Creating Your Ideal Photography Business

 

Lesson Info

Products That Sell

Products are the foundation of any business. So, this morning, we are talking about what products you're going to offer, and how do you present them to your clients so that they are desirable and valuable. Earlier we talked about what those needed to be priced at, and I saw some really nervous faces whenever we started talking about the target sales average, like, oh my gosh, that is so much money. And I don't know how I'm going to be able to present that to my clients in a way that they are going to see the value in what I do. So we're going to talk more about that and start bringing all those pieces together in a way that your clients really enjoy and appreciate. So. What should you consider when you're selecting your product offerings? This is critical. Yesterday we talked about that "wow" product. What is that you've seen out there that you're like, "I've got to create that." Like my life won't be complete if I don't create that. What is that? And so, you've got to think about your...

products in a specific way. What is it that you can provide that they can't get anywhere else. Cameras are smart. Anybody can capture a great image occasionally. So just having a great image isn't enough these days. So anybody might, you know, my 12-year-old daughter who's a great photographer, she creates great images all the time. So it's not just the image that's critical. What is it that you can offer that nobody else can make themselves. That's a really important, really important factor. And then the other thing that you can do for them, is what can you do that makes it easy for them. Make everything as easy as possible. Whenever Peter and I started first photographing our family, I mean the first portrait session we did as a family where we tried to do it ourselves, Abby and I were both in tears in about five minutes. It's really hard to create a family portrait yourself. And so, making it easy for people, making the experience enjoyable, that's one of the things you can do as an outsider better than they can do themselves. And then, how do you turn that into a product that they can't create themselves. Okay? Those are the two founding principles. The filter that you put over your product offerings, to make sure, if it doesn't address those two items, it's probably not worth offering. Or if it is it's worth offering as just a convenience to your client. So if it's an eight by ten, which people want occasionally, that's great, but it might not be your primary product offering. It might be an afterthought, like, "Oh, by the way, do you need any gifts for parents or family or friends?" Right? It's a secondary product. The big "wow" products, those are the primary products. Also, how do you simplify your pricing menu? I want you to think about some restaurant experiences. This is a great way to start as you think about laying out your price list and structuring the actual design of the price list. And I would recommend you google menus. I did it the other day. And here's what I looked for. I searched for the most expensive restaurant in Seattle. And I got several options. And I clicked on their menus. And when I looked at it, here's what it said. The first thing was this wonderful meal experience. And it said you could choose first course, second course, third course for a set price. About a hundred dollars. Or, you could choose to have four courses for a hundred and thirty dollars. Not anywhere on there did it say what food was offered. Right? When you go to an extraordinary chef, you don't say, "Hey, I want you to make me a burger." You say, "Okay, what's your favorite thing that you make. Do that for me." Right? So, whenever I then went on to think about a more value experience, I searched for a diner menu. And when I pulled up the diner menu. So let me back up. The most expensive restaurant menu had two pages. And it was basically three courses or four courses and then you could add wine pairings if you wanted to. That was an additional hundred dollars per person. Then when I go to the diner experience, I pull it up, think of any diner that you know. And I looked at the menu and I pulled it up, and page after page after page after page after page, I scrolled through. And there were a million things on there, and there were pictures of the food on the menu. There were 15,000 toppings you could add to everything. It was really, okay, "I'm really hungry for a burger with avocado and bacon on it, and that's what I'm going to get." That's the experience that you want whenever you go to a diner. So, an average meal there was about twelve dollars. And when I think of that compared to the two hundred dollar meal at the most expensive restaurant, and the two different experiences that you get... Something to think about. And when I think about a family of four going to a meal where it's two hundred dollars a person, that is our target sales average, people. So and that is gone, that's not precious memories of your family. Mkay? So put that in the back of your head as you're thinking about these things. Do your homework online. Look at other businesses that are charging prices similar to what you want to get for your work. And do what they do. It was a really neat exercise, I encourage you all to go look at that and see what you discover. And then think about how the layout of what they're doing compares to what you're doing and your business. And then choose. Both a diner and an exquisite high-end restaurant can be very, very successful business models. It's not that one's better than the other. It's just the experience you provide and the amount of work and the quality that goes into the products. Alright. So. My recommendation is when you look at your pricing menu, if you're going after those high-end clients, you need to offer fewer products. You need to present it in an easy-to-understand format. They should be able to glance at it and get it. And, you need to have an easy-to-understand process. Step one, step two, step three. If there's eight steps in the process, that's too much. Mkay? So put those filters, whenever you're doing your salsa list at the end of your notebook of things you have to do - simplify your price menu. It's really, really important. Less is more.

"If you're struggling to figure out the business process of photography, this class is one of the clearest and most concise I've ever seen. If you're experienced but the business side and pricing are eluding you, you will find clarity here. I own at least twenty CreativeLive courses and hands down, this one explains pricing and strategy better than any others I've purchased or watched live." - Julie, CreativeLive Student 
 
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 - start ups 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. 

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • 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)!
  • 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.