What to do When Your Photography Clients Want to Negotiate

We’re living in the “day of the deal.” Many photography clients are eager to negotiate.

Even high-end brides are looking for a “good deal.” Everyone wants to save a buck. It’s human nature; we feel good knowing we’re smart with our money.

As small business owners, we shy away from negotiations because we assume it means someone doesn’t value what we do, or that we could lose out on a lot of profit. Sometimes, that’s not the case. It may simply be a client who wants to make sure they get the best bang for their buck, or they just like to negotiate in general.

If you do your homework, you won’t lose out financially.

First, decide whether or not you’re willing to negotiate.

There are reasons why you might not want to negotiate. If you are fully booked, or have more work than you can handle or want, then it’s a great time to say, “I’m sorry, these rates are …

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A Heart Check for You and Your Photography Business

About a month ago, my husband and I designated an afternoon (spent in our favorite Irish Pub of course) as “Heart Check Day.”

What is this Heart Check we speak about?  Simply put, it’s taking time to STOP and smell the roses.  It’s giving ourselves time and permission to dream out loud and envision our future.  Time to take a look at the direction our business and life is headed.  Deciding whether or not the path we are on is really the right one for us, if there is a new path to pave, or a new road to travel.

It’s easy to get stuck in the proverbial rat-race.  We dream of running our own business, and once it becomes reality, we quickly realize that we’ve simply created new jobs for ourselves.  A new, different kind of rat-race where the daily chores and tasks of running a small business take up most …

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Becoming a Certified Photographer- The “How” and “Why”

Making a living as a professional photographer is tough.

Especially these past few years.  With the relatively low-cost of entry into our profession, thousands are picking up cheap DSLRs, turning them to P-mode, and calling themselves professional photographers.

The low-end and middle-markets have been hit hard for the past few years, with the new photographers pumping out action-covered sub-par work and undercutting the long-time professional photographers on price, and giving it all away for nothing.  The high-end market has not escaped this either.  Even the five-star hotels are giving deals on weddings now, if that tells you anything!

So what sets you apart from the influx of new and “faux” photographers?  How does a client know you are legitimate?

Obviously client testimonials, longevity in business, and a solid body of work are all good ways to show your skill, talent, artistry, and professionalism.  But if you want to take it a step further, …

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Predict Your Sessions and Sales

Now that you know your gross sales goal by running a break-even analysis, you have to figure out how to actually make that money!  If you have not run your break-even analysis but still want to try this out, remember that most photography studios need gross sales of $150,000-250,000 depending on if you have a studio or not.  You forecast how to make your gross sales by making educated guesses on your sessions and sales.  You break your gross sales down by how many products and services sold at what price.

Here is an example: if your goal is $200,000 in gross sales per year, you can photograph 20 weddings at $10,000 each.  You know your salary and all expenses are covered at this point if your break-even analysis showed you need $200,000.  Anything over $200,000 is extra cash for you and the business.

It is more likely though that you offer …

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The Ugly Truth: It Takes Money to Make Money

Starting a business is a Catch-22. I’ve touched on the topic before in previous UGLY TRUTH post titled Red is Normal for the First Few Years in Business.

Unlike some other photographers who teach it’s okay to take out a $60k loan to spend on advertising and equipment, you’ll find me teaching quite the opposite.

SURE you will need to buckle down and spend some money in order to get your business up and running, but how do you do this without going deep into debt!??

Here’s what I would do if I was starting out from scratch opening a photography business:

1. Read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover from cover to cover, twice. Listen to his show. Become a debt dominatrix like me. Get passionate first and foremost about getting your personal finances in order. Make sure you’ve dumped the debt AND have an Emergency Fund (EF) before diving into business full time.

2. Get a day job. Or …

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Sales is NOT a dirty word!

This past weekend my husband and I went shopping for a chandelier for our living room, a belated birthday present for me. Now first let me premise this with the fact I have never been in the market for a chandelier before. We see this as a luxury item (only to be purchased once we completed our emergency fund!) and had a specific budget in mind. We knew we were not happy with the cheap imitation ones sold at Lowes and Home Depot for $100, but we did not want to spend over $500 on an extra- large elaborate one either.

After countless internet searches, and trips to locals stores, we finally turned to friends and family for recommendations. On the recommendation of his mother, we headed up to a town just 40 minutes north of us, to a store that specializes in lighting.

My experience buying a chandelier reminded my once …

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PartnerCon Speaker Spotlight

Hi, I’m Liana.  While many refer to me simply as “liana banana”, I was married in April of this year, so I’ve officially changed my last name from Lehman to Hall!  I’m based out of the Atlanta GA area which is great because my focus is destination weddings and it’s easy to get around from here.  While destination weddings is our specialty, we also photograph plenty of Atlanta weddings and lifestyle portraits.  When I’m not shooting, I’m teaching Photo Business Boot Camps and traveling.  Right now I’m one of the only working pro wedding photographers certified to teach the not-fun business stuff to other entrepreneurs.  It’s a lot of work, because I don’t have any “down-time” but so rewarding to be able to do both!

I thought I knew what it was like to plan a wedding because, before I started shooting weddings, I assisted …

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