The Business of Babies – Running a Profitable Photography Business with Erin Elizabeth Hoskins

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I see this all the time where people say “I’m booked up for 6 or 8 months”.And I always say “What are you doing! Raise your prices!”If you’re booked for 6 months solid, you could double, or triple, your prices. And be working so much less for the same, or much more, money.

In this episode, Erin from Erin Elizabeth Photography, hits us up with some hard truths about running a profitable photography business, and not treating your business like a hobby.

While many photographers see the fun, creative side of photography as one thing, and the , more boring, business side of photography as another, Erin shares how she has always seen her creative work with newborns and families as simply part of the bigger picture, the means to an end: running a successful business that makes enough money to warrant her taking time away from her family.

1. Figure out what you need to be a profitable photography business (4:35)

It is a common misconception among new photographers that what you charge for a session is what you profit from a session. Once you realize everything that needs to be deducted from your fee (expenses, taxes, overheads, etc.), it can come as a shock that you may actually be paying your client to work for them.

2. How to raise your prices to be profitable (6:40)

Charging more is just one way to raise your prices, but certainly not the only way to become more profitable. Rearranging what you offer in your different packages and incentivizing clients to buy more is another smart strategy, as are small incremental changes over the course of a year.

3. Communicate with clients to ensure no confusion about expectations and prices (12:06)        

It is important to have some transparency on your website about pricing. You don’t need to list all your prices, but a price range and/or starting prices for your different genres will qualify your leads. Then asking them to get in touch for the full price list opens up the lines of communication for them to discover more about your and your services, beyond just a price.

In her first email, Erin tells her prospective client why she is different, shares her process with a promo video, explains how booking works, walks through the basic session details … all before talking about pricing.

4. Advice to save money by setting and sticking to a prop budget (18:32)

Erin has learned not to get caught up in fads. When starting out, it is easy to get carried away with buying excessive props. But every prop you buy, directly eats into your profits.

A good rule is to only buy props that will actually bring people to you and generate business. A few quality items, especially gender-neutral ones, is all you need.

In stead of buying what you think you will need, rather do a session and see what you missed, and buy that.

5. How does a “shoot to sell” mindset work? (23:59)

When you pay attention to what clients buy, and then create a posing list based on that, you become more productive and can actually shorten your sessions considerably, leading to an overall more profitable photography business.

It is also important to talk to your clients before the session. Find out their preferences in terms of poses, macros, colours, style, etc. Take care to shoot for the client (who pays the bill) rather than for your own social media.

6. Getting better at the business side of photography (27:33)

Take advantage of all the business-related groups on social media. Use them to learn about different sales models, productivity, profitability, etc.

Then set a profitability goal to achieve, and implement a timed strategy to achieve that goal.

7. How to see your own value as a creative individual (29:10)

Photographers often think that “I’m not worth it”. What they don’t realize is that it is not your decision – it is a client’s decision whether you are worth it.

Don’t get hung up on limiting beliefs like not being able to charge profitably because you’re working on location, or working from a home studio. Clients are not paying for the location – they are paying for the end product.

You should also value your own time, which may mean you need to hire a housekeeper or get child care. You can usually make more money in those hours running your business than the cost of outsourcing.

8. Erin’s biggest business lesson learnt over the years (35:56)

Work/life balance is the most challenging to maintain, but also the most rewarding.

This no-nonsense approach to business has helped Erin run a profitable photography business for more than a decade. Now it is time for you to some heavy lifting, clean up your business mindset, and run your business to its full potential.

Discover more about Erin Elizabeth Hoskins


Voted the number one family photographer in the world in 2017, and one of the world’s most recognized newborn photographers and photography educators, Erin Elizabeth is a major industry leader and one of Australia’s best newborn, maternity and family photographers.

She has taught thousands of photographers from around the globe and featured as a keynote speaker and presenter at dozens of photography conferences on six continents.

Her images have been featured on Good Morning America, People Magazine, Huffington Post, and newspapers and magazines in all corners of the earth.

Resources shared in this episode:

2020 {online} Newborn Retreat

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