Photography is one of the worst types of businesses start if you’re simply looking to make some extra money.
It’s based on your time, which is limited, so your potential income is limited. Even if you start a studio and hire additional photographers, you’re not truly scaling your business very far.
There’s a low barrier to entry as the cost of equipment comes down and there’s no special schools or trainings required, causing market saturation (and high competition for clients) in almost all areas.
You also build very little equity, so if you decide to retire and sell the business, you won’t make much compared to other businesses and you may not even be able to sell the business at all.
On top of all that, it’s a creative service so its value is hard to quantify.
I’m not trying to depress you with these facts, and I’m certainly not saying you can’t have a profitable business.
If you want to have a successful photography business and really make money with photography, there’s one very important thing that you need to know and live by.
Photography is a luxury product
You are in the luxury business.
Not everyone can afford photography. That’s okay.
If they really want it, they’ll find a way to afford it.
Look at all the people who have iPhones or iPads. Even in my blue-collar town, there’s plenty of people who pay lots of money each month for the luxury items they value.
Price your photography where it needs to be in order to be profitable.
Create an experience that makes your customers rave about you.
Believe in yourself and your work for what it is. It’s a luxury, and it’s a valuable one.
It’s not your job to save them money.
Print that out and look at it every single day.
You are not a financial planner, you are a photographer. It is not your job to save people money.
We’ve all had to deal with someone who asked for a discount.
They LOVE our work, but they only want to spend $350 on something that you normally charge $600 for.
Should you give it to them?
Let’s put this into another context.
I walk into the Apple store. I fall in love with a 32GB iPad. I mean, I just LOVE this thing. It even has video.
So I go up to the gal working there and start gushing about how much I LOVE the iPad, but I really only want to pay $350 for it.
What do you think will happen?
If I really love that iPad, I’m going to have to find a way to get the rest of the money because there’s no way that they’d be dropping the price for me at all.
Why do we feel like it’s different when it comes to our photography business?
So how do we convey this to clients?
Before you can explain to clients why you can’t discount, you need to believe what you’ve read in this post.
Do some soul searching, build some confidence, and know that your art is worth it.
As for how to reply to your customers and tactfully explain why you can’t give them a discount?
The answer is coming, my dear ones.
I’m teaming up with the amazing Jennifer Brindley Ubl to create the ultimate resource that will tell you exactly what to say in this situation.
You can expect it later this spring. You can find it right here.
Huge thanks to Amanda Schlicher (of Tangerine Studio) who brought this up recently and was talking about it in one of my photography groups. She graciously allowed me to share this all with you, and I’m thankful for her insight.