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3 Mistakes to Not Make in Your Photography Business

Hey Boudie Babes and Boudie Dudes! I want to start off this post with my story. I think it’s important to tell you who I am and where I come from in regards to photography, and it might surprise you that we’re not that different!

I’ve been a photographer for 13+ years now, which means I fell in love with photography the same way a lot of us do: in high school, the second someone handed me a camera. I absolutely loved it and immediately knew it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I wasn’t sure I could actually make a living on it. So I went to college. I tried majors in marketing, education, a little of this and a little of that. But none of it stuck and none of it felt right. Because it wasn’t photography.

I finally had a heart-to-heart with myself and said “if I can get X bookings in X amount of time and make $X, I can drop out and be a photographer.” And that’s what I did. I dropped out of college and worked my butt off to make it as a photographer. I worked in absolutely every niche and took every job I could, until little by little I started to identify patterns and figure out the system.

Now, I consistently make 6-figures a year with a $4,000 average sale. Yup, you read that right. And I now I work tirelessly to help other photographers do the same.

To do that, I want to go over the three most common mistakes that I see a lot of photographers making. Maybe you’ve made this mistake, or maybe you’re just starting out and haven’t done it yet, but I’m going to help you figure out what you should do instead!

Mistake #1: Not niching down

If you’re trying to be a jack-of-all-trades photographer like I was when I was just starting out, that’s a big mistake for your business. If you’re trying to do every type of portrait photography, plus weddings, plus products, and a little bit of this and that, you’re spreading yourself too thin and wearing yourself out.

When you shoot a bunch of different kinds of photography, you have to market a bunch of different kinds of photography, which makes each one weaker. You are inevitably going to lose clients for, let’s say, a boudoir shoot when that’s one of six styles that you offer, when there’s another photography in the area that lives and breathes boudoir and, as a result, is better at it!

Shooting every style is great in the beginning when you’re trying to figure out what you like most. But once you’ve found what you like, just do that! Niching is better than trying to do everything.

With that being said, I have found boudoir to be the most rewarding, most profitable, and most sustainable out of every photography niche. And I’ve shot them all. Boudoir is how I got to where I am today, and it’s your quickest ticket to success, too! Don’t believe me? Check out this story.

Mistake #2: Pricing out of fear or competition

If you’re pricing your services because you’re scared about what clients will or won’t pay, or if you’re trying to directly compete with the other photographers in your area, you’re making a huge mistake!

If your competitors are charging $300 for an hour shoot and 10 photos, and you offer the same thing for $250, you’re actually just shooting yourself in the foot. You won’t earn a good profit at that price, and you won’t be able to sustain it for very long. Plus, that just drives down the cost–and consequently the value–of photography in your area.

Instead, you need to be pricing based on the numbers! Figure out what you need to earn, what the value of your work is, how much you want to get paid, and price accordingly. The right clients will pay your price.

Mistake #3: Doing the wrong kind of sales

There are so many different ways to do sales in a photography business: IPS (in person sales) a day after the shoot, or a week later, online sales the night of, online sales later on, and on and on. Even worse, there are photographers that don’t do sales at all! But there’s one style of sales that will reduce the amount of time you spend editing and planning and scheduling, AND will get you higher sales!

When I did online sales, I barely made any money. I did better when I switched to IPS, but I noticed that clients weren’t as excited about their photos when they came in a week later. Sometimes, they’d push the ordering session back, cancel, or just not show up! And that was losing me money.

I was able to grow from a $1k average sale to $2k, then $3k, and now my golden standard of $4k per sale by switching to DAVO. DAVO is Directly After Viewing and Ordering, and I go into detail about it here.

Ready to stop making mistakes and start building a sustainable photography business? Check out my Boudoir Certified program to get started today and double your business within 8 weeks!

Molly Keyser of Boudie Shorts shares her story of success and advice on the three mistakes to not make in your photography business.

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Molly Keyser

Boudoir photographer and business coach, I am dedicated to changing the world with the power of a camera. Originally from Wisconsin, I'm now in Texas, but I help photographers around the world learn how to go full-time with boudoir photography.