The truth is it is very difficult to get your first several paying clients (by paying clients i mean people who are willing to pay you $6000+ for weddings, or $600+ to do modeling portfolios for themselves)
I work full-time as a pharmacist. But my real passion is photography. Im not trying to quit my day job bc i love what i do, but i wanted to pursue photography and get paid for my hobby
So in February, i filed for a LLC and started my photography company and put up my website www.expressionsbyericwang.com
I didn't know anything about photography or DSLRs really, and i knew jack shit (even now) about lighting
I spent literally $5000+ on Facebook advertising (you have to spend money to make money, right?), and i got a crap-ton of likes (1300 likes) but ZERO paid work
Then, i tried something else. I signed up for meetup and started Philly Photography Field-Trip Meetup. And i started doing weekly shoots with amateur and wannabe models, and posting the photos from the shoots weekly on FB, both on my personal page and my business page
Within 3 weeks, i got my first paid gig!
A model was willing to pay me $20 to build a professional portfolio for her
Excited to finally get paid work as a photographer, i spent 3 days shooting her at various locations, even paying for her hair and makeup ($250 altogether).
And, i kept doing these shoots with amateur/decent-looking models, and paid work would gradually trickle in....$10 here, $30 there, nothing huge
But i just kept at it
Then, I realized after 6 weeks, dude this is exhausting....im busting my ass, retouching pics, posting weekly on FB and getting paid minimum wage. Actually much less than minimum wage
So, im like....something needs to change. I need to market to rich people. So i started hiring professional and stunning looking models(paying them $300-400 per shoot) and shooting them in visually stunning locations, i.e. the rooftop of a luxury hotel
And to subsidize my little experiment, i started charging photogs to attend these shoots, $40-70 per shoot, mind you, still bleeding money, because it took on avg $800 to put together a shoot, and i was putting on a shoot a week
Couple weeks, nothing happened.
Then, out of the blue, i get a text from a 40 yr old, asking me to help her build a professional portfolio to try to get her in Ford Models, and she asked me how much i charge for that
Just for shits and giggles, i said $600
Within 15 secs, she texts me back, "ok sounds good, send me more details"
Im like holy shit!!!
And since then, Ive done 4 weddings (even tho initially i didnt want to do weddings - too stressful), averaging $4000 each
Without exception, these weddings are all people i dont know (not family friends or coworkers' friends) who found me via the photos i was posting on my FB page
Sorry got a little carried away with the story, but long story short, i realized the key to getting paid work (esp from rich people) as a photographer is regularly posting top-notch photos of top-notch models in top-notch locations
Rich people, the ones who are actually willing to take out their wallets and pay decent money, only want the best...and when you shoot and regularly post your photos of top-notch models in top-notch locations, you create the perception that you are an in-demand photographer
And in business as in life, perception is reality
So basically this monthly membership is $48/month, and $24 to attend a shoot (as opposed to the avg price of $90-$120 to attend a shoot as a nonmember)
As a member, your monthly rate will NEVER increase so long as you choose to stay a member
Theres no signup or cancellation fees. Even better, if you decide to cancel within the first 60 days, you can get a FULL refund. Every penny you paid for the membership
And even after the initial 60 days, you can cancel your membership anytime without penalty, no questions asked