How To Launch My Photography Business?

The current economy has stimulated me to “reinvent” myself again. While I’ve always had a passion (and some talent) for photography, I decided that it might be a way to augment my marketing communications and copy writing career. Since then, I’ve made inroads via local organizations to cultivate clients. I started out doing family portraits. But the price I’m charging (base $195), while lower than the competition, isn’t enough to sustain a business. I then surveyed the bar/bat mitzvah market (our daughter is having hers this summer, as well) and discovered that the main players are pretty much the same. My creative style allows me to slice up a niche for those who want something different. Same for weddings. My question – at last! – has to do with positioning and pricing. I was told by a vendor in this market, though not a photographer, that “you don’t want to be stuck in commodity hell.” And another advisor stated that
once you’re perceived as low price provider, it’s almost impossible to climb out of that hole.”

How do I communicate my position, hold up a a high-quality price, while not losing business due to the almost overwhelming cost-consciousness out there these days? Eventually the economy will return and I don’t want to be at the bottom tier in my field.


Jay’s Answer: Your problem isn’t what you do, it’s how your business is perceived and the value you provide to your clients.

As you know, photography/video professionals are not only competing against each other but also the average consumers (who can now easily create/edit their own photos/videos). That means that your offering has to be clearly better than anything the average person can do and worth the price.

Can you create value-added services for your clients: video thank you cards, YouTube uploads, etc.? Or, create a on-going service (capturing a baby turning into a teen by videoing them over 18 years, and being on retainer for the family) that keeps you involved not just in the major milestones, but keeps you top-of-mind for the smaller events (graduations, school performances, sporting, etc.)?

If you can show why your services are worth the price, then clients will pay.

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