Creating Your Ideal Photography Business

Lesson 3 of 48

Which Products Will You Offer

 

Creating Your Ideal Photography Business

Lesson 3 of 48

Which Products Will You Offer

 

Lesson Info

Which Products Will You Offer

Which products are you going to offer? What price are you gonna charge for them? What is your per hour figure? And what is your target sales average? Right now, take a minute write down three words that describe your photography. How would you describe it? Is is urban? Is it edgy? Is it natural? Is is artistic? What would you say? Write down three words. This will help you start to identify your brand. Maybe some of you already have this really well defined, but you can always refine it. Three words that describe your photography brand. This is the epitome of our brand. That's me of course, and my daughter Abby. Out in the wild, beautiful location, incredible adventure, beautiful lighting. It's very distinct; this is what we do. Anytime people see our images it has that same feel to it. I talk about that as an organic feel. It's natural. It's simple. When people see the word organic, they think better, right? It's a good description, high-quality, good for you, natural. Those are the k...

ind of words that you want to think about when you start describing your brand. How are you gonna talk to people about who you are as a photographer, as an artist? What are the five best products you have ever seen? Do you have a picture of that in your head? What at your favorite things? So for me I can tell you. It was in an art gallery in Vail, the coolest piece I've ever seen, and it was by an acrylic painter, and he had these big sheet of acrylic that were about a quarter of an inch thick, and they were bowed, so if the wall was here, they had an arc to them, and he actually etched indentations into the acrylic and then painted over that. It was the most phenomenal piece of art I had ever seen, and then the depth and the painting and the colors. They were vibrant and bold and incredible. I use that as the standard. When I think of the best product out there, that's what comes to my mind. I look for products that are similar to that. We love acrylic, but we also want to support our brand of natural, so wood products are great for us. Simple elegant frames, we're not going to have big, gilded frames for our business, although that might be a great fit for another business. What are some of the best products that you've ever seen? Is there anything that really stands out to you as like wow? That's where you start with your business, and that's where you start with your product offerings. Typically when we come into this industry, we're like, we've gotta do eight by ten, we gotta do 20 by 30s, whatever we gotta do something for the wall, we might want to do an album, there's all these things, we go to trade shows. As you go through that, filter that with, does this make me say wow? Is it amazing? Is it something that my client can't get anywhere else? Okay? When you think of the five best products you've ever seen, why do you like them? What's special about them? For that one product to me I loved the colors; I loved the depth; I loved the boldness of it. What do you like about the products that you've seen, and do they support those three words that you wrote down about your business? Did they all align together, or is there a gap between the two? Sometimes we start out and we do things just because we're supposed to. Or we think we're supposed to. What I want you to do here is to do everything intentionally. If you don't look at an eight by ten and go, "Wow, I love that eight by ten!" Is that really something important? Should that be featured on your price list or your product offerings? Probably not. Anybody can go anywhere and get an eight by ten made. Right? Do something that anybody can't do anywhere. There are lots of great places to find good products. We can talk about that more, and we'll talk about that more later in the class whenever we start to really define what to offer. Whenever everything comes together, and your product offerings and your brand come together, your clients will feel very good about investing with you and investing what you need them to. What kind of products do you feel obligated to offer? We talked about this amazing, yeah that's the best thing ever, but what are you clients coming to you asking for? What are they coming to you asking for? What do you hear when you get the phone call or the email, do you offer canvas? Absolutely. What else? Digitals. Digital files. Always. Absolutely. What else? Does that cover it, canvas and digital, that's pretty much what your clients want? That's what my clients want. Anything else? Okay. We get that a lot. The number one inquiry, can I have the digital files? Always. A new client coming to us, that's the number one question that we get as well. In my mind we have to offer that, because everybody wants it. Is it the product that makes me say, "Wow!"? No, definitely not! But, I have to be able to offer that to my clients because they want it. As I think about my product offerings, I need to figure out a way to get my clients what they want and to still provide that wow product. That's what we're gonna work through in this early section of the class, in figuring out what that is and how to put it together. When you compare the two types of products, your favorites, the wow, verses the, I really have to do this because there's demand for it, what's similar about them? They're still your beautiful, amazing images right? You need to think about how they're similar and how they're different and be able to articulate that to your clients. When my clients says, whether it's a wedding client or a portrait client, whenever they say yeah I need those digital files, I want to ask, why do you need them? What are you going to use them for? Sometimes there's a really specific need. Sometimes they need a shot for their business, or they show them on their TV at home, they have a scrolling slideshow, and sometimes they're like, well I just want them. Most of the time that's what they say, I just want them, because I make digital files that's what I'm used to, that's what I want. We can offer that and I give them information about how much they cost, but I follow that up immediately and say what we specialize in is creating decor for the home. Do you have a need for that? And usually they're silent, oh, that's a whole different enchilada right? All of a sudden those wheels are turning in their head and they're like, oh I do have that empty wall that I walk by every day, and I do need something there. I never really thought about putting a big, beautiful portrait of my family but, what a great idea. Then I follow that up and I say, oh my gosh, the aspens in Colorado are turning the first week of October, and we have this incredible location that we only go to once a year, are you guys available that weekend? And they're like, (gasp), yes well not really but we'll make it work! It's leading your clients through this process to say yes I know you want this and I've got this, we've got this covered, but have you ever considered this? And give them reasons for why that's a great experience. I want them to have something they can hold in their hands and hand to their children someday. A disk isn't, or a jump drive, or whatever, that's not gonna cut it, that's not beautiful, that's not amazing. I want them to have something incredible. That's what you think about when you're talking about your products. Rules for products. If you don't like it, get rid of it. For us in our business, it's the 11 by 14. I hate it! You hang it on the wall and it's this weird size. It looks like this island in the middle of a huge sea. I just think it's a weird size; it doesn't fit the format of our photography; it looks weird on a wall, and you know what I did the first thing when I started to take hold of our business, I said we are not offering 11 by 14s. (audience quietly laughs) My clients went, pfft, well I have four other 11 by 14s. I took it off the price list, and I was like, okay I hope this works. I walk into the sales room; what did they do? They bought a bigger portrait, something suitable for the wall. Really nobody even batted an eye. It was something I thought I had to do, but in reality it made very little difference. Probably less than ten times in our decades of shooting has somebody said, "You know I really want an 11 by 14, can you do that?" Of course. It's the same price as a 16 by 20. I'm happy to make it whatever size you want. Done. If you don't like it, get rid of it. Do your clients demand it? Now if we had every single client from the day I removed it from the price list say, "I gotta have it!" We would figure out a way to put it back on our price list. Usually your clients like what you like, that's why they choose you. Do your clients demand it? Does it support your brand? Is is this weird thing that's out there that's very different than everything else that you do? Or does it align with everything that you are saying about your business, everything that is your business? The last thing is, keep it simple when it comes to pricing. It needs to be easy to understand; it needs to not be too many products; and it needs to be easy for your clients to make decisions. For our business, the things that we love to create, decor, framed prints or canvases. I love it, I want them to be ready to hang on the wall, usually Peter goes in and installs them himself, so that they look amazing, and albums, we want to tell peoples' stories. Big, beautiful, gorgeous albums. That's what we love to provide. We love to tell peoples' stories. Do people come to us every year for cards and digital files? Yes, but it's the last thing I talk about whenever I am working with a client. Oh yeah of course we do that, we'll be happy to take care of it, now which of these do you prefer? Do you like albums, or do you prefer something for the wall? It's totally redirected what they came to me originally for, and they always walk away really excited with what we've created. Does that shift your thinking a little bit in how you have traditionally thought about products? Yeah, we usually go to the same sizes that everybody else offers and the same things. That's what we're here to do, shake things up a little bit. Make it yours, make it exciting, give you power to walk in there and do what you want to do. Then you're extraordinary. Then you set out, you set yourself apart from all those salmon that are at the weir banging on the gates trying to get through. You have the tools to leap across and really distinguish yourself.

Class Description

"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

Lindsay
 

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.

Vanessa
 

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.