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Curious about what it takes to learn and start an career in photography? All of your questions answered in this interview with Christian Grattan of The Click Cartel. Read on…
Hey Christian! Welcome to Mompreneur Media. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a professional photographer from NYC with over 2 decades of experience making money from photography. I work at home, and make over $100K from 20 shoots a year. My client list includes Gucci, Vera Wang, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lancôme, YSL, Moët et Chandon, Vogue, Vanity Fair and InStyle.
But don’t think you have to have fancy clients to make money! Most of my revenue comes from the work I do photographing families.
So basically, you work part-time from home and earn a full-time income?
Exactly! If you work this business right, your earning potential is practically unlimited. And that’s where I come in. Once other photographers found out how well I was doing, they wanted to know my secrets. I started out doing one-on-one consulting, and they kept pushing me to share my techniques with a broader audience. From that, my intensive Quick Start to Photo Cash course was born.
Would you say photography is a good job for mompreneurs?
Photography is a fantastic career choice for mompreneurs!
First of all, photography work is super flexible. You can edit, retouch, and answer emails anytime from anywhere. Even though I shoot events, over 95% of my time is spent working at home, and I can work whenever I want.
Secondly, most photography is seasonal in one form or another, so you can pick a niche of photography that works well with your life. My work, for example, follows the school year, so I get summers and holidays off. But if you want to work during the summer, then weddings are a great choice.
Lastly, photography is surprisingly profitable! You can grow your business as much as you want. As your business picks up, you have the option to outsource parts of the job that are time-consuming, like editing and retouching. The time saved there can be reinvested in the business, or you can spend it with your family. So the level of time commitment is always up to you!
Who should not be a photographer?
Because you are running your own business, it helps if you are self-directed. If you’re not, then you will be at a disadvantage in any entrepreneurial venture you choose. However, these are skills that can be learned with enough dedication.
What about introverts?
The great thing about photography is that it’s so varied. You can shoot a subject that you are passionate about, like food, people, or accessories; and different types of photography are good for different personality types. I knew a fantastic successful still life photographer who was painfully introverted. He found a niche that worked for him and he excelled in it.
I work in crazy party environments, and that suits me, but there are many types of photography that are great for tinkerers and super detail-oriented, or organized people.
What are the upfront costs for starting a photography business?
I know this question is about money, but I want to add time as a cost as well. People pay you for your ability to deliver a great product to them. The fastest way to do this is to find a niche you are passionate about, get the gear you need, and start practicing that niche.
People waste a lot of time going from thing to thing. It took me years of messing about before I found a profitable niche that I loved. That’s why I teach people how to choose and hone their skills in one niche in as little time as possible. That way, they can start making real money quickly.
As for the monetary cost —you don’t need to start with tens of thousands of dollars in top-of-the-line gear. A used camera from a few years ago is great, especially when you are just starting out. As you start making money, you will upgrade your gear. You will know when upgrades make sense in your business.
Your other upfront expenses are going to be business cards, a website, and insurance. In my opinion, as soon as you can afford insurance, you absolutely get it.
Bottom line: the costs to start a photography business can vary greatly from person to person, but if you run your business right, you will be rewarded with an amazing ROI that will completely dwarf your startup expenses!
How much can someone make from photography?
The short answer is: surprisingly, a lot of money.
Here is the more comprehensive answer, and I talk about this in my free introductory course: Just like with anything, the amount of money you can make from photography depends on how much time you’re willing to put into it. One thing I teach in-depth in my Quick Start to Photo Cash course is how to make thousands of dollars extra off of a shoot using one simple method. You might book a shoot for $325, but end up making $1,500. How many of those do you need to make the profit you want per month? Per year?
I know one mom who gets over $40K worth of business from 2 weeks of shooting in the summer. And she does not live in a big city! There is money in almost every size market.
Photography is a lucrative field because you are making one-of-a-kind art that no one else can create, and the clients consider it a worthwhile investment. The images you take can be important for generations to come. They see the value in that, and are willing to pay you accordingly.
My $100K + income is not all that unique. Almost anyone can duplicate my business model with the right tools and training.
Are there any shortcuts to making money quickly in photography?
Yes! But you probably won’t stumble onto them alone. It took me years to figure out how to turn a profit from photography quickly. I named my course Quick Start to Photo Cash because it is the 10 steps I would take to grow a six-figure photography business from scratch as quickly as possible. I have spent a lot of time doing things that didn’t make any money, so I created a course where people could learn from my mistakes and accelerate the process.
There are three things I would do to make money as quickly as possible in this business, and I teach this a lot more in-depth in the course:
- Focus on my existing network in an authentic way, being of service to others.
- Specialize in a niche that I’m passionate about, and get really good at it.
- Implement an upsell strategy specifically for my clientele so that I could double, or even triple my revenue from every job.
Do you teach people how to get photography clients?
Yes! People think that getting clients is some kind of magical mystery that involves endless social media posting and expensive advertising.
I teach my students how to grow their network organically, and get social proof while they are building their portfolio. I also explain my system for identifying the people who will be able to send you a stream of pre-qualified clients for years to come.
Who should take your course?
I created this course because I kept meeting photographers who were talented, but didn’t know how to set their businesses up correctly. I talked with people who were leaving thousands of dollars on the table every month and I couldn’t bear to see it!
I’m on a mission to fix this! My course isn’t about beating the competition. It’s about lifting each other up and learning to make the most of their businesses. I figured out how to make over $100K a year, working part-time doing something I love, and I want to empower others to do exactly the same thing!
The course is designed for people who are looking for a side hustle, as well as people who want to make photography their main income. Photography is fantastic for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit. There are opportunities for photo business all around and you literally get to make something out of nothing and make money in the process.Photography is fantastic for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit. Click To Tweet
I work with a lot of moms who realize that they can make better money with a part-time photography business than they can working full-time for someone else. And if they want to, I help them build their businesses and client base so that they can transition into photography as their only source of revenue.
Anything you’d like to end with?
I like to tell people that although it can be lucrative, photography is not a get rich quick scheme. Building a photography business is just that — building a business. It takes time and dedication. I only want people in the course who are willing to do the work. There are a lot of things to set up when you are starting any business, and photography is no different. You need the time and willingness to persevere. But if you do stick with it, the rewards are amazing — great money, working from home, setting your own schedule. You’ll be doing something you love that will greatly affect people’s lives in a positive way.
It was a pleasure interviewing you Christian and thank you for answering all of my questions!
Interested In Photography Learn more in this interview with Christian Grattan first appeared on Mompreneur Media