Although most married couples work a combination of full-time and part-time jobs, which produce dual incomes, there are still many stay-at-home mothers. Many of them are passionate about digital photography, or are interested in becoming a photographer, and utilizing their skills to earn additional family income.
Advantage #1: Flexible Schedule
Because Mom has a busy schedule, with many tasks, errands and responsibilities during the day, it’s not easy to find a part-time job with the flexibility she needs. That’s why earning additional income, as a semi-professional photographer, can be an excellent alternative. Some days and times of the day are less hectic: the children are at school, the youngest are taking naps, etc.
During these small windows of time, Mom can continue to educate herself with a perusal of the newest how-to photography articles on PhotographyTalk.com as well as using the Forum to ask questions and view the many how-to videos available there.
Mom can also access the many online courses, workshops and tutorials that The Picture Perfect School of Photography, MyPhotoSchool and LoveThatShot offer, which are all PhotographyTalk vendor partners.
Stay-at-home mothers also have the flexibility to schedule digital photography assignments during specific times of the week, especially when her husband is available to supervise the kids. Because there isn’t the pressure of working a full-time job, Mom can book shoots a couple of late afternoons or evenings a week and Saturday morning.
Advantage #2: Portfolio Subject Matter
Although there is no detailed data about what kind of digital photography assignments stay-at-home moms seek, it appears that most of their work is portraits and weddings. They don’t have to look very far for subject matter to create a good portfolio: They spend plenty of time with their children throughout the day, which also become opportunities to photograph them.
The children of friends and neighbors, who are also stay-at-home moms, are also easily accessible during the same times of the day. A neighborly backyard party is another excellent opportunity to capture casual portraits of children and children with their parents. In addition, any neighborhood is filled with people with a great variety of hobbies, which are often enjoyed during the evening hours or weekends. They are excellent subject matter for lifestyle portraits, which gives a semi-professional portfolio an even better mix of images.
Advantage #3: Network of Contacts
Typically, stay-at-home moms are members of a network of other stay-at-home moms, which provides an immediate and easily accessible market for Mom’s semi-professional photography business. All these families have growing children and virtually all the parents will value and cherish excellent portraits of them. Plus, they are more likely to hire someone they know.
Every stay-at-home mom in the network is also a member of two extended families: hers and her husband’s. Families have weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, reunions, etc. All of which is great business for the semi-professional and is easily reached with inexpensive marketing. Often, word-of-mouth advertising does much of the work, actually resulting in no-cost or low-cost marketing: distributing business cards through the stay-at-home mom network, utilizing social media and maintaining a simple portfolio Web site.
The stay-at-home mom working as a semi-professional photographer can also utilize her children to help spread the word about her services. This is not to suggest that children should become “salespeople” actively seeking business from their friends. Instead, the marketing tactic here is subtler. The children can show Mom’s great photos of them on their Facebook pages or other social media; display photos on the inside doors of their school lockers; place a portrait photo on the cover of a notebook; or use one of Mom’s photo as a computer monitor or cell phone background or screen saver. Kids like nothing better than to view and share photos; and when they see Mom’s excellent photos of her children, their friends, they’ll ask their parents to have Mom photograph them too.
Advantage #4: Pricing
The pricing of semi-professional photographers’ work is a tricky and somewhat controversial subject among professional/commercial photographers. Many of the full-timers think that when semi-professionals charge less than the market will bear they are undervaluing portraits, weddings, etc., thus limiting everyone’s revenue.
No doubt this is a reality on occasion and in some geographic markets. The advantage for the stay-at-home mom that is also a semi-professional photographer is that many, if not most, of her clients are a secondary market. They wouldn’t typically seek the services of a full-time professional for any number of reasons: cost, convenience, etc. The semi-professional is able to set pricing according to the market available to her; and she will receive more work from it if her prices are less than the full-time professional.
Photo by Photography Talk member Laura Miller
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