Business: How to Leverage
Work You've Already Done
As you grow your photography business, it’s important to be clear on the ways income can come in and where you are focusing your efforts for the biggest payoff and return on your investment of Time, Energy and Money.
There are basically 3 ways for income to come into any business.
1) Active Income: (Most of your time) For most photographers, this is your bread and butter. This includes your photo shoots and direct client interaction. It requires you and your time every step of the way and is the fastest way to make money – and you love it, right?!
2) Leveraged Income: (Less of your time) This is where a) you have a second shooter for more coverage of the event or to do the entire shoot for you while you are off doing another shoot or getting more clients, or b) you offer additional products using images you have already shot such as albums, canvas gallery wraps, metal prints, enlarged reprints, slideshows, etc.
3) Passive Income: (None of your time) This is where you have automation systems set up such as a storefront on your website for additional product purchase for special anniversaries or Valentine’s Day gifts. You can also set up affiliate/referral relationships with resources your brides would normally use such as wedding dress shops, caterers, florists, event planners, etc.
Of course, you have to pay attention to the Active Income, because that is the core of your business, and passive can come with time, but it isn’t really the highest priority for most wedding photographers.
The beautiful thing is that as you’re building your Active Income, you can also be working on the leveraged piece of your business by adding your products into your packages and do minimal work since you already have the images you need. Have you considered products you can include in your packages, that you can spend minimal time on, make your brides exceedingly happy and make a great profit in the process?
Including an album to leverage the work you have already done is the best opportunity for you to do just that. Here are some options to think about, considering the pros and cons of each one.
1) Design Them Yourself – You can design your albums yourself using design software like Photoshop and InDesign.
Why you might want to do this: Designing albums yourself is a good choice if you just can’t let go of it, have plenty of time to design and get approvals, and preferably have some experience. You also have full reign to customize based on your experience with your client.
Why you might not want to do this: The learning curve can be difficult and time consuming. If you don’t like designing albums or are too busy with your day to day shooting and building your business, you may not be offering albums to the degree that you could be and leaving lots of money on the table. Another problem we see is that because of the time it takes to design your own albums, it can take months to get your product to your brides, which creates a heavy burden for you and frustration for your client.
2) Online Design Tools – There are a ton of options out there like Fundy and Smart Albums, just to name a couple.
Why you might want to do this: You can upload your images quickly and it does much of the work for you. Using click and drag, you can have your album completely done in a fairly short amount of time.
Why you might not want to do this: This process still takes your time, which could be better spent on shooting and getting new clients. The income you make for the time you spend designing an album pales in comparison to the income you make shooting, so you're better off booking more shoots and off-loading the album design to someone else who can do it more effectively and efficiently. There are also limitations as far as how much you can customize and create one-of-a-kind albums for your clients. There are also often limitations on how many images you can upload and not all of the online design tools are user-friendly. So take care when choosing.
3) Outsource to a Designer – You can save considerable time handing your images over to a professional designer to design the entire album.
Why you might want to do this: You can turn the images, the issues, the stress, and frankly the whole project over to an expert who specializes in design. This allows you to provide your clients with a better product. The turnaround may be much faster than you are able to provide if you do your own design, too. And when you find the right designer who will give you attentive, timely customer service and provide you with beautiful designs that match your style and the style your brides are looking for, you can spend your valuable time booking more shoots instead of spending your time fretting about designing and producing albums from past shoots.
Why you might not want to do this: It can cost more than doing your own design (if you don’t factor in the value of your time). And you need to find a designer who has worked extensively with wedding photographers who can give you the quality and attention that you would give yourself.
Broken Fence Studios can take all aspects of album design and production off your plate so you can spend your time on your expertise as a photographer. Contact use to discuss how you can make the most of your time and start rapidly increasing your income with work you have already done!
Design: The Right Frame of Mind
Frames give you an opportunity to express yourself and showcase your images. Whether you’re designing for an album, a portfolio, or a beautiful piece of wall art, pay attention to the impact that your choice of framing can have. Consider the examples above. The first one is a classic presentation with no frame at all. The second example shows a non-traditional curved frame filling the available space on one side. The third example uses a thick, grungy, artistically layered frame to present the image. Each of these frame choices showcases the image in a drastically different light. Remember that when you go to design your products!
Resources: The GoBook!
Because we work with a variety of printers, we have first-hand experience with products from many different vendors. There are some we LOVE, and some that, well, we wouldn’t recommend. One of our hands-down favorites is the GoBook from Graphi.
Click on the video link below to see why. (And yes, that's Tracey's son Wes, a brilliant magician, featured in the album ;-)