Maybe your bank account hasn’t fully bounced back from summer. Maybe your clients all seem to be busy helping kids with back-to-school tasks. Maybe business is booming, but you want to boost your profits even more. Or, maybe you are just craving some retail therapy….hello 85mm f/1.2, we’re looking at you. Whatever your reasons are, here are some easy ways to add to your bottom line. Mix and match them until you find a combo that works for you!
Offer a day of mini-sessions.
There’s a good chance you have hundreds of people who follow your business page but haven’t used your services yet. And -- no surprise here -- money may be the reason. (Say what you want about “prioritizing memories,” but the simple fact is, not everyone is flush with cash.) Mini-sessions can help you break through the price barrier and turn those “likers” into clients. Pick a day during your slowest week in late September or early October, and offer a sweet promo for quickie 15-minute sessions with a handful of images available for purchase, and their favorite one for a framed portrait. Schedule 10-15 sessions throughout the day, with a couple of breaks for yourself. You’ll get a decent chunk of change up front and an opportunity to introduce new clients to your work. One caveat: Limit your minis to once or twice a year and NEVER during your most in-demand times, i.e. November-December. Clients will be less likely to book a full session if they know they can score a bargain by waiting a few weeks for the next round. For help with mini sessions, check out our Mini Session Guide.
Connect via headshots.
Headshots are a great way to get your name in front of other local business owners, and it’s a lot more personal than simply dropping off business cards everywhere you go. Offer a discount on headshots to anyone who books their session before the end of the month. Or, if you have studio space, take it a step further and organize a networking event where people can stop by, make a few new contacts, and get an updated headshot while they’re at it. If you need some guidance to lay a solid foundation for success with headshots, we recommend our Complete Business Headshot Kit.
Switch to in-person sales.
Talk to any photographer who swears by IPS, and they’ll likely tell you it doubled or tripled their average order. If you can do it, do it. You will shoot less, make more, and your clients will appreciate the extra service you offer. Don't have a studio? Make the most of the space you do have with our Guide to Selling Without a Studio.
Tap a new market.
The phrase “portfolio-building” may bring back awkward memories of your newbie days. But really, as long as you’re evolving as an artist, you’ll occasionally want to step outside your comfort zone. So if you’ve been itching to branch out into a new genre, like seniors or pets or concept shoots, why not offer a few discounted sessions why you get that part of your portfolio up to speed? You’ll earn some extra money in the short term and open up a whole new market in the long term.
Get paid to party.
If you own a backdrop stand, you can easily offer a makeshift photo booth at local events. If you shoot boudoir, promote your services as a fun alternative to the usual bachelorette-party shenanigans. Or enlist a friend to host a portrait party, where guests can bring their kids to get a few non-cheesy photos taken. In exchange for their hostess-with-the-mostess duties, you can offer free prints or other incentives.
Offer a limited-time-only special.
Creating a sense of urgency can boost your short-term sales, so run a promotion with a looming expiration date (Valentine’s Day specials, anyone?) to inspire a few impulse purchases. Or fill a last-minute opening in your schedule by offering a discount to anyone who’s able to fill that slot -- first come, first serve.
Reward your current clients.
Give your clients a reason to spread the word by offering referral bonuses, like a free 8x10 portrait or $50 order credit for future sessions when they refer a client who books a full session or wedding. Or let your current clients purchase up to three prepaid session fees at half price to use later or give as gifts. Win, win, and win! We've got everything you need to get started in our Client Retargeting Kit.
Show some samples.
Unless your clients are photographers too, there’s a good chance they may not know what gallery wraps, metal prints, or fine art albums are. And until they’ve held a product in their hands, they may not realize they have to have it. Order samples for each item in your product line; the one-time investment will quickly pay you back in higher product sales.
Trim the fat.
You know the saying: A penny saved is a penny earned. So look for ways you can streamline your business. Do you have dusty old gear you can sell? Is there a way to speed up your workflow so you can take on a few more clients each month? Do you know a photography student who might assist you for free? Look for money leaks in your business -- less money wasted means more in your wallet.
Raise your prices.This is both the easiest and the hardest option. It’s easy because you just change the number on your pricing page. And it’s hard because you’ll inevitably spend hours panicking that your new prices will scare away your clients. But if you have the confidence to believe you’re worth the money, the payoff is huge.
From a very early age I loved taking pictures and looking at them in magazines and books, but the art of photography captured my heart when I was a teenager, on my first overseas trip to Wales. From that point, I began shooting with a little film SLR and having my friend model for me. In college I took some digital photography and visual communication courses as part of my communication studies major, and decided to pursue a career in photography. I became a legal business and took my first paid client at age 20, and it's been quite a journey and adventure over the past nine years.