Pricing, Sales, Marketing - Where are We At?

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One of the things Jenn and I love about Birth Becomes Her is our online facebook group. We're been able to connect with birth photographers from around the world. We're able to share our struggles and our successes. We're able to brainstorm and find better/more sustainable ways to do this incredible work.

Jenn and I have both been mentoring several birth photographers, and we keep on hearing about the same problem - "I just can't seem to book enough clients at my current pricing." 

And we get it. We've totally been there ourselves. Very few people understand just how demanding this work is...and part of our job over the last decade has been to demonstrate to both parents and photographers WHY families should invest in this incredible service. But change is slow, and we've seen so many birth photographers burn out because after one, or two, or even five years, they aren't making enough money doing this. 

We recently conducted an informal survey in our group, and we're excited to share these results with you. In some way, they're surprising and maybe even a little discouraging. But here's the good news: things can be different, you can make this job for you and your family. Jenn and I are currently compiling all the pricing/sales/marketing info we've learned together in a toolkit, and these answers have really helped us see where the roadblocks are. 

1. We're not shooting a lot of births.

Almost 70 percent of people surveyed are only shooting 0-1 births a month. 

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2. And we want to be shooting more. 

The majority of us said we want to be shooting 3-4 births a month. Well over DOUBLE what the majority is currently shooting. 

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3. The good news is that a slim majority of us are still making a profit (almost 52%)

But NO ONE is making their dream profit. Out of 133 responses, no one is making as much as they want. 

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4. And almost a third of us know our numbers...and aren't making a profit at all. 

This needs to change!

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6. 84 percent of us either want birth photography to provide our DREAM income or a FULL-TIME income.

7. Most of us agreed that our biggest barrier to making our dream profit is pricing. 

  • 32 percent of you said "cheap" photographers are charging too little
  • 31 percent of you said your market won't support higher pricing
  • 31 percent of you said you aren't even getting inquiries
  • 33 percent said you are getting enough inquiries but not booking them 

8. These are some of the responses we got to our questions about pricing, marketing, or sales struggles:

I would love to be charging more but so many up and coming photographers are charging much less
I feel like I could and should charge more... but it’s hard because increasing always means a slow down initially... and this is our only income so risk is extra risky
I’m scared to charge much at all while I’m so new
I raised my prices to meet my CODB and make the on-call time worth it, and have gotten very little inquiries since. Those that have inquired have told me they are going with someone else for less money. There are many photographers in my area interested in birth, so they are willing to do $500 births for the experience. I’ve had to start shooting other things to cover the financial gap.
I don’t feel like I know how to really reach people. I have great seo for birth photography in my area. My work is up at birth centers. Midwives and Doulas hand out my info. But I get very few inquiries
I’m in such a relationship driven community. Everyone knows everybody. I’m new to the area and don’t have that “base” the rest of the photographers seem to have as a base. It’s a slow process but I’m getting out there!
I’m really struggling to communicate my unique style and service — I get inquires, but feel like I haven’t figured out what sets me apart and how to close the deal!
I am getting 5-7 inquiries, but not booking them, because they’re wanting $300-$500 rates.
My pricing. I get about a dozen inquiries a month and the number one response I get is “that’s out of our price range”. It’s possible that I need to find a better way to sell myself and my services?
I book every inquiry that I can turn into a face to face consult (which is maybe half of inquiries). The problem is that I just don’t get many inquiries.
I’m receiving inquiries, but I know that price point is the biggest deterrent, even with flexible payment plans.

So wow. What can we do about this? 

It's evident that there are so many talented birth photographers in our group. We see your work on a daily basis. We hear your hearts. And we want you to succeed. We want you find financial freedom from doing a job that you love. I never would have guessed that after 5 years, I'd be making as much money as I'm making doing birth photography, but now that I'm here, I want you to know: it is possible. More and more families believe that birth photography is worth having. With each passing day, with each passing month, more and more families are learning the importance of investing in their baby's birth story. Jenn and I are using all this information to craft tutorials and blog posts that will hopefully help bridge the gap between what we want (more bookings, more profit, more freedom) with what we currently have (lack of bookings, lack of inquiries, insecurity, and fear). Please feel free to leave us additional comments or questions below. And fill out this form so we know that you are interested in getting on a specific mailing list for pricing, sales, and marketing birth photography. 

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