If things aren’t going as quickly or as smoothly as you’d like in your photography business, it might be because you aren’t 100% a boutique business in all 10 of these areas in your photography business.
I want to clarify this for you by breaking it into two categories, shoot and burn and boutique.
I’ve got 10 points that I’m going to go through and explain what a shoot and burn photographer does and what a boutique photographer does.
If you are a boutique photography business, give yourself a point.
If you are a shoot and burn photography business or not fully boutique, don’t give yourself any points for that one.
Once you go through all 10, evaluate where you are in your business and shoot me a DM on Instagram with what your score was (example: 5/10, 3/10, etc).
1. Your Relationship With The Clients
If you’re shoot and burn, you have a very little relationship with the client.
You meet them at the park, photograph a bunch of images and drop off the CD or give them a digital gallery.
Shoot and burn photographers have so much fear in their lives about whether their clients will like their portraits.
So, you make your price super cheap and have as little contact as possible.
That’s not serving your client.
Being boutique, you have a strong relationship with your clients.
You over-serve them, meet with them multiple times, find out their needs, and really get to know them.
Are you serving a little or a lot?
2. Client Experience
If you’re shoot and burn, you serve your clients in a transactional way.
They call or email you, get their session booked, and Venmo you $200 for it.
You’re like a Happy Meal.
When you’re a boutique photography business, you have relationships with your clients.
You’re like a sit-down restaurant.
The experience is better.
You understand your client’s needs and hold their hand through the entire process.
3. Time Invested By The Client
When you’re shoot and burn, your clients are investing little time with you.
All they do is show up for the session, so they put little time into the process.
With boutique, your clients are putting more time in.
What we know is, the more time they invest, the more money they invest.
4. Customer Service
When you’re shoot and burn, there is no customer service because you photograph your clients and give them all of their images.
If they have a problem, they call Walgreens because that’s probably where they’re ordering prints, if at all.
There’s no relationship.
With boutique, we make enough on our artwork that we can super-serve.
We can fix anything that they could possibly need and we are always there for our clients.
When you’re shoot and burn, you’re selling ingredients (aka digital files), not products.
As boutique photographers, we offer products, custom everything: books, albums, framed artwork, etc.
When you’re shoot and burn, you’re low priced.
You’re in a price race to the bottom and always looking for the cheapest thing and you’re attracting clients who are looking for the cheapest thing.
Most businesses compete with cheap, but, as portrait photographers, we compete with free because everyone has a digital camera.
You can’t win the price race to the bottom because people are giving away what we do for free.
So, we have to have higher prices, just like a sit-down restaurant.
And then our job is to create enough value that people are so excited to invest and pay those prices.
When you’re marketing as a shoot and burn photographer, you’re running ads, discounting, putting your pricing on your website, booking online, and trying to book anybody who will pay your package price.
You’re attracting the freeple-cheaple people.
As a boutique photographer, we have relationships with our clients and get referrals.
We build partnerships to attract clients and we don’t have to have a big ad budget.
8. What Kind Of Clients Are We Getting
If you’re shoot and burn, you’re attracting people with ads and discounts so you are getting the freeple-cheaple people.
They don’t care about the extras that you’re doing because they just want the cheapest price.
I don’t want to serve those people.
I want the feeple-people, the people who will pay a fee, the premium clients.
9. Sales Process
There’s not a sales process if you’re a shoot and burn photographer.
You’re likely doing online galleries or you’re giving clients all the digital files.
With boutique, if we serve hard, we sell easy.
I have a whole system that serves my clients so that they love what we do.
You have a moral obligation to sell to your clients and to save this generation from being a lost generation.
10. Growth Potential
If you’re shoot and burn, there’s little growth potential.
If you’re trading time for money and you’re selling all of the digital files for $200, you can’t grow.
To grow, we serve higher.
We get our average sale up and we can make thousands of dollars from a one-hour session on a Wednesday morning.
And we serve better clients who are happier with us, love us, and want to be with us.
That’s what boutique is.
I hope this clarified for you, at a glance, the difference between shoot and burn and boutique.
And if you’ve been failing in your business, this is why.
It’s not your fault.
You’ve been taking random puzzle pieces from different people, trying to glue together a business.
And when things don’t go well, you’re beating yourself up.
Well, you know what?
I’m so glad that you’re here because this is how you make change in your business.
You’ve got to go all in on boutique, and you’ve got to be 10 out of 10.
Don’t forget to shoot me a DM on Instagram so I can see what your score was.