New Blog Series aimed at talking about money photography and profit.
This series is going to be a benefit not only to photographers but also to buyers of photography in the marketing and advertising field and will have crossover benefits for business owners.
One of my favorite things I tell corporation CEOs, marketing directors and other business owners that I consult is this “if you’re not making a profit let your competition do the job!”
Profit really isn’t a dirty word when the profit is the only source of money that pays the rent or mortgage, puts food on your table, shoes on your children’s feet, and provides them with winter coats, these are just the basics. I’m really very hard-core about this concept of profit, you see I’m a recovering eraser addict.
Now you’re asking what’s an eraser addict. The eraser is that end of a pencil that is used to remove markings. In bookkeeping you erase numbers. As I’m chatting with clients and negotiating on the price of their work I would be erasing fees from my bid or I would erase fee off the final invoice. Thus I was an eraser addict. Other forms of this are negotiating against yourself and countless other bad business practices that all have the same core not properly valuing the unique contribution that you’re making.
I could speak in volumes about profit and probably will by the time this series is completed but let me sum up for the moment here so I can change gears; without a profit you will not have a professional business or a business of any type.
You’ve probably heard that the field of professional photography has drastically changed over the recent years. In many aspects this is true but in many other aspects especially those related to business maybe not so much.
I’m a commercial full-time working advertising photographer for 37 years. I absolutely love photography; it is what God put me here to do and how I praise God. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing photography on the day I die. But, I find myself moving into a new phase and that’s one of wanting to consult and teach photography as well as of course continuing to be a photographer.
To make the statement that photography has a universe of knowledge all unto itself in my opinion would be an understatement. There are some very talented people teaching photography, many far more talented than myself but without a profit you’re not going to be a photographer. To truly achieve the maximum of your capability requires working full-time at your craft, constantly challenging and learning new techniques and without a profit this simply can’t be done.
Small story to illustrate my point. At one point early in my career a noted creative director very kindly sat me down after reviewing my portfolio and explain to me that I needed to learn my craft in order to work with him. This was after me being number one in my class at Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and working in the field of photography for over 3 years. My response was very simple, I thinked him profusely for his candor; then I dedicated every weekend for the next 13 years to learning one thing new about photography, in particular, lighting before I allowed myself to have the balance of the weekend. Keep in mind I’m still working full time as a photographer Monday through Friday.
Creating money through sales isn’t the same as creating profit. But what I will do in this upcoming series is share with you many different techniques I have used for creating money and assignments with different clients in different industries. The one thing in common with all of my techniques is always looking for a win-win solution. Probably a win-win solution is not truly accurate, because my clients always benefit far greater than I do. But creating great success for your clients is a fabulous way not to have to defend your pricing structure and it keeps your clients coming back to you for years.
For potential clients out there I want to demonstrate in this series the characteristics of the type of photographers you should be looking for. Because these photographers can push sales into quantum growth. And are you really going to begrudge a photographer a fair rate that he/she can raise his family on if they delivers back to you quantum growth in sales?
The vast majority of all of my clients have quadrupled in sales and size very shortly after they hired me for their photographic needs. This doesn’t mean that I’m a miracle worker on my own it takes a team but if any aspect of that team is weak than the overall performance of the entire team suffers. One of the most under estimated and misjudged aspects about advertising marketing and branding is the power of imagery on sales!
Plainly stated hiring a budget photographer without a dedicated trained passionate professional photographer you are leaving the power of imagery on the table. Your cutting your nose off to spite your face and your sales and profit will suffer because of it. Hiring pseudo-photographer inexperienced or not properly trained for the assignment is just as bad. The only thing worse is putting an image out there that represents you that tarnishes your product and paints a false impression of your business.
Insightful powerful imagery drives sales. This type of imagery can only be created on demand by a trained talented working professional. Anything else is by happenstance or lucky. As a photographer you don’t want to rely on being lucky and you surely can’t sell to potential clients that you’re lucky. Your talent alone only let you playing the game it’s your training and understanding of your craft that give you the tools needed to fully realize new heights of your talent.
Business owners, you can’t base the potential sale of your products on an inexperienced for the assignment photographer. The power of imagery on sales is too great for you to gamble.
Subject matter of the next post: Value