I love to hear all the dumb arguments that this question brings up.  So which is more important, your photography (or you knowledge of photography) or your business (or your knowledge of business)?  To know how the average photographer would respond to such a question, you only need to look at the sales number of books, seminars and dvd’s comparing the topics of lighting and posing to those on the business of photography.  Many younger photographers believe in their hearts that if there photography is good enough the rest will take care of it’s self.  NO IT WON’T!

To support my position, let me give you a little fact.  Everyday, across this country, there are very talented photographers going out of business.  These photographers create the kind of images that student photographers dream of being able to create, someday in the future.  While these very talented photographers couldn’t sell enough of their work to stay in business, you have the companies at the other end of the market, the department store, mall and national photography studios that create photography that is the equivalent of a road-map of the human face.  While most of the images created by these companies suck, they sells millions of dollars of photography each year.  If photography were the most important part of our businesses, this wouldn’t happen.

I am doing a workshop in Fresno called PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY SUCCESS.  I will be discussing how to increase the profitability of your photography business by properly marketing, shooting and posing and selling your photography.  Many younger photographers today have a very hard time crossing over from being the “cheap” guy, selling all the images on a CD to “making a living guy” selling portraits.  Most photographers have no clue who their target market is and how to effectively reach them.   Photographers today not only have to deal with getting the good word out, but controlling the negative words that all businesses get on review sites like Google, Yelp and others.

How can you impress a caller on the phone enough to book a session with your photography business, when you aren’t the cheapest photographer around?  In order to be successful you must send some business away.  If you book every potential client calling in, you are not profiting in this business.  You are too cheap and your business has no structure or procedures which insure your clients do what they are supposed to do.  You have a problem with no shows appointments wasting your time.  The business person would charge a prepaid, non-refundable or transferable sitting fee to reduce this problem.  The photographer that doesn’t realize to be successful you must send some business away worries that potential clients won’t book an appointment if they have to pay up front.  The only potential clients that won’t pay upfront are those clients that worry about making it to the appointment in the first place, so what are you missing out on, other than wasting your time?  Your business MUST have procedure and structure to be profitable.  List every problem you have with your clients not completing the entire process from the first phone call to the final portrait pickup.  Then sit down and figure out what were the problems that kept these clients from enjoying the work you create.

So many photographers look at marketing and selling as the enemy, but it not.  As a business person you simply have to find out what each clients wants and then help them to get it.  You have to realize that what a client wants, and what they say they want are often completely different.  If your client really wants a wall portrait of her family and you don’t help her to get it, you have failed.  Yes they are expensive (so is the car your client drives and the wedding ring on her finger!), but as a business person that sells photography, you have to help a client get thru the process that every buyer must go thru to get what they want.  They will complain about the price, the will worry about the size being too large and everything else they can think of to not make the buying decision.  It is up to you to get them over themselves and get what they want.

So if you would like to make more money in this profession and live anywhere near Fresno, Ca. you should join us on June 11th from 4pm to 9pm….Your Business Will Never be the SAME!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on June 2, 2012.

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