July 24, 2014, 07:59:53 PM

Author Topic: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!  (Read 13091 times)

grimson

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #45 on: May 14, 2014, 12:11:13 PM »
Examples of real 'pro's';
http://youarenotaphotographer.com/

fauxtographers ;)

I like good gear but definitely do not advertise myself as a 'pro'. Just for my family!

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #45 on: May 14, 2014, 12:11:13 PM »

terminatahx

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #46 on: May 14, 2014, 02:22:17 PM »
I am trying to get my photography business running but I am encountering a problem I am sure we all have:

"Everyone's a photographer!"

Seems these days if you buy yourself a cheap DSLR and know how to press the shutter you can call your self a professional photographer.
The quality of the prints doesn't seem to matter, or does the fact that they are pricing their "services" so low they are killing the decent photographers out there.

I am surrounded by these, one who tapes a white sheet to the wall, sticks a light on it and claims to shoot "state of the art high-key!"
Another is offering shoots at 50% of my cost and giving the client a CD with all of the shots on them.

Clients seem to be going for the cheaper price and ignoring the fact I am producing very high quality, professionaly shot photographs for only marginally more cost.

How do you deal with this in your location?

Stop fishing in the low end pond.  Focus on the more demanding clients that are willing to pay more.  For me, I get less business, but the pay is much better.  Trying to compete with substandard photographers that take shortcuts and engage in pricing wars is the wrong pond to fish in.    Because they have all the "so-so" work covered.  If your work is above par, and  you can reach the clients that demand it, you'll prosper.
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sanjosedave

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #47 on: May 14, 2014, 02:39:15 PM »
OP, show us your web site and examples of your work.

Have you created a business plan?

How many portrait photographers are in your geographic area?
How many wedding photographers?
How many corporate/commerce photographers?
How many fashion photographers?
How many sports photographers?

Does your web site show your studio?

Do you blog about your specialty?

What is the annual household income of your geographic area? NYC prices would not be the same prices as Hoxie, KS

Are you volunteering at your County Veterans Centers by doing Vets portraits for LinkedIn?




AcutancePhotography

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #48 on: May 14, 2014, 03:24:38 PM »
Examples of real 'pro's';
http://youarenotaphotographer.com/

fauxtographers ;)



The pictures and comments are funny, but stay away from the forums on that site.  Yikes talk about a whine fest!
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surapon

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2014, 03:41:55 PM »


Dear Friend Scott_McPhee .
The PRO call us " Uncle Bob"----That Include ME, ( Some times)---BUT only time that The Bride and Groom / My Close relative ask me to take the photos in their wedding for them, AND they  truss me and do not like their Dad& Mom hire that Professional Photogrraphers.
BUT, My rules : When, I am at the Wedding, I( Camera gears in the trunk of my SUV) go to talk to the PRO , tell them that I am her uncle ( of the Bride), and the Bride & Groom want me to take the Candid Photos for them , Just for FUN. Yes, I tell them that I will not use Flash, And Use the Long Zoom lens at the back or at the Sides of their Photographers, Never at their front, or in their Pictures.----Tell them, If they do not like , Please go to tell the Bride to stop me, And I will not  take any Photos. But If you stop me, There are 1,000 guests in this ceremony will use their I-Phones, Tablets, Canon 1DX or Nikon D4 to take the wedding photos any ways.

I do like this for last 20  years,  And NO PRO will refuse my offer----Ha, Ha, Ha, EXCEPT ONE PRO, after they see my Photography Equipment include  Canon 600 mm Lens  that I use for shooting from the Balcony of the Sanctuary 300 feet from Altar, where the Wedding ceremony take place---In Candle light Lit, And He came to ask me to share these photos, Yes, I let him use my big lens with his Canon T3

If you are " Uncle Bob" like me,  Please talk to The PRO first, before you interrupt  their paid duty, BUT if you are the PRO, please understand that " USA, land, are the land of freedom---any one can do any thing / Under the laws, as their wishes---And You, THE PRO do not worry about UNCLE BOB, His photos might like the SH_T, when compare to the PRO like you. Let uncle BOB happy and smile in this wedding---YES, the Most important factors = Uncle Bob will spend $ 1,000 US Dollars to buy the prints from you, and give to Bride and Groom.

Just my IDEAS.---Only my Ideas---Many of our friends might have very difference Ideas.
Have a great work week, Sir.
Surapon



If you are an uncle Bob at a wedding I shoot and bring your 600mm lens, and let me borrow it, I will let you stand wherever you wish   :) 
The only uncle Bob's I have problems with are the ones who were going to shoot the wedding but at the last minute the couple panics and thinks a pro might be the way to go.  Then poor Bob's feelings get hurt and he still tries to shoot the wedding like it's his.  That's when I have to start (like in the video you attached) have to unfortunately start stepping in front of him/her.  Thank goodness that's been very rare.  And you're right, there are lot's of uncle Bobs at weddings and you have to learn very quickly how to get over that and work around it if needed because it's not something that will every go away. 
And nice to hear you , surapon, are a considerate Bob.  But I'm not surprised.  From the posts of yours that I've seen, you seem like one of the most polite and considerate people I've never had the pleasure of meeting.

Thanks you, Sir, Dear Friend Joe M, Your Great Words will make my days and Weeks.
I just write the Post from bottom of my heart, and Hope that My Tiny expertise/ Tricks might help some of our dear friend , some ways.
Have a great day, Sir.
Surapon

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #50 on: May 14, 2014, 03:53:40 PM »


Dear Friend Scott_McPhee .
The PRO call us " Uncle Bob"----That Include ME, ( Some times)---BUT only time that The Bride and Groom / My Close relative ask me to take the photos in their wedding for them, AND they  truss me and do not like their Dad& Mom hire that Professional Photogrraphers.
BUT, My rules : When, I am at the Wedding, I( Camera gears in the trunk of my SUV) go to talk to the PRO , tell them that I am her uncle ( of the Bride), and the Bride & Groom want me to take the Candid Photos for them , Just for FUN. Yes, I tell them that I will not use Flash, And Use the Long Zoom lens at the back or at the Sides of their Photographers, Never at their front, or in their Pictures.----Tell them, If they do not like , Please go to tell the Bride to stop me, And I will not  take any Photos. But If you stop me, There are 1,000 guests in this ceremony will use their I-Phones, Tablets, Canon 1DX or Nikon D4 to take the wedding photos any ways.

I do like this for last 20  years,  And NO PRO will refuse my offer----Ha, Ha, Ha, EXCEPT ONE PRO, after they see my Photography Equipment include  Canon 600 mm Lens  that I use for shooting from the Balcony of the Sanctuary 300 feet from Altar, where the Wedding ceremony take place---In Candle light Lit, And He came to ask me to share these photos, Yes, I let him use my big lens with his Canon T3

If you are " Uncle Bob" like me,  Please talk to The PRO first, before you interrupt  their paid duty, BUT if you are the PRO, please understand that " USA, land, are the land of freedom---any one can do any thing / Under the laws, as their wishes---And You, THE PRO do not worry about UNCLE BOB, His photos might like the SH_T, when compare to the PRO like you. Let uncle BOB happy and smile in this wedding---YES, the Most important factors = Uncle Bob will spend $ 1,000 US Dollars to buy the prints from you, and give to Bride and Groom.

Just my IDEAS.---Only my Ideas---Many of our friends might have very difference Ideas.
Have a great work week, Sir.
Surapon



If you are an uncle Bob at a wedding I shoot and bring your 600mm lens, and let me borrow it, I will let you stand wherever you wish   :) 
The only uncle Bob's I have problems with are the ones who were going to shoot the wedding but at the last minute the couple panics and thinks a pro might be the way to go.  Then poor Bob's feelings get hurt and he still tries to shoot the wedding like it's his.  That's when I have to start (like in the video you attached) have to unfortunately start stepping in front of him/her.  Thank goodness that's been very rare.  And you're right, there are lot's of uncle Bobs at weddings and you have to learn very quickly how to get over that and work around it if needed because it's not something that will every go away. 
And nice to hear you , surapon, are a considerate Bob.  But I'm not surprised.  From the posts of yours that I've seen, you seem like one of the most polite and considerate people I've never had the pleasure of meeting.

I've been "Uncle Bob" at a couple of weddings... except I go talk to the photographer and offer to be an unpaid second (or third) shooter for the day and tell them they can copy my memory cards at the end of the day and use the pictures... Far better to be an assistant than an annoyance... and a second shooter who knows who in the crowd is important is a valuable asset.

Dear Sir, My friend Don Haines .
WOW, That are a great IDEA, "except I go talk to the photographer and offer to be an unpaid second (or third) shooter for the day and tell them they can copy my memory cards at the end of the day and use the pictures "---Thank you , sir= I will do next time, and use your Fantastic Idea= Great Both ways for the PRO and us, Plus in your case, The PRO will love your PHOTOS, and offer money to pay your in next wedding as the Staff.
Long, Long time ago, I volunteer with  the PRO/ Wedding Photographer as the Light Man and Use my Point and shoot Camera to record the Way  of the PRO work, and give the copy of my photos to them too, for their record. Yes, Sir, I have learn from them, what are they doing, And Use with my own technique to improve for my Tricks.
Yes, Sir, I tell my friends/ Photographers about this way that I learn, Most of them laugh at me, Tell me that, What in the world to do the slave job with out paid----Ha, Ha, Ha, They are wrong---In my IDEA, But they so proud of them self.
Nice to talk to you, Sir.
Have a great week.
Surapon
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 05:00:43 PM by surapon »

Cptn Rigo

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #51 on: May 14, 2014, 04:56:59 PM »
I am trying to get my photography business running but I am encountering a problem I am sure we all have:

"Everyone's a photographer!"

Not to be overly cynical, but you are the "amateur who wants to be a pro" that the already established pros were bitching about last month.   ;D

+1

I get the same idea while reading the OP, you are the amateur trying to be pro... just as the rest
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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #51 on: May 14, 2014, 04:56:59 PM »

East Wind Photography

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #52 on: May 14, 2014, 05:49:33 PM »


Dear Friend Scott_McPhee .
The PRO call us " Uncle Bob"----That Include ME, ( Some times)---BUT only time that The Bride and Groom / My Close relative ask me to take the photos in their wedding for them, AND they  truss me and do not like their Dad& Mom hire that Professional Photogrraphers.
BUT, My rules : When, I am at the Wedding, I( Camera gears in the trunk of my SUV) go to talk to the PRO , tell them that I am her uncle ( of the Bride), and the Bride & Groom want me to take the Candid Photos for them , Just for FUN. Yes, I tell them that I will not use Flash, And Use the Long Zoom lens at the back or at the Sides of their Photographers, Never at their front, or in their Pictures.----Tell them, If they do not like , Please go to tell the Bride to stop me, And I will not  take any Photos. But If you stop me, There are 1,000 guests in this ceremony will use their I-Phones, Tablets, Canon 1DX or Nikon D4 to take the wedding photos any ways.

I do like this for last 20  years,  And NO PRO will refuse my offer----Ha, Ha, Ha, EXCEPT ONE PRO, after they see my Photography Equipment include  Canon 600 mm Lens  that I use for shooting from the Balcony of the Sanctuary 300 feet from Altar, where the Wedding ceremony take place---In Candle light Lit, And He came to ask me to share these photos, Yes, I let him use my big lens with his Canon T3

If you are " Uncle Bob" like me,  Please talk to The PRO first, before you interrupt  their paid duty, BUT if you are the PRO, please understand that " USA, land, are the land of freedom---any one can do any thing / Under the laws, as their wishes---And You, THE PRO do not worry about UNCLE BOB, His photos might like the SH_T, when compare to the PRO like you. Let uncle BOB happy and smile in this wedding---YES, the Most important factors = Uncle Bob will spend $ 1,000 US Dollars to buy the prints from you, and give to Bride and Groom.

Just my IDEAS.---Only my Ideas---Many of our friends might have very difference Ideas.
Have a great work week, Sir.
Surapon



If you are an uncle Bob at a wedding I shoot and bring your 600mm lens, and let me borrow it, I will let you stand wherever you wish   :) 
The only uncle Bob's I have problems with are the ones who were going to shoot the wedding but at the last minute the couple panics and thinks a pro might be the way to go.  Then poor Bob's feelings get hurt and he still tries to shoot the wedding like it's his.  That's when I have to start (like in the video you attached) have to unfortunately start stepping in front of him/her.  Thank goodness that's been very rare.  And you're right, there are lot's of uncle Bobs at weddings and you have to learn very quickly how to get over that and work around it if needed because it's not something that will every go away. 
And nice to hear you , surapon, are a considerate Bob.  But I'm not surprised.  From the posts of yours that I've seen, you seem like one of the most polite and considerate people I've never had the pleasure of meeting.

I've been "Uncle Bob" at a couple of weddings... except I go talk to the photographer and offer to be an unpaid second (or third) shooter for the day and tell them they can copy my memory cards at the end of the day and use the pictures... Far better to be an assistant than an annoyance... and a second shooter who knows who in the crowd is important is a valuable asset.

Dear Sir, My friend Don Haines .
WOW, That are a great IDEA, "except I go talk to the photographer and offer to be an unpaid second (or third) shooter for the day and tell them they can copy my memory cards at the end of the day and use the pictures "---Thank you , sir= I will do next time, and use your Fantastic Idea= Great Both ways for the PRO and us, Plus in your case, The PRO will love your PHOTOS, and offer money to pay your in next wedding as the Staff.
Long, Long time ago, I volunteer with  the PRO/ Wedding Photographer as the Light Man and Use my Point and shoot Camera to record the Way  of the PRO work, and give the copy of my photos to them too, for their record. Yes, Sir, I have learn from them, what are they doing, And Use with my own technique to improve for my Tricks.
Yes, Sir, I tell my friends/ Photographers about this way that I learn, Most of them laugh at me, Tell me that, What in the world to do the slave job with out paid----Ha, Ha, Ha, They are wrong---In my IDEA, But they so proud of them self.
Nice to talk to you, Sir.
Have a great week.
Surapon

I usually just show uncle bob where the bar is and encourage him to enjoy himself.  ;)

Chuck Alaimo

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #53 on: May 14, 2014, 05:50:22 PM »
I am trying to get my photography business running but I am encountering a problem I am sure we all have:

"Everyone's a photographer!"

Not to be overly cynical, but you are the "amateur who wants to be a pro" that the already established pros were bitching about last month.   ;D



+1

I get the same idea while reading the OP, you are the amateur trying to be pro... just as the rest

I'd say emerging pro.  Or entry level pro.  There is no real definition for pro in photography so we have to fall back to ----your pro if you make money through photography.  Some will take that further to say you have to have your primary source of income be photography to be called pro.  Just saying there's levels.  If you've been shooting since 1972 then your a veteran pro.  But if your 4 years in, your still emerging...a pro can be at 25K a year, or at 500K a year...

and pro is not defined by those that don't complain about competition...because there is always someone out there to undercut you, regardless of your price point....
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surapon

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #54 on: May 14, 2014, 09:06:22 PM »
Dear East Wind my friend.
Ha, Ha, Ha---I love your words " I usually just show uncle bob where the bar is and encourage him to enjoy himself.  ;) "----- Yes, Me too, I will keep my camera gears in the trunk of the car, and tell my wife  go enjoy the wedding party, And I will head to the Bar/  Wedding Party that Provide us a hard Liqueur/ Whiskey or Import Beers, After couple hours, Just Hand her my car key, and let her drive me home( I just take a short nap in the car)----No, Please do not worry, My Car = H1 Hummer, and No one on the street want to mess with her.
Have a good night, Sir.
Surapon.
PS, Let The PRO do the great PHOTOS, And as the Hobbiest like us, We enjoy our Life, and do not worry.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 09:09:16 PM by surapon »

CarlMillerPhoto

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #55 on: May 15, 2014, 02:47:11 AM »
I'm a fabricator, and every week there is some new welder, fresh out of school or no school at all, buys a truck and slaps a welder on it, charges 70$ an hour. Now in a shop with a few million dollars worth of equipment and an electric bill that would make you gasp, you cant charge that little. You have to charge a bit more. Do you lose business to the guy with the truck? yes. Does it matter? No. He ends up screwing up jobs that come to you to get fixed, or doesn't have the tools to do it right, or it takes him 3 hours to do what you can do in 1.

Switch back to photography, after they have a bad experience with your underpriced competition, they will be happy to pay your rates with less moaning then if they had come straight to you. If the competition does work the customer is 100% happy with for 10% of your price, then they would have been horrible customers for you, complained about the price, and not appreciated the work.

The OP may be in a situation where there simply is a market for cheap photography and is no market for his overpriced crap (in the eyes of the market). Like others have mentioned, Mercedes doesn't compete with kia, and kia dominates some markets entirely. I also agree that he IS the amateur the pros are complaining about, could it be that the established pros are posting on another forum "what to do about overcharging amateur giving us a bad name"  I have been in both situations as a customer, sometimes you have money to burn on an event and need world class photos for marketing, and you pay a pro. Sometimes you just need a live body with a camera taking pictures that isn't you, in that case someone with a rebel and a 50$+Beer day rate is what you need, and no amount of marketing will make you need a more expensive photographer, in that case the photographer has a market problem, not a marketing problem.

+1. Pretty accurate understanding of market competition, imo.
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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #56 on: May 15, 2014, 06:45:55 AM »
Examples of real 'pro's';
http://youarenotaphotographer.com/

fauxtographers ;)



The pictures and comments are funny, but stay away from the forums on that site.  Yikes talk about a whine fest!

+1.  Even a lot of the comments are a whine fest.  It seems to be populated by a lot of jealous people.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 08:03:55 AM by Roo »
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AcutancePhotography

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #57 on: May 15, 2014, 09:30:37 AM »
Interesting how photographers from all systems have the same discussions at the same time.  Over on Nikonrumors there is an identical conversation.  I recommend anyone truly interested in this issue to hop over there and get their insights in to this complicated issue. Some good conversations over there.
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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #57 on: May 15, 2014, 09:30:37 AM »

RobertG.

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #58 on: May 15, 2014, 07:12:21 PM »
Scott,
I have taken a look on the website, which is linked under your user name. Sorry to be blunt but that's what I think: the website was made by an amateur and clearly looks like this.

The website itself looks very unprofessional and cheap. I guess that's what it really is. A decent wordpress theme for photographers costs less than $100. An alternative would be Squarespace, which is more comfortable to maintain. But it is focused on the US market and without the online shop it's hard to justify the costs. With your background in netwoek engineering it should be quite easy for you to maintain a website.

The second and even worse impression I got came from your pictures. There are a few good ones among them but the majority of them should not be shown on a professional photographer's website. Under exposed, flat lighting, bad framing... all can be found. The kid potraits are great and professional looking but the family ones aren't. Don't show them.

You have a section for pets but all I can see are a few shots of them same dog. There are some great shots among them but 3 or 4 shots of this dog would be enough. What about cats or any other kind of pet? Show some other dogs, too. It can't be that hard to find any other dog to photograph.

The section "commercial" shows as the 2nd picture a twig with some lichens. Anyone with a macro lens can take a picture like this within minutes. You don't name the scientific name of this lichen, so I guess it was not shot for some scientific purpose. What was the purpose of this shot? Just the nice background blurr? What is the commercial aspect of this picture? I can't see any at all. Better take a high quality shot of a watch or pen.
The next one is an abandoned house. Why? The first architecture shot shows a HDR with too high saturation of the lawn, flat light, artificial looking purplish grey sky and it is clearly visible that the house was not shot with a shift lens. This is by all means an amateur shot. The same can be said about the landscape shot coming next. Too much saturation, flat light, bad framing... it goes on like this for a dozen or so pictures. Then there are some good wedding shots. Why do I need to search for them? Just show the wedding pictures. Leave out the rest.

You advertise "a very affordable price" for your commercial shots but most of the shown ones can't be used for a commercial purpose because of their quality. What's the matter of "a very affordable price" in this case? Why should anybody pay for car shot like the ones you are showing, if they can take exactly the same with a p&s cam?

The section "SJL SERVICES" says: "With our extensive experience in the glamour and fashion photography world if you are looking for the glamorous look, we can create any image you desire." If you claim extensive experience, why are there just 4 different amateur models found in "MAKEOVERS"? Why is no professional model among them? Why is no fashion shot shown?

As you say in the beginning of this thread: "I am trying to get my photography business running..." The website and most of your pictures look like they were done by an amateur. Change this. Get a professional website (not just the layout but also professional texts), get a logo, get rid of most of the pictures and just show your best work. Say something about yourself. For the beginning just advertise your strengths like kid portraits and pets. Don't show architecture, landscape etc. shots on an amateur level. If you do so, tell your customers that these shots are just a hobby.

At least here in Germany the law requires you to inform customers about the legal form of your company. The tax number has to be shown, too. You don't even mention your full name or address on your website. Your price list does not say anything about taxes. BTW, are the prints measured in inch or centimeter?

English is not my native language and I don't try to offend you. Sorry if some sentences sound too harsh. I just want to give you a honest feedback.

BTW, David duChemin's book "Vision Mongers" is a really good read for anyone trying to start a photography business.
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alpha_rook

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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #59 on: May 18, 2014, 07:25:15 PM »
The problem is your sales department, which I imagine is you.  You aren't successfully showing the added value of your services to the customer to make the price difference compelling.

Price is only a marginal factor in sales.  More often than not, people want the best bang for their buck.

Go grab market share.  Coupons, promotions, word of mouth, etc.  Get your name out there and have a high quality product and people will come back to you.

There is a reason most businesses don't make a profit in the first few years... because they are setting themselves up with a solid foundation. 

Also... market to groups that frequent these types of services... maternity wards, preschools, etc... make lasting relationships with customers so they don't feel like they are just a meat bag with money. 

Offer them free Facebook sized prints for upload and sharing.  Feed their ego.... having omg, that is the cutest child ever, LIKE, will do more for your business than a print hanging in their living room.

^^^THIS!! there is definitely a huge disconnect between non-business oriented photogs and their mentality regarding price vs. value. when you properly sell yourself through value rather than price, your clients will not focus on the immobile idea of price. If you make them see the increased value in what you do, then price is not an issue. At the end of the day, people don't make decisions on price, they make decisions on what your services are worth to them- if your services are worth less than what they believe a certain amount of money is to them, then they will not do business with you. That's why you need to raise the value of what you are selling them. Dropping the price doesn't necessarily make what you sell worth more... which is why all of you I presume would agree with me, more often than not, when I say, you truly to get what you pay for in the market of price-cutters.
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Re: Trying to start a Photography Business but surrounded by amateurs!
« Reply #59 on: May 18, 2014, 07:25:15 PM »