Are You Ready To Start Charging for Photography? (Take this quiz to find out)
July 23rd, 2014   |   0 comments

quizAs a beginning photographer it can be frustrating to try figuring out when you can start charging clients for all the work and effort you've put into learning about photography.

We've designed this short quiz to help you know if you are ready to start charging clients.   Simply keep track of all of the yes's you can answer, and we'll have a score guide at the end.

  1. Do you have a professional grade camera (DSLR)?
  1. Do you have a good concept of lighting and exposure?   (Do you know what time of the day is best to shoot and why?   Do you know where to place your subject for the best lighting and why?)
  1. Do you understand the rules of composition?
  1. Do you understand and use posing ideas to create the best look for your clients?
  1. Have you completed at least 10 different non-paid sessions, including editing?
  1. Do you have your business legally set up and prepared to pay taxes?
  1. Do you shoot on Auto?
  1. Do you shoot in another mode beyond Auto?
  1. Do you have an online presence either through a website and/or social media?
  1. Do you have people (that have seen your work) telling you that you should start charging?

If you answered yes to at least 7 out of 10 questions, then you are probably on the right track to understanding photography and the business and may be ready to start charging.  If you answered yes to less than 7 of the questions, then you may want to do some more studying and practicing before you start charging clients for your work.


3 Sales Tips to Rock Your World
July 9th, 2014   |   0 comments
Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 3.06.50 PM

So here’s the story: You have a perfect session with new clients. You’re so excited that they LOVED the teasers you posted on Facebook and they’ve already told you they want a canvas collections, an album, gift prints, holiday cards, etc. Yessssss! This is going to be a huge sale right?! So the clients come in to view all the images and place the order. Unfortunately when they see the total order, they say to you, “Oh, I’m so sorry. We weren’t actually prepared to spend that much” or “Wow…my husband would KILL me if I spent that much” or the classic, “Yikes… I just didn’t budget for that this month…maybe when tax returns come in.”

It’s frustrating when we feel we have delivered fantastic imagery to our clients and they say they love the images yet they aren’t willing to put their money where their mouth is.”

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So how do we combat this in way that still gives the client what they want and brings us the sale we need? Here are three tips to make bigger sales and secure the ones you make.

1. Partial Pre Sale

The Partial Pre Sale is a great method used to split the money your clients are spending with you in half so that their payments aren’t coming all at once. I found that when most of my clients saw the total of their order, even though they had seen the prices of each item as they ordered, they were a little shocked and wanted to remove something from their order. Usually this item was the album because the album is only one item but it is usually one of the more expensive pieces. Even though they really wanted it, they usually opted to remove it. So what I began to do was offer my albums at a discounted rate if my clients ordered them upon booking their session. This works great because the client can purchase the sitting fee and the album in one month and then the rest of the order can be paid one, two or three paychecks later.

2. Payment Plans

This can be a huge benefit to your sales! If clients are having a hard time with the idea of dropping a large amount of money in one chunk, offer them the option of an interest free payment plan. Here’s the key - always ask for a deposit! You need to make sure you have your costs of goods covered up front. Then, make sure the client knows that the most valuable item will be delivered to them when the payments are completed. They NEVER get their entire order before their payment is complete. I personally ask for at least a quarter of the total sale up front. Then they can be a monthly or bi-monthly payment plan not to exceed one year (but we prefer getting them all paid off in 6 months or less). This has been very instrumental in increasing my average sales figures.

3. Put it on Paper

Securing the sale is the most important part of the sales process. Sometimes we can get so excited that we made a large sale that we just want to hug the client, send them on their way, cash their checks and process their order. But what happens when the client calls back the next day or two days later and says, “I’m so sorry, we had a chance to think about it and I think we just spent too much. Can we revise our order?” If you’re anything like me, your heart sinks into your stomach, you put on your “happy voice” and say “Absolutely! I certainly wouldn’t want you to have anything but a great experience. Why don’t you come back in and we’ll readjust for you.”

A great way to avoid the issue is to add a line at the bottom of your invoices that says, “All sales are final and will be in production immediately,” print the invoice and have the client sign an agreement underneath. Mention this at the end of every sale and get a verbal agreement so that it is clear the client has read and agrees with the terms of the sale. This will prevent them from coming back to you and asking to “revise their order”. It is better to make a slightly smaller sale and have a longtime, happy client then to make a large sale and have to spend time and money refunding their cards, reversing a check, etc.

 I hope this has been super helpful for you!


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Alycia White is a portrait photographer in Redmond, Oregan and writer for Artsy Couture, a professional photo printing lab.

The Price Is Right? Comparing Price Packages
July 4th, 2014   |   0 comments
the price is right

Pricing yourself is always one of the biggest challenges to any photographer’s business. One way to determine where your own pricing should be is to compare what other photographers in your area are charging.  This strategy lets you know what your potential clients are used to seeing and paying for good photography. In a small … Continue reading

Sara Garcia - The Art of Confidence
June 25th, 2014   |   0 comments

A few short years ago, I was able to do some one to one new business coaching with the very talented photographer Sara Garcia of Sara Garcia Photo Art.   It only took me a few minutes to figure out she had it going on.  She was confident, excited, and I could tell that nothing was … Continue reading

Do You Work From Home? Watch Jodi Rothfeld's Home Office Tour
June 20th, 2014   |   1 comment

Sometimes it's fun to look into other photographer's worlds.  To see how they work.  To see how they live.  To see how they use their home as an office and studio. Jodi Rothfeld of Paintchips and Cupcakes in New Jersey has an amazing photography business that she has built from her home.  We went to … Continue reading

Is Photography Business Debt OK?
June 11th, 2014   |   0 comments

This article is written from my personal perspective as a business adviser.  However, I am not a professional financial planner.   Please use this information as a guideline and contact your own financial adviser for professional advice. While we all know that being in debt is a bad thing, is it possible that having business debt … Continue reading


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