Heard at every wedding I shoot...."Why do you shoot film????" or "OMG YOU SHOOT FILM?!" These comments always puzzle me, because it wasn't THAT long ago that digital entered the market. After the comments of shock and dismay, I usually get something like "Oh but isn't that expensive?" and other similar expressions of skepticism.
One of the biggest struggles for film photographers today is how to charge enough to be profitable in a world oversatured with digital photographers charging rock bottom prices. Many people shoot "hybrid" in an attempt to save money and only show the images they take on film on their blogs. Some even walk away from film all together because they just aren't able to make it profitable.
Let me be completely honest, I too failed miserably at this for years. I have a right brained approach to life and automatically tend to want to make decisions based on emotion, so when a really nice couple shows up with an ill conceived budget that doesn't match my pricing with a story about how they're paying for themselves and an "I'm desperate for you to shoot my wedding" thrown in, I've caved more times than I'd even like to admit to myself. This has been a difficult thing for me to overcome in my almost 10 years of shooting weddings. It's like a constant battle in my emotion driven brain, the right side telling me I'm a horrible person for wanting to run an actual business. This is SO common for artistically minded people!
It is totally possible to make money shooting film. If you've ever felt like throwing your digital camera in a lake after you get an order of film in your inbox, or if you're desperately searching for that extra special something that makes your photography stand out from the ever increasing crowd, you really don't have to give up on film to make it work. Film really does bring a special quality to images that can't be matched on digital, and many photographers find that it makes them a better photographer for the simple reason that they have to slow down and think through things much more with film.
Here are three big things you can do to start seeing a shift in revenue:
1. Figuring out who your ideal clients are so you can effectively market to them
2. Figuring out how much you need to charge to make a profit by actually doing the numbers
3. Learning how to SELL to those target clients with confidence and excitement
These can be pretty loaded tasks and of course are not fully explained by a few bullet points. There are plenty of educators teaching these principles with expertise and grace, here are two I've personally learned from and highly recommend:
Spencer Lum, Ground Glass - Teaches sales for photographers in a relatable and deep way. His emails alone are worth signing up for because he is such an incredible story teller and writer. He spoke at our first workshop and we hope to have him in the future.
Marketog - Teaches finding your ideal client and how to survive in an oversaturated market.
We'll also be talking about pricing at the workshop and I'll tell you how I stopped losing money hand over fist and started charging appropriately to be a 100% film shooter.
-Sarah Collier, Founder