Thursday, October 24, 2013

Make the Leap from Shoot and Burn to Product Sales!

Every once in a while, people drop notes asking how to handle various situations. I received this one today from a photographer in a Facebook group. Is this a letter that you could have written?
Hi! I just saw a post on a Facebook photo group about charging $100 for a disk of images versus just offering prints and products I am assuming? She said that you had helped her convert... Well I am one of those photographers that offers sessions for $125 and they get to choose 10 poses for edit and receive a disk of the finished product... it works, but I am leaning more and more towards not offering digital images anymore. I guess the main thing holding be back is the fear of losing clients or not staying busy enough... I am still trying to get my name out there and grow my business and I wish I was busier the way it is... I feel like if I didn't offer a disk then I would slow way down as most of my clients come to me because they want a photographer that offers this. Do you have any words of expertise for me?! I would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for your time.
- Scared to Switch
Dear Scared -

Thanks for your note and being brave enough to reach out. It's really difficult to make the leap, but the biggest obstacle is how WE think, not how our clients think.

Will you lose some clients by switching to a product-based model? Of course. There are people out there who want cheap. If you raise your prices and still give them the files, odds are they would leave you anyway in search of another $125 photographer. We simply have to get over the fact that these are our "starter clients".

With properly priced product, you WILL make more money. It's a fact. There are a number of photographers in the group who worked a shoot-and-burn model initially, then realized they were putting in hours of their time and talent and not reaping the benefits, emotionally or financially. Ask them; they simply won't go back.

Your fears are identical to theirs. They worried that they would lose clients. They worried that they would slow down. And yes, those things happened.

But then, a funny thing also happened. These same photographers began getting BETTER CLIENTS. Clients who valued the product the photographer produced, not simply the low price these people were charging. Suddenly, they became a good value in a high grade of clientele.

So, the decision is yours. Do the same thing and get the same results, or take the risk to change your model - and believe in it - and start making a decent living in this business.

It's not an overnight thing. You need to plan your pricing and prepare answers for why you're not $125 any longer. You can still offer files, but they need to be priced SIGNIFICANTLY higher.

Is it scary? You're darn right it is.

What's scarier is working as hard as you do for little or nothing.

- David