What I do has VALUE.
As a photographer, I constantly face the obstacle of conveying and communicating the value in what I do. Many of us now are so inundated with imagery every day that good imagery has become… mundane. We have digital portals in our hands for substantial portions of our day. In fact, check out this chart generated by the Pew Research Center about frequency of social media platform visits from 2018. 74% of Facebook users visit the website daily.
Everyone is on the internet (I mean, not LITERALLY everyone, but I’m speaking in hyperbole). A large number of us have phones with cameras built-in. A large number of us have cameras with advanced features. Accessibility of technology has opened the floodgates of imagery. Everywhere you look, there’s someone else opening up a photography business. However, this doesn’t mean that the work of professionals is worth any less.
Leave it to the professionals.
Let’s define “professional,” shall we? According to dictionary.com, a professional is: “a person who earns a living in a sport or other occupation frequently engaged in by amateurs.” I’m also going to add that a professional is someone that can get a desired result in whatever they do. Day in, day out, time and time again. Over. And over. And over. And over.
As professionals, our jobs are not left to chance. We’re not left to the whims of luck, error, or happenstance. We are relying on our expertise, our hands-on experience, our know-how. We walk into situations knowing what we are going to get out of them. If problems arise, we know how to handle them, navigate them, mitigate them. It’s why we get hired. It’s why we charge what we charge.
Do you REALLY want to risk your outward appearance on the guy or gal that is only asking you for $100 for an entire photo package? You’re a professional too, right? You want to be compensated for what you do at an appropriate level, right? We do too. We also want you to have your personal branding on-point.
Headshots by the numbers
After a conversation with a local real estate agent, the gears in my brain started to turn. I was told that I’m too expensive and am unaffordable for the average agent. I decided that I was going to do some research. I wanted to know just how “expensive” I am. I wanted to know what percentage of the average real estate sales agent’s salary I would require.
The following table is based off of my current price structure. An in-studio session with three headshots, a value of $400. Let’s take a look at some of these percentages:
|Profession||Avg. Wage MI||Avg. Wage USA||% of State Wage||% of Nat'l Wage|
|Human Resources Manager||$113,650||$123,510||0.35%||0.32%|
|Advertising and Promotional Manager||$99,130||$123,880||0.40%||0.32%|
|Funeral Services Manager||$88,400||$93,090||0.45%||0.43%|
|Real Estate Broker||$64,650||$75,910||0.62%||0.53%|
|Real Estate Agent||$46,880||$59,630||0.85%||0.67%|
Information was gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2017.
As I browsed professions, I added some of my target market to get an idea. You’d imagine a Marketing Manager would want to have a great image of themselves to put online, right? Well, how about three? That would equate to 0.30% of their annual salary in the state of Michigan at my rate.
So… back to the average real estate sales agent. With an annual average salary of $46,880, a session with me for three headshots would be 0.85% of their salary. Less than ONE. PERCENT. of their salary. If they sold 100 houses in a year to achieve that number, they’d be at $468.80/house (I only use 100 as a number for ease of the maths. Feel free to divvy up the earnings per house on your own). If those images got them one sale, they’re already at a profit for their session.
Think on that.
That is for the lowest earner on the compiled list. Wouldn’t coming in to get some fresh shots on your promotional material, social media, website be worth one sale? I’d venture to bet your new image would garner you a lot more attention to convert more than just one sale.
Connect with your audience.
How often do we just scroll by the norm? All looks the same. We’ve seen one, we’ve seen them all. We want to stick out of the crowd and get noticed. We want to make an impression. Take a look at your local newspaper. You don’t even have to pay for it. The one that comes in your mailbox, or gets run over by your car 38 times before you pick it up out of your driveway. Look in there and take a peek at the headshots there. Tell me if any of them are remarkable. Generally, if they’re remarkable, they’re remarkably terrible.
Take a look at this post for some more information about headshots and why you need one. The stats may surprise you.
Stand out. Stick out. Get noticed. Break the monotony. That one sale will be worth it.