DPChallenge: A Digital Photography Contest You are not logged in. (log in or register
 

DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Amateur Business
Pages:  
Showing posts 1 - 16 of 16, (reverse)
AuthorThread
03/13/2013 01:09:25 AM · #1
So, I'm an electrical engineer in solid state drives by trade, but I have done photography on the side for a while. I maybe do about 5 weddings a year and a handful of random shoots, however, I have enough capacity to do about double that and would like to. I haven't ever really advertised and it's been by word of mouth with a little bit of facebook (I have a separate page just for my photography services). Up until now, I've always done each wedding or session on a case-by-case basis, I have people asking me what my prices are so they can tell other people. Plus, it hard to have a 25% discount on prices that are unknown beforehand I usually just tell them to contact me and I will give them a quote, however, I feel I may be losing potential customers this way. It's kind of tricky as I'd like my side business to grow, but not to the point where it overtakes my 9-5 career, but I wouldn't mind a few more customers. I could advertise my prices on my facebook page (which if you think about it is mostly word of mouth advertising which is all I really want), but I'm afraid that would take away my ability to adjust for case-by-case (read friends and close family more specifically). Does any of that makes sense? I would appreciate any insight that dwells here in the DPC community, thanks in advance!
03/13/2013 07:38:54 AM · #2
you at a minimum need a website to showcase your work. If your business is driven from word of mouth ask to be put in contact yourself with the potential clients, sell yourself, don't have someone selling for you.

you could ask for their number or email and throw them a sales pitch, "so and so told me to contact you regarding your wedding, here is what i offer, prices are competitive, here are samples of my work. i'll follow up in a few days to see if you want to meet up and go over things."

also don't be afraid of drumming up too much interest, you'd rather be the one who turns jobs down due to scheduling.

i'm still starting put myself so im only giving out how i would handle this situation, not from any experience. If im off base i'd hope someone will offer a better approach.

also, I'm sure sensei Skip will be along in a bit with some really worthwhile advice.
03/13/2013 10:51:13 AM · #3
Thanks Mike. I guess that's what im trying to say is it would be nice to have enough business to fill my schedule but not take any more if my time doesn't permit. I guess I can think of situations where I probably should have asked for a number or email.
03/13/2013 11:07:44 AM · #4
Originally posted by goinskiing:

Thanks Mike. I guess that's what im trying to say is it would be nice to have enough business to fill my schedule but not take any more if my time doesn't permit. I guess I can think of situations where I probably should have asked for a number or email.


like i said, you can always say you are booked up. i have been doing a lot of TFP work to build my portfolio, its not the same as paying work but its nice having the option to say you are booked.
03/13/2013 01:00:02 PM · #5
Even if you're doing it part time, you need to treat it like a business. At the very least, you need a website, business cards, a price list, and liability insurance. It's helpful to have a business plan, too, because then you have some idea what to put on your website, business cards, and price list.

As far as not overbooking, that's a problem that even full time photographers wrestle with. I have a friend who's a full time wedding videographer, who sets a target number of weddings at the beginning of the year, and once he's reached his target, he doesn't accept any more weddings. He knows that if he does too many weddings, he can't get the editing done in a reasonable amount of time, and he wants to sell quality and service, rather than low prices and volume. If he is fully booked one year, he raises his prices the next. He's raised his prices 3 years in a row, so it's apparently working for him.
03/13/2013 04:12:02 PM · #6
What sort of liability insurance?

How do most people here do pricing (loaded question, I know)? It just seems like there's so many variables like, time, distance, convenience, how much they really want, etc.
03/13/2013 05:21:27 PM · #7
Originally posted by goinskiing:

What sort of liability insurance?

How do most people here do pricing (loaded question, I know)? It just seems like there's so many variables like, time, distance, convenience, how much they really want, etc.


You need liability insurance for two things:

1) your hard drive craters before you're able to make backups of the wedding
2) you drown the bride during the trash the dress shoot

You can get the happy couple to sign a liability release (you have a written contract, right?), but if they sue you anyway, you'll then have to hire a lawyer to defend yourself. If you have insurance, the insurance company pays for the lawyer.

Even though I'm not a professional (or not much of one, anyway), I joined PPA because their equipment coverage policy was cheaper than a rider on my homeowner's insurance. I think their liability policy is only an extra $50/year above that.

03/13/2013 06:01:07 PM · #8
Originally posted by Ann:

Originally posted by goinskiing:

What sort of liability insurance?

How do most people here do pricing (loaded question, I know)? It just seems like there's so many variables like, time, distance, convenience, how much they really want, etc.


You need liability insurance for two things:

1) your hard drive craters before you're able to make backups of the wedding
2) you drown the bride during the trash the dress shoot

You can get the happy couple to sign a liability release (you have a written contract, right?), but if they sue you anyway, you'll then have to hire a lawyer to defend yourself. If you have insurance, the insurance company pays for the lawyer.

Even though I'm not a professional (or not much of one, anyway), I joined PPA because their equipment coverage policy was cheaper than a rider on my homeowner's insurance. I think their liability policy is only an extra $50/year above that.


You know, I should probably at least get a written contract of sorts, I do not even have that. I do have equipment coverage through another insurance avenue.
03/13/2013 07:26:33 PM · #9
You shoot weddings and don't have a contract or liability insurance?

Brave. Very brave.
03/13/2013 07:27:43 PM · #10
To add, I'd get right on that. Immediately.
03/13/2013 10:54:30 PM · #11
Originally posted by mike_311:

You shoot weddings and don't have a contract or liability insurance?

Brave. Very brave.


What do you do for liability insurance?
03/13/2013 10:55:49 PM · #12
Originally posted by mike_311:

You shoot weddings and don't have a contract or liability insurance?

Brave. Very brave.


Also, do you know a good resource for contract templates,
03/13/2013 11:38:48 PM · #13
first, congrats on being in this position! second, i can only try to add to the good advice you're already getting.

definitely have a plan. it doesn't have to be an over the top plan. just a simple, basic overview of what you want to do, the time and resources you'll need, and yes, the money. you have to be fair to yourself and you should be fair to the industry (ie, don't ridiculously undercut the working pros).

by now you should have enough experience to know how much time and effort is involved in shooting a wedding, and you should have enough of an idea as to what people expect in terms of delivered product. with that, you should be able to put together a basic pricing matrix for the goods and services you intend to offer. you don't have to necessarily publish these prices, but you should have them ready so that when the opportunities present themselves, you'll be able to offer reasonable, standardized pricing (and not be treating everything as a one-off, custom quote that you have to build from scratch).

next, put together a marketing plan. again, nothing over the top. you just need to identify the market you are going after and then figure out how best to reach them. take some time to figure out your elevator pitch: distill everything about you that makes you the best thing since sliced bread down into a handful of sentences that can quickly and succinctly get your point across. this is your marketing message. this is the why should somebody risk the biggest day of their life on you.

once you have a handle on what you have to say, you will need a website. nothing fancy. just something that helps get your message across. a place to show ONLY THE BEST OF WHAT YOU GOT TO SHOW. and a place to hang testimonials and referrals. you website only needs to do a handful of things for you: 1) calmly reassure people that you're legit, 2) encourage people to call you, and 3) make clients glad to be part of your business family.

at this stage of the game, given that you aren't looking to do this full time, you don't need to go nuts. you don't have to have a stylized logo, etc, etc. just keep it all simple. simple website, simple business cards, simple stationary. (i recommend overnightprints.com over vistaprints.)

as for other details, let google be your friend. you probably should plan on dropping some coin on books. there's a great book of business forms for photographers that you'll want to get your hands on. you might also want to get j conrad levinson's book on guerrila marketing. even if you're not full time, you may want to join an organization like the professional photographers of america. it's not cheap, but there are a lot of benefits (like insurance and business advice). in reality, some, if not all, of your additional expenses will probably be covered by just picking up one or two additional shoots.

you're in great shape if you know what your capacity is. like ann's friend, market like heck, meet your quota, call it a day. can't beat that.

good luck!
03/14/2013 08:13:04 AM · #14
Originally posted by goinskiing:

Originally posted by mike_311:

You shoot weddings and don't have a contract or liability insurance?

Brave. Very brave.


What do you do for liability insurance?


none, yet, im still looking.

i don't shoot weddings and one big reason is that i'm not insured. without a contract or insurance you are one really unhappy customer away from getting sued. you can't reshoot a wedding and without a proper contract to protect yourself you are at someone's mercy. for instance, what happens if you get in a car accident on the way and cant make it to their wedding? you need to have some of clause in a contract to you for that.

if my clients are unhappy i can refund their money or do a free re-shoot, the only i really have to be concerned with is if anyone gets injured during a shoot while i'm directing them, i don't shoot out of my home so its even less of a concern for me.

the reason im looking into its that some places we will require you to be insured to be able to have a shoot on their grounds.

at the every least you better have a good contract that is equally fair to both parties and you need to be insured, especially shooting weddings.
03/14/2013 06:20:40 PM · #15
Originally posted by Skip:

first, congrats on being in this position! second, i can only try to add to the good advice you're already getting.

definitely have a plan. it doesn't have to be an over the top plan. just a simple, basic overview of what you want to do, the time and resources you'll need, and yes, the money. you have to be fair to yourself and you should be fair to the industry (ie, don't ridiculously undercut the working pros).

by now you should have enough experience to know how much time and effort is involved in shooting a wedding, and you should have enough of an idea as to what people expect in terms of delivered product. with that, you should be able to put together a basic pricing matrix for the goods and services you intend to offer. you don't have to necessarily publish these prices, but you should have them ready so that when the opportunities present themselves, you'll be able to offer reasonable, standardized pricing (and not be treating everything as a one-off, custom quote that you have to build from scratch).

next, put together a marketing plan. again, nothing over the top. you just need to identify the market you are going after and then figure out how best to reach them. take some time to figure out your elevator pitch: distill everything about you that makes you the best thing since sliced bread down into a handful of sentences that can quickly and succinctly get your point across. this is your marketing message. this is the why should somebody risk the biggest day of their life on you.

once you have a handle on what you have to say, you will need a website. nothing fancy. just something that helps get your message across. a place to show ONLY THE BEST OF WHAT YOU GOT TO SHOW. and a place to hang testimonials and referrals. you website only needs to do a handful of things for you: 1) calmly reassure people that you're legit, 2) encourage people to call you, and 3) make clients glad to be part of your business family.

at this stage of the game, given that you aren't looking to do this full time, you don't need to go nuts. you don't have to have a stylized logo, etc, etc. just keep it all simple. simple website, simple business cards, simple stationary. (i recommend overnightprints.com over vistaprints.)

as for other details, let google be your friend. you probably should plan on dropping some coin on books. there's a great book of business forms for photographers that you'll want to get your hands on. you might also want to get j conrad levinson's book on guerrila marketing. even if you're not full time, you may want to join an organization like the professional photographers of america. it's not cheap, but there are a lot of benefits (like insurance and business advice). in reality, some, if not all, of your additional expenses will probably be covered by just picking up one or two additional shoots.

you're in great shape if you know what your capacity is. like ann's friend, market like heck, meet your quota, call it a day. can't beat that.

good luck!


Thanks Skip, this is extremely useful information. I think the first thing I need to do is come up with a contract, any recommendations on a good template for starters?

Once I have that, I think I will (finally) come up with a pricing matrix to have handy if someone asks for it. I'm still not sure I want to publish that sort of information yet until I get a much better feel for how customers respond to it (after I make one first that is). From that point I can make adjustments until it seems to fit and then I may consider publishing at that point. The reason I even bring this up is because over the last five years I have been one-offing prices because I was building my portfolio. Well, my portfolio is plenty ready and I have built up the confidence needed to double my clientele of which I know I can handle.

The website thing will be no problem for me as I can either spend more time on my Facebook page, do a simple blog, or actually take some time to have a hosted domain (by the way, any recommendations there?). I am an electrical engineer by trade so programming a website will not be too big an issue for me. I think I have a good idea to make it noticeable on Google and presentable to future clientele.

I have some lawyers I used to work for that may be able to help me draft a good contract that should handle the low volume I deal with until I get steady work at which point I will consider liability insurance. I think I have a good idea of how I want to handle this portion of things now (especially since I hadn't considered it up until it was mentioned).
03/14/2013 06:31:01 PM · #16
I found this
Pages:  
Current Server Time: 06/19/2021 06:53:34 PM

Please log in or register to post to the forums.


Home - Challenges - Community - League - Photos - Cameras - Lenses - Learn - Prints! - Help - Terms of Use - Privacy - Top ^
DPChallenge, and website content and design, Copyright © 2001-2021 Challenging Technologies, LLC.
All digital photo copyrights belong to the photographers and may not be used without permission.
Proudly hosted by Sargasso Networks. Current Server Time: 06/19/2021 06:53:34 PM EDT.