Last year I did over 100 family sessions in November, December, and January.
I signed up for a marketing deal, sort of like Groupon. They set the price and take half the money of who signs up.
After talking to the guy he convinced me that $49 was what all the other photographers have done. He also said because it was so late in the season that I would probably only get 30 people to sign up for a mini photo-shoot for Christmas. After having no job for a month I agreed, I was desperate. The day the post went public I had about 70 people sign up on the first day. My phone was ringing off the hook! The offer stayed up for a week and I had around 130 families sign up for a mini session. Sounds amazing right?! Well let me put a few things in to perspective for you before you think I landed a golden jackpot here.
Math Equation of reality.
130 families x $49 = $6,370
Divide that by 2 (since they took half)
So I get $3185. They also charged $200 for the service they took that out, which means I got $2,985.
I was completely booked all of November, December, and January…every day of the week shooting and editing.
Now Divide $2,985 by 3 months = $995 per month.
This doesn’t include the deductions of what I had to spend on software to maintain the large amount of clients images to deliver in a professional and organized way. I also had to buy more equipment to manage this much use on my camera every day. In addition I sold extra digital images, prints, and products. Not much though. Most people just wanted a deal, and I don’t blame them.
I worked 18 hours a day-no joke. It came down to about $2 per hour that I made. I got really sick, stopped working out, and got totally burned out. Christmas was out of the question for me to enjoy. I was not in the Christmas spirit and I had no time with my boyfriend that I lived with for 3 months solid. Life was stressful at home and on the money end of things. Somehow I got through it all.
I made a lot of contacts and hopes for future clients with my hard work and dedication to deliver the best product I could to each family.
I created a lot of content. A LOT!
1 year later, with 130 contacts, I offered mini sessions for Christmas again. This time I offered my regular mini session price with a discount if you bought early. Out of the 130 contacts I had 10 people sign up. (3 of the 10 clients were new) So actually I only had 6 returning clients out of 130. I had 2 of those families do a full session at regular price. I ended up making $2475 in just a few weeks and got to take the month of December off and enjoy traveling for the Holidays. I did 8 mini sessions and 2 regular sessions. I also had time to recover from my foot surgery and get my health back on track.
To sum this up, was it worth it in the end to sacrifice so much 1 year to have a regular life the next year? I’m not sure…but I can say it gave me experience and with that experience I gained a lot more confidence. I wake up and I don’t dread the day, I look forward to it. I’m being honest. I have had jobs where I wake up in the morning and I just want to call in sick. With this job, I work when I get sick. In fact, I worked when I was on crutches! That’s right…I jumped around on one leg to capture photos. Because I love to work THIS job, and I don’t want to let anyone down. I’ve made a product that these clients can count on and that meant a lot of sacrifice on my end. They pay the price of quality and I am happy to give them my all. Not every photographer has to go through this. I didn’t have to either, but what’s done is done. I am growing every day, and this year we will see where my business goes.