Marketing for Photographers


Lesson Info


So let's, go pricing. The following presentation has been approved for photographers who pride themselves on saying if I wanted to be a cps would have studied accounting in school, they then charged too little for their services and don't understand why they're eating mac and cheese every night. I mean, the goal of pricing is to get everybody to think about what the rial costs are. I'm not going to get into real specific details, but I'm going to get you thinking I hope about are you charging enough for what you provide? And it is about establishing value and again it all goes back to your skill set. It goes back to having a reputation for exceeding expectations. So here's a great fifteen seconds, skippy and it's absolutely not mine! I've heard at least a half dozen photographers or so well, I actually I said here in the slide I heard a dozen so when I made the slide up, it was it doesn't don't know what happened to the other six it's not how much you make it's, how you come out, you k...

eep that's really important. So when you start thinking about your margins and establishing pricing, you really need to think about where is the cost, what is it really costing me? And we're going to back to back skip ease which we have yet to do in the last two days don't price your work based on what you can afford it was years before I could afford myself it's a great line from denis reggie years ago again don't price your work based on what you can afford you have to think outside yourself you have to think outside of well it only took me two minutes to do and it only took me this amount of time you have to consider everything that's gone into making you photographers we talked earlier about using great words tying in and expanding on your on your pricing using adjectives using words to describe um we went from that statement to that those paragraphs to what I haven't read is highlighting some of the more significant buzzwords that aaron there to ring the bells I want to show you a piece of a short video from south cicada and that's going to lead in and then we're going to get in their pricing or we cued up yes let's let's go into that because sal when a cell here again sal is going to be here by july sixth through eighth okay videos are open right now that is open until june sixteen to come and be part of this audience cell is all about grassroots business he's about being practical he's about thinking and helping you with ways to run your business, to make money, you're not you're not in this to be a philanthropy. Let's, go ahead, do the video hey, guys, sounds in qatar here and today we're gonna talk about prices and pricing no matter where I go is a hot topic among photographers because ultimately it's foundational told to everything you're going to do within your business, I'm not kidding you if you're starting your business off and you want to start, start off on the wrong foot, get your pricing wrong, and so you have to spend the time and energy to get your pricing right, and I understand when you're starting off, you don't know where to price yourself and even the experience studios, even they have trouble figuring out where their prices shouldn't move over the years it's not always up, and sometimes you just have to adjust your pricing. I'm not saying we compete on pricing, but we have to build our ala carte pricing list in such a way that it discourages clients from just coming in and buying one of one or two pictures. When I have a little saying, when I'm on tour, I'm talking to my audience is we have to punish bad behavior and if our clients come in and buy off the ala carte menu, meaning they come in and buy one or two pictures that is the definition of bad behavior, and so you want to drive your client's towards a package based system, and the reason for that is it's going to allow you to predict or forecast what yourselves they're gonna look like? Think about it. If you have ten shoots, you have no packages and just like clients do whatever they want within your framework, one client could spend fifty dollars, another client could spend a thousand dollars, and that becomes a very difficult way to run your business one of his first sentences if you really want to have problems with your business, if you really want to hit the wall and have a disaster early price your work too low, those air that's me paraphrasing with sal was saying not an exact quote, but the whole point is pricing is so critical and everybody has a hard time with it. I'm going to give you ideas on it. I'm not going to suggest for a second that I am an expert on pricing, but I am an expert on making sure you consider everything when you start thinking about your pricing strategy. So right off the bat, one of things that sound went on to talk about in that video and he's hit on it, and in the very beginning there about ala carte versus pricing the issue of your ala carte pricing just like anything else, we're all used to buying things as component systems if you go back to well, I'm dating myself a little bit, but we all used to buy stereos and components I mean now it's now we're listening to music in every possible way and it's all coming out incredible and it's coming out of our ipad, our television, our computer it's it's changed today but the idea of component pricing when you bought everything in a package you save money, you get discounts, you're going to spend more, but when you buy it all a card and it's no different when you go to a restaurant you buy if you buy ala cart on the menu, you're going to pay a different amount and you're going to get a different meal then if you buy dinner that's got a vegetable in your entree, your super salad included and your dessert it's just it's part of natural marketing and sales. So the issue of allah car versus package pricing is something that you've got to consider I love sells comment about all the car pricing should essentially punish bad behavior. You've just worked hard with the client you don't want them to come in and just buy one eight by ten and you also want them you don't want to force feed it to them, but you also want them to understand that you know you've got the eight by ten, but you've got five by sevens and you've got other family members and you've got other purposes for your images. You want to put it together and you want to sell it to them in a package and in the package, they wind up getting the discount price. You're all a card products, high that's a key point here and south talks about it again later in the video he will talk about, and he'll be talking about that. I'm sure when he does a senior program here about how do you price your packages for seniors? So prices are all like our product high, so it supports your lowest price package sues me so it supports your package prices. Also, in terms of your lowest price package, it still needs to be profitable. You still need to accept the fact that some people are going to go for the the lowest price package, but it still needs to make money for you. You still need to get paid for the time you put into it. For your education, for your camera gear, your insurance, your business cards, your mileage, all the things that go into costing money for you to be a photographer, and it drives me crazy when a photographer says, well. How much they charge for ten by ten such are old fifteen dollars twelve dollars I only you know I only pay to now wait a minute that's true, but what about it? What it took for you to have the skill set to capture that image in the first place? What about the time it took out of especially in wedding photography? What about the time you give up on a week? Get wedding photographers give up every single weekend all year long? What about what about the value of your time? So all those have to be put together and you're just because it's your lowest lowest package doesn't mean that you don't have a right to make money and then discounts. Come on, lee, with your package price that's where you get the big discounts not on ala carte here's what my ala carte column is here's what it is if you buy something complete in a package if you want to follow and don't do it now because you'll bomb what do we do? We crashed a week that's what this should be called the site crashes the site crashes of creative blind and we should be a crashing live fresh in a lot of creative behind the shutter dot com um is uh south site you'll find a ton of great information there so let's take the pricing and let's go into literally everything that you need to remember and if I forgot anything here somebody tweeted in and tell me what I missed on the material side on the stuff that you actually physically can hold you got all your gear you got your camera your lenses your camera bag you've got your computer you've got printer's you've got all the supplies that it takes to fuel that engine you've got your furniture if you've got a studio if you've got an office at home you've got a desk you've got a room you've got a wall if you're like me you've got a white board you've got all the software that it takes to drive everything then you've got all the charges from various vendors for the services you use and then you've got just the time in your workflow how long does it take you yeah it only took you two minutes to do that but you downloaded you got the image off the car you've got your supply of cards you took the image you did something with it you saved it you stored it you manipulated it you got it ready to print you send it to your lab maybe you printed it yourself you've got all those costs in there those are the ones that even half of those photographers don't remember now let's go to the other side of the column which is really long how about your education how much how much did it cost for you? Teo, come here how much the u day if you spent watching creative lives so you could be better there's a value in that? How much did you spend to go to w p p I and how much did you spend to go to summer school and how much did you spend in terms of your airfare, your hotel, your food, all your expenses plus during that time you're working no matter where you go? If you're away from your business, you're working twice as hard because you've always got to catch up on your e mails and everything else and stay in contact so it's not like when you go to a convention it's not it's, not your vacation time. You're not downloading you're not you're not out of out of touch with everybody you've still got a download information you still got to constantly beyond your business terms and b in touch with everything going on, you've got insurance. Nobody ever counts insurance, not just your gear but how about your car? How about your liability insurance? You've got your rent or your mortgage on your house if your office is in your home, you've got all your time utilities, phone, your website, the internet, your car, gas maintenance, how about all your travel? How about legal counsel how about the fact that you spent one hundred fifty dollars, last year just to make sure you had an attorney? If you ever needed one? How about an accountant who does your bookkeeping? You've got the cost of advertising, you've got the cost of the creative to do the ed you've got marketing and then if you've got staff or you're working with a second shooter or you had to hire somebody to help you on a particular shoot, you've got that costs so you have a constant flow and I'm sure that they're probably ten items that I should have picked that I missed in fact, one right off the bat depending on the kind of weddings you shoot, you may have a tux hanging in your closet that you had to buy that you had to have. If you're doing a lot of travel, you've got luggage that you had to buy to put your clothes in to put your gear in, you've got cases so you can travel so you can actually check here through on the plane and then pray to god. It shows up at the same time you do all of those things cost money and it, like I said, it just drives me crazy when photographers any business when you don't think about what all your costs are, so when you sit there and the next time you say boy did I make a lot of money? It cost me two bucks likes charged him ten come on, it doesn't begin to cover. It doesn't cover your light bill doesn't cover your power bill. If you've got a studio or studio lighting, all of those components go into making what your cost us makes sense. I got a little emotional on that, so I started talked before about pricing I like three to four price points started the highest show your top of the line first think about the last time that you bought a car there's no salesmen on the planet that ever showed you the stripped down model. First you always start at the high end, every consumer will always aspire to come up, so when they look at your total pricing and there and your high end might be out of line, then they're going to look at the low end and they're always going to strive to try and get to the middle or up because they know that's where they'd really like to be. Mom knows that, and dad knows that especially with with wedding work or children's poor traits they know that especially, you know, my daughter my my kids were special to me I want to give them the best album that ever had I want them to have images I want them to have that first family heirloom now they didn't think about that until you educated them and got them thinking about that first family alone they want that portrayed in the puppy they want that video name your price points we talked about that earlier and use added value for your marketing everybody seems to think these days that you've got to put a discounter and if you lock in your wedding today, it's the twenty percent savings and we've got this special over the weekend and it's ten percent off for twenty percent off instead of doing discounts do added value there's so many things that you can add to the value of a package wedding it could be another hour of coverage children session could be could tie in with another with another kind of album or more pages to the album you've got frames you've got so many different things which was shown a minute actually right there you've got so many different products that you can sell albums, oversized albums, grandmother albums, prince frame prince frames, digital negatives, canvas prince metal prince website pages work on the technology that you can offer them a page posters give them and give them a nice pad that's loaded up with their images already additional hours of coverage engagement session bridal session stationary proves slide shows novelty items and this is what I love about cell this is my list that I've been using for a long time right off the bat I was I really felt good I've got I've got six that cell talks about just in the rest of that ten minute video we saw, which is on youtube it's episode fifteen off um just just put in south cicada in the search box and it'll come up its x episode fifteen on pricing so there are all these things you can sell there's all these things you can give away there they're novel the items I should have it on its we do this every time well, I guess we could go there it's molly the wonder dog on a watch I mean it's it'll seem tacky maybe even sappy but let's assume that you just did the biggest wedding you've ever done and the client has got this this cat dog family pet you don't think that that client is going to remember you whether you sell this or just give it to them is a gift I just give it us a gift if it was a big wedding let's assume you just did a twenty thousand dollars wedding for this client and they're so excited they're so happy to be able to give them the novelty and the fun of a watch even this stuff like coffee mugs and mouse pets yeah, they're cheesy they seem tacky, but when you're doing something fun and funny with a client it becomes something that's absolutely memorable, so if you go to behind the shutter, the business behind the shutter and there's sal, you find all kinds of information there, you'll find the latest videos, you'll find his schedule there's a lot of good information coming that you guys are going to have an opportunity in this in the senior program he's going to do that's really all I was going to hit on on pricing, we're going to get into mohr on marketing strategy, but that's all about the pricing component way great, I want to make a comment lassen off and then chat room was saying, make him stop cover my ears making stuff up! That was so where is he? I know how overwhelming, how overwhelming when you start listing all of those things, how it can feel for people, I don't think they realize how much they are putting out there. Well, there's there's so much that that goes into making an image and you could sit there and go while it there's a great line about never let your client see working on an image because they'll see you click a couple of buttons in photo shop, but suddenly the images the way it's it's, a wild printer, whatever you've done to enhance it, and then they think, well, that only take you two minutes why and it's and it's seventy five dollars it's one hundred fifty dollars for me to get that is a print but I saw you it only took a couple minutes yeah that's true, but I went to twenty seven hours of classes to learn and understand photoshopped toe learn how to do my images you took how long charity to take youto get that image last night of the needle here I think we were there for about an hour. Okay. And how long have you been a photographer? Eight years. Okay? You couldn't have gotten that shot that way eight years ago when you were just starting. Now maybe you could've because you've got a degree in photography and a graphic design background, but most photographers just forget how many mistakes they made till they really got to the point where they did know their gear so well and they could get that shot every single time consistently instead of being, you know, one hit wonder I think, um I think what hits harder for me here is is putting a value on yourself a cz well, we talk we talk about all the things that we have put into it, but I know that was one of the hardest things for me when pricing myself is this like you're you're compressed something else really easily, but then pricing yourself is is challenging I don't know if that's do you have any suggestions for how to howto feel I don't know it goes back tio first of all you have to pay attention to the demographics in your community if if you're in if you're in a community where most of your your client is making you know x amount as the average income and you're looking at images that are just so far out of line for their packages because it would be you know, fifty percent of their annual learning or whatever you need to keep in line with your demographics and that's important but even in terms of your demographics if you establish a value if you educate your clients that people understand that you are on artist you are creating with every portrait you are creating one of a kind art now if it looks like anything they could get done it uh I don't know in a in a series mini studio then that's not going to have the same value if it looks like it's artwork if it looks like it's something that is never going to be created again that nobody else could do if you've established that kind of value if the way you tell the story on a wedding if the way you tell the story of those siri's of puppy shots or a wedding a day in the life with the kid if the way you put that together is beautiful is unique exceeds expectations has the value if you work with companies you know you're giving away an album epic album if you're giving if you're if you're giving products to your clients if your presentation matches the quality of your work everything gets elevated and the reality is we're all the same we will all strive if there's something we want if we want to bad enough as consumers a cz human beings we will do anything to figure out how we can afford that I mean we do you mean it's the housing market I mean the whole world gets a thirty year mortgage I mean there are people that get fifteen and try and pay it down quicker and that's great but you wind up with a thirty year mortgage because the only tax deduction that seems to be worth it anymore is your mortgage and you wind up getting more of a house than you probably could have afforded but you have all these features that you want and we do that as consumers all the time so why can't we do it as photographers in terms of establishing value and this goes back to dennis is quote then it's reggie saying don't price yourself on what you can afford it was years before I could afford myself so I think you need to pay attention to your market and your consumers that's nothing wrong and having prices that air high providing you can walk to talk and have the value to back it up, skip given my, uh, my position with them, the photography industry, which is rather new because a rookie has air very much of a rookie. What a good frame of mind for me to be in is I have x invested and I have a goal of getting in the black with x number of shoots or jobs would that be an appropriate way to look at it? Like say, I want to recoup it's not I've invested, I don't think it's a bad way to look at it because if you look at it that way, then you know exactly what your cost is, so you're our ally, which is return on investment is going to be in line with a certain amount of time where you're going to say, ok, I just spent x amount of dollars, and I want this all this gear and everything paid off in x amount of time where I lack the experience. I don't know what to tell you is a fair amount of time to say, well, you should work, you should be able to do it this way so you've got your pay back in six months or twelve months or eighteen months, and that would be a really the question for for a good accountant, for example so skip, I guess what I was trying to ask was really how do we as photographers give ourselves the competence tio to put that higher price on ourselves? Like, how how do I can I say I am worth this much? How do we gain that confidence? What are what are some tips for that? Because I think that's something that so many creative lives to do is come here and that's one of the biggest challenges is putting yeah, it's very it's a very deep it's a very comes from a very deep kind of emotional place that you know that misunderstanding with yourself, what you're really you just gave me the essay question, and I've got that little blue book now that I've got to fill up with things let's start with things that build your confidence let's start with, uh, entering prince and competition the b p p I has it, people has it. There are all kinds of contests that are out there inter images and competitions so that you start to get a feel for and my good is my work being perceived is good always remember the beauty is still in the eyes of the checkbook holder, so entering print competition does put you up against a judging strategy on the criteria that the judges use, which may be completely different from the client that loved the work but that's a way to get feedback showing images to two friends and being able to share some of those images now one great line that I remember getting from ernst wild it has the bladder was the difference between an amateur in a professional? Is that an amateur show you all of their shots? Be selective? You don't need to show everybody all of the pictures that you took on vacation or of that sitting or of that particular client or wedding be selective in what she shows to the really are on ly showing those images that air your best and get feedback that way. Get involved in your local guild, your smugmug meet ups go to places where other photographers are getting together, for example, I mean, I spoke at the dallas p p a group probably about a year and a half, two years ago, and they actually have every month they've got a little mini print cop where the members enter their work, their judges that judge the work, and then they'll make the announcements and people will walk away with with the recognition, the accolade of how well they did. But you're getting feedback all the time, uh, read, read every book on marketing that you confined that talks about establishing value, follow people like like south cicada, like sam putsch, vicki, to offer in terms ofthe listening to what they're saying about their pricing about their images and when you look at one of their images that you know they got paid very nicely for ask yourself or how does my work compare to that quality? I mean, we could probably keep, you know, brainstorming here by myself thinking about ok, how would you build confidence? You know, it's when the first time that I had to do ah that I that I spoke in public to a large group was introducing dean collins at the beacons theater in new york there were not only over a thousand people in the theater for that program, but my boss the president has a bladder from sweden was in the front row. Now the only thing that saved me was he didn't know how bad I really did on introducing dean and I mean, I picked up the mike and I got up there and froze it was horrible it was and now I hello hello I mean, the beacon theater is huge and I'm standing on stage with a microphone and didn't know how to introduce him hadn't thought it through was totally unprepared didn't know I was going to do it he thought he was doing me a favor hey, your bosses in the front role we introduced me on the way to go thanks dean, I got more comfortable over the years because I practice more because I had more opportunities and it's the same way with your pricing you get more comfortable you start to understand your value because you read about you've heard about the horror stories off what that particular client had in another situation you follow photographers like one of those posts that I mentioned about bruce berg talks about a sitting that he forgot about I totally forgot about it's totally his fault he called he apologize to the client a day or two later and they said that's fine we just want our money back he gave their money back he didn't let it rest he said I really want to do another sitting this is my fault I feel terrible they said not so ok we're fine we know mistakes happen no no, no please I mean he practically begged and he wrote about it in this very honest post and in the end they said let's do the sitting they love the images they love the fact that he came back to them he did it no charge but he build a reputation and he established his own personal value and put one more one more ingredient in the pot of how valuable he is not now not just a za photographer but as a person because he didn't give up so it's all those things that help build confidence and I'm sure that if we've got some tweets out there and some comments on other suggestions because your question is it it's not even something that I really have thought about haven't really dug into how what things can photographers do to build confidence so that when you say, well, it's, you know it's two hundred fifty dollars for this and it's three hundred for that and whatever you're comfortable share you've been doing this for a long time you got any tips on that to bail me out here? Honestly, I do not, and I wish somebody would have had tips back when I was starting. Um, the best I can say is research your market um look at the demographics again, there's a great website called the wedding report dot com I used that a lot. I go back and I see what brides it tells you what brides are spending on each and every part of their wedding every year. For example, last year in chicago there were sixty thousand brides and the average median on the wedding package spent was four thousand dollars the wedding report dot com is a really good one in fact, I used to have a slide in my program going further, it also shows how much they've spent on how much they're going to spend on travel on florist on the bakery on catering you consorted by you can pull it up by zip code so you really can get very precise and see what the average consumers spending on a wedding in that zip code so you can go. Chicago might have a whole range of zip codes. What does have a whole range? Or you could just pick one specific zip code that falls into a specific area. There's a lot of good information there, but it goes back to share his point about you got to research the market. You can't come out and say, ok, it's going to be a thousand dollars for that sitting when you're in a low income market, or go the other way in the say it can also backfire on you. You can also be so cheap that you're in a high end market or your high and target, and now that seems really way too low about you. They don't do a very good job, there's that, and we all do it. They're things that it's that online about if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't true well, oh, if their prices too low, it can also backfire you and it can do create some serious problems going the other way.

Class Description

You know how to focus your camera, NOW focus your business. Professional photographers today have greater marketing capabilities and reach than at any time in the history of photography, but a winning strategy has to be aligned across all aspects of your business.

Skip Cohen will take you through a complete analysis of your business and give you tools for growth. Skip will focus on the art of a successful website, developing PR campaigns, planning your promotional calendar, networking, branding and time management, just to name a few.