- Charge More Money
- Streamline Your Workflow
- Be a Professional
- Invest in Yourself
- Be Available (Within Reason)<
- Build Relationships
photo by Rawpixel via iStock
The first 3 years I ran my photography business I spent more money on it than I made, and I was only able to do that because I ran it part-time after my full-time day job was over.
I spent endless hours emailing photographers I looked up to asking for photography business tips, or asking how to make more money.
Many times, I got an unsatisfactory answer because I wanted to suffer for my art. In other words, I was told I wasn’t running my photography business like a business. I wasn’t worried about my bottom line because I was too focused on photography income tips, and nothing else about running a business.
But, after years of scraping by in photography, I think I finally have some useful tips for other photographers I want to share.
Table of Contents
Charge More Money
Chelsea Nicole PhotographyChelsea Nicole Photography really says it best with her diagram in the video above.
Most photographers are stuck in the lower-tier of photography. They charge less, but this isn’t really the problem. The problem is that clients at this lower-tier of pricing can be more difficult to deal with.
While it’s always necessary to begin at this crowded portion of the photography business spectrum, you need to quickly move beyond this pricing if you’re going to make it in this business.
photo by jeffbergen via iStock
A good way to introduce yourself to the idea of charging more is to up your pricing structure. This doesn’t mean you should double your rates overnight, but gradually increasing them over time can soften the blow to customers who remember what you used to charge.
Out of all my photography business tips, this one will help you learn most people are not turned off by photographers asking for what they are worth. If you’re good at what you do, you deserve to be paid for it, and that’s the view of many clients.
Besides, in the end, you’ll never find the answer to how to make more money in photography without charging more!
Streamline Your Workflow
photo by Anchiy via iStock
As the old saying goes, "time is money," so that means you need to streamline your workflow in every way possible, that way there isn't a moment wasted over the course of the workday.
No one I know wants to work more than they already do, and part of what I do to work smarter, not harder, is to utilize tools that make my daily tasks less time-consuming.
For example, I use Exposure X5 to edit my photos and make use of its many built-in time-saving features to make editing a breeze.
Exposure X5 has a huge selection of Looks that put tons of beautiful film presets at my fingertips.
You can apply a look with just a single click while also having the option of customizing the look and saving it for use later on. This helps me create a consistent look and feel across a range of images but without having to repeat long, drawn-out edits over and over again. Nice!
Aside from having handy features like Looks, the workflow of Exposure is simply fantastic.
Its layout is intuitive, which leads to efficient use of the software to get the job done. What's more, Exposure allows you to customize your preferences for a bespoke editing experience.
With a seamless transition between organizing your images and editing them, you save even more time - time you can then use to go shoot more photos!
Try Exposure X5 free for 30 days to see what I mean about it being a fantastic time-saver!
Be a Professional
photo by jacoblund via iStock
This one goes without saying: if you’re charging professional money then you need to act professionally.
Communicate when something goes wrong. Keep your anger and frustration to yourself.
Set expectations for yourself and for your clients.
Meet deadlines. Do what you say you’re going to do.
photo by gorodenkoff via iStock
There are a ton of great photographers out there, and you’re in competition with many of them.
A great way to set yourself apart from the crowd is to really develop a strong customer service game. After all, if someone calls you to do their family portraits or to shoot their wedding, chances are good that they already like the work that you do.
You can get more clients and make more money by going above and beyond, and building on the good reputation you have for your photography skills by wowing clients with your service before, during, and after their shoot.
Invest in Yourself
photo by fizkes via iStock
It’s important to know that as you move along in your photography business, you need to continually invest in yourself (and your business, for that matter) if you’re going to maximize your profits.
Investing in yourself means taking the time to develop new skills and hone existing ones.
In particular, learning the business of photography is critical - if you’re already a professional photographer, you should have a wealth of photography knowledge and skills.
But many of us don’t have the business or marketing savvy needed to help our businesses take flight, so that’s a good area to spend some time and money in learning new things.
photo by LPETTET via iStock
The other huge part of learning how to make money from photography is ensuring you are taking care of yourself as your own employee.
I recommend Catch for freelancers, which is a one-stop shop for personal benefits. You enter what percentage of each check you need for taxes, health care, retirement, and time off. You then connect it to your bank and it basically does the rest.
Photography business tips rarely touch on making sure you get time away from the studio, or making sure you’re saving for retirement you will greatly deserve in a few years time.
Plus, you can’t shoot if you’re ill. So, make sure you show up for your annual physical, if only for your photography business!
Be Available (Within Reason)
photo by da-kuk via iStock
Many photographers allow their pursuit of income to block their judgement about how much they work.
Of course, you want to put your client first, but there needs to be some boundaries, otherwise you’ll find yourself working all the time and neglecting the time you need to rest and unwind.
It’s one thing to occasionally oblige a client that needs your services after hours, but be reasonable about how often you do so. I don’t know many people that enjoy working all day and all night, and you shouldn’t have to do so either.
The same goes for when you are on vacation. Set up an “out-of-office” email and don’t worry about how to make more money until you’re home.
P.S. if you need a little extra help learning how to set boundaries with your clients, and really how to grow a photography business, this article from Small Business Boss is extremely helpful.
photo by mediaphotos via iStock
The best advice I ever received about how to grow a photography business is to invest in your relationships.
These relationships extend from clients to other photographers to your suppliers.
And the best way to build relationships in the photography business is to communicate honestly.
One of my favorite suppliers, CanvasHQ continues to receive my business because they are forthright with what should be expected of them.
They offer a guarantee on their products, so if something isn’t right, you can send it back and they’ll reprint it for free.
What’s more, they’re very open about their process of creating the prints and the materials they use, so I know exactly what to expect. And what to expect is top-quality work with archival canvas, professional inks, and hand-crafted frames.
Plus, they deliver that quality on time every time!
It doesn’t hurt matters that every time I sell one of my clients on a canvas print, they absolutely love it and often come back for more or refer me to their friends.
Using quality suppliers only helps further your photography connections, and it can also help you bring in more money. It’s a win-win!