Business development

Learning about Pricing

Since I've been working for the federal government for the last thirty three years, pricing hasn't been on my radar. Yes, when I wasn't on duty for the federal government, I've photographed weddings and other kinds of photographic assignments. For weddings; it was more as a second shooter, or as one of the contract photographers for a studio, where I was paid a hourly wage. Pricing prints and albums just wasn't required.

To develop my business knowledge, I've been listening to an audio podcast from the "Sprouting Photographer's website," its about the "business side of photography."

You can find it at this web address, The two main speakers Bryan Caporicci and Robert Nowell, also wrote a nice small book called "Pricing for Profit."

It's an easy read and goes over the basics for determining how to develop a pricing model for your studio. They work out the figures; for a theoretical home base studio, and, a retail base studio.

The book will cover the difference between; fix cost and cost of sales, methods for pricing, calculating business volume gross profit and how to develop your business financial plan and determine gross revenue. What would be nice, would be to include an Excel Spreadsheet that the user can change the figures around to see the effects it has on the bottom line of your business model. Maybe that's a project, I should be taking on myself.


Branding - Never to early to think about Branding

I have the name for my company and waiting for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to work on my application. Which is one of the first step in setting up my business, the name. Now, I'm working on the general look for my correspondence, business cards, website, etc, and that's branding.

With running your own business, you have to know your limits and know when to go outside for help. I understand design, specially photographic design, but graphic design, isn't my forte, not one of my strengths. I'm ok, but I rather hire an expert.

I've decided to work with the website 99designs, and have a competition from a group of graphic designers work on my branding. You select a color range and decided how much work that you want done. Say you just want a logo design, or business cards, website, etc and of course the price goes up. What's great about it, you retain all the rights to those designs.

Sure, I could develop my own logo, business card, but why not use a professional with experience.

First you must decided what type of photographer you are, and then what type of work that you want to do.

Sounds easy, what type of photographer are you? What type of photography work do you enjoy doing and producing? Two simple, honest questions that you must ask your self, before you decided to open that door for clients.

When I started my interest into photography, all those decades ago, I didn't have a preference, I just wanted to make money as a photographer. Sounds simple to a young teenage artist, do what you love and make money from it.

I never consider what it would take to achieve that status. I never figured it would take lots of hard work, working with different people, and on different types of subjects, twenty four seven.

After studying photography in two locations, RIT and Salzburg college, I ended up with a government job. Working in the photography department, working my way up from the bottom.

I started out in their photo processing unit because the pay was better then photographing fingerprints. I moved into the forensic studio after several years and photograph things and places that no one in their right mind would want to go see. You see, I ended up as a law enforcement photographer.

In it self, a very interesting career. Many different situations, places and events, all which I can not talk about. Goes along way towards proving to a client that you have over thirty four years as a professional photographer, but can't show any portfolio from those years.

When I wasn't traveling for the government, I would be taking on photography assignments. I joined a non-profit group that taught teenagers photography, I photographed weddings, portraits, theater, events assignments and had few commercial clients. As you can tell, I've tried to keep my hands busy and make a few bucks on the side.

I even joined a professional organization supporting photographers and won several awards. Which made me feel like, I would finally make it in the photography industry. I dapple here and there, but mostly photographing people. I guess in the end, I'm a people photographer. Knowing what you like to photograph is half the battle, and important to deciding the direction you want to take in the next step of your photography career.