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Creating Your Ideal Photography Business

Lesson 1 of 48

Class Introduction

Kathy Holcombe

Creating Your Ideal Photography Business

Kathy Holcombe

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


How To Price Your Products


Which Products Will You Offer


Methods For Pricing


Mark Up Factors On Products


What Is Your Per Hour Figure


What Is The Feasibility Of A Product


Target Sales Average


Session Fees Pricing Strategy


Minimum Purchase And Incentives Pricing Strategy


Bundling Pricing Strategy


Pre-Design Pricing Strategy


Album Pricing Strategies


Example Pricing List


Business Basics Overview


Tracking Product Lines In Your Business


Track Your Session Counts


Know Your Sales Average


Importance Of Data Analysis


Overview Of Costs


Professional Photographers Of America Benchmark Survey


Creating A Vision For Your Business


What Do You Want To Accomplish


Take A Leap Of Faith


Refine Your Vision


Products That Sell


Identify Pricing Strategies


Portrait Pricing Strategy Example


Album Pricing Strategy Example


Online Pricing Strategy Example


Fine Art Prints Pricing Strategy Example


Packages Pricing Strategy Example


Sales Strategies Overview


Portrait Sales Session Overview


Sales Strategy for Portrait Sales


How to Present Images to Client


Sales Strategy for Wedding Sales


Album Pre-Design


Marketing: Define Yourself


Who is Your Ideal Client?


Who is Your Ideal Partner?


How to Start a Partner Business Relationship


Marketing Strategies that Work


Product Lines: Business Plan Part One


Workload: Business Plan Part Two


Sessions: Business Plan Part Three


Expenses: Business Plan Part Four


Clients: Business Plan Part Five


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

So I just got back from Alaska. We were on assignment there for almost two months and one of the things on my bucket list was to experience the salmon run. And as I was up there I was preparing for this class and I got to see the salmon for the first time and they were incredible. I had no idea just the mass of salmon that were out there. And so if you look here, all of these things here are salmon out in the ocean and they're coming to where they were born, I guess. But there was something interesting that I didn't know about, not being from Alaska, is this thing right here is a weir and basically it's a metal sieve that blocks the entry to the creek where they came from. And so all these salmon are outside the weir and they're fighting to get back to where they wanna go and I thought that was so relevant to the photography industry. There are so many people out there that dream of being a photographer and that really want to pursue this as a career and it's hard, it's really hard. An...

d you guys are here today to make it easier. So as we experienced more salmon, we discovered there were grizzly bears out there that would pick them off, one by one, and there were of course, my family, out there picking them off one by one. But, the incredible thing is, with this weir in place, there were a few remarkable salmon that stood out and they charged ahead and somehow they made it through this tiny metal sieve and they got to the spawning grounds. And that is really extraordinary. And so, this class, these two days, is about giving you the knowledge of how to get around the weir so that you can get to the spawning grounds and build the business that you really want. So, it's gonna be intense. We are going to be strategic, we are going to put systems in place in your business so that you can get around this weir and get to the business of your dreams. And most importantly, we're gonna be creative in business because while there are principles that will make you successful, implementing those principles creatively is the answer to getting there. So, I'm super excited to share with you everything we've learned over the past two decades so that you guys can be the salmon that make it over the weir and get up to the spawning grounds and build the business of your dreams. Ready? Okay, let's do it. So how on earth are we gonna do that? We're gonna start with the burning question. How many of you guys are like, "How do I price my products? "I have no idea where to start," right? Everybody always says, "Raise your prices "and you'll be fine." Well, not necessarily. So, we're gonna start out talking about how to price your products. And there are two facets. There's one, what do you need to charge so that you're actually making a profit? But then, how do you present those prices to your clients so that they feel good about it and they see the value in you and they wanna invest with you at the level that you need them to? So that's what we're gonna start out with. And then, we're gonna go to business basics and this is the part where everybody's like, "Ugh, I don't wanna know about business," but this is really exciting. Have you guys ever wondered if you can afford an employee? Or you can afford to have a retail location? Or if you should really invest in that camera or computer or anything like that? This is the part that will give you that answer. That answer lies within your business and if you know what to look for in the numbers of your business, it'll tell you. And then you can make a sound decision so that you are sustainable in this industry. So that's business basics. Then, we are going to step away from all the numbers. This is my favorite part. And we're gonna talk about creating a vision for where you wanna go. It's just like climbing a mountain or kayaking or anything. You can put on all the gear but if you're in downtown Seattle, it's a really long walk to go climb Mount Rainier. So, you've got to know where you're going, how you're gonna get there, and then you can deal with the obstacles that you encounter along the way. So that's what creating a vision is all about, figuring out exactly what you want it to look like. And we'll share some of our story on this crazy journey that we've been on during this segment. And Peter and Abby will be joining me as well, my family. So then, we're gonna talk about products that sell. Have you ever wondered, "Should I offer a 30 by 40? "Should I offer this album? "Should I put a cameo on the cover?" I mean, there's a million different products you can offer. Which ones are best for you and your business? So we're gonna go through that and during this part as well, if you guys have a price list that you would like for me to critique, you can take your name off of it, I won't point any fingers at anybody. We'll go through some price lists and talk about what works in them, what needs to change in them, and how people will react to those price lists. So, that'll be an interesting segment as well. So we'll talk about how you can get your price list on that there. And then, the last part, sales. So now you've got this great price list, you've got a great product line up, what do you do and say with your clients to lead them through the entire process to your sales goal? And then, marketing. How do you get those clients in your door? You've got all this great information ready to go, how do you get clients to come to you so that they are supporting your livelihood? And then the last part, this is the most exciting part, the business plan. Has anybody ever written a business plan? Kinda, maybe? (laughing) Alright, this isn't a business plan to get a loan. That's like, you know, an encyclopedia of information. This is a business plan that tells you how many sessions you need to do, how much do you need to make at each session, how much you're gonna get paid to do this job. Would you ever go interview for a job and have no idea how much you're gonna get paid? No, of course not. So this is the answer to all of that. So when you guys walk out of here at the end of this, you're gonna have a business plan. You're gonna know exactly what you need to do to make this business work.

Class Description

Join Kathy Holcombe as she shares techniques and strategies to develop the photography business you desire. Whether you’re making the leap from part-time to full-time or starting your very first business, the amount of work can be overwhelming. From what products to offer, how much to charge, how to pay yourself or the legal considerations - startups often sink before clients are even booked. Kathy will show you the ways to grow your business from the start. 

This class will cover: 

  • Defining what product you are selling and how much you should charge to make a living 
  • Photography business basics and how to track your income compared to other businesses 
  • How to write and create your business plan 
Kathy Holcombe and her husband Peter built one of the top wedding portrait studios in Colorado, then jumped in an RV with the entire family and began traveling the country full-time, and added a successful commercial division. Together they have built multiple successful businesses and have honed in on the important factors that every photographer should consider when building a business. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Business Plan Worksheet

Expense Worksheet

Sales Averages by Product Line Worksheet

Sales Projections by Product Line Worksheet

Session Count Worksheet

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Art of the Sale Book

Creating a Vision Workbook

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I started my business a year ago with little formal technical photography education. It's hard to admit but I've been winging it, figuring out each small task that goes with photographing a session, editing one, and working with clients as I go. I may be doing things backwards, but now that I feel like I'm more comfortable in those small, specific parts of business, I need to figure out how to make this business sustainable and profitable. Kathy's class felt perfect for this time in my business to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of what I want to focus on and where I want to go (and how much I want to pay myself!). She uses realistic, specific numbers: something that's SO helpful and I feel like I rarely see in the photography community. And she breaks everything down in an organized and easy to understand way. The classes were easy to follow along with and Kathy's positivity and patient manner is inspiring and motivating. The fact that she used to be a school teacher is clear. Thank you so much Kathy (and the rest of the Holcombes)!

Jenny Farrell

I am so glad I was able to attend this course in person and receive all the wonderful and practical information Kathy shared with us. I also really enjoyed the connections with other audience members and side conversations with Creative Live peeps as well as the Holcombe family. What an inspiration this family is--lots of practical info, but also a great pep talk to not sell yourself short and get out there and do what you love, but use sound business practice while doing it. Thanks so much for these incredible two days.


Fantastic course! Very helpful instruction and how-to guide for anyone considering starting up a photography business. Kathy was an excellent instructor, with a wealth of knowledge and experience. I gained a good understanding of the practical everyday aspects of running this kind of business, and how to create my own vision.