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4 Strategies For Building a Profitable Boudoir Photography Business

When you’re just starting out as a photographer, it’s hard to know exactly how to run your new business.

First, we’re creatives, and sitting at a desk doesn’t sound appealing. Second, most of us haven’t been business owners before. We picked up a camera to photograph our family or our dogs or just for fun….not to start an actual business. It just kind of happened.

And there is just so much advice out there about how to run a business. It can be pretty overwhelming.

But something a mentor of mine, Melissa Ghionis, said to me changed the way I looked at everything…“You’re a business owner in photography, not just a photographer in business.”

That’s when it really clicked, and when my business mindset changed. I had to start looking at my business as just that — a business — if I wanted it to be successful. 

And, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today — four key strategies to help you build a profitable boudoir photography business. So you, too, can grow

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Strategy #1: Know How Much You Want to Work Each Week

So the first thing you need to think about is how much time you can actually spend working in your business. Which means you need to be strategic about the way you plan your days, months, and even your year. 

Think about how many hours you have to work each week. For an example, let’s say it’s 20

With four weeks per month, that means you’re working 80 hours per month.

Let’s remove a third of those hours for business and marketing tasks. So you have about 56 hours left for clients. And most photographers spend eight hours on each client

So with 56 working hours, that means you have time for seven clients each month.

So the way to create a more consistent business and schedule is to open up your schedule for those seven clients. When those sessions are booked out, that’s it. The clients wait until the next month to get in.

Ultimately, this helps set boundaries with clients and helps you run a business that you can actually sustain.

Strategy #2: Figure Out What You Need to Make Each Session

Now you need to figure out what you need to make for each session. 

A lot of photographers have no pricing strategy. Instead, they’re building their pricing based on what everyone in their local area is doing. 

But every photographer has a different lifestyle, financial needs, and even different amount of time they can actually work. Meaning each photographer should have different pricing. 

Now, there’s definitely a strategy to figure out what you charge, so let’s take a look at what that includes.

Let’s say you need to pay yourself $4,000 per month. Most photographers are able to pay themselves about a third of what their total revenue is, meaning your business will need to bring in $12,000 to pay yourself $4,000.

So if we’re using our last example, and you have time for seven clients, then you would need to have a sales average of around $1,700

But how can you make that much per session? It starts with knowing your ideal client. 

Strategy #3: Figure Out Your Ideal Client

I’ve heard of educators in the boudoir industry who say, “Any woman is your ideal client.” I think this is the worst advice ever because it’s the furthest thing from the truth. How are you supposed to market yourself effectively to EVERYONE?

When you’re speaking to everyone, you’re really speaking to no one. 

When I moved to St. Louis, I wanted to have to book clients in the easiest way possible to those who already knew they wanted albums. I didn’t want to have to talk them into booking and spending money.

So I chose brides — women who were 25-40 and who wanted to purchase an album. But I chose a specific type of bride. 

I wanted women who were nurses, health care workers, or teachers. I wanted the women who spent their time taking care of other people so that they would be happy to let me take care of THEM during their session.

And the best part…because they were brides, they already knew they wanted an album as a gift on their wedding day. So I had to spend even less time educating them on what I wanted them to purchase AFTER their session. 

That’s how I landed on my ideal client and kept things booked out. Not JUST saying women or brides.

Strategy #4: Build Your Marketing Strategy

But how do you get those ideal clients through the door? It all lies in your marketing strategy

The best way I’ve found to do this is to build a website that helps you convert leads to clients.  Any lead that lands on your website should be able to easily figure out if you’re the photographer for them. 

But let’s backtrack again…because for people to see that website, you need to drive traffic to it. 

Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Work on your website SEO and utilize blogs to boost your site on Google searches
  • Utilize an email newsletter to nurture leads 
  • Putting yourself out there in your community and becoming the go-to photographer in your niche
  • Doing a few vendor fairs that will have a bunch of your ideal clients in one place — like a bridal fair

Every photographer’s marketing strategy will be slightly different, even with people who have similar niches to yours. But the idea is to put yourself out there so people can get to your website and book a session.

It’s Time to Take Things to the Next Level!

Remember, you need to be a business owner in photography, not just a photographer. This was probably the most important thing I learned, and it really took me to the next level with my business.

So, reframe your mindset. Focus on the fact that you are a business owner, not just a photographer. And take your business SERIOUSLY.

If you’re ready to build a boudoir photography business and create an unbelievable and luxurious experience for your clients, then be sure to check out The Boudoir Photographers Playbook!

It lays out the entire session experience from start to finish, so you know exactly how to set yours up, including pricing with a business foundation in mind, session consults, sales sessions, and more.

I’ve even included my posing guide and a few Icebreaker poses as well!

Interested? You can grab it here!

tracy

Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photogapher for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.

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