… look at them – all racing to have the biggest discount, the cheapest price …
Racing to the bottom.
Save 99% – only today (tomorrow and next week!)
So you are in, aren’t you… with a GREAT offer! On top of your discounted Christmas sessions of course! Because you know you have to be in that race…
If you do not join the race.. you will lose the race altogether?
And it is true – no race – no win…
The problem is that they are all racing to the bottom! It feels more like a popularity contest “I sold 60 Christmas minis”. Well, that is great, I think ..?
But did you make a real profit, one that makes sense considering how many hours you worked to do this?
There is nothing wrong with choosing to be a high volume studio – if you are profitable and can keep it up all year round. And this doesn’t mean that you can’t have fluctuation during seasons, because of course, you have. However, when the year is over, you should have had a fair salary all year round.
In the end, everything has to match up to your CODB (cost of doing business). HOW you make those nice monies, doesn’t really matter, as long as you are not working yourself to death and you can keep it going all year round.
Shoot & Burn vs. IPS (In Person Sales)
It is no secret, I am a member of ASB – Anonymous Shoot & Burners (yes, just like AA – but for photographers, “I have now been burn free for 692 days”). And two years ago, this time a year, I would have roughly 25 sessions a week!
Yesterday, I had two reveal sessions (this is where the clients see and order their portraits). In total, the last 1½ week, I’ve had four. The profit of those four was the same as I would have made of those 25 sessions.
So not only did I work fewer hours for more money, but I was also able to give my clients so much more!
Two years ago this was my workflow:
- 25 clients, 25 photo sessions, 25 sessions edited, 25 uploads, 25 downloads.
- Good luck and Merry x-mas.
- Roughly 3 hours spent per client.
- A total of 75 hours.
This year my workflow looked like this:
- 4 clients
- Going over their needs and wishes and establishing a relationship with the clients. Total planning sessions: 4.
- Shooting to match their wishes they have made clear at the planning sessions. Total Photo sessions: 4.
- 4 sessions edited (do you think you pay just a little more attention to detail with 4 compared to 25?)
- In the reveal sessions, I help and guide the clients to get what they have told me they wish for, creating fabulous art for their walls, gorgeous keepsake albums. Total reveal sessions: 4.
- 4 orders – I’m making sure the clients get their products are great quality, colors are spot on – and even gift-wrapping their Christmas gifts, if they wish me to do it.
- 4 pickups going over their order with them.
- Roughly 8 hours spent per client. (32 hours).
Which client do you think got the best deal? And how many of the first clients do you think ended up with really beautiful art for their homes?
I know I am prouder of what I deliver today, compared to 7 years as a S&B Photographer. And, I think I am giving the clients something much more valuable.
Should you never discount? Never do a sale of some sort?
It is up to you, but if you do it, make sure you are not undermining your own brand. Make sure you are profitable and make sure it is a part of your marketing plan! Most importantly, don’t do discounts in the busiest time of the year, that’s just not that smart.
Let’s race together, let’s race to the top, let’s give our clients the best of the best.
And be profitable while we do it! And I promise you, the race to the top is less competitive. As the rest are racing to the bottom, faster and faster.