Become Profitable Now!

In this post, I’m gonna walk you through how to make a 60k annual salary working part time as a photographer. Why 60k and not 150k? In the US, the average annual income of a photographer is 20k-45k. Not only that, but if you make just 65k annually, you’ll be outperforming 90% of other photographers! But, for the sake of simplicity, I’m using 60k as the income goal in this post.

Quick side note: Turns out, money CAN buy you happiness, but only to an extent. Check out the TIME magazine special: Research shows that as a persons income increases overall life happiness also increases but only until they’re making about 50k at which point happiness sort of plateau’s. People with more money are a little happier but the difference is much less prominent after that 50k mark. Just saying.

Ok. Back to our goal. 60K in a year. Since only 50% of your income goes to your paycheck, we’ll need to double that 60k (net income) to 120k (gross income) annually that we need to bring in. If you’re confused about this, check out my post on how costs are split.

Take that 120k and divide by 12 months in the year. That’s $10,000 that we need to pull in per month.

That $10,000 per month needs to be divided by 4 the weeks in a month. 10,000 / 4 = $2,500 that you need to pull in every week!

Our goal is to work part time… 30 hours a week, but only about half of that time will be spent actually working on sessions. This 15 hours includes scheduling, emailing, packing, traveling, shooting, unpacking, edits, sales, ordering, and delivery. The other 15 hours per week goes toward your general business maintenance (accounting, networking, SEO, equipment upkeep, etc).

So, you have exactly 15 hours to “spend” on sessions each week. Here are 6 different ways to use that time and reach your goal of $2,500 income per week:

As you can see from the graph above, the top two options are labeled IPS (in person sales). These two options have enough time allotted that you can do a sales session, then order, package, and deliver the prints yourself. With the first option, you have enough time to add in experience-based extras like outfit consultation and hair and makeup, and enough COS (cost of sale) built in that you can included products like albums that include a lot of design time and a high price tag. The 2nd IPS option is a little more standard, but the lower price makes it more attainable for your clients.

The 2nd two options are what I call hybrid. These can include prints and digital files, but the sales are usually done online to save time. Because of this, most, if not all, of the money should be collected upfront. This CAN be a harder sell, but including the digital files AND a set amount of prints increases the perceived value enough that clients will be willing to go this route. This is where my business found it’s success during the last recession. I was able to shoot 6-8 clients per week, bringing in $300-$500 per session with very little marketing needed. Clients called ready to book. Mostly, these clients DON’T WANT to be sold to. They just want upfront pricing with no confusion. If they know they’re getting everything they want, they choose a package based on “outfits” and images included.

The last two options fall in the “mini’s” category. These are often added in to a standard business as extras and only offered periodically. That’s because the only way to pull off so little time per client is to sell in batches. One backdrop, 15 pre-determined poses, and back to bac bookings can do that! With this option you pick set days to work and knock out several sessions in a row. The speed of your work determines how low a price you can offer. I shoot this type of session for my babies, children, and family clients. Usually these shoots are based around upcoming holidays or creative backdrop ideas I want to try. They can be a lot of fun and, budgeted properly, can be just as profitable as the longer sessions.

Regardless of what types of sessions you choose to offer, you’ll be bringing in about $150 per hour for your time. So in the end, it’s not the size of the checks that count. It’s how much you are paid per hour for your time!

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