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Business Progress!

December 10th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

I started my photography + design business in October of 2013, on a sort of whim just to "see if I could do it." I looked over my spreadsheets today to get a feel for where I'm at now. And it was a rather invigorating exercise! I took a look at how many jobs I covered each year, how much I made (or will make), and the average per job at this point.

2013
19 jobs (in 3 months, 1 wedding)
$1,506.24
$79.28/job average

2014
27 jobs (9 weddings)
$16,416.26
$608.00/job average

2015 (contracts signed and deposits made)
10 jobs (9 weddings)
$17,400.00
$1,740/job average

Granted, there are a lot of things to keep in mind - In 2013 I was portfolio building, and did a couple of shoots for free. The rest were dirt cheap (a portrait session was $50 and I shot a wedding ceremony for $220. ha). This was only a side gig for me, and most of the marketing I did was for friends and through Craigslist.

This year I operated my business as a side gig until May, when I quit my two other part time jobs (it was a rough spring) to operate full time. I've been pretty exceptionally busy since. I was shooting weddings this year with 3 pricing options between $1,000 and $1,500. A lot of my revenue this year also came from doing work for political candidates (referred exclusively from a friend I used to work with) and real estate photography for a local nonprofit (also referred by a friend who works there). Word of mouth really makes a difference!

As for next year's bookings... I changed my pricing structure to reflect only one real option and upped the price to $2,000 for a wedding (including an engagement session). That was a huge, difficult step for me. I tend to drastically undervalue my work. But here's the thing... people are still hiring me. *Cue amazingly big smile*

My projected earnings outshine this year's already, and that doesn't include everything I'll book throughout the course of 2015 itself. My goal was to book at least 12 weddings for the year, and I'm well on my way.

I'm not saying it's time to retire or anything. I'm hoping to hit only $35k total in earnings pre-taxes next year. But that's a pretty solid living doing something that I just thought I would try out. It's certainly still really hard work. And owning a business is horribly expensive all by itself (I'm looking at $10,000 in expenses this year - over half of which was equipment). But it feels good to know that it's starting to come together. And I really think next year it's going to really start paying off. Which is something that I'm incredibly proud of.

Yay!

5 Responses to “Business Progress!”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Great job! I think many in their own business undervalue their work, at least initially. I'm glad you see the value you provide.

  2. Rachael777 Says:

    Impressed.. great job

  3. snafu Says:

    Marketing: If you don't have time, can you co opt a friend or hire a teenager to review on line real estate listing looking for bad photos. you could get in touch with realtor to tell them about your services and good photos with correct lighting and good angles generates interest and action from potential buyers.

    Get your name 'known' among stagers who benefit from good photography of their efforts. Have you talked to the ladies who teach the 'stagers' program in your community? Does your community hold 'red carpet' events? I've wished there was a pro photographer to take pictures of guests who have spent considerable time and effort grooming/dressing.

  4. Kiki Says:

    Another avenue is local theaters. Offer to set up head shot appointments for actors/singers/bands looking for a clean clear head shot session when an audition day is announced.

    Or when a theater has a new production opening they often want photos in dress rehearsal status for posters, mailers and the like.

    What about following up with past clients with a photo from their shoots as a "holiday gift" to say thank you for using your services?

  5. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    Congratulations!

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