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Mind Your Business!

After a humbling and very overwhelming response to the survey I posted last week, I’m happy to announce that I will be hosting my first-ever group workshop!  For more information on the workshop or to sign up, click here to see the info page!

The decision to host a business workshop is not something that I made lightly.  Over the course of my career I’ve been very active in many different photography forums mentoring new photographers, and I’ve spent countless hours “talking shop” with my colleagues about all things business related.  In fact, the reason I created my pricing guide was because I kept seeing photographers asking the same questions about pricing, and I was seeing those photographers making the same mistakes (and the same excuses) again and again.  Since I began offering one-on-one consultations over a year ago, I’ve been amazed to discover just how many photographers have no idea how to handle the business side of what they do, and how that has cost them a frightening amount of money.
The harsh but true reality of being a professional photographer is that most photographers who think they’re making money in their business actually aren’t.  Most people think that if they’re getting any kind of payment at all, they’re turning a profit.  Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  In 2006, Professional Photographers of America released a Benchmark Study that looked at the numbers of 180 different photographers across the country and analyzed how photography businesses are being run and how much money they’re really making.  Here are some shocking findings from that study:
-The average photographer brings in a salary of approximately $30,000 a year.  (You can make more than that as a manager at the local McDonald’s!)
-The best-run photography studio owners keep about 41% of their gross profits, while the average studio owner keeps approximately 30% of their revenue.  That means that for every $1,000 paid, the average photographer gets to keep about $300.
-Most wedding photography studios need to charge around $5,000 a wedding in order for the studio owner to be able to make a reasonable living.
I know that most of you are probably skeptical of these statements, and think that there’s no possible way they could be accurate.  Believe me when I say that they are very, very, VERY true.  After reading the study I decided to go back and study my own business, and this is what I discovered: My second year of business I had a 27% profit margin and made about $36,000, and the first year I was able to pay all of my bills and taxes and still have enough money to live comfortably was the year I averaged $5,000 a wedding and had a 40% profit margin.  I couldn’t have been more true to the statistics if I tried!  After I released my pricing guide I had a lot of people come to me with their numbers, asking me to check them to make sure they weren’t missing something, and over and over and over again, those statistics proved to be right on the money (no pun intended) for those photographers as well.
It’s easy for people to believe that all it takes to make money in photography is a nice camera and a little talent, but there’s a good reason why well over half of small businesses fail within the first four years.  Running a business is tough.  There are so many ways to fail, and so few ways to succeed, and most people don’t have a mentor who can tell them which is which.  My hope is that my workshop will allow people to have a solid business mentor, if only for a day.  I will share all the things I did wrong and all the things I did right, and the consequences and advantages of both, as well as what I would have done differently if I could.  We’ll talk about everything from tax laws to cash flow to pricing to business plans to target demographics to branding to client management, and all the stuff in between.
If the business side of being a photographer is frustrating you or holding you back, check out the workshop page.  Let’s get your business on the right track so you can stop worrying about your business and start enjoying your craft!


  1. Kaysha said . . .

    Wish I could make it! If you ever do any kind of online workshop I’ll be there is a heartbeat (or maybe I’ll just have to get out of California for a few days)! :)

    Posted December 1, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Permalink
  2. Dennis Pik said . . .

    would love to attend, but I can’t make it to Texas. you should either do online stuff or travel a bit in the future

    Posted December 2, 2009 at 8:25 am | Permalink
  3. imthiaz houseman said . . .

    congrats Stacy!

    Posted December 3, 2009 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
  4. Gail Kelly said . . .

    It’s my birthday that day – I wonder if anyone will fly me out to Texas as a special treat!!! Probably not ;-(

    Posted December 4, 2009 at 7:33 am | Permalink
  5. Drew said . . .

    I wish I could be in Texas on that day. Man I’m just starting to get my photography business off the ground and I really thing this workshop would help out. Are you planning on taking the workshop on the road at all?

    Posted December 4, 2009 at 9:29 am | Permalink
  6. Bethany Murphy said . . .

    So any thought to doing one in Cali or putting it on dvd for us to purchase or watch online? I sooo want to be a part of this somehow. It is about time something like this comes around!

    Posted December 7, 2009 at 12:13 am | Permalink

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  1. […] and I attended a workshop put on by Stacy Reeves – a fabulous Wedding Photographer in Dallas. Mind your Business was exactly what I was needing in this new year with the new business name and all- I was in dire […]

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