Now, I’m guessing this isn’t the first time you’ve thought about creating a high-end photography brand…
(When I say “high-end”, I’m not talking about $500 sessions here…Think about heirloom portraits that your clients invest $3000-$5000 for…Memories so valuable to your clients, they’ll happily pay that high price…Because you’re showing them the way to freeze those memories and display them).
Maybe you’ve even started putting prices or products together before, but you’ve had no idea where to start.
Or you tried raising your prices just a little bit - only to panic when instead of steady clients you heard crickets.
Don’t worry – that’s totally not your fault!
All the information out there for photographers can be so overwhelming, especially when you’re already a hard-working, multi-tasking, total boss, right?!
Or it might even be those self-doubts creeping in…
I’m not experienced enough…
No one will pay me this much just for pictures…
No one even knows my name.
If any of these thoughts have run through your head, I want to put your fears to rest.
Because the truth is, you can create a stunning, high-end, luxury experience for your photography clients WITHOUT working more hours.
You just need the right person to show you the way!
And that’s exactly what I’m here for because I’ve been exactly where you are. I know what it’s like to feel clueless about where to start…
But at the same time, desperate to change your lifestyle, to stop overworking and stressing about your business and instead – combine profitability with the lifestyle you dream of.…
Because you're an artist...
But now, you're also a business owner.
And artists NEED to be business owners, or they'll quit, and go crazy like Van Gogh or something like that. (please refrain from chopping off your own ear - m'kay?)
I used to wish I could go back in time and tell past-Camille what I know now 😉
But now, even more than that, I wish I could help more photographers like you to harness the power of running your photography studio as high-end.
So you can work with the clients who will love what you do, and are willing to invest in what YOU have to offer.
Have I ever told you about the time a few years ago, when I had a client come in who very clearly was NOT in my target demographic, but had come in for a consultation anyway - just because she wanted to know more about the experience I offered?
We met, and as she got super excited about the portrait session we designed, hugging me, and bursting with ideas for where to display her portraits, I still worried that she was in over her head. That the final cost would be too stressful for her.
I could see her cringe as she handed me her credit card for the first payment. I confirmed again that she was comfortable with this.
She ended up investing over 4k in her family portraits.
Although not one of my biggest sales, she was one of my most unforgettable. Not because of the money, but because I knew it was a bit of a stretch for them to afford me. Quite a bit of a stretch.
But what I learned that day was priceless.
It's not about the amount of money people have that puts them in your target market for a luxury photography experience.
It's 100% about WHAT THEY VALUE.
And it sometimes goes the other way.…
Sometimes those clients who are ostentatiously wealthy gripe and complain about the prices the most.
(although complaining clients with objections are much harder for me to fine these days, when you work at a higher price point, you typically get MUCH more professional and kind clients)
If they don't value photography as memories, of course they aren't going to be willing to pay thousands for it. Whether they have the money or not - it'll equally as hard to convince them you're worth it.
(obviously there are plenty of people who literally couldn't afford me, no matter how much they wanted to. But there are also plenty of cheap photographers around who can take their business)
"This was the best thing we've ever done for ourselves,” said the mom to her husband as she picked up their heirloom products and left my house.
Knowing how much they'd had to scrimp and save to purchase them, this was the ultimate reward for me. Far more rewarding than the 4k they'd just spent.
The following months after that client, I focused more on the "emotions" of my clients, and I found my sales doing better than ever.
I realized that it's not about the amount of money I'm charging.
It's not even about the quality of my images (although I'm very particular about my quality - I know many photographers making this much who are not very skilled at all)
And it's not about finding the richest people in the area.
It's about seeking out (aka marketing to) those who will love and appreciate what you are offering.
Finding clients who love you AND can afford you is really is the coolest feeling ever 🙂
Especially when I look back at where I’ve come from…
But almost straight away after getting my first few big sales and really awesome clients, I hit a bit of a road block.
Well, in truth, it was more like a road-block shaped mountain that quickly wedged itself in between me and any resemblance of success.
To put it simply, I was struggling to get clients. Any clients. At all.
I’d had enough wins to know that my market liked what I did, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t get them to commit to booking me.
It was rough, to say the least.
I felt super low, and self-doubt crept back in.
After the highs of selling to my first high-end clients, and having all of them invest more than 3k…
I’d used up all my current referrals that were high end…
And I hadn’t received a single new one.
I’d put so much effort and pinned all my hopes on this, I desperately needed a good client! (A lot of good clients, actually).
Maybe there wasn’t enough demand for what I was offering?
Maybe my area had too many cheap photographers?
Maybe my brother was right and it's just a digital age?
Maybe no one else in my little rural town in Idaho was able to afford me?
Thoughts like these were constantly circling in my mind, and I just couldn’t seem to shake them…
Maybe I’d just gotten lucky with those few clients?
But I knew deep down that there were more people out there who "shopped at the top".
Who would book someone because they were "expensive" - instead of the people I was used to working with who booked me because I was cheap.
A few weeks after I made my big changes, my grandma came over to my house and was looking at one of my portraits hanging on the wall.
She asked me how much that size and finish cost, and I said $6,000.
My grandma has a lot of money, values family, and spends a lot of that money on expensive things (like all pink kitchen appliances - fridge, stove, etc.)
I knew she could afford me if she valued it.
She said, "why are people willing to pay that much for a single picture?"
I asked her which photographer she would book if she'd seen none of their work. Which one would she think would take the best pictures?
The one who was $100?
The one who was $1000?
Or the one who was $6000?
She immediately answered, oh, well the one who charges $6000 must be the best.
That was the answer.
By pricing myself higher - just on price alone, my clients were assuming I was the best.
People always assume that with a higher price, comes better quality.
And there is always a group at the top who want the very best.
I call them the top 1%.
This discovery gave me the assurance to stick at what I was doing.
It’s almost funny to me to remember back to those moments where I found myself thinking my market might not want heirloom products…
It didn’t take me long to realize that my market was fully primed and ready for me!
What I found next confirmed that even more…
I had a new 1:1 mentoring student who had worked as a nanny for very wealthy Europeans. She told me after she took a $10,000 first class flight, she was never shocked again at what people with drop thousands of dollars on.
She had zero problem believing that people will pay far beyond what you can imagine when you target the right clients.
So even though YOU may never be willing to pay $3000 for a portrait session....
And even if that number sounds totally insane to you....
If you know that there are those who will pay that much?
Why not be the one to offer it to them?
I mean, if you're going to do photography anyway...
You might as well make money while doing it!
I realized that a high-end HIGH PRICED photography business WAS the answer to getting out of my burnt-out and overworked vortex…
I could ditch the fears, because what I had to offer really did have a market.
Because everyone has 50 clients within 2 hours of them that are in the top 1% of their area.
When you're dealing with numbers in the hundreds of thousands or even tens of thousands, 1% is a lot of potential clients.
It didn’t take long for my hopelessness to totally flip.
I didn’t want to throw in the towel or run away anymore…
In fact, it was the total opposite.
I wanted to dive even harder into this industry and ride the wave!
But there was still a slight problem…
Although the numbers stacked up, and I know had confidence in my pricing, I still wasn’t getting new clients.
Those calls were non-existent and I desperately needed to get some cash flow going again to prove that this actually could work!
I knew that the problem didn’t lie with my huge market.
My business did have potential…
People wanted it!
The right market could afford it, and they were everywhere!
So if it wasn’t the market’s fault…
I knew it was my marketing that needed tweaking 😉
The way I was posting on facebook and hoping for client referrals just wasn’t breaking through, so I had to make some changes…
And when I did – boy, did the calls and emails come back!
Marketing my photography studio offline became HUGE for me - in growing my business from $100 in the bank, to 6-figures in the first year.
Tapping into this high-end industry allowed me to work exactly how often that I want to.
When I was operating out of the new-age digital only photography business structure, I was making a decent income… (doubling our total income since I was making about what my husband did as a teacher each month)
But I was overworked and exhausted – I knew there was a better way to share my creative skills with the world…
I just hadn’t figured out what it was!
But when I finally realized what was possible, I was able to move away from using marketing time to post and blog about my clients on facebook…
And create a sustainable, lifestyle friendly luxury portrait studio that I run from my rental living room with offline marketing methods.
It certainly wasn’t always easy…
There were bumps along the way…
But that’s exactly why I’m so passionate about the creative community I’ve created now.
Because I’m able to save thousands of Photographers from making the same mistakes I did.
When I felt like giving up, this revelation of the sheer size and potential of this high-end community helped me stay on track…
By not giving up, I’ve been able to make a bigger difference than I dreamed I could with my own business… and now by helping people like you find the same freedom and success as well.
All thanks to the 1% of ideal clients in my market calling my name!
If you’re a photographer, I think I can hear it calling your name too 😉
Even if you’re not well-known…
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