Products & Pricing
Took me a long time to find out the right way to price my work because I didn't value what I did. I didn't have a value. And do you know, for me, it was, it was really important. I needed to work after my children, I didn't have that luxury of being a stay-at-home mum I needed to contribute financially to my family, and my home, and my mortgages, and my bills and all those things. So I fell in love with photography and people started to pay me money for it. So when I learnt to value my craft and what I did, I started to learn how to price it appropriately. And I just, I have great associations around me back home in Brisbane, and there would be amazing associations here, there would be great seminars, things like that where people are prepared to help. And there's also some amazing photographers out there and if you just contact them, they'll more than happily share with you the information. But when it comes to setting your pricing, I didn't realize in the beginning, that you needed t...
o take into consideration, things like your overheads. I didn't know how much that cost me every year. I didn't, even though I worked from home, I still have overheads. I still have all my equipment, I have to contribute to my electricity that I use, 'cause I use heating and all of those things. I didn't know how much any of that cost me. I didn't know how much my products cost me. I mean, I knew how much my products cost me, but sorry, I didn't know how much it actually cost with all of my packaging included and how much money I was actually spending in all these areas. I was just pricing things thinking that's what the appropriate price was for those things. I didn't know all the other things that factored into it. So now, I know that I have to cover I have to take into consideration equipment that I might need to buy in the next 12 months. I have to cover all of my bills, I have to be able to cover all of my products and all of my packaging and all of that equipment all of my software, cameras, lenses, you name it. Everything. Even the clothes that I shoot in. I have specific clothes that I shoot in that I only wear for sessions. That are comfortable, yet nice. So props, buying props, I have an allocation of money now. 'Cause I didn't know how much money I was spending every year on props. And I get excited every time I walk into a shop I'm like, "Oh, I could put a baby in that." So I needed to sit down and work out everything I was spending in a year before I could do that. And tax, you know? How much tax I have to pay to my local government. All of those things. So I had to work out how much money I needed to cover that, I had to work out how much money I wanted to pay myself, as a wage, how much I thought I deserved to earn from doing this particular job. Because I, in my previous life, I actually earned a really decent wage. I was a personal assistant for a large corporation after my retail and hospitality days, but anyway. So yeah, I was earning money. And I went from earning no money to gradually increasing the amount. So everything, I had to add up, and then I had to work out how many days of the week can I work? So I can work three to four days? There's three to four potential shoots every week. But I can't work school holidays. So I needed to minus those days. So I could only work x amount of days every year and divide that by how much it cost me to run my business. And that's how I figured out this is the minimum this is the minimum I need to charge to cover all my expenses and pay my wages. And that's what I deserved. Because I worked my butt off to get to where I am. So, I've set my pricing and my products up. So that my minimum package, if I can shoot the amount of sessions I want to shoot and book in for that year, times that by my minimum package, anything on top of that with my other three packages that cost more, anything on top of that is an added bonus to me. So which is awesome. Because I'm here to make money. I'm here to contribute to my family. I need contribute to my mortgage, and I need to be able to take my family on a holiday and spend time with them and do fun things. 'Cause without my business, we wouldn't be able to afford any of that stuff. So it's really important to learn what it costs you to run your business, how much it's gonna cost you to pay yourself, and how many sessions you need to have, and how much money you need to earn from that session to be able to cover all of your expenses.
Do you ever, for your products, do you ever have clients give you any feedback about whether they think something is too expensive? I think it goes, again, back to teaching them, educating them about the value. Do you have that conversation ever with your clients?
Yeah, definitely. I have people that come back to me and say, "Oh, we can't really afford that. "Do you offer anything else?" And I'm now in a place within myself and my business that I can actually go back and say, "Well actually, I've had to really streamline "the way I price my products and my service this year, "and unfortunately this is what my price list consists of." So I'm not backing down because if I start charging, if I have my price list, but I charge this person this much, they're gonna tell their friends about me. And word of mouth is the biggest form of advertising you can ever get. THey're gonna tell their friends this is how much it cost them, so then their friend is gonna come to you and go, "Well Katie only had to pay this much." So you're gonna feel obligated to charge that much. So if you put a pricing structure in place, stick by and believe in it. Don't change it for anyone in particular, and it's there for a reason because you have to cover your expenses.
Absolutely. Any questions from the audience?
I have a question. We talked yesterday a bit about how you connect with your clients a lot over email. And I was just wondering, in terms of the pricing conversation, do you try to get them on the phone so that you can kinda build that relationship with them first before telling them?
I would definitely recommend early on trying to do that. At the moment, I don't seem to need to do that. I suppose with my situation at the moment, my personal content, I have I have won some awards, I have an amazing reputation, I have been on a local television station. So people kinda know who I am, plus, I've done enough people's photographs that the word of mouth has got around about me and people know how much I cost. So at the moment, I don't personally have to do that, but yes. Definitely. Talk them through your pricing. And when you have, I'll show you in a minute, when I describe my products, I describe them to every detail. So that they know they're getting something they can't create themselves. That's the trick to it. Everybody has a camera these days, everybody can get their prints their images printed somewhere very cheaply. But it's up to us to offer these people something they can't create themselves. They can't pose their newborn the way I do, and I have an added bonus. They can't purchase the products, or create products that I offer them, themselves. So they have to come to me for my service. Which is amazing. But yes, if you are struggling to get people in the door because of your price list, I would definitely, if they contact you, definitely come back to the and say, "Well, do you mind if I explain to you why "I actually have this in place?" But, I didn't seem to have that problem, because when I send them my pricing, it tells them everything about that product. Okay. So this is what my clients get to see, and obviously it's got beautiful images on it, this is one of my products.
And this an actual PDF that you send them, is that correct?
Yes. The beauty of my products is, when I found them, they really suited my style. They suited my brand, and I fell in love with them instantly. So it was something I wanted to offer, and it's something that not a lot of other photographers offer in my area as a package. So it's having a point of difference. So they can't, sort of, get a lot of my stuff, I mean, they can, but yeah. It's having a point of difference and finding something, and offering something that you really love. Okay, so my session fee is 200 Dollars, and if they have a maternity and a newborn session, I only charge them 250, 'cause my maternity sessions actually don't go that long. I make that nice and quick because they're usually quite uncomfortable and they're not gonna buy 50 million maternity images, they really want those newborn shots. So it says here that your session fee will be deducted from your choice of package, and will include two to four hours of custom-style photography in my Kenmore Hills studio. With 20 final images presented in an online gallery for you to order from. It's pretty straightforward, not too much reading. 'Cause I found when I was bombarding my inquirers with so much information, they weren't reading it and they were coming back to me constantly with questions. I'm like, "Why are these people emailing me? "It's all there in the information." They don't have time to read it. So making it simple and giving them the right information is really important.
Can I just clarify quickly for folks online E. Solomon and lot's of other people. Are we talking Australian Dollars in this or US Dollars?
Well, the Australian, the Australian Dollar and the US Dollar is pretty much on par
at the moment.
Great. Just wanted to clarify.
But this is yours, so it's in Australian.
Yes. Yes definitely.
And all of the products that are here in my price list are from suppliers in my local area that do ship overseas, but there's gonna be some, I mean, you have amazing, WHCC have amazing products there's so many suppliers here. I've been to WPPI and the massive trade shows and I'm just blown away by the products that are on offer here. Okay, so next slides are my packages. More pictures. Gets them really excited because they're pregnant, and they can't wait to meet their new baby, all that kinda stuff. So my first package includes a large canvas. And I have a description of my canvas. It's not just any canvas, it's not a canvas you can get at a cheap price and it's printed on museum-grade archival canvas and it's sprayed with a protective laminate so it doesn't fade. That's really important when you do all of your canvas prints, to make sure that they have all these qualities. And my canvases actually come with a little swing tag at the back and they have a 75-year guarantee. So they're amazing quality, and I wouldn't sell them if I didn't think they were. And I've been using this particular company in Australia called Brilliant Prints for all my canvas and all my printing until this year, I now use another company as well, but Brilliant Prints have been doing such an amazing job with all of my my products that I've never had a complaint. Never once. So I'm so amazed at the service that I get from them. And it's finding someone that can give you that quality and that service as well, which factors into it. So yeah, they can buy my canvas print package, and it comes with ten high-res digital files on a USB. So if we go back to the very front picture, my little USBs are little wooden custom USBs with my business name engraved on them. So that's also something quite cute and tangible that they can have. So yeah, then there's the image box set, and this is the one that was on the front cover. And it's covered with this beautiful fabric. My albums are actually covered with the same fabric. So it all suits and goes together. And it has 30 prints in it. 30 6x4s, because it's gonna include the black and whites as well, I want them to have both. So they're basically, it's like a proof box, but a gourmet proof box (laughs). It's printed on beautiful fine art paper. And it's actually, because it's loose and it's not in an album, and it's not under any protective, like it's not in matte or in plastic or anything like that, it's actually sprayed with a protective varnish as well to protect it so it doesn't scratch and doesn't fade and can be handled. But it's on this beautiful museum-grade fine art paper.
Can I have a question? With these packages, you'd, like, basically just give them the images and the canvas but you don't print out 5x7, 8x10, 11x14--
No, I don't have time to do that anymore. No, and do you know what? No one's gonna fill their walls, some people do, but, fill their walls with 5x7s. I want them to have products that they can pull out and show people. A canvas that size, in the previous package, it's a 24x30. So it's bigger than these. And it's gonna be a massive statement in their home. So people are gonna go into their home, they're gonna see it, and they're gonna be like, "Oh my god, where did you get that done?" That's an advertisement for me right there. So it's perfect.
And with the same line, because I see it on the canvas, on the other slide, that you have your name on the corner.
Oh, sorry yes this was--
Do you do that?
No, no. My clients don't have it watermarked. But this is a sample that I had for my studio. Yes and my image box set, the only thing that has my name on it here is the USB, which tells them so they don't get confused, that's the one that's got the things, and very, very lightly embossed on the inside there is my business name again. So that if years down the track they forget who did their photos, they can open that and it's in there. It's not in your face, but it's carefully embossed in there in a white so it is there for life when they keep these photos. They can take these pictures out, they can frame them, they can do any of that stuff. But this is just the little set that I give it to them. Anymore questions about that one?
I have a question.
The editing that we did earlier, there were some 8x10 crops in there and some 8x12 crops. So how do you deal with that in this situation?
I would probably just crop them down to a 6x4, because they're gonna get the 8x10 version on the USB. So just for this particular product, it's like a proof. So people give 6x4 proofs. So this is like a proof box, so I would still just sort of crop it so it would have less space at the top, or anything like that. So I'm very careful as to what I do crop to a 10x8 size, but I can always print it as a 6x4 as well. It just takes a bit off the top.
So are all your high resolution images that you put on the disk, are they all 8x10 or 8x12 sized? Or what do you size those at?
Yes, but, they're high resolution. So their their proportions, you know, just the size, they're not, yes,
You can, okay.
you can increase--
I'm just wondering--
So these, this is like an 8x10 crop.
Yeah, but I'm wondering, do you, how high of a resolution, do you leave it open, like you do normally?
Okay, 'cause I know a lot of photographers they only want them to be able to blow it up to a certain size,
otherwise they have to buy from you so that you can check quality, things like that.
No, they're already paying a lot of money.
Yeah, definitely. And you know, I've sort of factored in, I have to know exactly what it costs to put this box together, so I know that it's not actually gonna cost me that much money to make this box. But, I'm giving them the digital files, which is my time. So this particular box is from a company called Photo Mounts & Albums in Brisbane, Australia, and they ship worldwide, and they're also the same company that create my album, which is the last package. So Photo Mounts & Albums do the most amazing albums for wedding photographers, for portrait photographers, and now baby photographers (laughs). So this is something that's fairly unique, these Lumi sets, so they actually, they get a set of three which I think look great as a feature, and they're freestanding, so they will go with absolutely any decor, that was my point about these. And everyone that comes into my home adores them. Like, I have them everywhere. I have them of my kids in my own house, I have them in my studio set up, and these are my studio samples so this is why I photographed them and it's why they have my watermark on them. But yes, you get, the ones on the outside are 12x8s. So the one on the inside is a 12x12. But you could change that up, you know? You could put landscape instead of portrait orientations on them, it's up to you. But that's what I do, and my clients really seem to like that one. That also comes with the 20 images on the USB. And then this is my beautiful album, I just adore this album. It's just, it's handcrafted, and this has every single image and sometimes I would take more images. So as you've seen I'll come and get little close-ups, they get the 20 best images in their gallery. I have backup images because I've shot throughout that session, I can fill this album with those images and they adore it. And it's something that's gonna last forever, and it's so exquisite that they have to show everyone. It's just amazing. I love the quality of it, it comes in a beautiful box, and that's also by Photo Mounts & Albums. So yeah, it's 10x11 so it's quite big and they get their digital images as well with that. So it's really cool. But yeah, I needed to find for me, I used to have an a-la-carte menu, going back to that 5x7 question that you had, Helga, I used to have this a-la-carte menu where I would offer 5x7s, 8x10s, 8x12s, 11x14s in prints, and then, you know 16x20s. And then I would go over to my canvases and have six different sizes there. I would have different amounts of digital files that you could offer. I had all of that, and you know, I was getting like eight orders a week, from clients some weeks, and I was just like, "Oh my god, this person want's this, "this person wants that." I had to really make it easy for me, because my life is busy. So doing what's best for you, and selling products that work for you, that suit your brand, go for it. And less is best. Simplicity. And you want something that's gonna be on display in their home, you don't want something that can be put in a drawer, or put in, you know, a box, anything like that. You want something that's gonna be on display so that when people go to their home, they go, "Wow, where did you get that from?" (laughs)
I have a question from Vail Fuchi and a couple of other people were asking. So do people have to buy the package up front when they book?
Oh, sorry. There we go.
Or are they just paying for the session fee?
And are you deducting that out? How does that work?
Yes. Very good question. I skipped that, I'm sorry, I got a bit excited. So when you pay your session fee, here we go, is it up? So your session fee is actually deducted from your package, so you're only ever paying those four prices. Whichever package, you're only ever paying that. But the session fee, I take as a deposit. So that comes a bit later on with that session information and all that kinda stuff. But that session fee, that guarantees their session. And I think I was saying yesterday that if something was to happen, you know, it's very uncommon, but it can happen, for any reason they have to cancel and they've paid their session fee, I will quite happily return that to them if they can't go ahead with their session for whatever reason.
So then, so they're not selecting the package that they're going to buy before they do the shoot?
No, they can do that later.
But most of the time, they have an idea of how much they wanna spend, they will love one, but they know they can afford the canvas one, and then you know, once they see it in my studio and they touch it and they handle it during their session, so I do a lot of my selling during the session which is amazing, because I have all of my products there for them to see, and I show them. And when we're finished and I'm walking out with them, I bring them into my office, they fill in their forms, they sign their documents, all that kind of stuff, and I say to them, you know, "Do you have any questions about the pricing guide "that I sent you? Let me show you the products. "Let me show you them so you can see "what they actually look like." And they're so excited about that, so I do that right there and then so I don't have to come back for a sales session, because online sales work best for me. So I'm essentially doing it at the end of the session, and not having to do it later on. And I'm not having to lug all my products to them if I have to do a sales session in their house as well.
We have a question from someone wondering about what happens if clients want a product that you don't offer? Do you accommodate them? Or do you say, kinda, this is what I have to offer?
Yeah, pretty much. I tell them that these are the products that I do now offer, that I have chosen to offer for different reasons, and we were talking before about an oversaturated market. If they don't like what I have to offer, there are plenty of other photographers out there. I'm not afraid to lose a client because they don't like what I offer. But I think that I offer something quite beautiful, and quite stunning, and I show them that, and I show them how passionate I am about my products, and they love them from the get-go.
And you're confident in that, and you own it.
You believe it.
I own those products.
I get my stuff done at Brilliant Prints, at Photo Mounts and Albums, they love me. I love their products immensely. So I'm so proud to show them off. It's like, "Look at my album!" (laughs) And I tell them, I say to them, "Wow, isn't this "just the most exquisite thing you've ever seen?" And they agree with me. So I am passionate about my products, and I sell it. And they will be too.
And before we go to online, do you ever have scenario where somebody pays a session fee, they have the session, but then they don't buy anything from you?
Yeah. They don't get their session fee back, because that's obviously the session fee. But you know, I can't make them. And for some reason, I actually had a client come back to me shortly after their session, their business went bankrupt. And they had this new baby, and they couldn't afford me. And they honestly said to me, "We're so sorry, "we just absolutely adore all of the images." So I came back to them, and I said, "Look, I'm gonna close your gallery, "your images are still there. "If by any chance in the future you would like to order "anything from that gallery, just please let me know." They came back to me 18 months later and ordered 1400 Dollars worth of products. 'Cause they truly valued what I did. And I'd given them the service and the confidence in my product for them to come back to me. I'd left that open to them.
I was wondering, earlier you mentioned about grandparents looking at the online galleries, and since you only give digital files and large products--
Yeah, sorry I meant that from my last price list when I had my a-la-carte menu, it's great for the grandparents to be involved with that.
Okay, so what if family members see the gallery, they want products, do they just approach the family members and ask them for the digital files themselves?
Yeah. I actually do have additional, is it in here? I do have additional prices. Here we go. Wall prints.
Okay. Okay, 'cause I was wondering if you were concerned with--
But because they're getting the digital files, I have found that usually they're printing them themselves. And when I give digital files, it's really important to give information about your files, and recommend that they have them printed in proper professional print labs if they can, and I always put on there that if you're having trouble finding one, please contact me, I'd be happy to recommend somewhere for you. 'Cause I would rather them print, print my images, well I mean, they're theirs, but I want them to print my images that I've created on good quality stock, that's not going to be discolored, it's not going to fade, so that it looks good. Because that's my work on display that's a form of advertising for me.
Can you just take us through what those wall print prices are?
Yeah, so for an 8x10 I charge 90 Dollars. It doesn't cost me that much, but I print on fine art paper which is something they can't print on themselves. My 8x12s are 120, my 11x14s are 150, and my 16x20s are 200 Dollars.
Thank you. Let's see, we have a question here, do you choose which photos go on the USB in terms of the black and white to color, that's all your choice, the client doesn't choose in advance?
It's usually just the color images. Yeah. Unless because they've had their gallery, they can pick their 20 too. They have that option. So they have, say 36 images, because 20 are in color and you know, the 16 additional images that have been converted to black and white, they'll then tell me which ones they want, which 20 our of those 36 they want.
Okay. And that kinda follows along with CDecker83, on your first package, you only offer ten of the files?
So how do you choose from 20 to ten, do you do that, does the client do that?
No. They have their online gallery.
So yeah, they choose their ten images from the online gallery.
Okay, great. And so, again, just to make sure everybody understands, that is online, not in person?
Yes, so I mentioned before I have this flash website that has this amazing online gallery. I can upload the images from home, I email them, tell them what their password is, tell them how long their gallery is gonna stay open for. Which is also in the session information that they receive first up. But they get that again, and I tell them if they have any questions to please come back to me, and I also just put in there just to email me their image numbers when they're ready, or they can call me with their order. Whichever suits. But I'm also very mindful that a lot of new mums, and especially if they have, like that poor lady (laughs) she's not gonna have a lot of spare time to call me, if she was a client of mine. So she can email me at 3 o'clock in the morning, when she's up breastfeeding, or something like that. I'm very open to making their life as easy as possible.
And just a quick follow-up on that, how long do you leave those open for?
Yeah. So I mentioned before that my galleries are two weeks, three weeks max, if they ask for an extension.
Thank you. Great.
Yeah. But occasionally, you know, there are different circumstances where families have issues. I actually, unfortunately, had a client and her husband separate not long after their session. So it became quite difficult and I gave them an extension on their gallery while they sorted out what was happening with their relationship, and they both came back to me with separate orders a little bit later. So there are different situations where you have to make adjustments for your clients, because, wow, they're the ones that spread the word about you.
Now when you're working with your clients after the session and helping them choose which package they want, do you try to guide them toward one or another, do you have a preference of what they would buy? And do you have sort of a sales technique, or do you really
Do you know,
Just let the products speak for themselves?
I do, I let the products speak for themselves. And I give them room. I give them space. I'm not an in-your-face salesperson, I never have been. But yes, these are my products. And regardless of which one, anything above my 1400 Dollar package, is a bonus. So I don't mind if they buy just my canvas, because I love my canvases. They're amazing canvases. But if they buy another package, that's an added bonus for me and I still love that product more than anything. So yeah, I'm definitely not a pushy salesperson, and I try not to push them into anything.
Your focus, that we've seen is on those newborns that target age between, what was it, six and ten days, no more than 14, do you do, a question from Latia Brewer, do you ever do the grow with me packages where you're photographing different stages up until one year old? Is there a lot of demand for that?
Do you have that--
I, if one of my already existing clients comes back to me for, say, the next session which I would recommend at around six to seven, maybe eight months, when they're sitting up comfortably and safely on their own, I would do that. I, like I mentioned yesterday, that I actually have a bad back, two years ago I had surgery on my back. I had a fusion of my spine, so it kinda limits me to running around parks, chasing children, especially one year olds, like you could see little Milo running around here today trying to get a photo of him and getting him to stand still is not an easy task for me simply because of my back. So I don't, and I chose to specialize in newborns. But I have so many amazing photographers in my area, and I recommend them. I'm so happy to recommend other photographers to these people that are coming to me. And I regularly get inquiries for eight-month old babies. I regularly get inquiries that aren't my existing clients because I'm so booked with newborns that I can't possibly fit anymore in. But, I offer it to my existing clients, just me personally, but those grow with me sessions, they are a really amazing thing market if you can do them. They're a great way to get clients to stay with you. And you know, the beauty of being a baby photographer and having other genres in your business, is that you photograph their high school senior session. They get engaged, they get married, they have children, they have a six month shoot, they have a one year shoot, and then so on, and it goes on. There's six sessions that I just listed that you've got that family with. You wanna keep your clients. So being able to offer newborn photography, whether it's to the extent that I do it, or just really beautiful simple setups with the parents and with the toddlers. My goodness, you've got an amazing thing you can offer. I don't do it because of my physical abilities, and the fact that I decided to specialize. And I've got busy (laughs).
I just, what a wonderful, what a wonderful challenge to have. You just gave me this reference of the first time that I booked one of those one year packages. And it was just the best feeling in the world. Like you said, it's also a confidence booster, but also knowing that you are managing out, and having clients and income spread out further.
So I think it's a great
Definitely if you can do it.
Great way to go. We have a question.
Yes, so I'm just reading over on the wall prints, it says that prints can be purchased in addition to your chosen package. Does that mean that they can't just purchase an 8x10, for an example?
That's pretty much.
So their minimum spend with me is gonna be 1400 Dollars. That's what I need to earn from that session to cover all of my expenses and to pay my wages.
Now, back to when you are working with the parents and choosing the packages, and thinking about the marketing, do you ask their permission to use the images in your marketing? Is that part of your contract, or when do you address that?
Yeah, its in, it's in my forms, and I have a great tool that I use, and Sue Bryce has talked about this tool as well on social media, but it is Top Model Release by Catherine Hall. And it's an iPad, iPhone app that you can download, and people just fill in all the information within the document on the app while they're sitting there they sign it, and a copy of that goes back to my email and their email, so it's really handy. But yes, in the session information that I actually do send out to my clients, the, sorry I've just lost my train of thought, as I do. Actually, while I'm just having a slight pause, is it possible, I brought with me my little baby biscuits. Is it possible to have some of those brought in? Because I actually use this in part of my marketing and pricing. Is that okay, if someone finds those for me? They were on Kay's desk? That would be great.
Cathy is on it.
Because I'd love to show you what I actually give my clients as a gift, when they get their packages, which is also a really good tool.
But yes, What was that question? (laughs) Having one of those afternoons.
That's alright, that's alright. (laughs) Can you use the mic?
The Catherine Hall. Model Release. That's what I was talking about. And going back to my session information, when I send that out to my clients, it actually also tells them that I, you know, with their approval, I can use images to use for marketing and promotional products. But there are, you know, there are some people that come to me with their babies and because of their situation they may have different situations going on where they don't want their baby's face shown for privacy reasons and things like that, so I have to abide by them and make sure that I'm doing the right thing by my clients. Right. Come. Come get them.
Thanks Jean! I'm sorry, camera guys (laughs). It's the afternoon. And they're bubble wrapped because I had to bring them all the way from Australia, but they had to come first for me from another country where I have them made. So these are tiny little biscuits with a baby on top. And I package these in a little box, and it says, "Thank you," on it. So when they get it, they look at it and they have that same reaction you just had, and they remember it. They remember that feeling I just gave them, and they love it. They don't eat it, and the minute they open their package and they see it in there, I get an email. It's so cool. It makes me feel so good about what I give them. This cost me 12 Dollars to have made. One biscuit costs me 12 Dollars. I can cover those expenses. I factor those expenses in, because I want my clients to feel good, I want them to come back to me with their next baby, and I want them to tell all their friends about my business. And, "Wow! You should see this biscuit they gave me." Can I pass them around? So they're little tiny biscuits, and the babies are made out of an icing so they're edible, not that you would want to eat them. And she actually hand-paints them. So, but how amazing is that? I mean, people keep things, I don't know how long you would keep that for, but I know that my grandmother still has, in her cabinet, the sugar-coated almonds from her wedding. So I don't know how long they'd keep that for (laughs).
There's a little thing that I've had--
Yeah, I'm not very good with it.
Alright, let's go for some more questions.
You can hold onto them.
Thank you for bringing those, those are beautiful.
I love it. Alright, so, question from ZoesMama805, and this is with regard to the 20 images. I've had clients complain because they see me take a lot more photos during the session and they wonder why they are only getting 25 images, or so. What would I tell them, when they complain about this?
Yeah, I've had that same, I've had that same comment. So, you know, with digital photography it's great. We can take those extra shots to make sure we nail that focus and that exposure, but with film, obviously, we didn't have that luxury of being able to take multiple images. So I just reply and I say to them that I've picked the best shots, and I take extra shots to make sure I nail that focus and to make sure I'm getting the right exposure, and the perfect expression, especially when I'm photographing toddlers and things like that as well.
We have another question regarding pricing from AngelaTar. She says, my prices aren't where I want them. How do you transition your pricing to higher prices, and not lose the clients that you already have?
Yeah, definitely by offering new products.
Smart. By changing your price list. Don't increase your prices, offer different products that you can charge more for.
That's great. That's a really good approach. How often do you, or do you, change your pricing and product layout? Now that you've sort of gotten to where you want it to be?
Yeah. Now that I'm where I'm so happy, I probably may not change my actual products for quite some time, I might change a couple of my packages, maybe next year, but every year I do do a review, and it does say that in my session information that my prices are subject to change, but I pretty much guarantee them for that year.
Great. Slightly related, but we're getting a lot of questions about this, who is the maker of your USB drive? Everybody really likes it, and wants to know where it came from.
I'm 100% sure it's called Flash Bay.
And when I was at WPPI, I don't know who it was, well there were actually quite a few stands at the trade show of people offering USBs. So there's some amazing USBs out there that you can really promote with your business with putting your logo on as well.
I forget the name of the one that Sue Bryce had.
Those beautiful tin boxes with the USB in there. I bet if you go to her In Bed With Sue Facebook page, you can find that out
That's right. And they've got a good variety as well.
They have a really big variety of different flash drives.
So speaking of where you got things, and I'm sorry I didn't ask you this earlier, everybody wanted to know about your camera strap.
And I forgot to mention that. My camera strap is from a company called Bloom Theory. Check out their Facebook page, and tell them that you saw it on Creative Live because that camera strap, oh my god, everyone loves it. Everyone loves it. All my clients that come to my studio that have their own cameras, they want to know where I got it from so they can get one (laughs).
Alright, let's take some more marketing questions. We just have a little bit of time left, so we still have some time to get some of these great questions in. Question about those albums that are beautiful, that you have. Do you do different layouts, this is from TMaz, or is it the same same layout for that album?
It depends. It depends on the pictures. So yeah, because of the way it is put together, putting an image all the way across a double spread, it might look a bit funny especially if it's cutting through the baby's face or something like that, so it would depend on all the images that I've gotten, You know, I can put four images on one page, one image on one page. My particular album has a torn edge, which I love. So I'm not actually gonna put the entire image all the way to the edge, because I don't want that torn edge to go, just 'cause the paper's white, so if an image has a dark background, the white torn edge would look funny on it. So I tend to keep it within a border and put a nice white border around it. But I can put two images on the one page, it all depends on the images that I've taken in that session. But because of the amount of money that I charge for that album, I'm more than happy to sit there and create a beautiful layout for them individually. And it really doesn't take long.
What would you say, was your biggest hurdle that you got over with regard to pricing yourself and your value? Getting to where you are now.
Definitely believing in myself. I put my heart and soul into my business, every day I wake up I think about photography. But I started it because, I started photography because I just love taking photos. I love showing people my photos. I love being able to catch a moment and create a memory, not just for other people, but for myself. So when I started taking images, I did it for the love of it. And then when I found out that I could earn money from it, I still had that doubt that I was just a hobbyist. I still had that fear that I wasn't good enough. But I had to stop worrying about what everyone else was doing, stop looking at their images, concentrate on my own business, and really just grow from there. My business is the most important thing to me, other than my family, because it's what brings money into my family. So I needed to spend time on it, not worrying, and not spend time worrying about what anyone else was doing with their business. I needed to value what I did. And the more I did that, the more I grew as a photographer. And my fears just eventually died down. I don't care what people think anymore, of my work, my clients love it and that's all matters to me because they're the ones that pay my bills. I don't care what other photographers think. I used to, I don't anymore. Well, I kinda do when it comes to the awards because I want them to give me good scores, but at the end of the day, my client work is what matters to me, not gratification from other photographers.