A lot of friends have asked me how I monetized food photography. It’s quite simple. It took time. This advice here is geared towards the first $10k and not experts. The main goal of business is to provide value to consumers. Initially, I offered my service for free. This meant, reaching out to restauranteurs whose food and dining experiences I enjoyed the most. Once I got some responses, I executed those photoshoots. In total, I did about 20 free photoshoots in the beginning. This was crucial to receiving testimonials and referrals to other restauranteurs. Imagine of each of these restauranteurs provided me with an average of 1 referral. That’s 20 other restaurants that I could do paid work at. From those new 20 restauranteurs, they can refer me to an average of 1 each as well. And so forth. From the first 3 months, this would equate to about a total of 80 restaurants I would potentially work with, with 20 being free. For the first 20 restauranteurs that were paid, I had a flat fee of $500. Now, my fees are base + number of proofs based. My rates have increased by 4x since the very beginning.
Below, I’ve broken down how to make your first $10k from food photography.
1) Create a list of 250 restaurants that you like. From there, you should expect to work with about 20 of them (8%). Your strategy should be to group all the photoshoots back-to-back. A lot of overhead time is spent doing shoots, so you want to minimize that time to increase your ROI.
2) Provide food photoshoot for free. Do your best work. Go out of your way to provide a shot list.
3) Submit your post-processed work as soon as possible and ask for a written testimonial. Your photos will also speak for themselves.
And there we have it - $10k from the first month is possible if you just follow these simple steps.
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