Why Shoot-and-Burn Photography Isn’t Sustainable

Let’s start by defining shoot and burn. This means you photograph a session, shoot your clients a link with their photos, charged one price for this, and call it a day.

Photographers in my area charge around $300-500 for a service like this. Correspondence is through email beforehand most likely, and maybe they send a style guide, but nothing crazy. After, they send the gallery and cross their fingers nervously hoping the client loves the photos!

You might be thinking… “Yes Christa, this is what I do! Why is this not sustainable?”

Let me break it down for you when it comes to income.

Say you want your business to bring in $80k/year. Keep in mind, this is NOT what you pay yourself. You *might* be able to pay yourself half of this. Running a business comes with a LOT of expenses. But we’ll stick to $80k for now.

To bring in $80k/year, that’s $6600/month your business needs to bring in. If you’re charging $400 for a session, that’s 17 sessions/month you’d have to shoot! We’re talking 4-5 sessions/week year round!!!

How do you plan to market to get 17 clients/month? What about the slower seasons in your area less people are wanting photos? It’s very unrealistic. Especially when you think you eventually want to pay yourself more! You can randomly increase your prices year to year which would be scary with how much you’d still need to book, even with a small price increase.

Now let’s break down what it looks like with your time.

If you’re photographing 17 sessions/month year round, when will you go on vacation? When will you have the time to focus on the backend and marketing to bring those clients in consistently?

You didn’t start your business to work more than you would at an 8-5 and miss dinner with your family every single evening. Especially for way less pay than working elsewhere!

You also won’t have the time to focus on client experience and serving clients well. You always have a large que of images to edit, and heaven forbid it’s humid and the client asks you to fix their hair in every single one of the 100+ photos you sent in their gallery. Truth is, if my hair was frizzy in the humidity, I would want my hairs fixed too!

Something has GOT to change!

Maybe you think weddings are the answer. While we built up a strong wedding brand, if you aren’t passionate about weddings and only doing it for the higher income, you WILL become incredibly burnt out and frustrated.

I’m here to share ANOTHER solution that allows you to continue doing the portraits you love and not have to do weddings if they aren’t for you! But actually build a sustainable business that serves your clients better than ever!

We restructured our portrait sessions and added in prints & heirlooms.

This allowed our clients to be served more fully, and spend MUCH more than my shoot & burn fee before. I guided them through product options *outside* the gallery, and shared the value of having these and purchasing them through me.

Within a few years, I was doing over 100 sessions/year, with a multi 4-figure average. I had NEVER loved my job MORE, and my clients were served SO fully with having me help them at a much higher touchpoint!

If this sounds like something you’re interested in adding, you’ll want to for sure watch our FREE training HERE on adding in products to bring in an extra $50k in print sale this year!





Why Shoot-and-Burn Photography Isn’t Sustainable



 in prints this year!

How to make $50k

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