Any of these sound familiar?
- “Raise your prices right this second to thousands of dollars!”
- “Shoot & burn is ruining the industry!”
- “You’re not good enough to charge those prices!”
These are the types of myths that penetrate our industry and cause a majority of photographers to crash and burn and never find the steady stream of clients that will pay the bills.
There’s no one right way to price photography, except to make sure it’s profitable.
Got it? There’s nothing that irritates me more than photographers telling other photographers that their pricing is “wrong” or their business model is “wrong”.
It’s your business, so let’s make sure that it works for you and is profitable for you.
To break down these myths and get you charging prices that both make you money and fit in with what you want your business to be, I’ve broken it down into 5 steps for you today.
I call this my, “Do You” pricing philosophy. If you follow these steps you’ll create profitable pricing that you can feel totally confident with.
Face Your Numbers Head On
One of the main reasons that you’re not making the money you want is that you don’t have a healthy relationship with your numbers.
Here’s how to have a DTR (Define the Relationship) moment with your numbers, and get nice and cozy with them.
CODB: Cost of doing business
In order to make money in your business, you first have to know how much money you’re spending in your business. What are your business costs? Overhead?
Here are some things that need to be considered:
- Product costs
- Anything else you spend money on
You then figure out how much you need per year, divide by 12, divide by how many sessions you can take on a month, and voila! You have figured out what you need to be making on average per session.
Until you have a healthy relationship with your CODB, you can’t make money. You’ll keep living in denial and hoping that magically all of this money will just start appearing in your bank account. The problem is that even if you start making higher sales, if it’s not covering what you’re needing to spend money on, it doesn’t matter. You’ll still be in the red.
Decide On A Pricing Structure
Embarrassingly enough, when I first started out I emailed about 10 different photographers that seemed super successful to me, and I tried to get their pricing lists from them. I did this because if they were being successful, it must be because of their pricing list and structure….right??
The truth is that there are photographers that are successful using all sorts of pricing structures. There really isn’t a “right” way to set up your pricing (although of course there are psychological tricks that can help), and so I want you to stop thinking that you need to do your pricing just like “so-and-so” because they’re super successful.
Pricing structures are more about what you want your client experience to be like, and what kind of a business you’re trying to run (aka the branding and feeling of the business).
So whether you decide on Create your own Collection, Packages, A la Carte, or Shoot & Burn, own it.
What really sells your pricing list to your clients? Your confidence and the experience you can give your clients. People want to hire someone they trust.
Imagine someone saying they could help you lose 50 lbs….maybe, but since there was a chance it would work, you should pay them $2000.
Now compare that with the person who is dedicated to personalizing the weight loss journey for each client and knows that he or she can get you the results you want if you put in the effort. They are just as excited as you are to get going on working together and it’s also $2000.
Which one would you pick? Of course the one with confidence!!
It’s more important to choose a structure you feel confident in than to pick the “right” structure: because there isn’t a right structure!
Write Down How You’re Serving Your Clients
If you don’t know what you’re giving your clients, it’s a whole lot harder to tell clients why they should choose you over someone else, especially if you cost more.
So take a few minutes and write down 10-20 things that you do for your clients. What makes you different? What do you do especially for your clients? What are your strengths?
Pinpoint these and then post them right by your computer or where you take inquiry calls so that you can remind yourself over and over what makes you valuable and how lucky each and every client is to work with you.
If you don’t believe it, neither will they.
Practice Saying Your Pricing
In order to sound comfortable saying, “That’ll be $1500”, you actually have to BE comfortable saying it.
The best way to do this is to practice saying it out loud over and over again until you feel like it’s second nature. There’s nothing more awkward than saying something like, ‘oh, um, yeah, so it’s um, like, around ya know, but there are lesser options, like $1500……..soooo, what do you think?”
Feels painful just reading that, right?
Perfect practice makes perfect, so keep practicing it out loud until it feels completely comfortable.
Stick With It
My biggest mistake when I first started out was that I was changing my pricing every couple of weeks. I would not have people booking at a price, and so I assumed that the problem was my pricing. Instead of tweaking my delivery, my sales technique, or my marketing, I would just spend hours changing my pricing over and over again.
Give it time. In order to gain the confidence it takes to talk about your new pricing, as well as learning how to market to the people in this new demographic, it takes time.
Photographers are an impatient breed and you want results right now, I know I know, but sometimes it takes time to build something of substance.
Getting your pricing right is what you should aim for.