After the interview I thought of about a million things I wish I had added or said differently – but here are some of the things that were on my mind:
About documentary family and newborn photography
We didn’t talk much about my approach to family and newborn photography, but what I do is try to document what goes on naturally during my time together with the family. No directing, no posing, and no styling of pictures – just capturing quality family time.
You can read more about my thoughts on documentary family and newborn photography over here.
If you are a documentary family photographer, there’s a supportive community of us over at the DFP Facebook group – join us!
The main reason that I don’t do in-person-sales is that I’m an introvert who is uncomfortable with (what to me feel like) pushy sales situations. During the podcast interview I started thinking about how there are a lot of different tactics out there that us photographers “should” be doing, but that don’t really work for me – or for my clients. If I was to force myself to do IPS because I think it’s a good tactic to make more money – and not because it feels right to me – my clients would know that something is off and I probably wouldn’t have any success with it.
Maybe some day I will comfortable with it?
About email newsletters
The same principle applies here as in IPS – usually newsletters are meant to be sales-y but that’s just not something that feels natural for me and I think it would put off my ideal clients! It might work if I was doing a massive amount of cheap sessions and could push some kind of discount emails all the time, but that’s not how I would like to do business.
I love to be able to connect with my clients, to have time to drop their products off, to have time to treat them as people instead of wallets. This is also why I have a separate more personal monthly email going out to my current and past clients only – I want to stay in touch with all the families but there is not enough time to write everyone a separate email every month. If someone has the time to send an email back to me, I love catching up with them!
Linking to other photographers
In the podcast I mentioned sharing this incredible blogpost about how no family is boring by Natasha Kelly in one of my emails that I send out to potential clients. (I can’t believe I blanked out on her name! I blame my nerves.)
I don’t worry about sending people to someone else’s website and boosting their business. Maybe I should? But I like sharing the love.
I link to other photographers from my email newsletters when they say something that only they could’ve written so well. Natasha not only poured a lot of passion into her blog post, but she has the perspective of a parent as well.
About the yearly revenue
As I mentioned in the podcast, I’ve about doubled the business’ revenue every year. $6k (2014), $12k (2015), $26k (2016) and looking at $50k in 2017. What we didn’t talk about was that 2014-2016 all the money went back into the business. In 2017 I’m so excited to have worked up a huge chunk of profit – that means I’m paying myself a salary! I will report back to let you know if my business still doubled in 2018, which is my goal.
Just to give you an idea of our living costs: we live in San Francisco Bay Area which is in general a very expensive place to live (2br apartments are going at around $3-3.5k a month in San Jose complexes). The crazy living costs of course influence my pricing.
About calculating a sustainable session price
We talked about this in the podcast a little bit – but the way I calculate my session price is a bit different from what I usually hear as the “right way” to calculate how to price yourself. Most resources I’ve read or heard mention numbers like “You should be charging $60/$100/$150 per hour” – but throwing out a number like that does not account for the time you’re not able to directly bill someone (working on your business), vacation time, or your life situation.
I reverse-engineered the process and start with working out what I need/want to spend, save, and invest per year so I know what my early revenue needs to be. This then guides what my session pricing needs to be in order for business to be sustainable.
This was my first podcast interview EVER – and I’m so grateful to Andrew and to everyone who listened, thank you thank you!