Mistake #1: Not Knowing How Much You Need to Charge to be Profitable

It is crucial for the future success of your business that you do not skip this step. Failure to determine the appropriate pricing strategy, taking into account taxes and expenses, may result in the need to significantly increase prices in the first few years of operation, leading to a loss of clients. This photographer's pricing guide is available for free and will assist you in determining the appropriate pricing strategy to achieve your desired profit margins. While the figure may seem high, it is essential to retain as many clients as possible from the outset. It also provides an accurate understanding of what it takes to run a profitable business.


Mistake #2: Failing to Set Expectations

It's important to determine the necessary changes to sustain your business. Create a pricing list with these rates to inform current clients and establish an anchor point. An anchor point is a reference point for future comparisons of your prices. It influences the perceived value of your work. For instance, if you begin by charging #500,000 but don't communicate future rates, clients may perceive #300,000 as too expensive. Setting prices at #350,000 initially makes the #500,000 portfolio building special price a great deal. Clients will also know what to expect when they return for portraits next year.


Mistake #3: Shooting for Free

When you offer your photography services for free, people tend to not appreciate your time and effort as much as they would if they were paying for it, regardless of the amount. Instead of providing both the photography session and the images for free, consider offering a complimentary portrait session with the choice to purchase prints or digital images at a discounted rate from your usual prices. It's important to establish how long this offer will be available, such as for a limited time or a specific number of clients.


Mistake #4: Not Doing In-Person Portrait Sales

I shudder at the thought of how much money I lost during the initial years of my business by not conducting in-person portrait sales. However, once I switched from an online gallery to in-person sales, my portrait sales average increased by over three times. It's not necessary to have a costly projector or even a laptop.

Mistake #5: Not Embracing Email Marketing

Starting an email marketing campaign can be an incredibly effective tool in growing your portrait business quickly. Unfortunately, many photographers fail to take advantage of this valuable marketing strategy. It's important to note that this isn't just about keeping a list of emails in your account, or buying email lists from third-party services. Instead, it's about using a reliable service like Aweber or Mail Chimp to create a subscriber list that customers can sign up for on your website. This list provides educational information about your business and special offers.

One of the benefits of using a service like Aweber or Mail Chimp is that you can create a series of automated messages that will be sent to people who have signed up for your mailing list. These messages can educate customers on topics that they care about, such as how to dress for their portrait session, what to avoid doing before their session, and what products are best for showcasing their images. The best part is that these messages are sent automatically at specific intervals, so you don't have to do anything once you've set them up.

Sending out emails announcing special promotions or events, like a day of mini-sessions, is also a great way to increase bookings. By keeping your subscribers informed about your business, you'll be top-of-mind when they're looking for portrait services. I'll be sharing more about how to use email marketing to drive profits in the coming months, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar above to stay in the loop.