How to become a photographer if you’re a stay at home mum or dad


The only hobby more popular than photography is the world-wide phenomenon called ‘having children’!

It’s really taken off and become a very popular past-time.

One of the downsides is those children suckle a lot of time out of your day. And money from your bank account.

When I had a ‘proper job’ (with an office and a boss and colleagues and a Christmas party etc.) there were a lot of colleagues who complained about the cost of nurseries. They’d perhaps work 3 days a week and only take home a few hundred pounds extra because the nursery costs hit them so hard.

The flexibility of portrait and wedding photography makes it ideal for parents because you can book clients around the times that suit you. You can do a fair amount of the work from home too.

However, there are still some burning questions…

How much money do you need to make?

When are you going to find the time?

Who are you going to photograph to make the best use of your time?

How are you going to photograph enough clients to make all the effort worthwhile?

Let’s look at those questions, one at a time.

 

How much money do you want / need to make

You may love photography, but you hopefully love your family more. So, it’s your duty to earn a decent living for your children. A photography business is a business like any other. You have to promote it, sell your services (and yourself) and price yourself for profit.

If your children need to go to nursery then you need to be able to more than cover the costs, otherwise what’s the point? Similarly, you also need to make at least as much as you would from a ‘normal’ job.

There are pros and cons to family portraits, baby photography and weddings. We’ll discuss those in a moment.

You also need to factor in the cost of your equipment and marketing etc. You can download our pricing planner here.

 

When are you going to find the time?

The amount of time you’re prepared to sacrifice away from your children is always a personal decision and not something I’d ever question, one way or another. I’d rather be thrown into a pit of rabid weasels than be faced with a mob of angry parents!

Ultimately you’ll have to make some sort of sacrifice and you’re going to have to be obsessive about time management and planning.

Every photographer should be looking at their ‘profit per hour’ on any given job, but when you’re also juggling a child it becomes even more critical.

Every day is going to need to be planned out thoroughly. You’re also going to need to break down the larger projects (like building your website, for example) into bite sized chunks. Instead of writing ‘build website’ on your to do list it’s more effective to break it down into

Day 1: choose a website service. I like www.photium.com if you’re not web savvy or WordPress if you are.

Day 2: select your very best photographs to put on your website and upload them

Day 3: commit to writing your ‘About’ page

Day 4: commit to writing your family photography page

Day 5: commit to writing your first blog post

…and so on.

This principle will help you with every large project. Plan it and schedule it.

I don’t want to scare you, but here’s the terrifying chart I’ve created that shows all the things a photographer needs to do to run their business.

We’re here to help our members find the quickest and most profitable path through that terrifying chart. Some things need to be prioritised in front of others. We help you eat the elephant a bite at a time. We answer your questions and guide you through the maze. Check out one month of free membership here.

 

Who are you going to photograph to make the best use of your time?

When free time is as rare as a cuddly alligator it’s best to specialise in one area. If you’re trying to be a wedding photographer, baby photographer and a family photographer it’s hard to promote all areas effectively. You get burned out and lose focus.

They all have pros and cons. Here’s a tiny portion of the list.

Weddings

  • Generally larger chunks of money
  • Generally at weekends – which is a good and bad thing!
  • You get to fill your calendar well in advance
  • It takes time to build a portfolio
  • You need high end equipment and back up gear, flash guns etc.

Families

  • Can be the most profitable from an hourly rate perspective if you follow the system we share with our members
  • Often weekends, but can also fill up your week days too
  • Doesn’t require as much equipment
  • Easier to build a portfolio
  • You’ll need to manage your diary effectively because you’ll need more clients compared with weddings, and therefore you’ll be photographing on more days of the week

Babies

  • You could photograph babies in your own home
  • Generally the least profitable area from an hourly rate perspective
  • Easy to build a portfolio
  • Doesn’t require as much equipment
  • Easy to book clients any day of the week, all year round
  • You’ll need to manage your diary effectively because you’ll need more clients compared with weddings, and therefore you’ll be photographing on more days of the week
  • Do you want clients coming in and out of your home every day?

 

How are you going to photograph enough clients to make all the effort worthwhile?

The biggest challenge every photographer faces is booking enough clients and making enough money from each client.

That’s what we specialise in helping our Get Pro Photo Club members with.

It’s easy to book the odd client here and there. But discovering how to create a consistent flow of good quality clients takes business skills. Most businesses fail. The reason? Because most business owners don’t study business principles.

Here’s a small list of some of the things we help our members with:

  • How to differentiate your business so you’ll stand out from all the other photographers.
  • Networking with other businesses to get access to their clients
  • Getting their website well ranked on Google.
  • Promoting their business through Facebook
  • How to book more clients without sounding pushy
  • How to help clients value your work more so you can charge enough to make a decent living
  • And much more

These are the things that will ultimately establish whether you’ll be able to make a significant contribution to the household budget. Earning a great living doing something you love is one of life’s greatest gifts (after children of course!). If photography is your passion then we’re here to help you realise that dream.

Check out what’s included in one month of free membership here.

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