New Year, New Prices?
People don’t like talking about money. It’s a fact that can make pricing your photography services tricky. Chances are, you’ve missed out on potential clients time and time again because you’re “too expensive.” But behind the scenes, you’re working long hours and feeling burned out while trying to make ends meet.
Raising your prices after being told that you’re “too expensive” may seem counterintuitive, but it might just be the move you need to make this year. As photographers, we compare ourselves to others and pull apart our work until we feel inferior to the competition. Many of us are pre-programmed to be more self-deprecating than we ought to be. Sure, there will always be better photographers out there, but most of the time, your client doesn’t need complicated techniques and the accompanying price tag. Instead, your clients are looking for decent images at a fair price, accompanied by a professional attitude and a reasonable turnaround time. If you can successfully offer this, and you’re still not booking enough clients to sustain yourself, then it’s time to think about raising your prices.
You’re “too expensive,” but you’re also “too cheap.”
It is possible to price yourself into a sour spot where you’re too expensive for the people who want everything at the lowest possible price, but you’re too cheap for those who associate cost with quality. The simple act of raising your photography session pricing may make people perceive your services as being more valuable. A photographer pricing their services too low is subconsciously sending the message that their services are “cheap” rather than “affordable." Consumers naturally correlate discounts with taking away value, so you’re unwittingly sending the message that your services aren’t worth their full price.
Pricing your services correctly and fairly can help you attract the right type of client. There will always be potential clients who don’t understand the amount of time spent behind the scenes to produce beautiful images — they will always believe you are too expensive. These are also the sort of clients who continually ask for extras or bonuses, will quibble over every detail, and when the job is finally complete, are slow to pay. Setting your prices a little higher may help you attract the clients you want to work with while discouraging those you don’t want.
3 ways to raise your prices without alienating your existing client base
People don’t mind paying more if they’re getting more. Consider adding extras to your packages that don’t hurt your profit margins, but do make a big impression on your clients. For example, your wedding photography package might specify that your clients will receive a set number of digital images. You could introduce a new offer, set at a higher price, that includes a stunning slideshow or a professionally designed photo album (or both). This technique allows you to set a package price that covers your new pricing, plus the cost of producing an album or slideshow.
Raise only some of your prices
Figure out which of your offerings are most popular and raise the cost of these, while leaving your less popular offerings as they are. By only increasing the price of your most popular services, you will notice a dramatic increase in your income, while continuing to offer many services at their original price.
Give your clients options so that they can choose a photography package or service that suits their budget. If you need to raise your prices, consider adding a lesser service for a lower price. Hypothetically, if you usually offer a one-hour studio session for a set price of $200, but need to increase your rate to $250, you could consider offering mini sessions for less. For example, you could provide a half-hour mini session for $175 — this provides an option for your more budget-conscious clients, while also making your one-hour session feel like a great deal.
Looking for ways to increase your photography income this year? Try reading 3 Practical Tips for Selling Albums, 3 Ways to Utilize Suppliers in Album Sales or, our recent blog: Should You Be Using Email Marketing to Grow Your Photography Business?