Photos by gré-Kelly Segré
Article by The Boudoir Place
Making boudoir photography profitable is something every photographer tries to do, after all, if we are in business the goal is to make a profit! A good way to start is to figure out your profit margins and compare them to how you run your business. You have to figure out what works and what isn’t working for you.
For example, let’s say you run mini-sessions for your boudoir business. How many mini sessions do you have to do in a day to keep the price affordable to your clients but yet still have you come out ahead at the end of the day? Sometimes you will have to offer both package and a la carte systems, maybe packages for your individual sessions while your mini-sessions have the a la carte option.
The best way to break down your system is this. First figure out your costs, let’s use the example of mini-sessions. Does your make up artist charge you per person or do you give her a day rate? Are you booking a hotel room for these sessions or do you have a studio space? If you are using a hotel room and you have to be there the night before to set up then you have to figure at least a two night stay as part of your expense. For a studio space just figure out your daily rent and electric bill etc… If you have an assistant then figure her rate in as well. Add all of these up and you have a total of what it will cost you to run this mini-session. This is before you have any profit at all.
Let’s say that this all totals $500.00, it’s just an easy number to use. This means that you need at least 5 clients at $100.00 each just to cover your expenses. But what about your profit? You can take a risk and offer hair make up and the sitting fee all for $100.00 and then products and prints are extra on the a la carte system, this method is used by many photographers but you must have a good sales person working with you to make sure you can actually sell the products at the end of the shoot! Otherwise you must figure what you need to make into the equation and divide it by the minimum number of clients you can take and add it to the base cost.
So to get your clients to buy the products there usually has to be something included with the session that they might want to add-on to. To keep your profit up you need to keep your workflow down. This means offer only a certain number of retouches with your packages or sitting fees. If your clients want more images retouched then there is an extra fee for that. This also can cut back on your post production time which increases your profit margin.
Part of keeping your costs down is a big part of your profit margin, but there are other variables you must consider. Don’t always go with the lowest price make up artist or hair stylist. If you have one that your past clients have loved then keep them around! This is someone who may be increasing your sales and you might not even know it.
What it all boils down to is that no matter how much fun it is to be a boudoir photographer it is still a business. And as everyone knows, business that do not generate a profit do not last too long! Everyone’s expenses and costs are different so there is no one magic price point for boudoir photography. Figure out what it is costing you, where you can cut back, where you may need to spend a little more and then you will know where you starting price needs to be!