Pricing & Business Strategy
So now we're gonna get into some of the more nitty gritty stuff of family photography. Some of the stuff that doesn't as fun to talk about but is as important, right? Okay so we're talking about business, a little bit. Now business could be a year-long class. So I'm gonna try to just touch on some really important things that I know that when you're kind of trying to figure these out, you might have these questions. So we're gonna talk a little bit about business. We're gonna talk about my calling and post production process, and my gallery delivery process, my album design and delivery process and how I wrap this client experience up, again with good education so that my clients keep coming back. Okay. So pricing and business strategy. What I wanna say before I get goin' on any of this is I am not an accountant. I hire an accountant. I actually have a bookkeeper as well because I don't always trust myself on these things. But I will tell you with what I'm doing is what has worked for ...
my business. What I have learned about business over the 10 years that I've been doing this is that it is almost as creative if not as creative as the photography part. I've also learned that being a succesful photographer, that if you're gonna actually make this your full time gig is about 80% business (laughs), 20% photography. So you really do have to get a handle on the business stuff and so that's why we're gonna talk about that. Now you have the skills you have to execute a session. We're gonna talk a little bit about business strategy. Like I said, this is how what works for me. That doesn't mean it's gonna be what's perfect for you. Okay. So I am all inclusive. What does that mean? What does that mean? It means that I charge one price and for that one price, they get what I'm giving them. And I'm gonna tell you exactly what I give them here in a moment. Now this is something that I love to share. I am a very transparent person, as you can see. I'm telling you all of the things even though people will criticize me for it. There are many people tell me that I am leaving money on the table because I'm all inclusive. I beg to differ. I have a very quick and tidy system and I think that I'm making a very good income per hour. And we're gonna talk about how I do that. And so what I like to say is you can be all inclusive and make more than six, you can make six figures with all inclusive pricing model. It absolutely works. My friends back there. So that's what I wanna tell you about that. So what do I include? What is included in my price? All of this is public on my website, by the way. Like I've said before, I'm not hiding anything. It's all public. And so what I include for my all inclusive price is all of the digital files that I deliver in the gallery. So I claim, I promise a minimum of 75. It's usually more than that. But my motto is you know, over under promise, over delivery. So I promise 75. And I include a custom book. And I use Miller's and the reason that I started doing is an album, a book, you can call it whatever you want. I'm gonna show it to you in a little while. And the reason I started including a book was because I did have families who were coming to me so many years in a row that I really just wanted to add one more thing to just kind of change it up a little bit. The book that I use is really cost-effective and so it works for me all inclusive model. So why am I all inclusive? Why am I leaving money on the table, what people will tell me. Just had this told to me last week at a conference and when I did the math, my friend and I think that we make more than this person and we're all inclusive. So, why do I do this? It suits my style of photography. So what have I been talking about? I am not after that mantle piece image. I'm not. I'm after a collection of images. I never wanna sit there with a family and show them a 100 gorgeous images that I edited and be like, now you choose and if you don't, you're gonna pay 5 million dollars for each digital file. Call me crazy. That's me. I, this really satisfies my clients. It really satisfies me. I don't have a problem doing it. And that's why it's just simple. It's simple. It's what I would expect. It's what I want when I have my family photos done. And so it really works for me. I don't have any interest in selling products. So if you do, some people like I have friends in the industry that just get so much out of picking these really great heirloom products and then they get them and they wanna package them and they love that in-person sales experience. That's great. If that's what you wanna do, do it. Not me. I don't wanna do it at all. I don't wanna sell products. I wanna know that on that session day, I got the amount of money that I'm gonna get and I know what I'm gonna get paid and if they buy more, which they can. We'll talk about that. From their shoot proof gallery, then it's icing on a cake. Right? But I know exactly what I'm gonna make before that session happened. I don't have to stress about convincing them to buy something. They've already bought what they came for. And like I said earlier, I deliver really big galleries. I want them to have every image that I edit for them. I don't want them to have to make that choice between 10 images that were in a series. And so that's why this model really works well for me. Because I can give these big galleries and now worry about it. And not think that I'm sitting there, making them choose between multiple images. So for instance, these all happened within like one minute. So if you can imagine, I can't, telling this mom, "Each one of these cost..." however much you're gonna charge per digital file. "You're gonna have to choose your favorite." I just don't wanna do that. It's not gonna work for me. So that's why I'm all inclusive. Okay? And I already said this. (laughs) I got ahead of myself. But, that's just not what I'm after. So you just have to really think about what's gonna work for your business. You have to think about what kind of pricing or what kind of delivery of products and whatever you're gonna do, you have to think about what's gonna work for you. And going back to that client experience that we talked about a lot in segment two, is how do you want your clients to feel with what is the experience that you're providing. If you're doing a really hand holding type of experience, then maybe you are gonna all or maybe you are gonna do in-person sales and maybe you are gonna sell products. That's great. But mine, remember, it's about being quick and easy and simple. So this just really works well for me. Again, this model may not be for everyone. So I never want you to walk away from today and be like, oh my gosh, I've been doing it all wrong. That's not true. You haven't been doing it all wrong. You're doing it right if that's what's working for your business. I am just simply sharing with you what works for me, what has worked really well for me and has brought me a lot of success. Alright let's talk about pricing. (laughs) This is one of those things that everybody wants to know when we're starting out. And you are gonna get the pricing guide in the bonus materials and it's a lot of it's a worksheet. And so that's why I can't bring it up here. It would just be too much text. But we're gonna talk a little bit about pricing. Okay? So why I say take emotion out of pricing is because this is where we go wrong in the beginning. Now I'm gonna tell you how I started pricing myself and I bet many of you in here and many of you watching were doing exactly the same thing. So I was new to photography, right and I'm like, okay I'm gonna make this a business. I wanna make money doing this. I want to support my family doing this. I maybe wanna leave me career, what am I gonna do. So I get online and I start going on the Google and looking around. And I'm like well this person's really good and she's charging this much. I'm not quite that good so maybe I need to charge this much. This person's not so good and she's charging this much. I'm a little bit better than that person. So maybe I'm gonna charge myself like right here. And then you come up with a random number. Right? Who, anyone here done that? Yeah? Okay, we all do it. We all did it. And it's funny because even though I'm very established in my business now, once in a while, I'll find local photographer, see what they price what they're charging and that mindset comes back. And, this doesn't work. Because you're not pricing yourself for profit, you're pricing yourself based on what somebody else's business model is. You don't know what her cost of good are. You don't know if she's supporting her family all by herself. You don't know if she's a single mom or if she has the support of her husband. You don't know any of that. So you're pricing yourself based on somebody else's circumstances. You're putting emotion in there. You're not doing what you actually need. If you're gonna do this as a business, this has to make money, right? What's... don't... even if it's a side hustle, if you're leaving your family or leaving your life for a couple of hours, you need to be making money. You really do. And money's something a lot of people don't like talking about but I'm gonna talk about it. So you have to take that emotion out of pricing and really think about what you need to survive. (laughs) This is a business. Okay. So the first thing you wanna think about and then now look at this. Is you think about your fixed costs. So if anyone's jotting things down, feel free to jot a little bit but know that you're gonna get this in the bonus material so don't panic if you don't write it all down quickly. So what are some of the costs? I'm gonna give you some examples of some costs. You might have more. Our friend who's charging more than us might have less. It just depends. Everyone's business costs are different. And this is one of the things I feel like that we don't think about because a lot of these costs they're fixed and so we kind of don't factor that in to what we're charging because we already spent it or we're not really thinking about it. So it's something you really need to consider. So camera upgrades would be a fixed cost, something that you're gonna, that's gonna happen. Computer upgrades, editing and organizing software upgrades. So if you're using a subscription-based service, you're paying for that every month. Most of us are nowadays with editing, right? Rent if you own a studio space. But even if you work outside of your house, you know you can use like part of that as a cost. Business insurance. Photography forum memberships and photography education. Whatever you're using for proofing, so proofing site. Photo storage hardware. So if you're buying a bunch of hard drives, I'm a hard drive hoarder, you guys. I have so many. Online photo storage if that's what you're using and then anything else that you're spending money on. So we got gas and we get everything. It's just, it's crazy, right? Okay, health insurance if you are your own, in my corporation, I do my own health insurance. So those are the fixed costs. Okay so think about that. Sometimes it's like, oh yeah. I forgot that I'm paying for that forum membership. I forgot that I'm paying for I'm gonna wanna buy a new lens this year. Those are some of the things that you're paying for and there's probably many, many more, right? Okay. So that's, those are part of what you're gonna take out of what you make. So now, I want you to think about how much you wanna make a year? So we're gonna take the emotion out of it. We're gonna think about pricing from actual profit standpoint. So how much do you wanna make a year? Now this one is, this is an interesting question for people who are doing this as a side hustle. And so a lot of times when I'm mentoring someone and we're talking about and they're either, I mentor a lot of women when they're starting like me and they're maybe they have like a part time job or they have a husband who's working and they're they've been home with the kids and they're wondering if they wanna make this business. And so we say, okay let's start with a number that's not scary. No we don't have to say you're gonna make a full salary. We don't have to say you're gonna make $60,000. We're gonna say 20 or something like that. So and that's what I'm gonna use in the example. Get there in a second. Then you wanna think about how many shoots you wanna do per month. So think about that and write those two numbers down. Okay so how much do you wanna make a year and how many shoots do you wanna do a month? Okay. So you take the number of shoots you want per month times and you're gonna get a number there, right? So say you wanna do one shoot a month even. Just make it really easy. And then you amount you wanna make per year, you divide that by the number of shoots you want and that's what you should be charging per shoot.