Episode 18: I Double my Photography Income September – December. Here’s How.
with Sarah Petty
The coach in me can’t help but get fired up when I see photographers giving up on their photography business.
If you’re thinking about throwing in the towel for the year because your portrait business doesn’t look like you thought it would back in January, please don’t. No one’s photography business looks like they thought it would at the start of the year, mine included.
Here’s a little secret that took me a few years to learn:
A portrait photographer makes double their photography income from September through December.
I’m going to show you how the last four months of the year can completely turn your 2020 around.
When I worked at the advertising agency most of our clients had seasonal businesses. We would meet with them and learn about their business. Almost all of them would say,
“Our business is up this part of the year and down this part of the year.”
Some of them would even know the days of the week their business is highest and lowest.
When I started my photography business, I had no idea what that looked like for me. I figured out pretty quickly that I wouldn’t have level cash flow.
Learning those cycles and mastering your business plans around them is what makes you a great photography business owner.
Double Your Photography Business’s Income in Two Months
I found early on that there are certain trends in the numbers of my photography business.
One of the biggest ones is that I can double the photography income I made in the first eight months of the year in the last four months. Sometimes my photography business income is more than double, and in the last two or three months of the year.
When I coach my own students, I tell them,
“August and September are your go time.”
Don’t say, “I’m not really doing great this year, I should just hang up the towel.”
Even if you’ve had a terrible year based on COVID and the economy, your photography business can still make money in these last few months.
I will share with you three ways you can do this in your portrait photography business.
#1 – This Year Is Full of Opportunity
Number one, look for opportunities.
Don’t write this year off as a loss.
The truth is, it’s not too late. People need us now, more than ever, in this pandemic. People need healing. It’s such an emotionally straining time.
If you’re telling yourself that the people in your community don’t have money to spend, they do.
Look at how great online companies are doing because people are sitting at home doing retail therapy.
People have money to spend, you just have to find them.
Christmas and the holidays are right around the corner. Your clients are buying gifts for all the people in their lives. Why should they not gift a beautiful wall portrait to grandparents and other family members?
Reach out to them and let them know what gifts they can buy from you.
People also need holiday cards. Boutique photographers have the opportunity to create cards that spread joy this season.
People haven’t seen each other’s kids all year. Think of the kids that you only see on holiday cards? People need that right now.
They want to see the people they are missing.
Your Artwork is What People are Looking For
People have been stuck at home for months. Whether they no longer go into an office or they’ve had to shift their schedules so that they can be home for remote learning, they are spending more time than ever before in their homes.
And that’s when they realize: all my photos on the wall are out-of-date or I’ve had this painting of tulips for 10 years and I don’t even like it!
It’s time for us to come in and help those people.
Home improvement spending has gone through the roof. 57% of homeowners are investing in home improvement projects this year.
Boutique photographers are part of that. We are a home improvement project.
Nothing can improve a home more than adding artwork. Well, maybe use a can of paint first, then add artwork.
I tell my clients when they’re young, “You can buy that sofa later, as long as you have huge folding chairs and a folding table, you’re set.”
When my parents got married that’s what they got as a wedding gift! A folding table and chairs. Once you get good artwork, and cute tablecloth, you’re set.
That’s all you need.
A folding table and chairs, artwork, and a tablecloth. I truly believe that. I’ll tell my kids that when they get their first place. The artwork is what makes a house a home, not a fancy sofa or table.
Opportunities are out there, you just have to look for them.
#2 – Reach Out and Solve Your Clients’ Problems
Number two, reach out and solve your clients’ problems.
Do this by serving not selling.
In episode 16, I talked about the drip and the hammer. You drip by doing little things and then come in once or twice a year with a big hammer.
We do a big hammer mailing every fall. It’s really important to us.
You have to reach out to your clients because they are not thinking about photography in these crazy times.
They need to hear from your first.
#3 – Don’t Let This Fear Stop You
The third lesson is, don’t be afraid of objections.
It’s not scary.
If your clients say, “I need to lose a little weight before we take photos.” Remind them, “Hey, am trained at posing and lighting. I can make you look and feel beautiful. If there are some you don’t like, we’ll just delete them.”
You are there to make them look beautiful, so tell them that.
If they are concerned about COVID, tell them what can you do to make them feel safe.
If it gets cold and you’re shooting outdoors, you can shoot at the clients’ homes instead.
Don’t be afraid of no or whatever questions they might have. You can fix them. If you can’t and if it’s not a good fit, that’s fine. There are plenty of people that you can help.
Portrait Photography Businesses Can Make Double the Income Right Now
What if you took these last four months and you turned everything around for your business.
If you stop dabbling and went all in to create a lot of extra income for your family.
How would it feel if you made more in these last four months than you have made all year? You’d feel amazing! You’d get confidence in your business and have an outlet from your family.
If you think it’s selfish to put your photography business first during this time of struggle, remember, your business not only makes you happy, but it’s the budget expander.
I’m right here with you.
I’m running a portrait photography business and managing life with a hubby, three kids, and pets. I’m trying to find balance in my life. But I know that now is when the money is made in photography businesses.
I’ve weathered a ton of small storms in my photography business, and what I’ve learned is that there are people, right now, who are hungry for artwork to decorate their homes with.
They just need someone to reach out and hold their hand through the entire process.
You can do this without waiting for Corona to go away.
My goal for you is that you silence that voice that is telling you to give up on this year, and instead, dig in.
It’s not too late.
Don’t give up on your photography business, and make money these last four months of the year.
The money is out there, and it’s your time to make it.
I'm Sarah Petty
I’m a photographer living in the middle of a cornfield (central Illinois), momma of three teenage kiddos (plus a cat & dog) and an educator for all things photography business. Favorites: Earl Grey Tea (not coffee!), anything orange and clothes that are made for tall girls