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Myths about the photography industry are extremely common, especially myths involving pricing. When you’re starting out as a photographer, believing these myths can cripple your fledgling business. We don’t want that to happen to you. So, we’re here to separate the myths from the truth. 

Read on to find out the real truth about some of the most common myths surrounding the photography industry and check out some of our resources and features that can help you navigate these issues the right way in your business.

Let’s bust some myths!

MYTH: A successful photography business is more about photography than business.

TRUTH: A successful photography business is business first, photography second.

MYTH: It’s good to be “affordable” when you first start.

TRUTH: “Affordable” is irrelevant if you haven’t run your numbers. You deserve to make a living! Read more about pricing here

MYTH: It’s more important to have tons of unprofitable sessions than a few ideal clients.

TRUTH: Not defining and marketing to your ideal clients is a big mistake you will pay for down the road. You’ll find yourself working incredibly hard for nothing. You’ll burn out and realize that most of your clients won’t follow you when you have to raise your prices. Learn more about finding your ideal clients here and how to raise your prices here.

Photographer editing photos at hid desk.

MYTH: 95% of your time is spent photographing; 5% is editing.

TRUTH: Less than 10% of a photographer’s time will be spent shooting. For every one hour of a shoot, there are at least nine hours of hidden work that include travel, client communication, post-production, marketing, education and learning, administrative bookkeeping, camera and computer upkeep, and more. Our Studio Manager helps you get all of these must-do tasks done easier than ever- and all in one place.

MYTH: No one in my town will pay that much.

TRUTH: Yes, they will. Do accountants and plumbers work for free in your town? No. There are people and families that value quality photography everywhere. And you can always consider expanding into other areas if necessary. Read our tips on pricing here and check out how our Smart Profit Calculator makes setting your prices easier and more effective than ever before.

MYTH: Your client’s income dictates how much they’re willing to spend on photography.

TRUTH: People’s love of photography and how much they will value your work is not directly correlated to their income level. And remember: you’re offering more than “just a photo.” You’re beautifully capturing and preserving memories! Many people consider that priceless, and it’s not dictated by wealth.

Photographer looking frustrater with camera.

MYTH: Being a photographer is so easy!

TRUTH: Photographers are also directors, editors, project managers, producers, marketing specialists, writers, customer service representatives, social media managers, website designers, wardrobe stylists, PR professionals, entertainers, accountants, location scouts, technical supports, and occasional therapists. Check out Picsello’s marketing feature here.

MYTH: I’m part-time, so I need to charge less.

TRUTH: You have fewer shoots to cover your fixed costs so  you actually need to charge more! 

MYTH: As a birth photographer, you’re in it “for more than money,” so you don’t need to charge a living wage.

TRUTH: Ask doctors or anyone else in the birth industry to provide their services for free. They won’t, so why should you? You’re providing a meaningful service at a very important time for the family. Read more about how to value your work and set your prices accordingly here.

MYTH: Starting with low pricing means that you will build a following.

TRUTH: Starting with low pricing means that you won’t make any money and will potentially burn out. If you decide to stay a photographer when you raise prices to make a profit (aka a living), you’ll likely have to start all over building your clientele. Who wants to do that?

MYTH: Wow, that photographer charges $1,000 for a photoshoot. Why is it so expensive? She must be rich!

TRUTH: If a photographer charges $1,000 for a one-hour photoshoot, they only make $250 profit because photographers run at a 19%-25% profit margin. When you factor in the (at least) nine hours of hidden work, that equals about $25 per hour before taxes (including additional self-employment taxes) and healthcare costs. Ultimately, it’s closer to minimum wage. Plus, the photography business is inconsistent, so that income is not guaranteed each week. The photographer isn’t expensive, but the photography business is! Read more about how mindset matters in your photography business here.

Photographer setting up a camera for a shoot.

Wrapping Up

As you build your business, don’t listen to these common myths. Listen to real experts who have already experienced creating and growing a photography business. We understand that it can be difficult to tell fact from fiction with so much mis-information circulating around in the photography industry. We know because we had to sort through it all to get to a place where we knew what really worked to grow a profitable and sustainable business. We want the same for you! we’re here to guide you through it- every step of the way.

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