When you don’t run your own business it can be hard to understand the amount of time and energy it takes to build a business and keep it running. I think this happens a lot with people in the creative field. When you don’t see us entering an office building at 9 and leaving at 5, there can be a misconception that, since we are working at home, our job must not be that difficult.
I mean, yes, I am wearing sweatpants, but that doesn’t mean I’m not having just as a demanding of a day as 9-5 workers. I think this is the common reason for potential clients to think some photographer’s price their work “too high.” So I wanted to give you a little peak into what us, photographers, have to do to keep our business running so you can see why we price the way we do. Photography is much more than clicking a button.
1. Editing Fries Your Eyeballs
I think editing is the least understood part of professional photography. Images do not magically upload with perfect skin, perfect lighting, and perfect smiles. Editing is a skill that takes a lot of time and energy, something that people don’t see since it is behind the scenes. Taking hundreds of pictures during a shoot is a small part of what I do, determining which handful of photos out of hundreds are the best, and then editing them to perfection can often take days.
2. Knock, Knock! Who’s There? You’ve Got Mail!
Emails, Emails, Emails. Communicating is KEY! I have to make sure I am on top of my emails and phone calls, so I always make sure my computer or phone is near by. I want to make sure I respond ASAP, so my potential Clients feel important and listened to. I also make sure that the documents I send, like my pricing guides, are easy for every Client to read and understand. There is a lot the average person doesn’t know about a photography shoot, and it is my job to clearly communicate what I want, and clearly understand what they want. Being on the exact same page as a Client is vitally important so both myself and the Client are happy, satisfied, and want to work together again in the future.
3. I Hate Finances…But I Love $$$
I’ve hated math from the very first time I was asked to add two-plus-two, but to keep a business going, numbers are pretty crucial. Sitting down and figuring out the nitty-gritty of your finances is not what we’d call a fun time (more power to ya accountants and financiers), and for someone whose job normally involves lots of creativity, adding up payments, expenses, and invoices is, for me, the least exciting part of my day.
4. Marketing, It Never Ends!
Marketing has been my biggest challenge. A lot of times, when you have a creative skill, you don’t have the marketing and financing skill (automatically anyway), so it can be a daunting task. I have to keep up with all social media sources, email marketing, word-of-mouth, blogging, and ad-campaigns. Once you get a steady flow with your marketing, there is no stopping you HAVE to keep it going.
5. It’s Not Always Fun & Games: Lighting, The Golden Hour & Composition
I love editing; I find it relaxing. But when it comes to creating the photos it can be challenging. Again, there is a lot more involved than saying cheese then pressing that camera button. It is crucial for me to know ahead of time about the area I will be photographing, so I go to scout out the location before the shoot. The quality of a photograph has a lot to do with your lighting, so I have to make sure, if I am shooting outside, that I schedule the Clients photo shoot during the golden hour (sunset). If the photo shoot is inside, I always set up my lighting and gear a few days before, to make sure I have everything I need. If I don’t double-check to make sure the lighting is just right, then the editing process can become a nightmare—luckily, that hasn’t happened yet because I know how catastrophic bad lighting will be.