About Daniel Mattia

Daniel Mattia is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in writing data-driven evergreen content for startups and small businesses. He resides on the east coast with his cat, Rocky, and enjoys working on his personal fiction projects, gaming, or reading when not writing for clients. Daniel can be contacted and hired at http://danmattia.com.

When Should Photographers Go From Side Hustle to Full-Time?

Professional photographers often launch their careers as a side hustle while working a day job. The goal for many, however, is to eventually transition into a full-time photographer — someone who can support themselves entirely through their photography.

But how long should you expect to shoot before you’re ready — skill-wise and financially — to go full-time?

What Is Your Photography Workload?

If you’re frequently turning down new clients or are fully booked for the foreseeable future, you might be ready to take the plunge and turning your photography side hustle into your only hustle.

A hefty workload is one of the strongest indicators that you’re ready and able to shoot full-time.

Be careful, though. The amount of photography work you have should be enough to sustain you and your lifestyle. You don’t want to quit your stable full-time job only for your photography work to dry up and leave you penniless.

If you’re booking enough shoots and have a consistent demand for your work though, chances are good that you’re ready to start shooting full-time.

Set Financial Goals

While it plays hand-in-hand with your workload, it’s important to know how much money you need to earn over a given period of time.

Without a consistent 40-hour-a-week job, each shoot you schedule should make a significant contribution to your earnings.

Calculate how much money you require to sustain your lifestyle and grow your business, then use that information to properly price your services. How many shoots will you need to schedule per week? Will you need to book more weddings or sell more portrait slots?

If you earn enough from your photography to pay the bills and sustain your lifestyle, you’re likely ready to start shooting full-time.

Ensure Your Skills Are On-Point

Photography has a low barrier to entry. After all, anyone with a smartphone possesses the ability to start shooting photos.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone’s skilled enough to launch a career in photography.

If photography has long been a passion of yours, chances are you’ve continued to hone your skills. Still, you need to offer potential clients a certain quality in the work you do. If you do good work, you’re more likely to get referrals and repeat business. Cha-ching.

But how can you tell your skill is at a high enough level to transition into full-time photography? Audit your portfolio to determine what level you’re at and continue to develop your techniques.

If you and your clients are happy with your work and portfolio, it may be the right time to turn that side hustle into a full-time job.

You’ve Built Up an Emergency Fund

Self-employment, especially in the arts, sometimes leads to a feast or famine situation. No matter how good a photographer you are, it’s wise to establish an emergency fund before quitting your current job.

Save the equivalent of three to six months of expenses (at least) before quitting your job. This money will serve as your backup plan if business dries up or it takes a little more time than you expected to ramp up your professional photography.

Keeping a personal safety net in place will give you some breathing room to fully establish your business and transition your photography from side hustle to full-time job.

You Understand Yourself

This sounds a little abstract, but it’s solid advice. Before relying entirely on photography for your income, you need to understand yourself as a photographer.

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What’s your niche or speciality? Do you know the ins and outs of your equipment?

Most importantly, you need to be able to run a business by being yourself. Before you can capitalize on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses, you need to understand what they are and their impact on you.

Transitioning From A Side Hustle to Full-Time Photographer

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how long you should shoot before going full-time. The only right answer depends entirely on your comfort level and how you’ve set yourself up. Spend time preparing for the transition by building your skills, putting resources and a foundation in place, and preparing for the change.

Ultimately, you’ll know when you’re ready to transition your photography from a side hustle to full-time.

By |2019-03-15T18:28:49+00:00March 15th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Price Your Photography Services

When it comes to setting the price of your photography services, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule. The amount you charge for a shoot depends on a myriad of factors, including:

  • Where you live and work
  • What specific services you offer
  • Your experience and training
  • And the equipment you own and use

Pricing your photography services can be fairly hit-or-miss, especially if you’re just starting out. Thankfully, guidelines exist to help you determine how to price your photography services at every stage of your career and business.

Calculate Your Cost of Doing Business

As a professional photographer, you’re running a business first and foremost. You need to consider the cost of doing business when figuring out how to price your photography services.

The cost of doing business can also be called your overhead. It’s the combined cost of all your expenses, including:

  • Studio or office rent
  • Equipment costs and maintenance
  • Service costs (web hosting, software fees)
  • Licensing fees
  • Continuing education costs
  • Subscriptions and dues
  • Travel
  • Mileage
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Outsourcing
  • And more

For example, consider the cost of mailing a client a CD or flash drive full of wedding photos. You’ll need to spend money on not only the CD or flash drive, but packaging and shipping as well — not to mention the time spent editing and selecting which photos to transfer to the CD or flash drive.

Including the cost of doing business in your pricing ensures you’ll continue to stay financially solvent — in business. If you’re not pricing your services at a high-enough rate, you could very well end up losing money simply by running your business.

CODB calculators can be incredibly helpful for figuring out your cost of doing business. Plug in your annual expenses and desired income, then let the calculator work its magic. The result will give you a solid idea for how to price your services and what mark-up you need to set to meet your expenses and desired income.

Determine How Much Money Your Time is Worth

The phrase “time is money” may be cliché, but it’s still true. As a professional photographer, you’ve invested hundreds of hours into learning your craft, whether or not you’re self-trained or college-educated. Your pricing needs to reflect the effort you’ve put into developing and honing your skill.

Each time you’re hired for a shoot, you’re not just spending time taking photos. You’re also setting up equipment, finding the right angles, and, later on, spending time in post-production. During the shoot itself, you’re relying on years of training and expertise to take the best photos you can.

After all, anyone can grab a camera and take a photo. What you bring to the table is knowledge and skill. Keep that in mind when you’re setting the price of your services.

Research the Market and Your Competitors

Staying informed about the market rate and the prices your competitors charge helps you stay competitive. If prices for photography services fluctuate within a given range in your area, you’ll have an idea as to the average acceptable price local clients are willing to pay.

In the same vein, you’ll know how far under or over your competitors’ rates you can charge.

Bear in mind that, to many, the cost of services is indicative of a professional’s quality. If your prices are too low, clients might assume your skill level isn’t high enough to command a better rate.

You may also choose to have higher prices than all or most of your competitors. In this regard, it’d be a branding decision. Perhaps you want to position yourself as an exclusive or boutique photographer.

Study the market and your competitors and apply psychology to influence how you set the cost of your services.

Don’t Forget Taxes

As a self-employed photographer and small business owner, you’re wholly responsible for paying taxes — there’s no employer withholding taxes on your behalf.

That means you need to keep your tax obligations in mind when pricing your photography services. If not, you’re likely going to need to dip into your profits to pay your taxes when the time comes.

Adjust Your Prices as Necessary

Once you’ve set the price of your photography services, do some experimentation to figure out if they work for you. Are you covering all your expenses and making a decent profit? Or are you spending too much time on a shoot for too little pay?

If you’re not happy with your prices, go through the guidelines again to adjust what you charge. Eventually, you’ll settle on pricing that’s not only fair to your customers and clients, but respectful of your expertise, knowledge, and professionalism, too.

By |2019-03-09T02:06:14+00:00March 9th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments