One the hardest things to figure out when opening a photography business is what to charge. There are a lot of equations to consider and it’s really important to set a correct price because being too low or too high can be a disaster. I’ve seen businesses ruined because they don’t know how to do this one thing!
Years ago I sat with a friend in a bar near Wyoming and we talked about art and photography. She would charge 75 for a shoot. I asked why? She said those were her people. She is not a photographer now.
I will say something a little weird now. I’ve never know a photography who went out of business for setting prices high!
In fact a few years back I was photographing a Xmas party and another local photographer was there as a guest. She’s a good photography, not any better or less than I am, just a different style. We started to talk about her prices. She shot weddings. She was also the most expensive photographer in town. She told me that the week before she received a call from a client asking her to shoot a wedding and as they were talking another local photog’s name came up. She asked the client why she didn’t choose the other photographer. This is important!
The Client said, “Because you are the best. I know this because you are more expensive!”
WFT? Why would someone say this?
There is a story about Picasso. One evening he was sitting in a cafe eating and doodling on a napkin as Picasso liked to do. After he ate he got up to leave and as he was leaving a woman walked over and picked up the napkin and walked up to him and asked if she could have it. He took the napkin and looked at her and said, “Yes, For 10,000 dollars.”
She gasped in shock and said, “But it only took you a minute to make it. Why should I pay 10,000 dollars for something that you made in a minute?”
Because Picasso made it. Imagine having that napkin hanging on the wall in your den today. What would the value be?
Earlier today on Facebook a good friend and fellow photog posted about a model…
His post went something like this.
LOL! I just offered a model a trade for shoot and she sent him a price list.
I don’t usually leave comments but I wrote this. “People need to consider the value they offer to others. It’s sad because I feel when models overvalue themselves and what they can offer it spills over into other parts of their lives.”
Working with young men and women in a therapy setting I learned a lot of about how we over or under perceive our value.
I feel like most photographer have low self-esteem and this leads to the idea that they can charge a lot of money for their work. This means they don’t get to be full-time photographers.
I used to be this way and my problem was I didn’t understand psychological boundaries or how to be assertive.
Assertiveness training and reading helped me a lot.
the nest thing I did was start to consider value. How is value created and how to consider this when creating my pricing.
I teach workshops. I teach NUDE workshops and my workshops are not expensive for nude workshops. Damn! That was a mouthful! LOL
The best advice I have ever received about pricing was this… If you can’t get the price you want you have two options. Lower your price or raise your value.
I chose to raise my value because financially it doesn’t make sense for me to offer what I do and end up broke.
How do you raise value? There a few ways to do this. one is branding or reputation, Another thing to consider is what you offer and is it close to the range of your competitor. What is your unique selling proposition.
Sometimes photographers go too far on one direction and they hurt themselves.
If you had a head shot business and you drove in around in a mobile studio that you put in the back of a van you can change more. Your unique selling proposition is not based on price. It’s based on convenience. People will pay for convenience. If you think I’m telling a lie here consider how many people you know who go pay a ton of money for crappy fast food!
The whole point of this post can be boiled down to one idea. Set your prices on the value you offer your customers because money is based on the value we perceive an object to have. We assign the value. I hope this helps you and your business! It helped me!
I still offer personal lessons! Message me and visit my site and I have several workshops starting soon!
Upcoming workshops in Reno, Las Vegas, Yellowstone Area and Park City!
TEXT OR CALL ME AT 424-202-0476
Ikon Republik- I live and travel in a frickin van and I love my life! Currently I am in Idaho but I will be moving in about a month and a half! I founded a magazine, VEGA Magazine. My magazine is full of beautiful nude women and its based around the idea of respect and soon it will include amazing articles on how to improve your life! Out of the last 8 months, I have spent 4 of them living in the desert, under the stars and cooking over a campfire that was made with two sticks and a bow. I believe in self-sufficiency and integrity. My website is www.ikonrepublik.com