The life of a professional photographer isn’t always as glamorous as some believe. Many don’t realize the countless hours that can go into tasks like photo editing, photo retouching, and photo culling services.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly pay for photographers was $17.88 in 2013. Those making less than $17,770 are in the bottom 10% and photographers making more than $66,360 are considered part of the industries top 10%.
No matter if you’ve developed a successful career and are at the top of that scale, or if you’re just starting out in the industry, you understand the need to maximize your profits. Here are 3 tips for making some extra money with your existing clients.
- Identify and Schedule Future “Mini” Shoots: One of the mistakes many photographers make is not capitalizing on the clients they’ve already worked with. If the quality of your picture taking and photo editing is up to par, people will usually be inherently more likely to work with you again as they already know, and are familiar/comfortable with you. You have to take more initiative; you can’t just give them your card and ask them to call you in the future.
One great way to improve your odds of client retention/recurrence is to set something up in the near future that you know might be appealing to them. For example, let’s say you just took couple’s pregnancy pictures. Instead of asking them to contact you when the baby is born for another photo shoot, try and sell them right then and there on the idea of another mini shoot. Offer them a discount on whatever your normal asking price is if they commit right then.
- Ask About Stock Modeling: Another good way to potentially make a couple extra bucks easy is to ask clients if they’d be willing to do a couple stock modeling pictures for you after their photo shoot is done. Most people will be so humbled by the thought of being a “model” and will likely agree. With everything already in place from the original photo shoot, just take a few extras and put them on a website like Folio. This may not make you rich, but it’s a pretty easy way to make a little extra money for a minuscule amount of extra work and photo editing.
- Networking and Referrals: Every professional photographer should, of course, be engaging in this routinely, but try to put some real thought behind what will really motivate people to want to work with you. Casually asking a client to “tell their family and friends” about you is good, but woefully inadequate for someone really trying to attract business. Offering something a like a couple free prints to clients can get you a quality referral. For the people you reach through these means, make sure to offer them some sort of discount, too. Giving away free stuff and lowering your payment might seem counterproductive, but a large part of photography is establishing relationships. If you can get your foot in the door with a new client, chances are you’ll have them for a lot longer than just the one photo shoot.
Sure, there are many professional photographers that spend the majority of their time taking pictures for national publications, personal celebrities, and similarly coveted positions that earn lucrative wages and allow them to travel all over the world as part of their work. However, it can take a long time, a couple good networking connections, and a little bit of luck to obtain something like that for a relatively newer photographer.
Think about these tips and add some of your own ideas to them to try to generate more opportunities to take and sell pictures, which is much more profitable than photo editing and other menial tasks. For those sort of things, Picsera is here to help.