$300 Photographers vs. $3k Photographers

$300 Photographers vs. $3k Photographers

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What’s the difference between a $300 photographer and a $3k photographer? 

Let’s start with the $300 photographer. This is what you would call a shoot-and-burn photographer. The client reaches out to you, you shoot your details and pricing over, they book the session, show up, and you send them on their way with an online gallery. Once that is complete, their experience is done and they are out the door. 

Moving onto the $3k photographer. They often get to this point with upselling. The client typically comes in at a certain price, then they can buy as much as they want afterward, and each image they purchase is being paid special attention to. 

So, I’m going to go into more detail and walk you through the differences between these two photographers. 

I want to start off by saying this – I was there doing $300 sessions for a while, so I don’t share this to make anyone feel bad. Honestly, you should be really proud of yourself for getting to this point in your business, but if you want to run a sustainable business that provides a good income, you can’t stay in this place. 

I’m going to break this down for you by numbers starting with the $300 photographer. Let’s say you want to his $60k a year. Keep in mind, this does not mean you pay yourself $60k. This is the money coming into your business before expenses, taxes, paying yourself, or anything else that comes out. 

So, $60k a year would be $5k a month before expenses. If you’re charging $300 for a shoot, that’s 16.5 shoots per month to hit your goal. When will you go on vacation? When will you reschedule due to illness or bad weather? It’s not very sustainable, right? 

One thing about $300 photographers is they don’t know their numbers very well, and I say this because I didn’t either. I didn’t know how many shoots I would have to take on to hit my income goals. If you want to make your business sustainable, you eventually have to dig into that. 

Another thing about $300 photography is that they don’t often track what they’re actually making an hour when all of their costs come out. Your mileage, gas, wear and tear on your camera, editing, uploading the gallery, marketing – it all comes into play, and when you look at what’s left per hour after costs are taken out, it’s not very much. 

Something else that is true for $300 photographers is they can only offer so much of an experience to their clients. They don’t have the bandwidth financially to gift their clients anything extra or spend extra time with them. Their time is very limited, and they can often get burnt out because of how much they have to take on. 

Let’s change the script and talk about $3k photographers. These photographers do know their numbers and do know what they need to book. They really only need 2 sessions a month. 

Something else about 3k photographers is they know they are not the photographer for everyone, and that’s fine because they don’t want to book sessions every other day. Because they can be strategic with who they work with, they can make so much more per session and scale their income much faster. 

If you’re thinking that your current clientele would never spend over $1k with you on a portrait session, I want to encourage you with a few things. 

  1. Some of your clients might have actually spent that money, but you weren’t offering it to them. They literally didn’t have the option with you. 
  2. It’s okay if not everyone switches over with you. You want to have the space to serve your clients well, and you won’t be able to if you’re taking on a lot of $300 sessions. 
  3. My easiest clients were the ones that invested so much in me because they trusted me and they wanted to be taken care of. They knew I had a solid portrait process in place where I would help them every single step of the way, so they didn’t need to worry about anything. 

I want to leave you with a few things: 

  1. View yourself as a business owner and then a photographer. There’s a reason why I have students with lesser fine work than others having killer sales because the work isn’t the issue. It really comes down to the business, so make sure you put your business hat on and look at your numbers. 
  2. If you want to make a change, find someone who’s been there and done that to help fast-track it for you. The main reason I have been successful is because I invested in education and each of those investments has helped me fast-track my success. 

When you uncap your sessions, the sky is the limit. When you’re able to offer this incredible service to your clients, you can uncap your portrait sessions in both the amount you bring in and how much you book.

In this episode, we chat about:

  • What a $300 photographer looks like 
  • The upselling strategy of $3k photographers
  • The importance of knowing your numbers 
  • Challenges of being a $300 photographer 
  • Viewing yourself as a business owner first and then a photographer

Connect with Christa

Want more info on adding in prints and products for BIG sales? Send me a DM on Instagram @‌christa_rene or check out my website https://christarenephotography.com/

More about the Uncapped Photographer Podcast

The Uncapped Photographer Podcast is a podcast for established photographers teaching them how to uncap their offerings and setup in their photography business without the burnout. Every other week, Christa Rene Robinson will share the clear and concise actions you need to take to grow your photography business. This is the info she WISH someone had told her much, much sooner that would have allowed her to grow even FASTER!

This podcast is for you if you are ready to hit the next level in your business and income so you can build the life of your dreams!

Christa is a wife, mom, and photographer turned business coach with 10 years of experience in the industry. If you’d like to connect or work with Christa, reach out to her on Instagram @‌christa_rene. You can also learn more about her on her website https://christarenephotography.com.





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