People are more confident buying from you when they can see an example of what you recommend they buy. Invest in their confidence and make a clear path for them.

What do I charge?

 

One of the biggest questions I get asked is about price. How much to charge and then finding the illusive clients that will pay for photography.

Many people feel that if they charge more for their art, that they will not have any clients. There are also those that feel that they are already asking too much and are wondering wether they should just give in and slash their prices because all their competitors are cheaper.

Firstly the easiest way that I have found to increase your prices is to introduce new product into your business. This has a number of effects:

  • Invigorates you and your team as you have something new and exciting to offer clients.
  • Allows you to increase prices without the your previous clients being able to compare previous prices to current, as the product now offered did not exist in your offerings.
  • Gives you a reason to contact previous clients and offer them something new
  • Invigorates and draws new interest to your products page on your website
  • As clients refer you their friends and family there is no comparison of “what they got” as your product line focus has changed

When pricing your physical product the cost of goods need to be taken into consideration. Speaking to your accountant about an accurate way of accounting for this is advisable.

Here are some of the costs that may be applicable to you that you may need to consider factoring in. Please note that a commercial rate for "time" needs to be applied for tasks requiring time (if you were to outsource it – how much would it cost):

  • Time taken to convert raw files
  • Time to retouch and prepare the files
  • Time to get the files to the lab
  • Printing and finishing costs
  • Albums and or Frames
  • Canvas Stretching
  • Time for quality control
  • Branded Packaging

When it comes to the times taken to complete any of the tasks make sure that you actually time how long it takes over a number of jobs and work out an average per print. Many of the photographers that I have worked with have underestimated the actual time taken to complete an average job. It is important to work with an actual time rather than what you believe it takes you.

 As a rule of thumb – the total of  the above costs should represent 15% – 25% of your total sales price. Whether you are at the lower or higher end of the scale will depend on your additional costs that also need to be covered, such as rent, motor vehicle expenses, marketing, electricity, time taken to call the clients to collect, time scheduled for the collection to take place and financing of the clients purchase - if applicable.

Remember everyone’s individual case is different and consulting with a professional accountant to obtain an accurate cost is recommended.

So why is it, that what is charge for photography varies so much? Why are some photographers able to charge more than others?

Plainly it all comes down to confidence and the value that the photographer give to their clients. In many cases it is a perceived value – which is very real to the customer. In other cases it is the value in the service and all of the other components that go into creating a true Photographic Experience for clients that add to the value to the clients.

If you are focused on selling value it makes it much easier than selling to a price, which seems to be a lot of what is focused on.

Adding systems that add value and are flexible enough to be relevant to each client at every touch point are essential to the clients perception of the value that they believe they are getting

Focusing on the "Photographic Experience", from the first time that the prospective client contacts your business to the point that they are referring their friends and family must be consistent, and systematised.

The Photographic Experience is not just the time that we spend photographing the client. In fact there is more time in understanding the client, getting the brief, preparing them to trust to open up and share their emotions than their is in physically photographing them.  The quality of each experience must always be the focus. It is only then, that most people are prepared to pay the “big bucks” for photography.

So, in answer to the question about price, it seems to me, no one focuses on the price, or is as price sensitive to photography prices than photographers themselves. What people will and won’t pay. How do I bring price up? How do I sell? How do I package it up to make it affordable? What deposit should I ask for?

If our focus is providing value, price is never an issue and we never really have to sell the end result. 

Focus on the entire experience, and the money will come. Be present for the client and take genuine care, the clients will reward you. Listen to who they really are and discover something about them through the experience that you offer, and they will send you their friends.

The greater the experience, the more they are prepared to pay, the less important the price becomes.

Perhaps we are all asking the wrong question. Perhaps instead of asking how do I raise my prices, or how much should we charge, perhaps we should all ask – How much did we really care? How present were we for our clients? How much of this experience was about them (the client), as opposed to me, my fears, my wants and my desires?

 

 

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