- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Commercial Photography Handbook: Business Techniques for Professional Digital Photographers
- Tabletop Photography: Using Compact Flashes and Low-Cost Tricks to Create Professional-Looking Studio Shots
- Low Budget Shooting: Do It Yourself Solutions to Professional Photo Gear
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
A Success Series for Modern Day Photographers
In last week’s edition, How to Get Repeat Business, we talked about simple but effective was to keep clients once you get them - how to not let them slip away to the often lower priced competition.
We’ve been talking a lot about getting new business lately and of course, if you don’t get new business (and keep it), you won’t have to worry about the financial aspects of your business. However, I am kind of amazed at the number of “Professional” photographers who simply don’t pay any attention to the “Pro” part of their business, which means you get paid to do this.
You have all gone to seminars, read articles or watched videos that will tell you that you need to charge a fair price for your artistry and work product and that you are worth every penny you charge. I find that many of you, maybe even most of you are still struggling with this part of the business. My best advice would be simply and brutally; get over it. And, not only that, get in the habit of getting a contract for your services and asking for your money up front. Believe it or not (and don’t believe it at your own peril) this may be the most important thing you can do to help your business go and grow. Taking these simple (OK, I know for a lot of you it isn’t simple or easy) steps will change the way you look at your business and the way your customers look at you.
Thinking of yourself as a professional will give you the confidence you need to set good prices for your time and work product, the first step in long term success. Getting paid up front will make it more exciting to go to work for your customers (trust me, it will) and you will give them a better product. Asking for money up front will make your customers look at you as a professional that deserves to be paid, not someone who works for free and gets paid if they like what you do, which you know happens to you. Cash up front will give you the flexibility to do some extra things to benefit your business and help it grow even faster. You can invest in some targeted marketing and promotions, you can get more connected and join your Chamber of Commerce. Take a moment to think of what you could do with an extra months worth of cash flow!
There are some tools that can help. First, we talked before about the value of joining trade associations, and all of these professional organizations have resources that are available to you either free or at a low cost which often include sample contracts – just fill in the blanks. These contracts have been developed over the years by photographers and lawyers and cover areas of importance in your industry that should be professionally documented. Using a contract makes it easier to ask for money up front since you’re setting the bar before services are even rendered; you are booking your time out according to the rates you believe you are worth. These contracts alone are worth the price of the trade association membership fees.
It is critically important that you look at your business as just that, a business. When you go to your local garage for auto service, there is never any question that you are going to pay for the service. When you order products from a website, you pay upfront and expect to receive what you ordered. You are just as much a business as either of these examples and thinking of yourself as a business is the first step to being a successful one.
Mike Smith | MorePhotos COO
Drew Warner | MorePhotos Marketing