Be a Business Person that Sells Photography, not a Photographer!

In my books, I have often said if you want to see how Not to run a business profitably, look at most photographers.  Photographers get so involved with photography, they forget that this is a career, a profession, a business and for photography to be that it must be profitable.  If you don’t have an adequate profit, you don’t have a profession, you have an expensive hobby.

Even though you might hate me for saying this, the ‘business of your business’ is more important than the photography your business produces!  Wow, I can almost feel the hostility growing.  Think about this before you email and say I am stupid!  There are excellent, gifted photographers that are now UPS drivers, school teachers, ETC.  These gifted photographers could create amazing portraits, but they didn’t realize that the ‘business of their business’ was and should have been their first priority.  To further prove my point, let us look at the worst producers of portraits, the department store photographers, nation mall studios and underclass picture takers.  While the photographs these types of businesses produce is often hideous, they sell millions of dollars of photography each year.

Don’t be ridiculous and  leave comments that I a suggesting that you should take poor quality photographs.  I have been in this profession for over 25 years and the reason I am still here has more to do with marketing, merchandising, long-range business planning and insuring a healthy profit than my photography.  I am a business person that sells photography.  I have developed a business system that sells my product, a product I take much pride in creating.  Learning how to be a business person, I have used that knowledge of business to market my books, DVD’s and workshops.  I have opened a successful restaurant with my sons and become involved in several other business ventures.  Even with a very busy schedule, the most fun I have in the week is when I pick up my camera for a session.  But when I do pick up a camera, I am well paid for it!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on April 22, 2012.

One Response to “Be a Business Person that Sells Photography, not a Photographer!”

  1. No words were ever more true than those just said. Having worked in the credit card industry (on the merchant side), I was amazed at the number of business owners who didn’t know where there money was going. Did they have to watch every penny, maybe not, but they should still be involved enough in THEIR business to know what was being paid and not depend on the account to tell them.
    I believe this is the one thing that has held me back from starting my own business, the fear I may not be as business savvy as I think I am and may fail. That’s my problem and I own that, and I am working on it.
    Unless you want to pay someone to “manage” the business side (I worked for a photographer who did just this and was successful), do what Jeff says. It’s your investment, it’s your livelihood, and your passion that not only drives the photography but should also drive the business.
    Thanks for some good insight and thought!

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