Masthead header

DEAR FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER, PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU LOWER YOUR PRICES!

Dear Female Photographer,

Thinking about lowering your prices? Wondering if it’s the only way to attract more clients? Hoping it will help you earn more so you can actually sustain your photography business?

Then you’re thinking like some really smart companies out there! Jet Blue, Ikea, and Walmart just to name a few.

All three of those businesses generate FORTUNES by offering up decent products at a low, low price.

If they can do it, you can do it, too … right?

Probably not. And here’s why:

Walmart employs approximately 1% of America. (source)

Yes … you read that right … 1% of Americans are Walmart employees, which officially makes the discount store the largest American employer. According to Wikipedia, as of January 31, 2016, there were 442 Walmart stores in the United States alone. While worldwide there are some 11,620 Walmarts, with a whopping 2.2 billion employees. (source)

So … yes. Walmart is generating huge profits ($36.7 million dollars every hour, to be exact!) with their low, low prices. It’s no wonder some entrepreneurs look to them as a model of how to sell deeply discounted items and still turn a massive profit.

But unless you plan on growing your photography business into a huge chain of studios with a team of employees, you can’t be like Walmart or any of the companies mentioned above. They deal in volume. If you are a business of ONE and plan to stay that way, then low prices will NEVER be your thing. Not if you want your business to actually turn the kind of profit that will support your family.

Since your thing clearly can’t be low prices and volume, what will it be? If you’re short on clients willing to pay the prices you NEED to charge in order to be a profitable photographer, then you need to keep working on YOUR thing.

Will it be AMAZING customer service that gets clients so happy that they tell their friends? LL Bean consistently ranks in the top 10 list of best customer service. People talk about them. NOT because their prices are low. But because they made a conscious decision years ago to do whatever it takes to make clients happy.

Read about LL Bean and other companies who rank in the top-10 for best customer service here.

Will it be AMAZING technical ability? Are you getting better and better as a photographer? Are you growing? Pushing yourself? Trying new techniques? Are you showcasing your growth on your Web site, blog, and social media? If so, people will notice and want to work with you.

Will it be AMAZING personal projects? Humans of New York was started in 2010 by Brandon Stanton, a photographer who wanted to amass 10,000 portraits of New Yorkers and plot them on a map of the city. The project evolved and today 16.7 billion individuals follow HONY on Facebook. Not to mention the fact that Stanton went on to travel the world and publish books. All because he started a personal project.

Will it be your AMAZING ability to share your work with the world? If you build a web site … they will not necessarily come. If you post on Facebook … your followers probably won’t see it. And if you haphazardly post on Instagram, people will unfollow. The photographers today who are gaining clients are the ones that know how to CONSISTENTLY and DAILY share content (both words and images) that truly speak to their target audience.

So what will your thing be? Once you figure it out and start working HARD to bring it to life, price slashing will no longer be a temptation.

You will never win the war on cheap. Someone will always be cheaper. But you … you could go on to be the best of the best at something so special that people can’t ignore you.

Warmly,
Kate

p.s. It’s ok to be scared and how to use fear to grow your business.

 

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Pin It

Revolutionize your photography business in one year — all you have to do are these four simple things

How do you create a successful photography business? One that actually helps you to live the life of your dreams? Two tiny little words will get you there every time:

Hard. Work.

Yeah … it takes hard work to build a successful business.

While it’s true that some entrepreneurs are naturally blessed with talents and skills that seem to help them grow their businesses faster than others, there isn’t an entrepreneur on the planet who didn’t have to work hard.

The thing about hard work, though, is that it’s … well … hard.

It’s hard to keep going when bills are piling up and your business isn’t generating enough income to pay them.

It’s hard not to throw in the towel when you feel like you’re not booking the right kind of clients — or any clients, for that matter.

It’s hard when you look on social media and see other photographers in your area seemingly running the business of your dreams.

I firmly believe the saying that comparison is the thief of joy and therefore do my best not to compare myself to other photographers. But I try hard to imitate one thing that ALL successful photographers and other entrepreneurs have in common: I want to run my business with a good set of habits.

A Good Set of Habits Can Transform Your Business

We all know what happens to gyms across the country come January 1: memberships skyrocket. People drag themselves in and work themselves out. You’ll see them there with a look of determination in their eyes. They’re ready! They’re going to lose that weight and get healthy!

And then suddenly, it’s February and they’re not there anymore.

What happened?

On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact, according to this Huffington Post article.  Doesn’t it seem like a really good idea to push through that two-month period at the gym so that it can become a habit and you can get fit? Of course it does! But the problem is, it’s HARD. It’s HARD to push through those two-months. Your body doesn’t want to go. Your body might even be screaming at you to not go. There’s snow on the ground. And there’s cake in the kitchen.

Those who quit, often find themselves lamenting their appearance for the next 11 or so months, up until the next year when they once again dust off their membership card.

Temporary determination will NOT get you very far in your business or in life, for that matter. In order to succeed in an industry that is over-saturated and ever-changing, you’re going to have to get determined … and STAY determined.

You’re going to have to use your determination to plow through the tough times and to keep on going even when it seems like it would be easier to quit. You’re going to have to use your determination to develop some amazingly good habits. They don’t have to be huge efforts. They just have to be consistent. And if you’re consistent … like one-whole-year consistent … I GUARANTEE you that your business will be completely and totally different this time next year. Or to go back to the gym analogy, your business will be flaunting a six-pack this time next year.

If you’re not sure what habits would help you best, here are four that are absolutely guaranteed to work wonders in your life. If — AND ONLY IF — you’re willing to do them regularly. None of them take much time. They are all small efforts. But the key is to do them regularly.

HABIT ONE: Practice daily gratitude. Take time every night before going to bed to write three things that you appreciate in your life. Keep the journal on your bedside table so you don’t forget.

BENEFIT: Gratitude helps you to shift your focus from the negative to the positive in your life. When we allow the struggles that inevitably come with running a successful photography business to take over our focus, our art suffers. And when our art suffers, so does our business. It becomes a viscous cycle that gratitude can help break.

HABIT TWO: Shoot one personal project each month. Shoot something that is just for you. Let your imagination wander and dream up something that makes your heart pound with happiness.

BENEFIT: Clients can tell when a photographer has passion. They can see it in our work. They can hear it in our voice. But passion can and will fade if we don’t take the time to feed and nourish it. Personal projects help keep that passion alive.

HABIT THREE: Read one motivational or business book a month. Or, if possible, read one each week. Choose a book that deals with business, photography, art, motivation, fear, accounting, happiness … anything that will help you to grow as a person, entrepreneur, and photographer. Motivational books in particular (I love Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, and Les Brown to name just a few motivational authors) can pump you up and help you keep going even during the toughest times.

BENEFIT: As you learn more, your mindset will shift. You’ll feel more competent and capable. And the more motivational books you read, the more you’ll feel like you can take on the world. People pay thousands and thousands of dollars for college educations these days. You can walk into your library any day of the week and pick up knowledge … for free.

HABIT FOUR: Write one blog post per week. It doesn’t really matter what you blog about. It could be client shares. Snaps and stories from your personal life. The key is that you actually do it and do it consistently.

BENEFIT: Clients will know that you’re alive and well and actively working. They’ll also get to see your amazing personal project results (if you choose to blog them). And you’ll up your SEO rankings. Not sure the best ways to write for SEO? Add a good SEO book to your one-book-per-month list!

The reality is, none of these habits take up much time. But they will change your business if you do them for a whole year. And I guarantee you that if you can do them for a year, you’ll never quit them. They’ll become like second nature. And each and every one of these habits will help you to put in the hard work that’s needed to grow your business.

You can do this.

I can’t wait to see where you are next year.

Happy Wednesday!
Kate

P.S. What’s the difference between an proactive and a reactive photographer? And which one are you?

 

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Pin It

no matter what … keep laughing!

A little while ago, I read the book “Anatomy of an Illness,” by Norman Cousins. It fascinated me. Ever since losing — and then regaining — my health in my 20s, I’ve been fascinated by the body, illness, and finding new ways to feel better. Life is SO much richer when your body cooperates : )  Norman Cousins lost his health, too in a very dramatic way. One day, while lying in a hospital bed with very little prospect of survival, he made a decision: He developed his very own recovery program.

“I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep,” he reported. “When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, [my wife and I] would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval.”

Through large doses of intravenous Vitamin C and equally large doses of laughter, he healed himself.

So no matter what you’re going through right now … let’s find ways to laugh : ) It feels good. It counts as an ab workout (ha, well it does in my book anyway!). And it just may heal what ails you.

Happy Wednesday!
Kate

p.s. A while back I wrote about the three books that seriously changed my health. And I mean … took me from unable to get off the sofa and walk … to bouncing around and loving life again.

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Pin It

Motivation Monday: Balance

It’s Tuesday … and I should be posting all-the-way-Tuesday inspiration. But I missed my Motivation Monday post yesterday and truth is, I need it! Not just because the wind chill is 0 this morning and I’m not a fan of cold. And not just because it’s my slow season and I always get a little stressed out during my slow season. And certainly not because I have some big decisions to make this week. (I’d rather take a long walk in the 0-degree weather than make big decisions.)

As I look to tackle all those things this week, I first need to take a moment to breathe and remember the B word: BALANCE. 

I’m easily pumped up and motivated. If I read a book in which the author details a smart way to get from A to Z, I’ll snap that book shut and go to work with zeal. I’ll work hard. I’ll focus. And focus. And focus. This is good, of course. But the problem with hyper focus is that you start missing out on other things.

I remember reading about a little experiment that goes something like this: close your eyes. Reopen them and for 10 seconds, count how many brown things are in your room.

Try it.

How many are there?

Ok, now many pink things are there?

Hmm … you might not know. Not because they weren’t there … but because you were focused on the brown objects so you didn’t pay attention to the pink ones.

This, of course, just illustrates the power of focus. It can be a wonderful thing if you want nothing but brown in your life. But wouldn’t life be just a bit better with some pink, purple, and yellow mixed in, too?

So today I’m focusing on not just one but TWO reminders.

Some people deny when a problem in their life or business exists. I don’t. I see it square on. Yay, me. But here’s the problem: I tend to run away from it : ) Really fast, too. I’m the queen of avoidance. So today I needed to be reminded that the only way to grow is to step up into what may be some very uncomfortable situations this week and GET. IT. DONE.

But as I’m slapping my face, jumping up and down and attempting to enter into get-her-done beast mode, I need to also
remember this …

While I’m diving head first (alright, it will probably be feet first) into my uncomfort zones this week, I also need to remember to laugh, skip, eat chocolate, cut myself some slack, call a friend, paint a picture, and wander around in the woods a bit, too. And it’s even ok (preferable, actually) if I smile my way through each and every failure that may come my way this week.

So there you have it: my attempt at balance for the week. Care to share any wise ideas on how you keep motivated and balanced at the same time? I need all the help I can get!

XO,
Kate

……………………………………………

Kate Callahan is an on-location child and family photographer based out of Hyde Park, NY in the beautiful Hudson Valley. She also works with clients in Delaware and the surrounding tri-state area. 

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Pin It

what times of day should you post to social media?

Dear Female Photographer,

No matter how good your content is … if it gets lost in the digital sea of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts … it won’t further your business efforts. It just won’t. You can pour your heart out in a truly insightful blog post or offer up an unbeatable deal in your e-letter. But this is all time wasted if you don’t actually reach your intended audience.

In a world full of beautiful photos, helpful content, useful graphics, and insightful articles, being seen is an ever-growing challenge.

So … yes. Start by creating fabulous content. It has to be good. Because as we’ve already mentioned, there’s a WHOLE LOT OF GREAT CONTENT floating around out there.

And then the next step is to post at a time when you’ll reach the maximum number of people.

Microsoft produced a tremendously helpful chart that highlights some of the best times to post on social media. These are the days and times that up your odds of not only being seen, but having clients interact with you.

connect

 

Happy posting!

XO,
Kate

p.s. We become what we think about.

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Pin It