Category Archives: Photography Business

With Great Power

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With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
By: Austin Holt //


Readers! Thanks for tuning in. Today’s topic is an exciting one. There is a TON of invaluable information and I can’t wait to hear your take aways from it.


With great power comes great responsibility (This was from an old course of mine!) 


One extremely important thing I want you to consider:


One of my favorite movies of all time, is the late classic “Spider-Man”. Everyone knows the best quote from that movie, “With great power comes great responsibility.”


I actually opened every single lincoln douglas debate round I ever debated with this quote – and believe it or not, I won almost every round I ever debated.


Here’s why: this quote is meaningful, powerful, and effective in so many ways.


Here is how it applies to photographers:


Here is your power: When you begin calling yourself a photographer – you buy your gear, print your business cards, file your LLC, and begin writing facebook statuses about your photography business.


By doing this, by exercising this power, you are sending a message.  You are telling the world you are ready to take their hard earned money, and give them a quality product in return.


Here is your responsibility: You actually know what you are doing, and either own, or have access to equipment that will adequately capture someone’s sacred moments, and will produce a quality product for them to hang above their living room mantel.


When you say you shoot weddings, you are telling a young(or old) couple that you are ready to take on the responsibility of capturing the most special moments of their lives. They aren’t in the wedding, or photography industry, so there is a good chance they will effectively believe you, and hire you, sometimes regardless of your level of skill and equipment.


You are promising them you possess the sufficient power, to provide them with a sufficient result. Don’t tell people you are ready for what you’re not. If you do, you are misrepresenting the truth about your abilities.


Solution: Assist other professional photographers. Seek counsel from other seasoned photographers. Practice makes perfect.


When you are in the training/learning/developing stage of your career in photography, offer to shoot pictures for free, or for “tips” only. That way, if they don’t turn out great, no problem. They were free.


Call your friends, your favorite couple, or grab your dog, and go out and shoot. Just shoot. Shoot a ton. Offer to do the photos for free.


When I used to sell residential properties, there was one fundamental rule that always stuck with me:


You put a house on the market when it’s ready. If you put it on the market, and it still smells like cat litter, or the carpet is stained beyond repair, or if the roof leaks, the buyers that come through, will most likely not return, and if they do, they are going to want a BIG price reduction for the poor quality of the home, and for their “troubles”.


See the analogy? If you participate in a paid photoshoot before you are ready, there is a great chance that the client will never come back to you again.

Or, they will demand another session for free, a massive price reduction, or, God forbid, they will want their money back, trash talk you on every review site they can find, and warn everyone they know about you.


Doubt this happens? Wrong. Imagine someone promises the bride we talked about above, world class photos, for a “good deal” and then delivers horrible photos to the bride and groom. Their perfect day, which they invested thousands of dollars, their hearts and souls, and tears into, and you took horrible pictures. Here is a little tip: Photoshoots, especially weddings, are very emotionally focused and driven. If you royally screw it up, or misrepresent your abilities, you will pay for it, (and rightfully so.)


Remember: With great power, comes great responsibility.


“Fake it till you make it” doesn’t fly in the world of photography. It’s not right, and it’s not fair.


Lastly, you don’t just have the responsibility of ascertaining a quality skill in taking pictures, but you have the responsibility of possessing quality equipment as well. If the client can’t print a nice, large photo for above their mantle because the shot is grainy, and pixelated, they are going to be ticked. I would be too.


Don’t give them the impression that your $500 DSLR is pro-grade. No offence, but it’s not. Rachel and I have over $25,000 in photography gear – it took a long time to amass, and yes, we had to sacrifice lots of fun things to have this gear, but our clients are worth it, not to mention the long term financial viability and longevity those sacrifices procure.


Everytime we purchased a pro piece of glass(lens) we would say to ourselves “Hmm, we could either spend $2500 on this lens, or go to Hawaii…”


Getting the gear will require some sacrifice, but it will be worth it, I promise. (So is it really sacrifice? 😉 )


Assignment: Practice, practice, and practice. Prepare to accept the fact that you need good gear, and a professional skill set, if you want to charge formidable fees for your services.


Try to pick up your camera EVERY day and take a few photos.


Begin to make a list of friends and family that you could shoot for free(no puns, please!), for the experience.


Consider the Latin word “Fiducia” which means trust, confidence, assurance.


Furthermore, consider the role of a fiduciary. Be the kind of person others can trust, have confidence in, and assurance that you will put their needs above your own(In the context of the role they have hired you for), and that you perform competently, and professionally.


You have a fiduciary responsibility to your clients. When you assume the role of both photographer and friend, you are making a representation: make a good one.


EXTRA assignment for FUN:


  1. Watch spider-man – that movie rocks! (Optional)
  2. Do something kind for someone this week. (Yup)




Thanks for reading this post from Be sure to have a look around the website, and subscribe at

Talk to you soon!

-Austin and the Next Level Team


[email protected]


Is 2016 the year?

By | Coaching, Photography Business | No Comments

Is 2016 going to be THE year?


I’d like to say a few important words, but first, I’d like to honor someone; someone who has integrity, cares deeply about their market, and will follow through on commitments, and is now reaping EXCELLENT reward because they possess these traits.

And guess what? This person attracts people(clients) JUST LIKE HIM/HER.

This individual took our 14days program (a mere investment of $297.00), did everything we told him/her to do, and as you can see in the photo, the results flooded in, and are not slowing down.

You don’t need more presets.
You don’t need more gear.
You don’t need more overlays.
You don’t need more secret ninja courses, tricks, ideas, etc, etc.
You don’t need distracting conversations about your “business”
You don’t need more facebook groups

(In fact, you don’t “need” anything…but that’s another conversation..)

You “need” to learn TIMELESS truths, be held accountable, and find out why you’re really here, and why you’re really in this industry.

Because this business is EASY, IF:

You’ll be humble.
You care about people and serving them.
You’ll actually work, and pay close attention to what you’re doing.
You’ll follow through.
You’ll BE the kind of client you want.
You’ll search yourself, and hold yourself 100% responsible for what you’re experiencing in your life.

If you can do those things, you’ll rock this business. By rock, I mean time, and financial freedom, and fulfillment!

So why not invest time, money, and energy into yourself? Why not bank on yourself?

You don’t have time? (That means you really DON’T want it)
You don’t have energy? (YOU are responsible for managing that)
You don’t have money? (WHY not? What if your books were open – do you think someone else could find where you COULD find the money?)

Fact: Every human being sets aside the time, energy, and money for whats most important to them

Do you lack belief, or confidence in yourself?

I have good news: IT STARTS WITH YOU, and you can start ANY TIME YOU WANT.

When you invest in you, when you believe in YOU, when you trust YOU, the world(clients) around you will follow suit.

It’s time to MOVE, it’s time to GO.

It’s time to stop waiting around for the right amount of money, time, courage, energy, etc, because no one is going to make those things for you – it starts. with. you.


IF you’re interested in results like these, shoot me a PM, and we’ll see if you’re the right fit for one of our online programs, coaching, or our in-person KC experience.


booked 1692 cant finish 14 days homework

When another business opportunity comes along…

By | Coaching, Photography Business | No Comments


In one of my private coaching groups, I was asked the following question:

“I’m focused on real estate/architectural photography, but I’m entrepreneurial… What thought checks and balances should I think through when another business opportunity comes along that isn’t all this thing that I’m doing now. (Assuming that I could probably split my time between the two of them).”

My (quick)answer to this individuals very important question:

“1. You can’t split your time between them right now, because every spare second of sanctified work time should be spent lead generating so that THIS business, can become a 6 figure income stream, and source of freedom and joy.

2. Once this business is generating enough income for you to sub out the minutia to an employee/contractor, only THEN do I believe its particularly wise to dabble in other opportunities(as long as the bottom line makes sense).

3. Not every opportunity is a good one – sometimes, we find ourselves considering other opportunities as a sub-conscious form of procrastination. If you’re and entre, you’ll always find opportunity finding you – filter it through your own strainer.

4. The key to a successful business is FOLLOW-THROUGH. See your business out as a 6 figure generator, and your thoughts will become your reality.

5. Give 100% to this opportunity, and if you find yourself feeling friction, resistance, etc, then pivot and move forward.

A few thought checks;

1. Is this opportunity a massive win-win for me?
2. Am I procrastinating by considering it?
3. Am I afraid to give 100% to my primary focus because I am afraid it will fail?
4. Am I spending all my free time wisely for my primary focus?
5. Do I want to make a ton of money doing what I love, while working half the time most do, so I can spend time with my family, travel to sunny places, and give to others? (You started this primary focus to achieve your WHYS – don’t sell it short by allowing your sub-concious distract you because it’s not comfortable with how great things are becoming)

I can never think of a time in my professional career that I wasn’t constantly tempted/asked/baited to take on new opportunities.

The times in my life where I resisted, and kept my focus, is where I’ve seen dramatic growth – almost like, I was rewarded for saying no.

Because remember this:

When you say NO to something less important than your focus, you’re saying YES to your focus, and yes to the future you desire most.”

I hope this blesses you and your journey.

Take Action. Break Through. REPEAT.

[email protected]

Yes, the world around you wants to book you.

By | Coaching, Photography Business | No Comments

When you genuinely care about people….

And you care about giving them what they already want….

And you have the courage to re-align them when their insecurities or doubts surface about what they believe they deserve…

…sales can become an incredible form of love….

and this concept…… = REAL RESULTS.

What this coaching client of mine is doing costs nothing but time and energy. No special tricks, no gimmicks, no bull, no ninjas, no___________.

Back to basics. Timeless basics.

If you’re a business owner, and you’re ready to increase sales, decrease stress, increase freedom, decrease guess work(which is EXPENSIVE), and SERVE MORE PEOPLE….

Shoot me a PM.

Because….. “it works lol”

Break through, take action, repeat.
~ Austin

epic 1 and 2

How do I price myself?

By | Coaching, Photography Business | No Comments


Quite often, I see or hear this famous question come across one of our facebook groups, in a private message, or on a phone call:

“How do I price myself?”

This is quite possibly one of the most loaded questions one can ask. Both new photogs, part time, and full timers ask this question at some point in their career. 

Not only is it dependant on a multitude of both simple, and complex variables, but it also hinges on one very important, and intriguingly deeper question:

“How much do I value myself?” (My time, my skill, my energy, etc)

Before we tackle that question, let’s first break down 3 of the simpler components of how to “price yourself”.


1. Quality of Product

The quality of your finished product, the shoot experience, and your gear play a huge role in determining a value for your work.


The quality of your product is important, because ultimately, your customers want quality photos. And, to take this a bit deeper, what your customers REALLY want, is how receiving quality photos will make them feel. I repeat, what HUMAN BEINGS, really desire, is how something/someone makes them FEEL.

Why do you think people want quality photographs? What does that indicate about what’s most important to them? (Capturing memories, family, love, appreciation, etc)

Your “shoot experience” is also part of your product. When you go out to eat at a fancy resturant, part of what you’re paying for is a pleasant, and exciting experience. Your ability to give someone a fun, efficient, and successful shoot experience plays into your value greatly. And I mean GREATLY.

Lastly, your gear comes into play as well. Notwithstanding your ability to USE it, the quality of your gear plays into your value because gear greatly affects the quality of the finished product. If photos are low resolution, out of focus, too grainy, etc, it’s going to affect the way customers evaluate your value.


2. Quality of the Entire Experience

Customer experience plays a huge role in how to determine a value for your work.

In this industry, customer experience and service is huge, because the perceived value of your work, is directly related to how you take care of your clients in every detail of their total experience with you. ( = how they feel)

The experience with you begins with the first time they experience you, whether this is in person, over the phone, over an email, over an AD, or even when they are creeping on your facebook page at 2:00 in the morning.

It ends with your follow ups that happen a few days, weeks,  months, or even years after the last time they hired you. (If you aren’t doing this, you’re missing out of thousands)

Customers don’t always remember details about a transaction; they remember how they FELT.

How they FELT, directly relates to how you treated them.

Do you communicate quickly and precisely?
Do you send shoot reminders?
Where you ON TIME?
Do you give receipts?
Do you under-promise and over-deliver?

Do you make good on your promises?

Do you go above and beyond to make sure they felt valued by you?

All of these things, and more, craft the ultimate customer experience, and believe me, the customer experience is worth it’s weight in gold.



3. Demand

Three major factors come into play with demand: Market, tenacity, and the desire to serve.

The “market” is essentially a group of people that want to buy what you have for sale. When you specifically understand WHO this market is, WHERE they hang out, and WHAT they want,  it not only becomes easy for them to buy, but they will usually buy more QUICKLY, and for more MONEY, because you have exactly what they want.


Tenacity means you not only have a GRIP on what your market is doing, but it also means you have the courage and determination to serve them.

If you lack the tenacity to engage your market with a heart that truly desires to serve them, they will feel no real connection, or motivation to engage with you.

When you know your market, and have the courage to serve their needs, demand for you will rise, thus, affecting your value.


(Notice how I didn’t mention ***competition***)


To conclude these 3:

Quality product, superior experience, a thorough understanding of your market, along with a tenacious heart to serve them = BASIS FOR YOUR VALUE

And finally, the deepest, most important factor: “How much do you value yourself?”

I’m sure you were hoping that this article would have also included an exact NUMBER, right?

You were hoping I would say “Hey, YOU, you should charge $_________, for your services, based on A, B, C, D”

You were hoping for “$150 sitting fee + prints marked up at 500%” or “$500 s&b”, right?

Yes, I could have done that. However, that’s not the RIGHT place to start. (Though individualized pricing consulting is something I highly recommend.) 

That’s not the foundation you need.  

The foundational question you need to answer is this: “How much do YOU, value yourself?”

Because the world will ONLY value you, as much as you value yourself.

If you believe your time, and ability to serve someone is worth $____ an hour, and your VALUE is congruent or greater to that number, the world around you will believe it’s worth $______ as well.

Here’s what I mean:

If you believe that your 1-hour session is worth $500.00, without the need to defend, apologize, or bend, your customers will believe it to, so long as you are truly a VALUE. (Law of value: You are bringing more to the table than they believe they are paying for – they need to at least FEEL that way.)

The way you engage with your market is the way you’re teaching them to engage with you.

Sure, I could tell you to study what other, comparable photographers in your area are charging, and that might be a decent place to start.

However, imagine selling your value to people who want it, without the preconceived notion of “what others are charging”?

Consider your product, your experience, your market, and ultimately, how much you value yourself, and your pricing will become very evident.

Thank you for reading, and be sure to thank yourself for investing your time and thought into becoming more aware about what matters to your business.


– Austin
[email protected]

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