Who says you can’t beat the system and make a healthy profit doing it.
I ran across an article today, talking about the change in photography. It seems the most common thing talked about in the photography industry right now is the difference between amateurs and professionals, and whether you can truly make money as a full time photographer.
For a long time, I’ve been saying YES. You just have to change and play by the new rules. And Lauren Victoria Burke has taken this completely in stride, and has made her own rules in an increasingly difficult marketplace.
Burke created WDCPIX Photoservice, a political photography wire service that provides political photography to the media. She designed her company to compete with the Associated Press, and with staff photographers working on the hill (all who have had their own problems of late).
Instead of charging by the picture or by the job, Burke attends most congressional hearings and major public events, and places her images on her membership site. She doesn’t take requests, but will listen to her regular clients if they have input.
Then she provides all of her photographs in a membership site where her clients can download as many pictures as they choose every single month.
Know your market, and treat them well.
In this case, Lauren loved being a political photographer; she just came to realize she couldn’t make money the old way. So she created a new way.
By creating a low cost membership site, many media outlets have access to low cost political photography, without having to hire an employee or pay a contractor a huge sum of money. And once you have your core client base in your pocket, you can continually work at finding additional clients that add more to your bottom line.
Because Lauren has a core client base of 25-30 clients paying the $260 monthly fee, her yearly salary is set. She can take on additional assignments, and continue looking to find additional subscribers to her site because she has the flexibility of a full time income – something that will sustain her while she continues to build.
What can you do to create your core marketplace?
You don’t have to think BIG. Think in terms of numbers. How can you get a core group to pay you what you need now, and move forward to continue growing from there.