ShootProof is Heading to PDN PhotoPlus!

PDN

 

The PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo is the largest photography and imaging show in North America, and ShootProof will be there!

Join us in New York at the beautiful Javits Convention Center from October 29th to November 1st and feel the rush as over 22,000 photographers, filmmakers, educators, and students attend seminars, try new products first-hand,  explore hundreds of exhibits, and participate in keynote presentations.

And don’t forget to drop by booth #554 to meet the ShootProof team!

Don’t have your tickets yet? Register today for a FREE 3-Day Expo Pass.

 

Your Photography Business: Pricing

Pricing is one of the most talked about topics amongst photography professionals: How much do I charge? How much is my time worth? Can I make a living doing what I love?

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We’re proud to share a post by Kristy Dickerson, a ShootProof user who loves to share her knowledge and expertise of the business-side of the photography profession.  Here are her thoughts for other photographers regarding setting their prices:

“To me the hardest thing about running a small business is pricing. Pricing is a simple economics of supply/demand and also business principles. I know so many business owners that are having a really hard time of running a profitable small business. Entrepreneurship is HARD. I asked on Facebook what is the number one thing you struggle with. Pricing is what I heard over and over.

• I have been doing photography for X number of years but I can seem to make any money.
• I can’t seem to find the right clients.
• I struggle with the pricing and marketing of my photography business.
• I can’t seem to find the right clients
Here is my response… First, everyone’s business is different depending on the commitments and contracts coming in, location, and type of photography, etc., so please keep that in mind. Second, a person that is not booking you for your price is NOT your client. You have to set up your business so that your business has key competitive advantages in your market. There is this huge negative connotation in our industry that this flood of new photographers is hurting our industry and your business. I say no. The only person that can hurt your business is you. There will always be cheaper options with any product or service. These photographers are spinning their wheels and I can guarantee you they are not running a profitable business and will either eventually stop or never be able to go part or full time. One of those people might even be you (I was there as well) and it’s time to make some changes. With photography, people can sometimes just think “Uncle Sam” could shoot their wedding or take that quick Christmas card picture…  I mean, a camera is a camera, right? I say let Uncle Sam [do it]… they will quickly see the difference.

You get what you pay for both in talent, quality of gear, editing, and the list goes on and on. People also allocate funds to what they feel is important. Photography is not important to everyone and that is okay. Another trip, a new outfit, a new rug, a new purse, these are all [items] that can be allocated to disposable income. Again, you want the clients that [think] photography is important and an investment in quality photography is important.

When you are running a business you have to first separate you from your business and this is not always easy. For me, I sometimes have a hard time separating me from my brand. If it was up to me. I would charge nothing and just walk around taking pictures for free, but my business couldn’t operate that way, now could it? If you want to see how I present my pricing and how it is setup you can see it here to implement it into your own business. Literally change names, urls, and I also recommend to get a local lawyer to review because your business could be setup differently.

I went to get my son’s hair cut last week and there was a flyer sitting on the counter that said, “mini sessions, all images, 20 minutes, and 80 dollars.” I showed my husband and he said, “Dang, that is going to kill you!”  But you see, here is the thing:  this photographer is not even in the same market as me. Out of curiosity I went to that photographer’s Facebook page (there was no website).   I could tell she/he was shooting with a consumer camera, she/he was still learning and growing;  no way could she/he be running an actual business and filing taxes, insurance, investing in the latest editing software, and the list goes on and on. Honestly, I wanted to email this person and give her/him a free coaching session, but there are two ways they could take the email and the last thing I am intending to do is hurt anyone. I really want to help and to keep moving our industry forward. I want you to be able to do what you love, with people that value your work, and still be present for the most important things in life.

I am going to back up a bit…  I shot my first wedding for $500, which included all day coverage and the rights to all the digital images! My first photography website was hideous–  I mean, why did someone not tell me it was ugly?! So what I am saying is, we ALL start with the 80-dollar mini session discussed above, but let’s talk about how we move from shooting and turning our wheels to start running a small business because that is the goal. Taking a passion and turning it into a job is the goal.

I am going to break down the cost of a mini session since that is what we discussed earlier. Cost of a 20 minute Mini Session with 15 digital Images. $425. First of all from the client’s perspective a mini has to have value, to book a session it is $200 per hour session and cost per digital image rights are $65 per image. So, for my clients, mini sessions are a huge value. A third of $200 is 66.67 and ($65 x 15 = 975). So retail on a mini session is $1042. I am able to offer mini sessions at a lower price because I am booking back-to-back sessions at the same location. I love mini sessions! And for families a lot of time after 20 minutes the kids are getting done anyways and it is plenty of time to capture the necessities.

$425 cost of mini session
- 140.25 Say goodbye to a third going to uncle Sam for taxes
- 25.00 hard costs associated (digital delivery whether you use digital download, disk, or USB)
- 60.00 remember you have to pay yourself. Two-three hours of working between emailing, shooting, and editing at $20 an hour. This is what I hardly see any of, everyone forgets to pay himself or herself. And 3 hours is conservative.

$199.75 is what we are now for potential profit for the business. But wait;  you have to allocate funds to marketing, to equipment, to insurance, to software, to website and email hosting, to phone… And yes, of course all of these expenses are fixed expenses, so allocated over all the sessions you do per year.

But just for arguments’ sake: on a typical mini session this is the gear I have in my bag (not all the gear I have, just what I have with me). And do I need all that gear? Probably not, but this is what I use to get the look and end results I achieve. And below is not even close to all the operating expenses it takes to run a small business!
Canon 5 D Mark III 3399
Canon 24-70 f2.8 II 2299
Canon 85 f1.2 2199
Canon 35 f1.4 1479
Canon 50 f1.2 1619
Insurance per year 600
Software per year 300
Hosting, License etc 700
Total $12,595

Estimate that you do 75 shoots a year (which is A LOT!), and that comes to 167.93. Now, I know this gear is not acquired in one year and is acquired over time, so that allocation wouldn’t be as high. But we didn’t even mention education/training expense, travel, branding, and marketing in our scenario and so far from the $425 mini session we have 199.75 – 167.93= 31.82 left for business growth and development.

What I am saying is this:  being a profitable photographer is not easy. Gear is expensive, time is limited, and training is not cheap. You see in my own scenario that that other photographer is going to have a hard time growing her business if she stays where she/he is because there are no leftover funds for growth.

If you are just starting out, if that person above sounds like you, or if marketing seems like a foreign term. I would say invest in a couple business books. If someone came to me and said,  “I want to be a photographer when I grow up,” I would actually tell them to go to business school and get their degree in business not photography. Over time my pricing has been established by a simple formula of supply and demand. As demand went up, I moved my pricing. Now I don’t move my prices much, but I do make sure I am running a profitable business by providing a service/product to my clients that exceeds their expectations. It didn’t happen overnight. It happened over time learning and growing as a photographer, being able to acquire gear, and establishing my business through workflows, and most important investing in my own brand and marketing. YOU CAN DO IT!

Lastly, these posts are not intended to act like I know it all and have it all together. Because by all means, I don’t! I have the same fears as a small business owner that you do. This is simply how I have grown and built my business and I realize it might not work for everyone but if it helps one person this makes me happy. If this is a post you like and want to see more questions answered give me some feedback. I want to help other be able to follow their dreams and turn their goals into reality.
Here are answers to some of the emails and questions I am getting:
- Katie asked, ” How do you sell prints?” Shootproof! More on this to come but they have clean galleries that show and display my work and also seamlessly works with my business and workflow.
- Jessica asked, ” Do you sell prints or only do digital packages?” This mini session is a digital package but typically I have a booking fee and they can purchase digital images separate. I also sell prints/products. I show and they can see the difference when ordering an image from walmart of mine(yuck I know) or when they order through me and I properly hand touch up and it prints with a professional lab. Clients have to be educated and your selling process should educate them so they are getting the best of that. I use Black River Imaging which integrates with Shootproof.

- Dyell Photography asked, ” Insurance: can you help?” I use Hill and Usher for both my liability and equipment. They are way smarter than me so give them a call if you are interested in photography insurance. Insurance is something that I think EVERYONE should have if you are taking money for photography services.”

We’re excited to share more from Kristy over the upcoming months, so check back here on our blog often.  You can stop by and show her some love here.  And don’t forget to leave a comment below with your thoughts on the pricing topic!

 

Photographer Spotlight | Goos Photography

 

Goos Photo

We’re excited to showcase Russ Goos of Goos Photography - located in Minnesota as our ShootProof User Featured Photographer! Thanks for sharing your journey with us! Russ Goos

How would you describe your style?

My shooting style tends to fall into two categories:  portrait & action. My portrait style is a combination of fun, candid & classic, with a hint of dramatic. I’m always looking for interesting environments that would complement unique portraits. I would definitely say that I’m an opportunist when it comes to lighting, if mother nature provides great light (usually she doesn’t!) – use it! If not, take control and light it to look fantastic! My action style of photography is all about timing… capturing the right moment at the most exciting peak of the action!

How long have you been a photographer?

Since I was in 2nd grade… okay, well not really. Officially since 2001.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in rural northwestern Minnesota and was obsessed playing guitar, bass & drums (still am!). Initially I went to college for Music Industry & Recording Arts, then later finished a BA in Computer Information Systems. My other obsession has always been photography. Photography was an almost all-consuming hobby that became a business. My wife, Sara and I run our small photography business as a supplemental source of income to our day jobs. Of course, photography is much, much more fun and interesting!

When did you first fall in love with photography?

When I was in 2nd grade, I loved taking “portraits” of my friends & teachers with my trusty Kodak 110. Some of the shots weren’t too bad! I’ve been learning from each & every photo session, wedding & sporting event ever since. There are always opportunities to learn & grow – so much to learn.

What’s your ‘can’t live without’ lens?

Like many other photographers, it’s my Canon “L” 70-200 2.8f IS. I use that tool all. the. time. Fast focusing and bullet-proof, it was the smartest gear investment I’ve ever made.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! My eyes are always open and I try to keep an open mind. Strobist, Kelby, McNally, Jarvis, Black, billboards, store displays, SI, people watching, REI catalogs, you name it! I’m also inspired by the great photographers I team up with for larger sporting events & weddings. Their work always inspires me to improve.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve received was to keep photography work under control and not to let it dominate your life. It’s great to strive for more business, more sessions, MORE everything… but not at the expense of personal time with family. It took a long time for that advice to sink in with me, but I think I understand it now.

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

I hope to maintain a healthy ratio of photography:life balance. I hope the photography work five years from now is interesting, challenging and fun!

How has ShootProof helped your business?

Using ShootProof has been an impressive step forward for my small photography business. Primarily it has streamlined my order fulfillment for large sporting events.  ShootProof’s direct lab integration has been integral, saving me countless hours with order submissions to my lab. ShootProof’s email capability is a powerful tool. Having the ability to send targeted emails to specific categories of event visitors is very important. For example, emailing a friendly event or promo expiration notice out to all event visitors who have NOT placed an order.

I highly recommend ShootProof. Best value and smartest online proofing/ordering features available for photographers today in my opinion.

Goos PhotoGoos PhotoGoos PhotoGoos PhotoGoos PhotoGoos PhotoGoos Photo

Connect: Russ | Facebook 

Visit ShootProof at Click Away!

ClickAway

Meet the ShootProof team at booth 121 during the Click Away Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 11 – 13th, 2014! We are excited to be a part of this one-of-a-kind conference, where photographers of all skill levels will come together in a warm, welcoming and fun environment. Click Away

While you’re there, be sure to stop by and see our lab fulfillment partner, Bay Photo at booth 218! But wait, that’s not all! We’re thrilled to be a sponsor of one of the awesome speakers appearing during the conference!

Don’t miss Jamie Rubeis, natural light and portrait specialist out of Las Vegas – sharing her knowledge on families, children & highschool seniors! Jamie will be speaking Thursday & Friday – September 11 & 12 at 1:45pm. You can learn more about Jamie and the other keynote appearances here  Keynote Speakers

For a $60 discount off of your registration to Click Away, Click here and enter the following code - SPROOFCLICK

Jamie Rubeis

UK Print Fulfilment with Loxley Colour

We are proud to announce our partnership with Loxley Colour in the UK! 

Photographers in the UK and Ireland can now fulfil print orders directly through ShootProof at Loxley Colour, a professional lab with a long history in the photographic industry.

Located in Glasgow, Scotland, Loxley Colour is dedicated to investing in modern, state of the art equipment to operate with precision and attention to detail, and they are regarded as one of the best in their field. Loxley Colour’s goal is to invest time and energy in research and development to bring their clients up-to-the-minute products that can be treasured for years to come.

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Simplify Your Print Fulfilment

It’s easy to set up your account for print fulfilment: create a price sheet in your account and choose Loxley Colour. Then, add the print sizes and products you want to sell and set the prices you wish to charge. You control the review and approval of each client order prior to submitting the order to the lab, and you choose which options to include: colour correction, boutique packaging, and more!

 

Order Approval and Submission

Not yet using ShootProof? Sign up for a 30 day trial and simplify your workflow!