According to most photographers on Facebook, they are leading AMAZING LIVES. They have AMAZING clients, AMAZING locations to shoot at and are AMAZINGLY blessed to be doing the thing they love the most. They are rockstars.
They invite all their friends over and jump into their swimming pools to Kanye West songs. They don’t come out and say it, but you know they are making AMAZING money.
You know what’s not AMAZING ? My bank account in the winter months when weddings are as scarce as hens teeth around here.
During that slow time of year I’d think twice about buying a 1.99 digital download of Kanye’s. That’s two packs of Ramen, ya’ll.
Even after doing this for so many years, budgeting is still a struggle for this self-employed photographer. Every year I put more into my winter “Oh Shit” fund for expenses I did not expect and what do you know, shit just keeps coming up.
I have one firm rule that I have followed for the past few years: When the “Oh Shit” fund becomes the grocery money fund, it’s time to take action and look for ways to bring in some cash.
Second shoot: Do you know why most photographers are hesitant to second shoot? Not because they are afraid of not being top dog on the day.
Not because they feel like their clients might find out and would think they were going out of business.
It’s because they are worried that another photographer might find out that their images are not AMAZING SOOC.
Let me lay it on the line for you, everyone, and I mean everyone shoots crap at some point during a wedding day.
Get over yourself, get on the phone, post it up on private Facebook group and offer to second shoot for days you are open.
My camera doesn’t care if I make $300 or $3000 on a Saturday.
Get your ass out there and carry their lights. Watch how they position them. Watch how they pose and relate to clients.
Fetch them cake and diet cokes. Shoot in different angles than you normally would. Use only primes. Whatever.
Learn something new and make as much in an evening than you would in a month picking up that second job at Target.
Look for other opportunities: I recently was asked to shoot a Father Daughter dance at a local grade school. They offered me $75 to do it, which was laughable money because I would have to set up a backdrop and shoot for 90 minutes.
I asked the school what they wanted for the $75 and negotiated that I would be able to get all the email addresses of the parents and that I would offer very low cost digital downloads for the parents.
I made a whopping $165 on the purchased digital downloads, but you know what I gained instead? A whole new client data base for portraits.
Run print sales on past wedding galleries: This sounds elementary, but I’m always surprised at the photographers who don’t do this.
Reactivate those galleries, email the entire database you have for the clients who have viewed the galleries and run a big ass sale. 30%, 40% off prints, whatever is the most effective for you and your COGS.
Don’t be a dumbass and put canvases on sale but not charge appropriate shipping, not that I have ever done that.
There’s nothing wrong with only having a limited amount of print sizes for these sales either.
My most popular print sales are…are you ready for this AMAZING advice? Packages. You know, like 1 8×10, 2 5×7 and 8 wallets. Grandmas and moms eat that up.
Whore yourself out: (Not like that, though believe me I’ve thought of that in some very bleak Februarys) Got design skills? Do you like retouching, album design, have skills in InDesign making graduation cards?
If you don’t mind putting a few hours in behind the computer for a photographer who hates designing then it’s another revenue stream while you stream Netflix. AMAZING.