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What is limiting you the most?
  
 
level1photog
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p.4 #1 · p.4 #1 · What is limiting you the most?


LeeSimms wrote:
As for that new cheap gear...

Look at the price of the new Sigma and Zeiss 135 and compare it to my still-awesome 135L.


I find new gear such as Godox lights definitely equip amateur and Pro better with affordable gears. New gears will make slightly old but great camera gears more affordable and attainable - Nikon D750/6D, 135L, etc. I don't think wedding photographers needs are that demanding compared to other field. I can probably buy a very nice camera, lens, and lighting gears under $5000. Can we said the same things years ago?





Apr 05, 2017 at 06:14 PM
nolaguy
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p.4 #2 · p.4 #2 · What is limiting you the most?


glort wrote:
Saw a house last week we really loved. Would have been perfect to run the business from and the area is starting to boom. I think there would be enough business there to start with and no question the market would only grown massively over the next 10 years. There is a new international airport scheduled to open in 7 about 20 KM away apart from massive housing and development.

Threw a serious offer at the place only to have the agent come back and say the owners wanted to put more people though. Got back to me today and
...Show more


Seriously mate? After all the upsides you describe and how very long you've been looking?

Another 0.5M out of 16.5 is what, another 3%?

Sounds like the heart is ruling the head which is very unlike you.

Unless I'm missing something?


It's not how much you spend, it's how much you make, brother... but in this case, it doesn't even really matter. Spend the extra 0.5M and find happiness. Do it today.




C



Apr 05, 2017 at 06:30 PM
TheyCallMeJ
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p.4 #3 · p.4 #3 · What is limiting you the most?


Good thread, I have been paying attention to what everyone has to say for a while.

If making money was the ultimate goal, then I wouldn't have bothered with photography, regardless of the genre. Take a look at the Forbes' richest people list and see if you find any photographer there. Having said that, there is indeed an intangible benefit in shooting weddings that money can't buy. I am able to develop and maintain a relationship with my clients that no other vendor can. Being able to meet my previous clients again (now as a guest at their friend's wedding) is often delightful. It is the ultimate testament that I must be doing something right. Not only did they trust me for their wedding day, they referred me to their family and friends. My emotional attachment with my clients allows me to stay motivated in pursuing wedding photography, beyond monetary gains. Your experience with the business may vary.

To address level1photog's specific concerns, there aren't many proven ways to scale and expand this business. Not saying that it is impossible, but only committing to this part-time will be a handicap. At some point if you desire your wedding business to (really) flourish, you have to go all in. I am not telling you to quit your day job, just aligning your expectations such that they are realistic.

First, there's always the associate business model which will allow you to accept multiple clients for a given date. If you have superior management skills, then it's worth looking into. Whether you decide to keep shooting or simply market your brand and having your associates do all the work is entirely up to you. This is where my emotional attachment with my clients becomes a downside, I rather limit myself to a smaller number of weddings per year and raise my prices, rather than relying on associates.

Then you have the photographer / educator hybrid. The advantage is that you can produce content that can be sold again and again (ex: Creative Live courses). The fact that you have so many wannabe photographers makes this option so lucrative. Turn your competitors into your customers. How great are your communication skills?

You can expand into other photography genres, a popular approach for wedding photographers due to seasonal demand. Some will tackle maternity, newborn, family or events, while others will try something completely unrelated such as commercial or real estate. Although I am firm believer that in order to grow (and truly make money), specialization is required. Do one thing and do it well.

To echo Glort's multithread, multipage bashing of social media (or whatever the next trend may be), business is about people. If you can reach your targeted audience and answer their desires, they will pay you. Sometimes I look at other successful (and highly profitable) photographers and deconstruct how they do it, what often surprises me is how "offline" they are. I see many spend countless hours in designing a logo, font, color schemes and business cards then I hear Joe Buissink who simply says "I don't have business cards, I leave my number on a napkin". He explains why and it makes sense. Then you have someone like Bradford Rowley who shoots Renaissance style portraits (people spend 5-6 digits per session) and if you visit his site, you will time travel back into the 90's with spartan web design. Notice " Bradford Portraits 2015" at the bottom... Seriously they don't even care or bother updating their site anymore as money keeps gushing in.

What level1photog writes resonates with me because I am also a part-timer. My standard disclaimer is that I am not in a position to offer any valuable advice, since I am not "there" yet. Statistically speaking less than 0.01% of the wedding photographers (maybe even less than that) will achieve the level of Buissink, Ghionis, Mautner(s), TwoMann or even Bradford Rowley and Sue Bryce. If you feel depressed because you are constantly comparing yourself to others, you will never get any satisfaction from the business as this path will only lead you to misery. In reference to the Hedgehog Concept from Jim Collins' Good to Great, pay less attention to what others are doing and focus more on what you can do. You are your own biggest competitor. Your limitations can often be broken by looking from within. Even for those who are just starting out with only five weddings booked, give your heart and soul and shoot each wedding as if it will be your last one. Surpass all expectations and treat your clients the way they deserve, I guarantee that word will start to spread real quick.

Whether you are the part-timer who is only looking for a boost in income or the full-timer who tries to earn a decent living, this business requires you to hustle and hustle hard. There are no shortcuts, no magic formula, no Youtube tutorials and no Lightroom presets for success.



Apr 05, 2017 at 06:48 PM
level1photog
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p.4 #4 · p.4 #4 · What is limiting you the most?


TheyCallMeJ wrote:
Good thread, I have been paying attention to what everyone has to say for a while.

If making money was the ultimate goal, then I wouldn't have bothered with photography, regardless of the genre. Take a look at the Forbes' richest people list and see if you find any photographer there. Having said that, there is indeed an intangible benefit in shooting weddings that money can't buy. I am able to develop and maintain a relationship with my clients that no other vendor can. Being able to meet my previous clients again (now as a guest at their friend's wedding) is
...Show more

Wow your words resonate with me so much. I completely agree with everything you say. I definitely agree that photography will not make anyone rich and require alot of hustling, but it's the intagible emotional aspect of providing priceless memories of weddings, thank you note/Yelp reviews, shooting their maternity, newborn, etc that make this pursue worthwhile.

I also agree that I am my biggest competitor. I don't want to be just as good as my competitions or better, but try to create work of my own from learning from alot of masters in this craft such as Jerry Ghionis, Sail Chong, Joey L, ClayCook, Amazing Group, etc to create images I'm please with it myself.

What you and glort said is true. I just have to be content shooting. I will accept whatever future so long I give it my best.




Apr 05, 2017 at 07:16 PM
glort
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p.4 #5 · p.4 #5 · What is limiting you the most?


nolaguy wrote:
Another 0.5M out of 16.5 is what, another 3%?



What?? 16m?? I wish.
Sorry, just my way of writing things. it's 1.65 and another $50K which is significant to me especially when I'm up in what seems like the stratosphere already.

Spose it's not out of the question for my grand children to be paying 16.5M for a home but Fortunately, it's not that bad quite yet. If I had 16.5M I wouldn't have to be the least bit worried.



Apr 06, 2017 at 01:35 AM
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p.4 #6 · p.4 #6 · What is limiting you the most?


LeeSimms wrote:
I strongly urge anyone who thinks they are not a social media darling not to dispair. I don't even have a personal FB page and we'll do close to 300kUSD in wedding photography/video this year.

When the history of the world is written, social media will be remember as the biggest time wasting distraction of all ages. Probably kills productivity more than alcohol.



How on earth do you market yourself so successfully! My biggest downfall is that I stink at marketing. My clients rave over my work. But I cannot find the path how to successfully market myself.



Apr 14, 2017 at 09:03 PM
glort
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p.4 #7 · p.4 #7 · What is limiting you the most?


AgentM wrote:
How on earth do you market yourself so successfully! My biggest downfall is that I stink at marketing. My clients rave over my work. But I cannot find the path how to successfully market myself.


What have you done to learn marketing?

There is pretty much endless info on the web these days and I'm not talking necessarily photo orientated. You don't need it to be. In fact I'd recommend you don't Want it to be.
It's all the same principals, learn how to play music, not just play one song so to speak. That way you can adapt to any and all situation not just a couple of specific methods for specific cases.

I find the biggest advantage to me with what I have learned is the ability to be able to switch to different methods and make things up on the fly. Couldn't say ho many times I have been talking to people about doing different work and they come out and say " I hope you aren't going to want to do XYZ" which is exactly what I WAS going to do. Because I know different approaches to get teh same goal I'm instantly able to Say " Oh no, I do it like ABC" and the client is perfectly happy and I get the deal even though the difference is I poached the eggs rather than boiled them.

Still got the eggs with my bacon and the whole breakfast so couldn't care less how they got served up.

If you learn from some photo seminar where the person just took the universal marketing formula and applied it to a photographic example like " This is how to get wedding clients" that's all you know and probably won't be able to figure how to apply the PRINCIPAL to other things.
Learn the methodology along with a few others and you now have the knowledge to asses the best strategy to take and instantly fall back to another one if that doesn't work.

No one learns just one way to take a picture say with natural or strobist lighting and nothing else so if they can't do it that way they are floundering, marketing is the same. There are many different approaches you can apply to each situation and if one dosent or can't work, there are others up your sleeve you can use to come back and have another go.

There is so much GOOD info out there on the net now all you need to do is commit a bit of time to sitting down and reading ( and I recommend a book to jot down notes and ideas as you go to review later) and you can't help but improve your knowledge and ability.



Apr 15, 2017 at 03:21 AM
MrGubrz
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p.4 #8 · p.4 #8 · What is limiting you the most?


UGH getting off my lazy butt and fixing up my website, figuring out pricing that is just THERE and WORKS for whatever, so I can stop having to customize pricing for everyone that talks to me... and then stop being paranoid i suck. lol!


Apr 21, 2017 at 12:35 AM
Unclejoe1116
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p.4 #9 · p.4 #9 · What is limiting you the most?


I don't necessarily think social media/SEO is the end-all of advertising and marketing.

However, if you are just starting out, Facebook provides low- to no-cost options for getting your name (and more importantly, your pictures) out there. Fan pages are completely free to set up and run, and allow you to extend your brand beyond your individual reach. I actually don't even have a website, and just operate solely off of the fan page. It has photo uploads, allows for reviews to be left, gives contact information, allows for people to message me, and it has a mobile app! Seriously, look up "Pages Manager" in the app store. I run my business almost entirely from my phone.

As a for-instance, in my area, there are "Trash and Treasure" sites, where people post things for sale. Think of it like Craigslist, except on Facebook. Well, people also post asking for recommendations, including asking for photographers. I'm not full-time, and I don't plan on going full-time any time soon. I'm a Mechanical Engineer by trade, but just by responding to these posts, and making sure I've got a decent fan page with enough imagery to show what I'm capable of, I usually have paying clients more weeks than not. Granted, these aren't weddings, but I won't do weddings. It's mostly family portraits, but they pay!

For anybody who bashes social media, get off your high horse. Maybe you are so great you don't need it. Some of us haven't transcended our mere mortal frames to reach such omnipotence, so give us a little bit of grace while we continue to toil as lowly serfs. (In case it isn't obvious, this is sarcasm. We all use the tools that fit us best. Don't judge what's working for someone else.)



Apr 21, 2017 at 01:52 PM
Jefzor
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p.4 #10 · p.4 #10 · What is limiting you the most?


BKphotography wrote:
You found the meaning of life! Well done.


This is actually true.



Apr 21, 2017 at 05:31 PM
 

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glort
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p.4 #11 · p.4 #11 · What is limiting you the most?


Unclejoe1116 wrote:
For anybody who bashes social media, get off your high horse. Maybe you are so great you don't need it. Some of us haven't transcended our mere mortal frames to reach such omnipotence, so give us a little bit of grace while we continue to toil as lowly serfs. (In case it isn't obvious, this is sarcasm. We all use the tools that fit us best. Don't judge what's working for someone else.)


HAHAHA! Gee, You wouldn't be talking about me by any chance would you?

I would say it's you that needs to get off your high horse.
No one is born knowing about marketing any more than they are born knowing about photography. It's learn't through study, practice, risk, loss, disappointment and hard work getting off your arse and not just sitting on it taking the easy way out.

While some are busy doing their blogs and posting whatever on SM, others may be hitting business sites learning and studying, writing copy and ads and making appointments to go see people.
While many of the SM be all and end alls are so busy spending their time checking out the features of every new bit of gear that comes along is even if they have no need or wouldn't' touch it, some are investing their hours in learning more about something that will make a difference to their bottom line and quality of life they can provide their families.

IF people have achieved any "greatness" as you put it in this area, it's sure as hell not because they were born with a silver spoon, it's because they put in the time and effort to learn it the same as anyone out there can do. The reason they might encourage others to do the same ( constantly) is because they can see the mistakes so many make with their SM fixation and ignorance and the problems they have and want them to help themselves and their families by channeling their efforts into what they KNOW will unquestionably help them in so many ways.

To me it seems rather ironic to be lamenting people on their high horse while at the same time playing Victim with something you are totally and completely able to control or remedy if you think there is a problem or you are at a disadvantage.
With the proliferation of good, free information on marketing and business on the net now, A person can be as educated or ignorant as they choose to be. Totally up to them.

If a person can visit and read things on this site, they can do the same with any other and make the decision to learn and educate themselves or whine and bitch at those that have while refusing to do the same themselves.




Apr 22, 2017 at 01:01 AM
BKphotography
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p.4 #12 · p.4 #12 · What is limiting you the most?


Jefzor wrote:
This is actually true.


I know!



Apr 23, 2017 at 12:56 AM
Unclejoe1116
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p.4 #13 · p.4 #13 · What is limiting you the most?


glort wrote:
HAHAHA! Gee, You wouldn't be talking about me by any chance would you?


I actually didn't write that with anyone specific in mind

Mostly I'm just reacting to a few photographers who have figuratively and literally yelled at me for using social media. (Yes, I actually had someone get in my face and lecture me on how "my generation" was ruining everything, and SM was from the devil.)

Not trying to discount anyone's business experience or acumen. And I agree that most photographers would probably benefit more from a business class than an SEO/SM class. I also know I get about 80% of my business from SM.

Just asking that everyone remain tolerant of what works for each of us.



Apr 23, 2017 at 02:34 AM
glort
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p.4 #14 · p.4 #14 · What is limiting you the most?


Unclejoe1116 wrote:
Mostly I'm just reacting to a few photographers who have figuratively and literally yelled at me for using social media. (Yes, I actually had someone get in my face and lecture me on how "my generation" was ruining everything, and SM was from the devil.)


Wow!
I'm not exactly a fan boy for SM but I'm not that far gone with it.
I'd say SM is a great time waster and there are better and more effective ways most people could promote themselves but from the Devil
If these people aren't on Drugs, they very well ought to be.
There is medical treatment for insanity these days!


I also know I get about 80% of my business from SM.

Could you give some more info as to what else you do to promote yourself and a guesstimate of the time and $ you invest in each of your marketing methods and the proportion of actual income they generate?





Apr 23, 2017 at 10:33 AM
InSanE
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p.4 #15 · p.4 #15 · What is limiting you the most?


SM is great for young people, not so much for old geezers.


Apr 23, 2017 at 02:31 PM
Unclejoe1116
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p.4 #16 · p.4 #16 · What is limiting you the most?


glort wrote:
Could you give some more info as to what else you do to promote yourself and a guesstimate of the time and $ you invest in each of your marketing methods and the proportion of actual income they generate?


Mostly I just keep up with my fan page, and post pictures of jobs I've done there. I actually just spent my first money on advertising, a whole $10! I'd say I spend anywhere between 5-30 minutes a day.

You also have to remember that I just do this on the side, so if I have a job every week, I'm happy.



Apr 24, 2017 at 07:54 PM
glort
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p.4 #17 · p.4 #17 · What is limiting you the most?



Do you just do the SM or are there any other initiatives you use?



Apr 24, 2017 at 10:34 PM
Unclejoe1116
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p.4 #18 · p.4 #18 · What is limiting you the most?


glort wrote:
Do you just do the SM or are there any other initiatives you use?


Mostly Facebook. I tried a job site called Thumbtack, and found that I had spent $250, had put out about 40 bids, and still haven't had a successful job come from that. Fingers crossed though, I have a shoot scheduled for this weekend. Should be able to at least recoup most of my money.

The other thing I found was highly successful, especially among my realtor clients, was a referral discount. (Side-note, for anyone trying to get into real estate photography, invest $500-1000 for a decent drone. You'll get clients simply because you have one.)



Apr 25, 2017 at 03:13 PM
Scott Mosher
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p.4 #19 · p.4 #19 · What is limiting you the most?


For me, right now its the time & desire. I now do weddings/portraits part time after I moved to Utah. Since the move in 2015 I've had a lot of time to reflect on my time as a full time pro, what I did right, and what I did wrong.

I've come to the conclusion that before my biggest hindrance was fully grasping the business side of things. Yes, I knew a lot of the terms thrown around in business, but I didn't really understand how to implement things, and above all, making plans. I'm starting school in the Fall to get a BS in Business Management, with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship. That will help me at the day job, my part time photo biz, and my wife's fitness studio she wants to open in the next 5 years.



Apr 25, 2017 at 08:56 PM
glort
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p.4 #20 · p.4 #20 · What is limiting you the most?


Mostly Facebook. I tried a job site called Thumbtack, and found that I had spent $250, had put out about 40 bids, and still haven't had a successful job come from that. Fingers crossed though, I have a shoot scheduled for this weekend. Should be able to at least recoup most of my money.



Given you do most of your marketing efforts which entail 5-30 Min a day on SM, It is hardly surprising that you get 80% of your business from it. That adds up.

I would expect that you would get 80% of your business from any marketing initiative you spent most of your time on, it's only logical although you could be spending more than 80% of your time on SM which seems distinctly possible in this case.

This goes with pretty much what most small business people say whom don't understand marketing very well. If you put petty much all your eggs in one basket, of course that basket is where you are going to get the majority of your work.
Doesn't make that media anything special or outstanding, just makes it what one would logically expect.

Guarantee if I put the majority of my advertising efforts into shopper dockets or discount Coupon sites, that's where my business would come from as well.
It has to. If that's all I do, how else am I going to get business other than through the occasional WOM?

Again, does not mean that's a great or even worthwhile marketing method, just means it's the one you use the most and therefore HAVE to get the most returns from.



Apr 25, 2017 at 08:58 PM
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