Coffee vs Photography

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I like good coffee. Like, really good coffee. But I didn't always start out that way. I used to hate coffee; actually despise it is more of the correct term. There is a funny story that my in-laws still get a kick out of telling. I showed up to work one day at the needlepoint shop with my trusty Weigel's cappuccino in hand (for all those non-Tennesseans, Weigel's is like a 7 Eleven). Anyways, I came into the shop upset because my Weigel's cappuccino tasted more like coffee than it normally did. Where was the sugar water that I drank on a daily basis?!?!?! Over the years, my palette for coffee has definitely changed and (I would like to think) has become more sophisticated. I now drink 2 cups of coffee on a daily basis (most days) and I brew it right here at home. We buy strong locally roasted coffee and I know that in my previous coffee drinking days, my poor tummy would have been doing flip flops. But I love waking up and having my morning routine; sitting down with my "Cup o' Joe" and hammering away at emails, uploading images and lets be real, peruse the morning social media storm. So why on Earth am I writing a blog post about my coffee drinking tendencies? Today, I took a rare occasion and decided to go out and buy a nice cup of coffee (in all honesty, our coffee maker is on the fritz so it was a necessity)! While standing at the local coffee truck around the corner, I started thinking about how much money I would spend on coffee if I came here everyday and just bought a regular cup. Nothing fancy...just black coffee. $2.75 is how much I spent today...on a single cup. But to me, that is a yummy treat. I don't indulge every day. I normally make my pot of coffee at home and will occasionally spring for the latte or cafe au lait when out with a girlfriend or client. So, if I got a cup of coffee every working day of the week (251 week days) that would be $690.25. WHOA! If I sprung, and bought a latte for those week days ($4.50) it would be $1,129.50. Why am I sharing this? Because I realized, I view my special coffee like I do my photography.

It's not a commodity; its a luxury.


Now, do I believe this ideology is right and everyone should believe it? Absolutely not. This is my own personal opinion, and how I have chosen to run my business going forward. I can, in all honesty say, I used to be a Weigel's cappuccino. I photographed family sessions for $100-200, I gave all the images on a disk. This was great at the time. I was growing my skills; I was having different people in front of my camera; I was gaining experience. I by no means was making money...let's be real. But I'm not going to dive into that analysis; here is an amazing article if you really want to understand all the expenses being a professional photographer/business owner entails. ***I also want to reiterate that I am not calling other photographers who charge similar and who deliver images on a disk a gas station cappuccino photographer. I am simply drawing a comparison in my silly, coffee thinking head to MY situation.***

Once I began building my skills and was really in-tune with my camera, I realized I was doing myself a disservice by not charging appropriately for my photography. Not only was I doing myself a disservice, but I was also not providing the best for my clients; I was so busy, I never educated my clients or took an interest in prepping them for their sessions; I was so behind in editing I just dumped photos onto a disk and dropped it in the mail...no customer service; and yet I would get upset if I didn't get a glowing email saying how amazing everything was. I was expecting a latte response. So, instead of being a Weigel's cappuccino, I want to be that locally roasted, luxury cup of coffee or heaven forbid, that latte. I know that I won't have the same customer base; and that's ok. Some clients will want that beloved Weigel's cappucino. I know I will be a lot slower; and that's ok. I get to spend more time with my family and working "normal" hours. I know its going to take some time for me to build a solid customer base...and that is OK!!!! I'm excited for clients that take a deep interest not only in my photography, but in documenting special moments and times in their lives and purchasing heirloom products to share for generations. I'm excited for this change in my business and in myself. I'm excited to spend a significant amount of time on each individual client, and I'm excited to finally be able to have my photography business be a contributing member to our family income and not a expense!

9 comments:

  1. Great explanation! Coming from another photographer. www.mikecphotos.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah! Thank you so much Mike!!! It just hit me today that maybe clients and other photographers will understand the comparison if its with something we (pretty much) all can relate to! :D Happy it struck a cord with you.

      Delete
  2. Great and clever post! As another product-based photographer, I appreciate this analogy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Sophia! I give all credit to my dying coffee maker for getting my booty out of the apartment and to the yummy coffee because I had to stand in line a little bit longer than normal. ;)

      Delete
  3. That is the warmest and most polite way to explain your business change, and a change that you have explained will benefit your clients! Well stated and I wish you much success!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Absolutely love this! It's rare to come across this kind of "change in business strategy" post without it coming across as defensive or way too information heavy. Best of luck with the shift in gears, something tells me you're going to be just fine :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love it! Totally relate to the coffee analogy. ☕

    ReplyDelete

Proudly designed by | mlekoshiPlayground |