It’s been a busy week here at Lincoln Barbour Photo. A great shoot yesterday, two shoots next week to get ready for, estimates and portfolios going out the door, my bookkeeping is way behind, I even have some web projects needed to get done yesterday. Not complaining, mind you, it’s a very nice change from last year. I’ve got some other posts in draft mode, but I don’t think they’re going to get done today.
But I wanted to post something. So, I’ve decided to make Fridays a links day. Every week, I pick up a lot of great photo business information on various blogs, social sites, etc. Instead of hoarding all this great knowledge, I thought I’d share what I’ve learn and then we can discuss them in the comments below.
Yes, Virginia, there is a polite way to price. Here are a couple of common pricing faux pas to avoid:
Changing your prices too often: yes, you should absolutely market-test your prices, but don’t just throw numbers out randomly to see what sticks. Focus on testing one or two products at a time, and try to do it at a live event like a craft show, where you can gauge customers’ reactions directly. Changing your published prices too often (like the ones on your web site) will make repeat retail customers think they are overpaying, and will make your wholesale customers struggle to keep their prices current.
Pricing just to maintain your hobby: I think it’s lovely that you make so many beautiful things that you’ve run out of people to give them to. I also think it’s great that you sell your extras in order to support your hobby. It’s selfish, however, to sell a fair-isle sweater you knitted for just the price of the yarn. Your customers might be thrilled, but underpricing devalues creative work and makes it harder for creative professionals to make a living
It was really great to have my brother and his wife visit us last week. We did a Portland style “staycation” with them and visited all our favorite spots around town including Cupcake Jones. Absolutely beautiful and delicious cupcakes that also make for especially pleasing photo subjects.
Now it’s time to get back to work. Got a lot on my plate (so to speak).
My brother and his wife are visiting us this week in Portland, so I won’t be working or blogging much photo business posts. I do have a little time to put some Ides of May work.
This was shot actually the last time I saw my brother and his wife. All of us went to Truth or Consequences, NM to visit my folks and sister who live there. It’s one of my absolute favorite locations to shoot. So much character everywhere you look.
This is actually an old post from a different blog I dabbled in. It was called Pro Photo Tips and it kind of fizzled out. Still, there are some good posts on there that I want to bring over here. Like this one.
Get it in camera whenever you can. Photoshop time is expensive and can cause a drain on your resources.
Digital is way more forgiving in color balance than film. It can also screw you up if you don’t have a grey card shot to judge from.
Use a sturdy tripod with a head capable of supporting twice you camera’s weight.
Hiring an assistant will allow you to work faster, be more creative, and less tired at the end of the day.
Be yourself, unless you’re a jerk. In that case, learn to keep your mouth shut.
Commercial photography is not about you. It’s a collaborative process and you are one part of a creative machine built to get results in a timely and profitable way. Don’t throw a wrench (ego, doubt, fear, miscommunication, etc.) into the gears and you’ll do well.
Always meet your client’s expectations, but strive to go above and beyond that.
Never settle for good enough.
Always be open and upfront with your clients about costs.
Estimating is an art and is something you’ll spend your life perfecting.
Shoot personally and keep it personal. Free your mind of the confines of commerce once in a while.
Be excited about your work and show enthusiasm for what you do. Be confident.
Show interest in your client’s project and get invested with them. Stay away from the “us versus them” mentality.
Build relationships with your clients, but keep a professional distance.
Photography business is cyclical. Protect yourself from slow times by building a 3 month operating cushion.
Keep up with your bookkeeping and make sure to use accounting software.
If you do it for work, you can write it off. But you can’t write off your own labor (so when someone asks you to shoot for free as a write off, know that you won’t be able to write it off).
Your friends and family will have a big influence on you directly and indirectly. Make sure you listen carefully to the advice they give you. It may be very helpful or it may lead you off track. Weigh any opinions carefully.
Negative thoughts, emotions, and actions will spread through your success like a virus. Be mindful of the company you keep and what you say to yourself.
Do what you love and the money will follow.
Live below your means.
Don’t buy anything for your business on credit that you can’t afford to pay off within six months.
Know yourself and be yourself.
Enjoy and celebrate food. Especially if you’re on the road, seek out a good place to eat rather than settle for chain restaurants and fast food.
I’m pretty excited about this picture for a couple reasons. This shot feels like a good 50/50 mix of my architecture work and personal work. It’s not a literal photograph, yet it describes this place so perfectly to me. And I just think in the crumbling brick and rotting wood is so cool looking. It’s not entirely the direction I want to go with my commercial work, but it’s getting there.
I’m also exited to post my first new Ides of May photo in this new blog magazine-ish format. Since the beginning of when I started blogging, I’ve struggled to find a balance between what I want to talk about or show here and what I want to put out there first. And so, I often wouldn’t post anything to radical or unrelated to shoots, tearsheets, and so forth. In other words, it was boring.
This format solves that problem. I can blog away personal photos, opinions, gear reviews, whatever, as much as I want and then when I have a post I’m really excited about, I can make it Featured and it will show up on the blog home page.
Join me and watch this blog/website evolve. It’ll only get better with your feedback.
PS: In case you’re wondering what the hell “Ides of May” is: It was the name of my first photoblog (www.ides-of-may.com). So, all personal photographs will forever be categorized under “Ides of May”. Someday, I’ll do a book or something. Why “Ides of May”? It’s my birthday 🙂
It’s still a work in progress, but the features you’ll see right away are:
A slick new wide layout that works/looks the same on your browser as it does on your iPhone/iPad.
A revamped blog that breaks it down into five main categories: News, Work / Tearsheets, Ides of May, and Best Practices. More on what all those mean later.
Speaking of Ides of May, it is still live at www.ides-of-may.com, but all future personal photo blog posts will come here. I will eventually port over all the old content to here, but that’ll be when I have some more time (i.e. hopefully sooner rather later)