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Tessied

Are you spending less?

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Tessied

OP, I'm going to be brutal here, and wonder if there is something in your pitch that is putting customers off? You are incredibly defensive about your profession, which is fair enough, but you rarely get anywhere criticising people for not using your services, and there is something in your posts that make it come across as if you are owed a living.

 

People ARE spending less on items like photography these days, because not only is several hundred dollars for a posed photoshoot a lot of money to the average family, most people are just happy to have a photo, and if they can get a nice shot down the park on their own camera for a few dollars of printing at Big W, over several hundred dollars with the pro, most people will settle for the cheaper option when there are so many other demands on their money these days.

 

 

This is not my pitch. I am not my business on here, just as if you're a lawyer, you aren't a lawyer on here, or anyone else isn't 'pitching' their job if they are venting about things. I am just me.

 

Let's just say I know how the accountants feel when they are also told anyone can do tax, hehe.

 

Maybe we should all start valuing each other more?

 

I second the idea of looking for niches. Have you looked into commercial photography or offering your services to different kinds of local businesses - say restaurants, real estate agents or even office-based firms? You could also look into offering things like photography classes, photo tours (if you have something touristy near you) or very specialised photography services (pick a few types or topics to specialise in rather than general "family" photography) or even try to do some freelance photojournalism type work. You may need to think a bit laterally.

 

I'm a newborn photographer so that is my niche :)

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glassslipper

OP, it sounds like you didn't get the response you were after. People are being honest, and you sound really defensive.

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seayork2002

To be honest a newborn does not move much and our son looked like an alien (a cute one who we adored though!) but we fell for the hospital day he was born photo.

 

No offense to the photographer but a photo from our own camera when he was a little older looked more like him.

 

So looking back (if we had another) we would not use the service again.

 

We could have taken one ourselves the day he was born

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Literary Lemur

I think the election is certainly a thing in terms of people pulling back in spending. People don't like change and it makes them generally fearful.

 

The fall in house prices has definitely impacted how people view their own economic status and many people would be feeling like they need to be careful money wise. Others might also be struggling to get credit card / loans etc due to tightening credit. This would flow onto less disposable income.

 

Many people are also preferencing businesses that offer afterpay. Im not sure if that is also true to photographers but you might want to check this out by looking at what your competitors are doing?

 

Maybe ask potential clients directly and see what feedback you get?

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Tinselonthefloor

Hi OP, I'm sorry business has been slow for you of late. No doubt you are feeling worried/stressed about your current and future finances. You have stated that newborn photography is your niche. Perhaps you're open to adding a few more feathers to your bow. There have been some good suggestions already ( Grandparent vouchers, accreditation etc ). Would you consider doing other age groups and genres. For example, great quality shots for business people for their company brochures or their linked in profiles or perhaps photos of kids playing their favourite sports or playing instruments etc. Personally I'd love some action shots of my 4 playing rugby, doing karate, swimming etc and I'm sure they'd love to display them in their rooms. Best of luck

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Tessied

The thing is that people either have money to get professional photos or they don't. Any increase in quality they might get from professional as opposed to doing it themselves isn't going to be worth the outlay for most people. You only have to go onto IG to see that there have been some awesome photos taken by ordinary people with your average smartphone.

 

I also see just as many mums who only have snapchat photos of them and their baby, both with bunny ears, heh.

 

The difference with newborn photography is pretty vast.

 

I don't mind if people can't afford it. I can't afford a house, but it doesn't mean I think a house isn't worth it. That's the difference with some.

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Tessied

I think the election is certainly a thing in terms of people pulling back in spending. People don't like change and it makes them generally fearful.

 

The fall in house prices has definitely impacted how people view their own economic status and many people would be feeling like they need to be careful money wise. Others might also be struggling to get credit card / loans etc due to tightening credit. This would flow onto less disposable income.

 

Many people are also preferencing businesses that offer afterpay. Im not sure if that is also true to photographers but you might want to check this out by looking at what your competitors are doing?

 

Maybe ask potential clients directly and see what feedback you get?

 

 

Kind of annoying but afterpay won't really let photographers use it - they don't let service providers do it, has to be an actual product.

 

I do offer payment plans though.

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nom_de_plume

In a word: yes.

 

Newborn photography is something you only get done once, and that’s it. Unless you live in an area with a baby boom, you’re not going to have regular clientele. We never got it done. I prefer the more natural and candid shots DP took of me giving DD her first bath for example. Maternity leave is also a time when the budget is tight, which might also influence a spending decision.

 

We had family photos done once, through a kinder fundraiser. We paid $75 for a 15min session, and received 5 digital images and an 8x10 print. They’re nice, but not something I would consider getting done more than once or twice in a lifetime.

 

I would never pay for a session in a studio and then hundreds to thousands of dollars for the prints. It’s just not something I value. Our family would prefer to spend that money on a holiday.

 

The industry is also saturated, and rife with people claiming to be ‘professionals’ when they are anything but. It is the kind of product I would probably only buy through a word of mouth recommendation and would want to see a portfolio first. Have you won any awards or had your work published? This is something that could set you apart from the pack.

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FEdeRAL

I live in a high SES area and only one baby in our mother’s group had newborn photos done. In my case, yes I may be able to afford them, but they really weren’t high on my priority list.

 

So I think PP’s suggestion of branching out to other types of photography is a very good one.

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Let-it-go

I think what the OP is trying to explain is that the downturn has been very sudden just THIS year. So last year was great. A change in photo habits over time (as other posters are trying to blame) is not to blame for such a sudden change.

 

I’m blaming Marie Kondo. Everyone’s decluttering and I dare say another pile of photos and frames would definitely be affected by that.

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Crazyone26989

 

 

As in, photographers everywhere?

 

For me it’s more that I don’t see the need to get professional photography for all these “events”. Our wedding we did but we won’t be for newborn.

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RynandStompy

If you're observing

* a downturn in consumer spending,

* have a specialist niche that's getting more price-sensitive

* and it's a service where people now have a technology alternate that's 'not quite as good but vastly more affordable' (eg smartphone, filters and a nice frame)

* and you're targeting newborn babies when we're not really increasing our national birthrate

 

I suggest there's only so much that investing in marketing can do alone. Even if you became the most engaged social media Insta influence for your business, you likely need to diversify the service you offer e.g. to other stages of family life, or other types of photography.

 

The challenge will be if you want to? You may only ever want to do newborn photography and that's fine..But it may not give you the income you used to get.

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little lion

I didn’t get newborn photography done for my children. I found life with newborns hard so it was not on my radar. I kind of feel like all newborn baby shoots look similar.

 

But I have had professional family photos done twice. I chose a studio that does art-inspired photos with illustration integration, so it is a bit different from what myself and my family can take ourselves.

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nup

The best clients to market to are existing. Is it time to utilise your database?

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~THE~MAGICIAN~

Yes, definitely spending less as I lost my job last month, so no extra spending.

 

Plus I am becoming more minimal, so definitely cutting back.

 

I wouldn't buy photo packages in this day and age. Don't like photos on wall or in frames now (see above) I take pretty good photos (have a good camera!) and display in albums, or digitally.

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Crazyone26989

The best clients to market to are existing. Is it time to utilise your database?

 

This is so true. I was going to say that whilst I have the money for a newborn shoot it isn’t something I value. However, if I did change my mind, I would use my wedding photographer without a doubt (even if it would cost significantly more).

 

OP can you branch out to general childhood photos? Or first birthday smash cake photos and that sort of thing? That would enable you to utilise your current database.

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Tessied

This is so true. I was going to say that whilst I have the money for a newborn shoot it isn’t something I value. However, if I did change my mind, I would use my wedding photographer without a doubt (even if it would cost significantly more).

 

OP can you branch out to general childhood photos? Or first birthday smash cake photos and that sort of thing? That would enable you to utilise your current database.

 

Yeah newborns are my niche but I also do family, kids, and small weddings, and have a separate dog photography biz. I offer my clients a yearly club at a reduced rate, and also a milestone growth package for newborns, so 6/9/12 months.

 

The best clients to market to are existing. Is it time to utilise your database?

 

Yep done that.

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Tessied

I think what the OP is trying to explain is that the downturn has been very sudden just THIS year. So last year was great. A change in photo habits over time (as other posters are trying to blame) is not to blame for such a sudden change.

 

I’m blaming Marie Kondo. Everyone’s decluttering and I dare say another pile of photos and frames would definitely be affected by that.

 

 

Yeah exactly. I know a lot of people are saying they don't value newborn photography, but it's actually a huge industry, with many photographers earning a lot of money from it. I know plenty of phhotographers who easily earn 3.5k plus per session in the bigger cities.

 

So while I get there are always people who are happy with their own phone photos, they would never and have never been my client. They would never pay close to a grand for newborn photos and wouldn't have last year, or the year before.

 

That's why I'm asking for SPENDING habits in general, because Mrs Joe Blow who is happy with iphone photos wouldn't have booked me last year, or the previous year...etc. It's irrelevant.

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Tessied

In a word: yes.

 

Newborn photography is something you only get done once, and that’s it. Unless you live in an area with a baby boom, you’re not going to have regular clientele. We never got it done. I prefer the more natural and candid shots DP took of me giving DD her first bath for example. Maternity leave is also a time when the budget is tight, which might also influence a spending decision.

 

We had family photos done once, through a kinder fundraiser. We paid $75 for a 15min session, and received 5 digital images and an 8x10 print. They’re nice, but not something I would consider getting done more than once or twice in a lifetime.

 

I would never pay for a session in a studio and then hundreds to thousands of dollars for the prints. It’s just not something I value. Our family would prefer to spend that money on a holiday.

 

The industry is also saturated, and rife with people claiming to be ‘professionals’ when they are anything but. It is the kind of product I would probably only buy through a word of mouth recommendation and would want to see a portfolio first. Have you won any awards or had your work published? This is something that could set you apart from the pack.

 

I appreciate what you're saying but I've had hundreds want newborn photos over 7 years so it's not a matter of people like yourself not suddenly booking, you were never going to be my client - if that makes sense. It's a very popular niche, there's been a baby summit every year for years with hundreds of newborn togs over the country attending - it's definitely done.

 

That's why I've asked about spending habits because the people who were never into it and never were going to be into it, wouldn't effect me.

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Riotproof

Eventually the people who were into it are going to stop having newborns.

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Tessied

Eventually the people who were into it are going to stop having newborns.

 

I'm pretty sure that no, it's not going to work like that. It's highly unlikely that only a random group of women over 10 years values photography but anyone born after that year does not. Really? You don't seem to give a sh*t about my thread or me so maybe just...say bye bye.

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halcyondays

What do those other professionals who attend the baby summit say? It’s something you need to gauge from people in your industry. “Business” is down for me too, but it’s like that throughout my city for others in my profession. Individually we wouldn’t be able to figure out why.

Do you have an agreement or understanding with private hospitals with large maternity units? There are almost “official” photographers attached to the one near me. It’s all a rort, the photos are awful. But most buy it the way I buy the school photos, even though I could take better myself.

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Riotproof

 

 

I'm pretty sure that no, it's not going to work like that. It's highly unlikely that only a random group of women over 10 years values photography but anyone born after that year does not. Really? You don't seem to give a sh*t about my thread or me so maybe just...say bye bye.

 

I do actually. I find you very interesting.

 

You don’t think that something like photography might have trends? Really? Maybe the newborn baby photo shoot is a thing of the past?

Relying on returning business only works when you can get new business too, because in your niche people will age out of your market. They may even decide it wasn’t really worth the time and effort and not do it for baby number 2 and subsequent.

 

I also have had the passing thought that maybe you should do a customer relations course.

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Tessied

You seem to be pretty adamant no one here is giving you the right answer. Maybe you should be asking your clients directly? I’m not sure if asking people if they are spending less, then telling them they would never be your clients anyway, is going to give you much insight if it’s a specific target market you need a response from.

 

 

Because people are going on about never having valued photography anyway. I mean I think I was pretty clear asking that "Would you have gotten a newborn photography session last year but NOT this year? "

 

That pretty much means that no, people who have never and will never value it are not relevant, which is why I asked about spending patterns and specifically those who would have gotten a shoot last year, but not this year. *To see the difference".

 

I've liked all the relevant posts and replied to them.

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Crazyone26989

 

 

I do actually. I find you very interesting.

 

You don’t think that something like photography might have trends? Really? Maybe the newborn baby photo shoot is a thing of the past?

Relying on returning business only works when you can get new business too, because in your niche people will age out of your market. They may even decide it wasn’t really worth the time and effort and not do it for baby number 2 and subsequent.

 

I also have had the passing thought that maybe you should do a customer relations course.

 

I totally agree and think it could be a “trend”. That’s not to say it won’t come and go but as far as I am aware it wasn’t a “thing” in the 80s or 90s.

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