make money from photography

I felt dirty doing this.

Mark Lait

Mark Lait

Website     |     YouTube     |     Twitter      |     LinkedIn

Download pdf here

Listen to podcast here

woman feeling dirty about asking for money

Do you struggle with selling?

I saw someone on a recent discussion about sales say that they felt dirty, naturally I had to see what they were talking about and as it eventuated, they were saying that they felt dirty asking for more money than they would have paid for the same thing themselves.

I felt really sorry for them but it’s not the first time I’ve heard this. Someone very close to me has said the same thing and suggested that it’s not ethical – I’d never thought about that so it made me think.

People see value differently

Just because you wouldn’t do something, doesn’t mean that others won’t –  What you don’t see value in, they do and of course it works the other way as well –  I don’t even want to start to try to understand why that person feels dirty but it’s not uncommon –   I want to offer you my perspective on this.

Years ago, I was in a networking group and I was talking to one of the members who was a web developer. We were wire framing a project, I was new to it all so when he presented the initial design to me – the creative in me saw errors everywhere so I started pointing them out.

 You don’t know what you don’t know

To his credit he let me finish having my opinion and asked, ‘who are you selling to’ – my belligerent answer was ‘to the customer of course’ and then he pointed out that if I wanted to sell to the customer, I should design the site to contain things that the customer would want to see, not what I wanted to see, most of which was pretty pictures I’d taken.

The penny dropped, I saw his point immediately – I wasn’t the buyer, the customer was.

I’m Mark Lait and if you’re serious about making money from photography then you’ll have to charge the amount of money that you need to in order to be profitable and there’s nothing dirty about it, I’ve learned this over the years and if you want to learn more about how I’ve figured it out, subscribe to my you tube channel, like the video and give us a thumbs up.

woman showing customer what they want to see

Show the client what they want to see.

I think that’s where you’ve got to be really careful, we all want to show off how great we are but that’s not necessarily what the customer wants to see.

They want to see something of value for themselves –  so just like I wouldn’t buy certain things, other people will and they’ll pay good money for them if they see the value in that.

Start by using best practices

Portrait photography is a fantastic journey and I want you to be a part of it but I want you to do it the right way –  You’ve made a choice to be a portrait photographer, now you need to back that up by being a businessperson as well and people in business need to make a profit  – You have to work out what your profit margin is going to be before you can decide how much you’re going to charge –  that’s what’s going to decide whether you stay in business or not, feeling dirty about selling is just something that’s going on in your head, nobody else’s.

photographer thinking about her pricesChange the way you think.

There’s plenty of strategies around to help you get over that way of thinking – here’s a good example and you don’t have to use this in your sales but it’s just something for you to think about.

If a member of someone’s family passes away there’s obviously a lot of grief and you know what they want they want? memories of that person –  what’s a memory?

The perception of value changes

It’s a photograph, so they’ll do anything they can to get photographs of that person after they’ve passed away and will probably pay anything that you ask for them.

Why not do that before they pass away –  as I said, this is only an example but it goes to demonstrate that the same thing just has more perceived value in one situation than it does in another.

Check out the Roadmap to Successfor an overview of the business of photography.

Become the sales surgeon

When you’re selling you’ve got to be clinical about it, you know what your prices are, they’ve had them explained to them before the photoshoot so they won’t be surprised when it comes time to see them in the viewing room.

Detach yourself and you won’t feel dirty

You have to be able to talk about prices as if you were talking about the colour of the car that just drove down the street –  you need to be completely nonchalant because if you express doubt you introduce doubt into the mind of the buyer that’s not a good thing.

You don’t want to confuse the buyer and you don’t want to have them doubt you. As always you need to be a confident expert at every part of your business and if you do this people will have faith in you. 

Next week we’ll talk about narcissism

It’s a long journey but it’s a fantastic one so I look forward to speaking to you next week when I’m going to be talking about that self-indulgence of putting your own logo on all of your work. I want to show you how you can optimise your production workflow for maximum efficiency, share this with your friends and I’ll see you then.