Tag: Cash

Photography Money Making Cash Machine

What would you rather do?

A. Turn over a significant portion of the monthly revenue from your fledgling portrait business to a landlord?

B. Fill your bank account with business stabilizing profit and actually earn a living from your portraiture?

Time and again I get emails from members on my website expressing their desire to “open a portrait studio” and I naturally assume their intention is to have an actual “physical” portrait studio. As my sister likes to say, “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt”. I’m here to tell you ladies and gentlemen – you just don’t need one.

All the world’s a stage.

Shakespeare’s Jaques said it first and he was right – although I’m taking it a bit out of context;-) Why limit your creativity to one small space when you have the world at your doorstep.

For years my wife and I looked for a home in the country on a small acreage.

My dream was to have a separate small building for the studio, a nice home and then my own outdoor portrait park. I could build sets, plant gardens, even erect permanent gobos and reflectors to create perfect light at any time of day.

The search proved fruitless, the perfect property more elusive (read as expensive) than I imagined. But then everything happens for a reason doesn’t it. (At least I think so) Over the years I came to realize how limiting working in the same area would be. Yes I could tear down and create new sets and plant different plants – but it would still be the same five acres.

Why are fishing lures such pretty bright colors?

To catch the fisherman who come to the sporting goods store to buy them – why else! Have you ever in your life seen an oblong shaped fish, silver on one side, red and white stripes on the other, with a little devil’s head at one end? I didn’t think so.

To assuage any and all fishing fans reading this article – I too am a fisherman. And while I know full well some of the brightly colored patterns are meant to and do catch fish, it’s also reasonable to assume the bright colors and fishing lure package hype are bait for the “walking-upright” human fish.

I think the same holds true for photographers and the allure of a “portrait studio”. Read any professional photography magazine and you’ll see interior pictures of beautiful, elegant studios; furnishings right out of Home & Garden or House Beautiful. More money spent on a glass topped contemporary coffee table than on our entire IKEA bedroom set. (Which I happen to think is pretty nice thank you very much.)

We see images of portrait studios that could be featured in Architectural Digest and wonder how we’ll ever attain that. Certainly those photographers must be making a wonderful living. Or they’re in debt up to their eyeballs.

Be careful what you wish for.

We’ve had our own studio – a rented space – for more than 15 years and it has been wonderful. We remodeled about four years ago and our 1100 square foot space is a model of efficiency. That model of efficiency also costs us $ 2,600 each month for rent, heat, light, phone, internet and parking.

Consider that number for a long, long minute. Our direct cost of goods sold runs about 25%. So even with 75% net profit able to go towards rent and utilities means we have to average $ 3,500 each month in sales to cover our hard costs.

And that’s before we pay ourselves a single thin dime. Add in a fairly meager hourly wage for my wife and I, the employer’s half of social security we’re required to pay, maybe some health insurance and those monthly costs balloon to nearly $ 8,000. In terms of monthly revenue that’s over $ 10,000 – EVERY single month.

Am I forgetting anything? Oh yeah – marketing. $ 10,000 a month doesn’t just walk through your door via word of mouth, Facebook and Twitter. It’s going to take some serious marketing effort and expense to get to that level.

Do it like Disney.

Families today are looking for “experiences”. Every mall and big box store has a “portrait studio” and that’s what most people are familiar with. They want something different, of which the final portraits are but a small part. They want a unique experience and the only person who thinks not having a studio is a disadvantage is you.

Concentrate instead on creating a wonderfully unique experience for your clients. Market the fact you provide personalized service, home delivery, even hanging the portraits for them. Show up at their door on Halloween with a free pumpkin – your business card attached to the stem. Drop off a small flag around the fourth of July; send them a Thanksgiving Day card.

Marketing YOU

You are the photographer. The product you sell did not even exist before you created it. Work on developing a marketing program and a way of doing business that emphasizes you and your talents and no one will even question the fact you don’t have a physical portrait studio.

Please feel free to use this article on your website or blog. Please remember that the article must be used in its entirety and this bio must remain intact.

Dave Meir has been a professional portrait photographer in Rochester, Minnesota since 1994. He and his wife Kate specialize in High School Senior portraiture and have photographed in excess of 1800 seniors. They also photograph babies, families, sports teams and – at exorbitant rates – the occasional attorney.

Dave also owns The Portrait Expert website at http://www.the-portrait-expert.com  helping new photographers develop profitable and successful portrait businesses. If you’d like to learn more about the high school senior portrait business visit http://www.LearnSeniorPhotography.com  You’ll receive Dave’s special FREE report “Seven Steps You Can Take RIGHT NOW To Get Your High School Senior Portrait Business Off The Ground” as well as his FREE 282 page high school senior portrait posing guide.

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Build Your Own High School Senior Portrait Cash Cow

Does the idea of doing something you love – AND getting paid for it – sound appealing? How about working three to five months a year for a couple hours a day and putting an extra $ 30,000 to $ 50,000 in your pocket – cash profit.

In 2010 there were an estimated 3.2 million graduating high school seniors in the United States. That trend is predicted to continue rising and is estimated to be in excess of 3.4 million graduating seniors per year by 2022.

The market for high school senior portraits is, year after year one of the most predictable and lucrative, and based on the above numbers, has ever increasing potential.

A Market with a Built-in Sense of Urgency

One of the most challenging aspects of owning a portrait photography business – or any business for that matter – is getting paying customers in the door.

Let’s face it; professional portraits in this economy are a luxury for many families.

Everyone wants a nice family portrait but there’s no sense of urgency – no reason to get it done now instead of next week, next month, or next year. What parent wouldn’t like beautiful artistic images of their young children? But life is hectic, setting up a portrait session at a professional studio is such a hassle; let’s just go to the chain store studio. Simple, easy, cheap.

Portraits on a Deadline

Not so with high school senior portraits. With senior portraits there’s a deadline involved. Students need to turn their senior portrait in to their school office by a specific date – or risk being left out of the yearbook.

While more and more people log on to Facebook every day the average high school senior still orders between 50 and 300 wallet photos to exchange with friends and family. Yes they want to post their portraits on Facebook but they still want those wallet photos as well.

And professional quality senior portraits are simply a right-of-passage. For many teenagers their senior portrait session marks the end of one life and the beginning of another; childhood to adulthood in the space of an afternoon. These are the last portraits they’ll have created while living under Mom and Dad’s roof. Likewise, these are the last portraits Mom and Dad will have of their “little boy or girl”. It can be an emotional time in the life of both the senior and the parents.

It’s Easy and it’s Not

Yes, there’s a definite market for high school senior portraits, but that doesn’t mean money falls from the sky.

You need the skill to create beautiful images that an often times fickle market (teenagers), will like and buy. Gone are the days of the black drape and a string of pearls for a girl’s formal portrait.

Today’s high school senior is all about the here and now. What’s new and cool today are the grungy alleyways, cool portrait effects, and an eclectic mix of portrait products. These ain’t yours or your Momma’s senior portraits.

Today’s high school seniors are more mature and more market savvy. They know what they want and if you can’t, as a photographer, give it to them – you’re yesterday’s news. In a heartbeat.

The Time is Now

The entrance fee into the world of professional portraiture has dropped exponentially over the last few years. Just as the black drape and pearls have gone the way of non-reality based television, so too has the medium format camera and expensive studio equipment disappeared from the scene.

No longer is it necessary to rent expensive studio space or mortgage the house to buy lighting equipment, props and backgrounds. The trend today is towards natural and real – in everything from backgrounds to lighting and posing.

A prosumer digital camera with a 10 megapixel sensor can be had for under a thousand dollars. Combine that with your home computer and a copy of Photoshop and you’re ready to rock.

Take the First Steps Today

If your passion is photography and you’ve always wanted a business of your own then it’s time to take those tentative first steps.

Please feel free to use this article on your website or blog. Please remember that the article must be used in its entirety and this bio must remain intact.

Dave Meir has been a professional portrait photographer in Rochester, Minnesota since 1994. He and his wife Kate specialize in High School Senior portraiture and have photographed in excess of 1800 seniors. They also photograph babies, families, sports teams and – at exorbitant rates – the occasional attorney.

Dave also owns The Portrait Expert website at http://www.the-portrait-expert.com  helping new photographers develop profitable and successful portrait businesses. If you’d like to learn more about the high school senior portrait business visit http://www.LearnSeniorPhotography.com  You’ll receive Dave’s special FREE report “Seven Steps You Can Take RIGHT NOW To Get Your High School Senior Portrait Business Off The Ground” as well as his FREE 282 page high school senior portrait posing guide.

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