Do You Apologize For Your Photography Business?

You’re meeting with a client. You come to the end of your presentation and you hit them with the price. They get quiet and look at you kind of funny. The silence continues. You start shaking on the inside. “What do I do now,” you think.

Then you do the worst thing possible.

“I know it seems high. What if I throw in a few extra things? What would you be willing to pay?”

Doubt creeps in and you blow your sales presentation.

Have you ever had this experience before?

We all have. And yet this one thing kills your business quicker than anything else.Do You Apologize For Your Photography Business?

If you’ve set your prices for a reason (you have, haven’t you?), then you should be comfortable with your pricing. Pricing should be synonymous with quality. If you have a quality product, experience, education, and a solid reputation, your pricing reflects your skill.

Doubt crumbles your reputation and reduces the quality of the product. “She’s not sure about herself,” your potential customer will think the moment they see doubt. “Should I really trust her?” Or in some cases, some prospects will even move to the dark side and think, “I wonder what else I can get away with”.

Both are clients you don’t want.

Both can ruin your reputation.

Both can create a business model you won’t enjoy.

If you’ve found yourself thinking or doing this in the near past, today is the day to change it all around. Ask yourself these three questions.

1. Do I know exactly why I’m in business?

2. Do I know exactly how my business works and what I have to offer?

3. Do I know exactly what to charge for everything?

The more sure you are about your overall business model, the less rattled you’ll become when someone questions you. The more you understand about your packages and why you’ve put them together the way you have, the more you can explain it to your prospects and customers. And when you’re sure about your business model and what you have to offer, you’ll understand exactly why you charge the way you do.

3 Reasons You Should Be Raising Your Photography Prices This Year

Think people don’t have money to spend on your photography?

Think again.

The marketplace is a dynamic entity, always changing. If someone doesn’t have money, its because the money has moved on to someone else.

Which means if your clientele isn’t spending or doesn’t have the money to spend on your photography, its time to move to a new demographic.

And if someone else is buying – an entirely new demographic – you can’t market to them the way you always have. They have their own characteristics. Their own demands. Their own wants and desires.

The person you now want to have as a client will change.

So you must change your marketing along with it.

Yep, don’t think for a minute there is no money. Its just not true. The money is there.

But you have to figure out how to make it move into your pockets. And when you do, raise your photography prices and start reaping the rewards.

1. Think Like Disney

Ask anyone in the entertainment industry, and you will soon find out times are tough. Movie theaters offer all kinds of deals – $5 Sundays and free movies for the kids on Tuesday mornings all summer long. Our local Six Flags has been dropping prices every year and finding new ways to package what they have – family of 4 season packages include free parking and free concerts this year.

Yet one place isn’t lowering their prices. They are raising them.

Disneyland announced last week that they are raising the price of a ticket to $87, a 9 percent increase. The premium annual pass that includes parking increased by 30 percent. All to take affect immediately; which means they will be earning even more this summer as the vacation season is just beginning. [Read more…]

Should I Take $1,000 For This Photography Session?

Laura is a wedding photographer. Her bottom package, and bestseller, is a $2,000 coverage. She set her prices at $2,000 because she feels this is her bottom line. Anything less, and she won’t be making a profit, won’t make enough to cover her expenses, and would be working “for nothing”. Yet she routinely has people walk away saying they love her work and style, but simply can’t afford her. She’s had more than one person this year ask her for the same package at $1,000. So many in fact that she’s beginning to wonder if she should move her bottom package to $1,000. At least it will bring in $1,000, which is better than nothing.

I found a video put out by Pictage that also showcases a variety of “Laura’s” that are feeling the same things. And I know they are not alone.

So the question becomes, “Should I take $1,000 for this photograph session?”

My answer is no. And here’s why.

Lets return to Laura for a moment.

Let’s say for $2,000, she spends 6 hours on average at the wedding, photographs unlimited coverage, provides an album layout, and a variety of prints included in the package. Add in meeting and production time as well.

Now she decides to keep the same package, except lower the price to $1,000.

If she normally photographs 25 weddings per year, her $50,000 business was just sliced in half to $25,000.

Ah, but you say she wouldn’t have booked the 25 weddings this year anyway at $2,000, isn’t $25,000 better than nothing? (Providing she could book 25 at $1,000.)

Nothing other than price has changed. Meaning nothing other than profit has changed as well.

Laura will now look at those clients differently, approach photography differently, and have a completely different mindset as she’s shooting. It’s a negative place to be, and it will reflect in her work. If she is constantly grumbling to herself that she should have been paid more, she’s not giving it all. And isn’t that why you went into photography in the first place?

What should happen instead? One of three things. [Read more…]

Changing Your Photography Packages and Services

When was the last time you sat down and changed your products, services and packages?

For a wedding photographer, it may be once a year. For a portrait photographer, it may be once every couple of years.

No matter what field your in, now is the time to rethink your current offerings, even if you restructured them within the last few months.

Every time you turn on the television or login to the Internet, the news isn’t good. Companies continue to fail. The housing industry is crashing. The stock market is falling. You can’t help worrying about your own business.

As much as you think of your own business, its also time to think of your prospects and customers. What do they want in this economy?

Now more than ever, your clients want value. I didn’t say cheap, free, or low cost. I said value.

Just because your clients are watching their funds, and are looking to save money for the future, doesn’t mean they won’t part with money if they find you of good value.

There will always be people in every income bracket, ready and willing to part with their money.

Let me give you an example. At one of our weddings, the bride easily spent over $1 million dollars. The reception site was $25k – just for the site. She spent $15k on a caviar bar. She wore a custom designed Vera Wang original gown.

Do you think she would have been comfortable spending $1,000 on her photographs?

Pricing is relative.

You can create a portrait package valued at $10,000 – if you are targeting the right clients that are willing to pay it, and offer the photography that attracts them to you.

Maybe now is the time to re-evaluate your current clients, and create a package perfect for them. What can you do to entice them to buy from you in the last four months of 2008?