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Thread: How would you run a photography business?

  1. #21

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    i guess one reasons of complaint are photographers are promoting themselves to same kind of customers, for example that promoting their service in clubsnap forum, the customers are mostly normal income people or people who just expect nice enough photos.

    It is just like selling a branded watches in local market, people won't really buy it.

    set your price range based on your ability and porfolio then try the right customer groups.

  2. #22

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by waltztitus View Post
    "How would you run a photography business? As a non professional photographer."


    Most importantly, know why you started photography. and running a business should be second in nature to you.

    My two cents.
    Enjoyed my reading about your thoughts and opinions. Very well written
    Last edited by Kaicious; 27th April 2010 at 12:07 AM.

  3. #23

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    This thread title is very amusing...

    asking advice from " non-professional photographers ( meaning amateur or hobbyist ) on
    how to run a professional photography. "

  4. #24

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by cabbySHE View Post
    This thread title is very amusing...

    asking advice from " non-professional photographers ( meaning amateur or hobbyist ) on
    how to run a professional photography. "


    Well, there ARE some photographers in this forum who derive their income solely from this trade, or even some with multiple incomes whose main income comes from this trade and contribute good taxes from photography, more than a regular PMET/tar gong zai on the street. Even for the latter group who has multiple incomes,I think nobody would not call them "not pro" or not biz minded?
    Last edited by 2100; 27th April 2010 at 10:34 AM.

  5. #25
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by cabbySHE View Post
    This thread title is very amusing...

    asking advice from " non-professional photographers ( meaning amateur or hobbyist ) on
    how to run a professional photography. "
    Have you heard about the term "backseat driver"?

    anyway, running a photography business has so many things to take care of, sometime perspective from the "other side" will give the pros something to ponder or inspiration.

    this is my objective of this thread. and I read the replies with a open mind.
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  6. #26
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    The interesting thing to note is about "passion". I think passion is an important driver for any business. If you love your work, you will do better. But on the flip side, a business is a business. You have to run it like a business. IMHO those pros, mentioned above, can turn down jobs for personal shooting time because they can afford to, This is probably only because they already have a good viable business running and can afford to turn down some additional revenue. In the end, I think it is also about survival in the beginning, and attaining sustainability. Once you have reached a certain level of reputation and revenue stream, you can pull back a little and concentrate a little more on passion.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 27th April 2010 at 12:09 PM.

  7. #27

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by cabbySHE View Post
    This thread title is very amusing...

    asking advice from " non-professional photographers ( meaning amateur or hobbyist ) on
    how to run a professional photography. "
    as many have mentioned, a photography business is a business. A successful photography business has more in common with other successful business (e.g. restaurant) than a failed photography business. Business aspects like finding market positioning, offering competitive products, pricing, service delivery, HR, accounting, cashflow, dealing with suppliers and other countless issues are all common issues that any business will face.

    I am sure there are members that can offer their views about what has worked for their business regardless of their field/industry that can be applicable to a photography business.

  8. #28

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    The interesting thing to note is about "passion". I think passion is an important driver for any business. If you love your work, you will do better. But on the flip side, a business is a business. You have to run it like a business. IMHO those pros, mentioned above, can turn down jobs for personal shooting time because they can afford to, This is probably only because they already have a good viable business running and can afford to turn down some additional revenue. In the end, I think it is also about survival in the beginning, and attaining sustainability. Once you have reached a certain level of reputation and revenue stream, you can pull back a little and concentrate a little more on passion.
    Ok, have some time here to share a TCSS story. Talking about sustainability, I guess over time like you said you already would have built a substantial base and a sizeable chunk comes from referrrals.
    I just recently had an enquiry for a weekday wedding shoot, she was referred by a client (a relative in fact). Originally everything was ok, PDF quotation read and gone through, obligatory discount given, she actually was sourcing for her daughter's wedding and she likes my work. The daughter seems pretty bo chup, just decided on a package and that's it. Mum and I agreed on the price and I was supposed to call the daughter to meetup / confirm with deposit.

    Gave the daughter a call to confirm the timings and events happening so as to ensure that all extra costs. As expected, morning timings are kept mum as its unconfirmed and i conveyed my usual work timings. At night there is a confirmed ROM so need to arrive earlier. Conveyed that there is an additional cost involved for 1 hour but I am willing to discount and charge just 30 mins...its just to "cover". After putting down the phone, Mum called me back immediately to whack.
    I was labelled as unprofessional and she is very disappointed, it is a wedding and the whole thing is supposed to be a packaged deal....how to have a happy working r/s with all these extras. Its supposed to be a "happy day", you see.

    In the end I was just on the phone 4-5 mins listening to all the grouses about hidden costs and LUCKILY in the end I got what I wanted to hear, the deal was called off by them. During the conversation I did try to tell that its all quoted clearly in the PDF, but she told me not to cut her off when she's talking and let her finish.
    I was already standing by to tell them that I would be unable to take their wedding no matter what the price was, but it is a last resort as more often than not it would piss them off + we are in the service industry. But I mean, you gotta stand for your own rights?

    The best thing is that they are not even my clients and I got whacked. No VG, 30 over tables and its not a restaurant, no way that there's no budget. (i would refrain from revealing my charges but its more than 1k so its not low cost kinda thingy)
    I can't imagine what would happen if I continued, and more often than not there is a need to arrive early, as I do charge quite a lot for early morning arrival with an additional surcharge on top of additional hours. I forsee that it will get very "tiring" mentally, and you may not be fairly compensated for the work you do.

    To continue with this "passion", I think sometimes you gotta stand for your own rights and not get abused, clients are not always right especially if they have not signed with you.
    My current policy is that I do not over promise, so that I do not under deliver, the repercussions may be quite bad later on.
    Last edited by 2100; 27th April 2010 at 01:15 PM.

  9. #29

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Ok, have some time here to share a TCSS story. Talking about sustainability, I guess over time like you said you already would have built a substantial base and a sizeable chunk comes from referrrals.
    I just recently had an enquiry for a weekday wedding shoot, she was referred by a client (a relative in fact). Originally everything was ok, PDF quotation read and gone through, obligatory discount given, she actually was sourcing for her daughter's wedding and she likes my work. The daughter seems pretty bo chup, just decided on a package and that's it. Mum and I agreed on the price and I was supposed to call the daughter to meetup / confirm with deposit.

    Gave the daughter a call to confirm the timings and events happening so as to ensure that all extra costs. As expected, morning timings are kept mum as its unconfirmed and i conveyed my usual work timings. At night there is a confirmed ROM so need to arrive earlier. Conveyed that there is an additional cost involved for 1 hour but I am willing to discount and charge just 30 mins...its just to "cover". After putting down the phone, Mum called me back immediately to whack.
    I was labelled as unprofessional and she is very disappointed, it is a wedding and the whole thing is supposed to be a packaged deal....how to have a happy working r/s with all these extras. Its supposed to be a "happy day", you see.

    In the end I was just on the phone 4-5 mins listening to all the grouses about hidden costs and LUCKILY in the end I got what I wanted to hear, the deal was called off by them. During the conversation I did try to tell that its all quoted clearly in the PDF, but she told me not to cut her off when she's talking and let her finish.
    I was already standing by to tell them that I would be unable to take their wedding no matter what the price was, but it is a last resort as more often than not it would piss them off + we are in the service industry. But I mean, you gotta stand for your own rights?

    The best thing is that they are not even my clients and I got whacked. No VG, 30 over tables and its not a restaurant, no way that there's no budget. (i would refrain from revealing my charges but its more than 1k so its not low cost kinda thingy)
    I can't imagine what would happen if I continued, and more often than not there is a need to arrive early, as I do charge quite a lot for early morning arrival with an additional surcharge on top of additional hours. I forsee that it will get very "tiring" mentally, and you may not be fairly compensated for the work you do.

    To continue with this "passion", I think sometimes you gotta stand for your own rights and not get abused, clients are not always right especially if they have not signed with you.
    My current policy is that I do not over promise, so that I do not under deliver, the repercussions may be quite bad later on.
    That's a very unfortunate incident. Always better not to work for this kind of client.
    You're right, passion is only ONE of the factors we need to have. And while demonstrating good customer service on our part, it is also vital to ensure that our principles and dignity is preserved.

  10. #30

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    To continue with this "passion", I think sometimes you gotta stand for your own rights and not get abused, clients are not always right especially if they have not signed with you.
    My current policy is that I do not over promise, so that I do not under deliver, the repercussions may be quite bad later on.

  11. #31

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    LUCKILY in the end I got what I wanted to hear, the deal was called off by them.
    Mom O' zilla.
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  12. #32

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Sorry CatchLight dear pal, doesn't mean to be rude or making fun of your thread.
    however as you'd mention about " back seat driver " please allow me to transform the title, or twist it into....

    How do you drive a 40 ft. trailer ? As a non-driver point of view ?

    If the driver is unfamiliar with certain location, and the passenger next to or at the back seat direct / show him/her the way, this is acceptable to me.
    But if the the passenger is giving instruction like...check your rear and side mirror, turn your head and look for blind spot, now signal on, slowly move / pull over to your left lane, and keep a look out for those pedestrain crossing the road...
    That is the job of a driving instructor and not from someone who doesn't drive or possess a driving license.

    If you find bottleneck in your biz prospec, there are consultancy firms who can diagnose your problem and give you an advice on how to improve and plug up potholes.
    But of course you need to pay for their professional service.

    Sorry, I had to disagree, for I do not believe that for someone who is not in the trade can understand the trade better.

  13. #33

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    To 2100 sir,

    if, as mentioned, someone benefit much from the photography biz and had paid quite some taxes to the inland revenue,( ref your post ) I believes he would have get himself /herself registered.
    Or at least, there is a main trade being registered, and income from photography declared as source of other income.
    Another doubt, if that other source of income has become taxable, that literally means that source is generating thousands of dollars per year in order to become taxable.
    And how could one making thousands of dollars without being registered ?
    And if it is registered, then it will become a professional biz.

    Or unless those money cannot be declared for taxation, or being evasive from taxation.

  14. #34

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2009/archives/3433

    Hope this will inspire some of us.

  15. #35
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by jopel View Post
    http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2009/archives/3433

    Hope this will inspire some of us.
    thanks for sharing a great video..
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  16. #36
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by cabbySHE View Post
    Sorry CatchLight dear pal, doesn't mean to be rude or making fun of your thread.
    however as you'd mention about " back seat driver " please allow me to transform the title, or twist it into....

    How do you drive a 40 ft. trailer ? As a non-driver point of view ?

    If the driver is unfamiliar with certain location, and the passenger next to or at the back seat direct / show him/her the way, this is acceptable to me.
    But if the the passenger is giving instruction like...check your rear and side mirror, turn your head and look for blind spot, now signal on, slowly move / pull over to your left lane, and keep a look out for those pedestrain crossing the road...
    That is the job of a driving instructor and not from someone who doesn't drive or possess a driving license.

    If you find bottleneck in your biz prospec, there are consultancy firms who can diagnose your problem and give you an advice on how to improve and plug up potholes.
    But of course you need to pay for their professional service.

    Sorry, I had to disagree, for I do not believe that for someone who is not in the trade can understand the trade better.
    no problem at all,
    yes, sometime photographers will do some soul searching from time to time,
    the help may come from anywhere,
    sometime is from the place we least expected,
    sometime is from a person we least expected,
    the important thing is keep self mind and heart open,
    listen to the tidy voice whispering to you.
    .......................


    this is what I looking for here,
    just want to be a listener,

    regards the term of "backseat driver"
    he does has a wider view than the driver from his position.
    thanks for sharing.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  17. #37
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Ok, have some time here to share a TCSS story. Talking about sustainability, I guess over time like you said you already would have built a substantial base and a sizeable chunk comes from referrrals.
    I just recently had an enquiry for a weekday wedding shoot, she was referred by a client (a relative in fact). Originally everything was ok, PDF quotation read and gone through, obligatory discount given, she actually was sourcing for her daughter's wedding and she likes my work. The daughter seems pretty bo chup, just decided on a package and that's it. Mum and I agreed on the price and I was supposed to call the daughter to meetup / confirm with deposit.

    Gave the daughter a call to confirm the timings and events happening so as to ensure that all extra costs. As expected, morning timings are kept mum as its unconfirmed and i conveyed my usual work timings. At night there is a confirmed ROM so need to arrive earlier. Conveyed that there is an additional cost involved for 1 hour but I am willing to discount and charge just 30 mins...its just to "cover". After putting down the phone, Mum called me back immediately to whack.
    I was labelled as unprofessional and she is very disappointed, it is a wedding and the whole thing is supposed to be a packaged deal....how to have a happy working r/s with all these extras. Its supposed to be a "happy day", you see.

    In the end I was just on the phone 4-5 mins listening to all the grouses about hidden costs and LUCKILY in the end I got what I wanted to hear, the deal was called off by them. During the conversation I did try to tell that its all quoted clearly in the PDF, but she told me not to cut her off when she's talking and let her finish.
    I was already standing by to tell them that I would be unable to take their wedding no matter what the price was, but it is a last resort as more often than not it would piss them off + we are in the service industry. But I mean, you gotta stand for your own rights?

    The best thing is that they are not even my clients and I got whacked. No VG, 30 over tables and its not a restaurant, no way that there's no budget. (i would refrain from revealing my charges but its more than 1k so its not low cost kinda thingy)
    I can't imagine what would happen if I continued, and more often than not there is a need to arrive early, as I do charge quite a lot for early morning arrival with an additional surcharge on top of additional hours. I forsee that it will get very "tiring" mentally, and you may not be fairly compensated for the work you do.

    To continue with this "passion", I think sometimes you gotta stand for your own rights and not get abused, clients are not always right especially if they have not signed with you.
    My current policy is that I do not over promise, so that I do not under deliver, the repercussions may be quite bad later on.
    thanks for sharing.
    sometime I feel that perhaps some people always gave in too much to clients/customers. Now the more you value your works, value your time, standing firm on your ground, you will get whack harder by clients/customers like these.
    it is good to let them go.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  18. #38

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    after reading the mum-zilla story, managing user expectation is also important. used throughout the consultant industry.
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  19. #39

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    This is what I'd learn from some ( can be consider as successful ) biz 老前辈.

    Somehow I'd make a bit of modification.

    Perhaps, some will think otherwise or have a different opinion.

    Their formula...MIMO...Maximum Input, Minimum Output. ( 量入为出 )

    to me, it means... many cheques received, very little bills to pay ( in reality, actually it is reversed )
    or do / cover as many assignments as possible but spending very little on gear and equipments. ( this is possible, like 小刀锯大树 and practical.)

    This is how I run...some might have a better way.

  20. #40

    Default Re: How would you run a photography business?

    Back seat driver with a wider view ( perspective ).

    About two years ago, met a guy in a bank, name card indicate as financial planner.

    A totally new approach to run a business.

    Below, some quote I'd recall during that short 5 ~10 min. of conversation.

    Oh, your way of running a biz by adopting MIMO is obsolete and not in ! ( oh, interesting !? )

    You must never attempt to balance your account ! ( something new ! )

    Must always set your target high. ( This I know )

    Aim to tip the scale to your favour. ( How ? )

    If you always balance, that is non productive ! ( sounds logic. )

    Let $$$ works for you, and not otherway round. ( doesn't quite seems to apply to photography, more like investment. )

    So, I interrupted and ask..tell me how ?

    Get your job at all cost ! ( at all cost ? remind me of...an interesting thing
    happen during a photo shoot )

    Finally.. thank you very much....however, I beg to be different.
    Conclusion...he sounds more from the multi level marketing than finacial planning.

    Any better view are welcome.
    Last edited by cabbySHE; 29th April 2010 at 04:59 PM.

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