Photography As A Business : Part 2 -Selling Your Services As A Photographer

Jerry WalchStarred Page By Jerry Walch, 14th Oct 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Art>Photography

Your primary goal is to select a type of photography that will support the lifestyle that you want for yourself and your family and will allow you to satisfy your clients needs and desires. Remember what John Paul Getty said, “In order to get what you want, you have to help others get what they want.” One of the biggest mistakes photographers make is in the way they market their services.


You are not merely selling your client photographs, you are selling them a complete experience. What do I mean by that? I mean that you are selling yourself as both a human being and as a photographer. The way a potential client perceives your people skills is as momentous as how they perceive your technical skills as a photographer. What I'm saying is that if you do not truly like dealing with people, all kinds of people, don't become involved in photography as a business. If you don't enjoy helping people get what they want out of life, don't start a photography business.

Clients don't like surprises.

Bishop William Couper, the 17th century Scottish theologian, wrote, “Variety's the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.” People may enjoy a variety in their lives, I know that I do, but, as a rule, people don't like surprises in their business dealings. Many photographer lure people in by offering them low up-front fees and it works but not what out risk. Those photographers make their money on the back-end by selling their clients over priced prints. In this day, the age of the Internet everyone knows how much it costs for you to produce the prints and they will know what your markup was. Your clients may pay for those overly-priced prints, but they will let you know that they resent being tricked in this manner.

As photographers, we look for repeat business from satisfied clients. Word of mouth advertising, having satisfied clients talk about us and refer us to friends, relatives, and business associates are the best form of advertising we can ever get. We will get neither from clients that we have lured in to our web with low up-front fees and then sock it to them with overpriced prints.

Don't make the mistake of underselling yourself.

There's another risk involved when you set your “Creative Fees” or “Sessions Fees” below the market value, you are declaring to your potential clients that all your creative skills and talent is only worth a small amount of money. You are declaring to every potential customer that you have low overhead because you will not be using professional equipment. People, most people, believe that they only get what they pay for, so don't price yourself out of business by underpricing the services that you are offering. If you're just starting out in the photography business, you can go 20 or 25 percent below the going rate for a particular type of photography service, but don't cut your prices by more than that. I charge $100 an hour “Creative Fee” plus expenses when I shoot a wedding and my clients never bat an eyelash. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but there has to be truly extenuating circumstances before I break that rule.

You want to sell quality, not price.

When I pitch a wedding, I pitch the services that I will provide the happy couple. I never talk about why I charge $100 an hour Creative Fee, I simply mention the amount of my fee at the appropriate time. My pitch book is a Power Point presentation with music and voice over. I'm strictly high-tech. Except for a few blank photo albums that I carry to show the quality of the actual album they will get, the only thing I bring to a prospective client's home is my laptop and portable printer. Everything in on that laptop, including the wedding photography contract. I have different Power Point presentations for all the different types of clients I pitch.

Photography As A Business: Part 1


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author avatar Jerry Walch
Jerry Walch is a 71 year old freelance writer for hire living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been writing since the late 1970s, and writes for both the print and online media. He specializes in

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author avatar Denise O
15th Oct 2010 (#)

Fantastic as always.
I absolutely love your pictures Jerry.
When I grow up, I want to be just like you.:)

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author avatar James R. Coffey
15th Oct 2010 (#)

The insight I've come to expect and rely upon, my friend!

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author avatar LOVERME
20th Oct 2010 (#)

ur the best photographer
known please
view three of my photography kind poems
and evaluate the snaps thanks

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author avatar Godwill
25th Oct 2010 (#)

Jerry, this is a classic lecture. I have learnt so much. Thank you.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
26th Oct 2010 (#)

Welcome, Godwill.

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author avatar Dafeenah
7th Mar 2011 (#)

Thanks so much. This doesn't just apply to photography but to all artists.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
7th Mar 2011 (#)

Very true Dafeenah.

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