Many non-photographers think our job consists of picking up a camera and taking pretty pictures. They don’t realize the hours and hours behind the scenes of brainstorming, traveling, uploading, downloading, culling, editing, cropping, posting, blogging, meeting, designing, ordering, inputting, communicating, wrapping, delivering, researching, purchasing, learning…is that all?
Pricing was already discussed, but it’s worth revisiting, but more from the angle of educating clients on why we price the way we do. Those of us that have more of, how shall I say, “boutique pricing”, is because we take all of the above things into account in our pricing. Along with those pesky sales and income taxes we have to pay. Darn taxes. Oh, and did I mention SKILL and TALENT?
There are a million metaphors or examples one can use. I read an article recently by Debra Weisheit of Debra Weisheit Photography (thanks Jessica Pearson for sharing her blog post!) and she gave a great analogy, “Think of it this way-the next time you pay $100 to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional to actually do the job.” Just like I own an X-ACTO knife and I took a couple of Kinesiology classes in college, but no one wants me performing surgery…unless they want to look like Frankenstein.
I read another good comment recently, I believe it was on the Seniors Ignite Facebook page, I apologize, because I don’t know who wrote it, but they photog said she asks her clients something along the lines of this: What are you willing to pay for an amazing photo? $1 a year? The photo will last forever, so even if you pay $1 a year for 50 years that makes it worth the cost. Even I hadn’t thought about it quite that way but it makes so much sense. I LOVE looking at photos of my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and in-laws from “back in the day.” We want our clients to be able to do the same thing and we want their photos to be gorgeous. That way, when their grandkids look at them, it won’t be with the horrified yet laughing face many of us have when looking at our own senior photos from the 80s and 90s. Glamour Shots, anyone?
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard the saying, “You get what you pay for” and it’s no different with photographers. With the rise of the digital revolution, many people pick up a camera and call themselves a photographer. Some even “shoot” with their iPhone. If that’s what a client wants, then they will pay for, and get, what that photographer is offering. But, if they want something of heirloom quality, products that are tailored to them, prints that will last longer than a lifetime that are professionally taken and edited in just the right way, then they will hire those like us, those of us that charge appropriately for the experience and services we give our clients.
There will always be potential clients out there thinking our prices are too high, but I can promise to those who think that, we don’t walk away from a sale cackling like a witch, drumming our fingers together saying, “Ehehehehehe, another fool!” NOOOOOO siree bob! We are happy our clients come into our lives and we build relationships with them. Last week, I was at a sales session and as the slideshow of images played, the senior girl had this smile on her face that warmed my heart. We are happy our clients value what we offer because they want the BEST. Most people don’t get photos taken often, so senior photos may be the only professional ones done until, maybe, a wedding, so we offer something they will never forget and products they will always have.
When potential clients ask why you cost so much, you can explain all of this, or, just give them the famous line L’Oreal Paris uses, “Because You’re Worth It.”