks can improve the results massively.
People respond to promotions more when there’s the fear of missing out. Compare the following two promotion descriptions and see which sounds more enticing:
- Family portrait photography just £99 for 20 photographs on a CD.
- To celebrate the launch of my new family portrait business I’m offering the first 10 callers a free session and a free 8×10 print. This is a total value of £99, for absolutely nothing!
The second option removes the risk for the client as there’s no money upfront. This means people are much more likely to take the opportunity. However, you’re not devaluing your service by giving everything away like with option 1.
The second option also limits the offer to the first 10 callers. This helps motivate people into taking action.
You can expand the reach of the promotion by using Facebook pay-per-click advertising and by promoting it through other businesses who share your target market. Again, we go into huge amounts of detail on how to do all this on our membership site.
3. Get referrals from wedding venues, bridal stores and planners
The holy grail for most wedding photographers is to get recommended by other wedding suppliers. I want to share an incredibly cunning tactic to get several wedding suppliers to all recommend you at once.
I’ve actually written about it before, so you can read about it on this blog post: ‘Steal my 8 favourite ways to get high quality wedding photography clients‘.
It takes an investment of time and money to acquire new clients. The more tactics and strategies you use, the more clients you’ll get. The more clients you get the more confident you’ll feel about raising your prices. And that ultimately means you’ll have more money to support your family and your other passions. Or you can work less and spend more time with your family and your other passions!
It’s all about finding the balance in your life that’s right for you.