Are You Pricing Your Photography To Stay In Business?

14 04 2010

“I’m new at my photography business. A friend asked me to photograph her wedding. Because I didn’t know what to charge, I found a few sites online and used their packages to build mine. Then I lowballed it because they have been at it longer and have portfolios in place, plus a website and other marketing. So I have a couple of packages in place, but I’m not sure if this is the best method. What else should I do to come up with my pricing?”

I get questions like this all the time.

When you head into a store to buy a new pair of shoes, the store doesn’t guess at its price. The price is established by looking at: materials, expenses, production, marketing, and business expenses. It’s a refined process to make sure that every time a pair of shoes sells, all costs are covered AND the store makes a healthy profit as well.

Without a profit, there is no way a business can stay in business. And if you don’t plan for it upfront, you’re on the road to failure. Read the rest of this entry »

Photography Lighting Tips

21 01 2010

How can you take a few photography lighting tips, and change the way you look at images forever?

Wedding Photography
Weddings are by far the most difficult to shoot, and will test your true capabilities as a photographer. In one event, you may have to deal with harsh, bright sunlight streaming onto the wedding party, and trying to capture the bride and groom in a nearly dark reception hall. All with the extremes of a bride in a white gown and a groom in a black tux.

Start by finding the perfect location outside to take advantage of natural light. Whether you are at a church or a reception site, get there a few minutes early and walk around, noticing the direction of Read the rest of this entry »

What All Photographers Are Really Missing

14 01 2010

One of the things that hit me today was his talk on abundance. One of his ending questions was, “What would abundance look like for you today if you were to have everything you want?” and “What makes me wealthy today?”

Wealth isn’t something associated with money, although that may be a part of it. Wealth is how happy you are with every aspect of your life. It’s more than just financial; its also about your relationships, your physical well being, and your overall happiness with life and career. You can have a ton of money, but if you have no relationships and no one to share it with, is it really worth it?

As a photographer, you’re probably passionate about your photography. But even if you love doing what you currently are, what would make you even happier?

If you are currently photographing a variety of things – weddings, portraits, commercial, models, etc – what would make you happy if you could do nothing but that all day long every day?

Surfing around today I found an upcoming photo festival – Maui Photo Festival. Where else can you go to a seminar, use it as a business expense, and learn about what you love in an incredibly beautiful area?

I also began looking at some of the speakers. The creator of Maui Photo Festival, Randy Jay Braun, has an amazing business in Hawaii. He sells his artwork out of his own gallery, and off his website. He runs photo safaris and workshops throughout the year. And he does a select amount of portraits when he has the time. His portraits are anything but unique – instead they are an experience. He works with hula dancers, and provides them with the experience of creating a unique hula lei and skirt, and providing a complete photo session built around the dance. At $1650 per session, it’s not your average portrait.

randy jay braun

Randy Jay Braun has found a way to do what he loves and build a life around that love. I know plenty of photographers that have followed in his footsteps. And I know plenty that have not.

If you are jumping into photography because you love taking pictures, and are letting the idea of a general photographer dictate what you offer, you haven’t found your true happiness. Ask yourself these questions.

  • If I could spend every day photographing, what would it be of?
  • Who would see my photographs?
  • Who would buy my photographs?
  • Where would I live?
  • How would I live?
  • How much money do I need to sustain the type of lifestyle I’m dreaming of?

Once you have answers to your questions, how can you build a business around it? Remember anything is possible. Being able to do what you love and get paid for it too is an amazing thing to have in your life.

Helping your photography business, how to start a photography business and wedding photography business visit and keep up-to-date with all of the photography happenings via our free newsletter.

7 Tips To Creating Your Wedding Photography Contracts

28 08 2009

When we first started out in the business, we knew we needed a contract. But beyond that, we really didn’t know much about it. So we bought a generic wedding photography contract from another photographer and started using that.

wedding contract photo

Over time, we learned many lessons. We learned there are truly some things you should have in a contract. And we learned how to cover yourself in the greatest way possible. Here are 7 tips to help you as you develop your own version.

1. In many cases, the contract will go beyond one page. While you may only need signatures at the end of the contract itself, provide spaces on every page for the bride, groom and photographer to initial that they have read and agreed with the terms.


2. In some cases, your clients will be out of town, and you’ll handle everything by email/snail mail. Never send a contract through Word – always create a PDF file, or send it through snail mail. If you send it in a workable file format, the bride and groom can make changes to your contract at will.

3. Include all the details of the event: bride and groom names, wedding date, location and times, and a description of the services you will be providing. Make sure you have both the bride and groom sign off on the contract.

4. Consider adding clauses for price increases. Wedding photography can often be booked a year or more in advance, and can sometimes take months for the couple to place their final order. That’s a long time as a photographer to hold your prices steady. Make sure you add a policy for how long you’ll keep prices the same, and what the policy is for changing out the pricing structure.

5. Include a model release. Make sure you list out everything you will be using the photographs for in the future, including marketing possibilities. If you post images online for the world to see, make sure your release states it.

6. Be very specific for payment methods. In some areas it’s important to word your contracts correctly for deposits and final payments. Make sure you include statements about nonrefundable deposits, and how you collect the fees throughout the process.

7. Start by writing up your own contract; and then bring it in to a lawyer for final review. This saved us hundreds of dollars over the years. In general, once you get a good working copy of a contract, it’s easy to add a few clauses here and there. It gives the lawyer a starting point, and allows them to spend their time editing instead of starting from scratch. It also gives them a basis for things you require, and allows them to add the legal jargon to make sure it holds up in court if you ever need that behind you.

Helping your photography business, how to start a digital wedding photography business and wedding photography business visit and keep up-to-date with all of the photography happenings via our free newsletter.

Equipment Needed For a Wedding Photography Business

26 03 2009

If you are contemplating opening a wedding photography studio, use these guidelines to help you understand what equipment is needed for a photography business.

To start, spend a few minutes thinking about the type of photography you will be offering your clients.  Will you be photographing commercial work? Are you in your studio, photographing portraiture? Are you out on location photographing weddings, and traveling to many different states and countries? Will you be offering your clients a combination of these services?

Once you have a goal in mind for your business, then you can begin gathering the proper equipment.

To give you an idea of what I consider to be the minimum amount of equipment needed, I’ve created the following list.

Equipment needed for photography business

*At least 2 camera bodies. At all times, under any circumstance, you should always have at least 2 camera bodies. Not only is it important to have an extra in case one shuts down or quits working, but it’s also nice to be able to have two cameras ready with different lenses – so you are ready to capture anything at any time.

* Flash cards. Most photographers are now shooting with digital cameras. Having a variety of flash cards handy is a must. I recommend having several available for each of your camera bodies. I don’t recommend buying large cards with capacity to do an entire shoot. If you have an error in your card (low chance, but you never now), you’re better off using a variety of cards for different portions of your shoot.

* Laptop computer. And shoot can be better managed if you can place your flash cards into your laptop at the time of the shoot, download the images, and save them to one or more sources. You can view the images, and begin organizing them immediately.

* Lenses. I feel lenses are a personal choice, depending on the type of photography you will offering. Have a variety to use in many circumstances. Fast shutters are great for low light situations. Telephoto lenses are great for working event photography.

* Flash units. Depending on your photography specialization, you will need to have at least one on-camera flash unit, and at least one stand alone flash unit for a more controlled light source.

* Internet access. This is a must for any business, old or new. With Internet access, you should monitor your own website to market your business, and should have the ability to connect with your lab for quick results.

With these basic pieces, your photography studio will be off and running in no time at all. The better prepared you are at the beginning, the easier it will be to grow along the way.

Helping your photography business, how to start a photography business and wedding photography business visit and keep up-to-date with all of the photography happenings via our free newsletter.

Photography – Being The Storyteller And Getting Paid To Do It

27 01 2009

How do photograph your weddings?

Are you a portrait taker, that has a list of shots your bride wants taken at the wedding and reception?

Or do you go with the flow, taking photographs throughout the day based on what’s happening?

The key buzzword in the industry in photojournalism. Yet few photographers are actually photojournalistic. Photojournalistic doesn’t mean taking a few snapshots between the formals. It means you look at the entire day as an artistic experience, and document what’s happening with very little posing, very little communication, and very little interaction between the photographer and the clients/guests.

It means becoming a storyteller, and watching for things that happen around you to make it a memory. It’s about constantly watching for action and reaction. It’s about turning away from the main focus, to find out how people are reacting to it. It’s about being aware of everything around you, and being ready for that magical image.

Everyone gets the cake image.

wedding reception photography

But how about the cake after the bride and groom have cut their first piece together?


Everyone gets an image of the ceremony.


But how about from an entirely different angle?

wedding ceremony photography

Look around you, and find things from different angles, using different lenses, or different perspectives.

How about the view from the bridal table?


Or a full motion view of the bride and groom heading up the aisle as husband and wife.


Or a view of the ladies getting ready for the big day.


The story is there. It’s just a matter of finding it. 

The Fate Of Wedding Photography

14 10 2008

As a whole, where does the industry of wedding photography stand today?

I just read an interesting post by David Ziser (a June post, must have missed it when he originally wrote it) and thought it was filled with a lot of things I too have witnessed in this industry. (It’s worth the read.)

Wedding photography is more than just shooting a few pictures at an event. In my eyes – as a professional wedding photographer for many years – it is the most difficult form of photography.

  • You have to mix with dozens of different types of personalities, some with frazzled nerves.
  • You have to photograph a bride’s white dress with a grooms black tux, in the blazing sunlight, and in the dark reception hall – making every photograph turn out perfectly.
  • You have to photograph professional portraits Read the rest of this entry »