When I started my photography journey I started by charging $100 for the whole shebang… That lasted about as long as mayonnaise in the sun – but it taught me some very valuable lessons! Here’s the story on my pricing journey!
My business strategy is seriously to work less, create an insane experience for my clients and make more. If you’re interested in doing the same, set up a phone consultation, I’d LOVE to share with you and make this your reality with me! And don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter (right over there —> to the right) so that I can send you tips & tricks to get your business thriving!
But wait there’s more…
Ha! I love saying that! On Monday I’m going to give you Part II and leave you with three ideas on how to go about raising your prices.
M.I.R. Make it Real… Sit down and look at your revenue, is there room to grow? Leave a comment and tell me what holds you back and/or what’s been the outcome of raising your prices and maybe will cover your thoughts next time! And last, if you like what you read, please share it with others! I’d love to think that those nifty gadgets under this post are being used!
I am charging $100 for everything and I will not charge more yet. I know I will not be hired if I charge must more than I do. I live in Idaho and there is NO way my clients would pay $1000.
I want to come over to your house and give you a hug! And then I want to tell you YOU’RE WORTH IT. If you are happy when that $100 bill crosses hands then run with it, hold your head high and be proud of it but if you’re doing the numbers and realizing that you’re almost paying them to give them such a priceless and special gift then – well – that’s up to you. I’m excited for you to watch Monday’s video.
Thank you! I am okay with it for now, I wish I could charge a little more, but photographers that have more experience than me and do better work than I do, are only charging 100 something for the session and 200 for the disk. If I charge
more than them, I will not be getting business at all. I love what I do and luckily am pretty
part time for now because of my life with my kids. It will all change when I have more time
and can do it full time 🙂
Good point Leah when you mentioned knowing why you charge what you charge. All too often I notice new photographers picking a number because they see others charging that much. Then others charge too low because they are afraid a client will accuse them of charging too much. I know alot of us start there but I have learn it comes from not focusing enough on how much it costs to run your business and not deciding how much you want to make in order to make a living.
You are so right!! I think I’ll do a video breaking down exactly why I charge what I charge and how I came up with the numbers.
I started off in a small town in Indiana and I know that thought of “my clients will never pay that much” but darling you, your work, and your time are worth way more then $100 and there will be clients that will pay $1000 or more for you. But you have to believe it first. If you don’t, they won’t.
Thank you Stefanie!! I guess my biggest thing is that a photographer that has been in
the business for a lot longer than I have and is better (I love my work and myself, but she
is my idol/mentor) charges not much more than I do, if I go above her, people will go to her. Anyways, I think I will get there. We are here in school right now and will be moving away to more school in a few years, so I need to wait until I am settled to really get down into the pricing thing
Leah — You are beautiful… and it was so cool to hear the behind the scenes of another photographers story. Sometimes you just want to know how others are doing it, just for reference!
Heather — You gotta believe in yourself. If you don’t have the confidence to charge what you want to, do what you gotta to make it happen, I did a few coaching calls with Leah and it was crucial for my business self-esteem.
Thank you Kelli D! I guess part of it might be because I would never pay that much for
a photography session and images. I am also still learning a lot- like I just barely learned
how to use the manual setting on my camera. 🙂
It is just fine to start slow and work up to feeling more comfortable.
With time and experience comes confidence. Just know all if not most professional photographers
have felt the way that you do at one time or another, and that is ok.
Great video – just wanted to say thanks.
Leah! So fun to watch this video (which was really cute by the way, using those sound effects:)) and remember all that you told me at our mentoring session. Since then, I raised those prices and of course a lot of people were like “WHAT?!” so I definitely had some “loses” on that part, especially with the casual FB inquiries. But last week I was on photo biz heaven! I had a “session premier” and the family didn’t even blink about the pricing. They happily made their $1500+ order and I finally experienced that it is completely possible to find that target market that doesn’t worry about the pricing because they’re valuing the photography so much more. It made me love my job all over again! And not regret at all that I raised those prices. Anyways, thought I’d share since you’re doing a pricing post 🙂
It’s an amazing feeling isn’t it Yana, and you will attract more of that.
YANA!!! That is so awesome! I’m so happy and proud and excited and giddy for you! Now that it’s happened once you know it’s real! Of course I always knew you had it in you!! We can’t be everyone’s photographer and thank you goodness because everyone is hard to build a marketing campaign around! Hmmm. That just inspired my next video! 🙂 Thanks!
Yes, definitely can’t build a marketing campaign around everyone. and the people who try are stuck in the price sensitive chamber.
You are very welcome Heather. Know that price is not the real reason clients come to you. They come to you for you. Your clients love your work and the experience of working with you. The price really is (as it should be) a second thought. You don’t really want clients who will pick you because you are the cheaper of the two photographers. You are a commodity then, a dime a dozen. Once a client is focusing on price that will be the issue from there on out and it will never be about the pictures you provide, and you will find yourself working harder then you gain.
Focus more on how you treat your clients (the experience they have and what value they get) and what you have to offer the world of photography. Let that be your primary focus. You have just as much right to charge as much as your mentor or more. You just have to believe in yourself.
Oh, I understand Heather’s plight. It was my own here in ID. I raised my prices at the beginning of the year and missed some clients because of it. It’s okay. Hard to accept the “loss” at first, but things have picked up and I’m just as busy as ever. Do I still need to gauge my pricing? Oh yeah.
My issue is moola. Isn’t everybody’s? Every penny I reinvest into my business. I long for an updated camera; I visit the the Mac Shrine whenever I’m in Boise and leave a tear stain or two at the hallowed MacPro w/ 27″ Cinema display…. ohhh. Are all these things necessary? Probably not. Would it make things a little easier? Probably so. My very first “session” I used the clients camera, a nice P&S. At the time I got paid in Bath & Body Works or Olive Garden gift cards. Word spread and Olive Garden became PF Changs or Tacanos. Almost all of my work is by WOM and I’m sure my pricing (lack thereof) have been equally touted.
As you can image, it’s been a hard road just to have what I do now; Warm Vanilla body lotion doesn’t spend well at Adobe or Nikon. lol Therefore any advice is welcomed, music to my ears.
I have given this a lot of thought and appreciate the timely post. My dilemma is that I live in an area that is over saturated with high priced photographers and consequently, they aren’t all that busy. Sometimes they will have a whole month go by without any clients. Maybe they have one or two. I would love to make the prices you suggest Leah, I just am not sure it fits into the supply and demand model I learned in econ 110. I live in the D.C. area and you can’t throw a stone without hitting another photographer. Sure I would love to make more but I am not going to lie when I say that raising prices to your levels freaks me out!! Sometimes I am also suspicious of photogs saying they should raise prices too because it makes the playing field more equal for everyone, thereby protecting their own interests too. I guess if you do the cost/ benefit analysis on everything for me, if I am making $50 / hour after overhead (taxes, gear, web site etc.), that’s almost as good as my aunt who is a CPA.
I am loving the community I’m seeing on here! So inspiring to feel that you’re among friends.
WOW!! What an inspiration Leah! I think you have hit the nail on the head – the experience that we deliver needs to be EXCEPTIONAL for us to feel that we are justified in the higher pricing. You’ve given me the kick up the butt that I need to raise the bar, and with your help, I’m well on the way. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!
I recently raised my prices (still nowhere close to where I should be) and a friend asked me what I was going to charge HER because she was my friend. I remarked that if everyone said that to me I wouldn’t be profitible, but in my mind I was thinking ‘uh oh this is the beginning of the end’. And you know what, three days later she booked me. Taking a stand and knowing that I am worth it is hard, but I know it is going to pay off.
Please Please Please!!!
Leah, you are a beautiful inspiration. I love hearing what you have to say.
I understand Heather’s dilemma. But the fact is, do you want to be a photographer that people go to because you’re the “cheapest price” or do you want those clients that come to you because they LOVE your work, no matter what the price? You may have less clients, and more spare time, but they spend more, so you come out better in the long run. Heather, stay confident, and don’t compare yourself to the other photographers, and don’t worry about what they charge- you’re not them. Try to make yourself a bit different than them- it justifies charging a different price, be it more or less.
i was referred to this post by another tog friend (Jenty) – who I’d recently been having conversations with around pricing…
And it just confirms my thinking… whilst I was charging too little (like WAY too little)… I was undervaluing myself… and I’ve raised my prices… and started to sweat about it (as the orders haven’t come rushing in)… BUT… I had a realisation that:
The reason that I was charging too little, was that not only did I not have confidence in my ability… and I also doubted that I would get people to pay for the service at the fee I wanted… I was also desperate to prove that I could make this a full-time thing, and so I accepted anything…
The final realisation that this was stupid thinking… was when I shot a birthday party for R500 (I’m in SA – and to put it into perspective – a normal 1hr shoot if you’re good should go for about R2000 – R3000, and a party – more)… you’re thinking I’m crazy, aren’t you… it get’s worse… I rented a lens for R370, and drove about 50km’s to the party (guage about R1 per km)… the party pretty much cost me!
I also realised that I didn’t want to do this… it isn’t working for me… and so I decided to rather charge a price that is fair (also not where I want it)… and wait…
What I’ve been shown is that there are clients who value what we do… and they will pay what you’re worth! I’ve had a client that happily paid my full price for a shoot for her babe at 8 months, and has now asked me to shoot her babes first birthday… and she isn’t quibbling about price… the interesting thing is that the client is a single mom, and isn’t as well off as the R500 party client… AND – she really appreciates what I offered…
Thanks for confirming my NEW thinking!
Well THANK YOU Jenty!!
You absolutely nailed it when you said, “The reason that I was charging too little, was that not only did I not have confidence in my ability… and I also doubted that I would get people to pay for the service at the fee I wanted… I was also desperate to prove that I could make this a full-time thing, and so I accepted anything…” that’s what it really comes down to and it was definitely what first held me back. The great news is that you already see it and are already rounding the curve. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that it’s really not about the income they bring in, it’s about the value they hold on memories. And it sounds like you’ve just learned that too! I’m excited to hear how things continue to blossom for you! Thank you so much for the wonderful comment and sharing your story with me!!
I set up a business plan and calculated everything out…to make enough to scrape by. Why? exactly what Emma said…so I could prove I could make it full time. I don’t know if it’s possible to average $2200 per sale (although I would love to)…I’m not even sure it’s possible to average $1000 (although I would also love that!!!). Logistically speaking, with our population and our economics in our area…I’m not sure it’s possible. I am currently averaging $300.00. Oh how I would love to even double that…if I did…I would be much more comfortable! I am lacking the experience. I so desperately want to do the “session premiers” but don’t know how to begin. I know I have something people want…I just need to get out of this rut, my “comfort zone” as my husband calls it. I want to be extroardinary!
Well you will definitely want to be in on the webinar. It’s every juicy detail about how I do my session premiers. I’ll be giving details soon! So stay tuned!
Wow…this is EXACTLY what I need! I am a big believer in “the secret” lol! Law of attraction RIGHT! SO AWESOME!
Most certainly believe in the law of attraction which is really all about blessings predicated on actions. Positivity is repaid with positivity and like wise so is negativity with negativity. So happy it helped! Thank you for telling me!