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If you are a commercial photographer, whether full-time or part-time, your goal is to perfect your art and get paid at the same time.
Many successful photographers also work on developing additional streams of income. Common income streams include selling prints or stock photography, outsourcing shoots to other photographers, providing value added services like photo booths or instant photos for events, producing informational products (books, DVD, ebooks, streaming videos, courses), teaching or selling photography equipment.
I discuss the need to consider developing additional streams of income in my Income Triangle concept.
Personally, I think it is important that your additional streams of income should complement your active income and should not distract or affect the quality or continued innovation of your primary creative product, in this case photography. The additional stream of income should also be related or complement your market, whether you are a studio photography, wedding photographer, portrait or sports photography expert.
However, this article will touch on an approach of being able to earn extra income without any side hustles or part-time projects.
In this post, I explore an extra income idea for photographers without the need to create an additional source of income. In fact, this idea can apply to any business owner or freelancer and it is very simple… in concept and execution.
If you are a professional photographer (full-time or part-time), one of the principles I recommend to all my students is to ensure that the value you give to a customer or client is at least 50% more than what a client is paying, regardless of the price you are charging.
So, if you charge $500 for a shoot, you should deliver a service worth at least $750.
This means you are always giving much more value to a client. The value can come in the form of quantity of shots, duration of shoot, value-adds, more sophisticated techniques or lighting, higher quality equipment or additional after-sales services.
If the value of your service does not have at least a 50% value over what you are charging, this is the first thing you need to change if you want to develop this extra income idea.
You will need to invest time, effort and possibly money in order to raise the value of your offering. But, this is a very low risk/ high reward proposition. There is no down side to doing this. At the end of the exercise, you are offering a better service for the same price to the market.
The great thing is you could make this change in value in just a couple of weeks to increase the value of your package.
In a short time in future, this is when you apply the extra income idea.
The extra income idea is this, raise your price by 20%. That’s it. It is that simple.
Now, if you raised your value by 50% as I detailed above, there should be little issue raising your fee by 20% because the value of your service is already 50% more than what you are charging. So, customers and clients are getting a 25% extra value from the new fee, even with the increase in price.
If you are not able to raise your price by 20% due to too much resistance from customers or clients, it means the value of your service was not at the level as it should have been or you thought it was.
If you have a solid product that you know is valued by customers, don’t be afraid to raise your fee by 15% – 20%.
Realistically, it is likely that you will lose some customers. This is expected because you will price yourself out of some customers’ budget. However, in the medium to long run, the extra 20% will cover the lost customers as you will also get new customers in the process.
You can coincide your price increase with an effort to expand into new markets or geographic locations. This allows you to be exposed to new customers who have no comparison to your prior price.
But, if understandably, you are a bit tentative about raising your price by 20% arbitrarily, here are some suggestions:
- Wait till a peak period or festive holiday period comes along and raise your price then. Try it for at least 6-week period to gauge the response. If there is no significant resistance, you can maintain your new price after the peak season.
If you feel you are losing too many customers, you can revert to your regular price after the peak season.
- Maintain your current price for your preferred customers or charge them an increase of just 10%. Increase your fee by another 10% half a year or a year down the road.
- Raise your price for all new customers but retain your original fee for old or regular customers. But, make sure the regular customers know that you are doing this for them so they see value in your goodwill and hopefully reciprocate by giving you more business.
Increasing your price does require guts. It also requires you to have confidence in the quality and value of your product or service.
When I was charging $250 as a part-time magician (my choice of a creative art) when I was a student, I wondered if it would be possible that someone would pay me $1000 for a show.
About 5 years later, when I had turned full time, I was indeed being paid $1000 a show on average. Subsequently, over the years, I set my sights to be able to charge special high value shows at $10,000, $25,000, $50,000 and beyond. Of course, my 50% above-value rule was always adhered to throughout my career.
Here is a secret I discovered as I raised my value and in turn my fee. While I lost clients, I gained new clients that I did not know even existed.
The same will happen for you.
And, that is how you can earn extra income without any side hustles.
If you are a photographer who shoots commercially, subscribe to Backstage Business Academy and watch the free “Cashflow Hobby Blueprint” video course. I share how to start making money from a hobby but I have a specific example of how to package the “product” of a photographer to sell yourself effectively to earn extra income. I build a lot on what I touched on briefly in this article.
As a subscriber, you will also get the “The Essential Search Engine Checklist” to ensure your photography website is Google-friendly and can draw traffic for conversions.