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Opinions expressed are based on the Author’s own experience.
“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.”
This quote by master of photography, Ansel Adams, perfectly explains how photography, in its most basic form, is art.
Of course, good art is a valued medium that often justifies fair compensation. Unfortunately, as a professional photographer, you know people aren’t always willing to pay you what you’re worth as a photographer. They just don’t see the value in what you do.
Thankfully, we can teach you how you can raise your prices and make your customers love it by using a basic marketing strategy. Here’s how.
Case Studies on How Raising Your Prices Can Work
To succeed in your endeavor of raising your prices without losing customers you have to first understand relative pricing.
The consumer’s natural thought is to find someone or something to compare pricing to. This lets them know if they are paying too much or, visa versa, if they are getting a premium product.
You might assume this simply means you always have to be cheaper than your competition. (By the way, competition can be one of the best things for you as a professional because it gives your customers a means of comparison.)
However, we aren’t talking about beating your competitor’s price. Instead, we are talking relative pricing where the consumer is comparing one of your products to another product of yours.
We will create a new “premium” product that you can then charge more for, and thus in essence raise your price.
Example of the Right Kind of Relative Pricing
Relative pricing is used by all the big brands. Consider the new laundry detergent pods. We all know they don’t cost that much more than regular detergent to make.
However, the companies producing them charge 5x as much for laundry detergent pods as they do for their product in regular liquid form. They have convinced us as the consumer that the convenience offered along with the fact that the pods are supposedly more effective at cleaning clothing, are reason enough to justify paying more.
Why did they do this?
They wanted to make more money. As competition shows up, prices have to move down. So the best way to raise price is to create a new premium product; a new premium product that we, as consumers, are willing to pay 5x more for.
Another example to consider is the Nikon D800 vs the D810. The new features of the camera allow Nikon to set a higher price point.
Besides the few new features, though, they are virtually the same camera. Therefore, customers are willing to pay an extra $500 for a camera that is virtually the same as Nikon’s older model. This works because customers believe they are getting a better product, and, to a certain extent, they are.
This marketing strategy of relative pricing has been hugely successful for the companies producing the products listed above. You can do the same thing in the field of photography as well. Read below to learn how.
General Tips on How to Create a Premium Product & Raise Prices
Start by listing out each feature that you can offer, then look for value within this list. Consider ways to make your current product better than before, thus creating a premium product.
When you do this, you will find that eventually you can drop your old lower priced product all together, because your customers will want your new premium product.
Then, you can come up with another premium product again later. Guess what, you just raised your prices! The big companies continuously do this, discontinuing older products and offering new ones.
Sometimes they even reintroduce an older discontinued product as a new premium product.
How to Specifically Raise Prices and Create Premium Products Within The Photography Industry
Creating Premium Albums
Consider These Features About Your Current Product:
- Thickness of pages.
- Paper type or texture.
- Cover material.
- Number of images included.
- Design, emboss, foil stamp.
Let’s say that the album you currently offer looks like the following:
- 8×8 Miller’s Signature Album.
- 10 page lustre.
- Thick Pages
- Leather cover with window.
- Priced at $800.
Now, look at what you can alter to make your album a premium product, below is what your new premium album could look like:
- 8×8 Miller’s Signature Album.
- 25 favorite images (not pages but images – see footnote).
- Deep matte (instead of lustre)
- Thin Pages (maybe)
- Metal cover (instead of leather).
- Priced at $1250.
We are not getting into specific pricing in this post, but you get the idea. By simply changing a few features, you are now creating a premium album, for which you can charge more.
Creating Premium Prints
Consider Changing One or More of the Following:
- Consider Including Mounting: single/double weight, bevel, foam board, masonite, styrene
- Add a Surface Texture: Pebble, brush, linen, glass…etc. (this is what I recommend)
The feel of these prints “feel” more high quality, thus allowing you to charge more.
Creating a Premium Press Card
Consider Doing Some of the Following:
- Changing the fold.
- Adding address labels.
- Including envelope liners.
- Changing to a luxe card.
By simply adding an envelope liner to your product, you can increase your price. Let’s assume you currently charge $2 a card. Well, after altering just this one thing, you could feasibly charge $3.
Your customer will not care, they will probably love the new product. This scenario shows you how easy it is to create a new premium product that your customers will love.
Creating Premium Wall Art: Consider The Following Changes
- Add style (canvas, metal, wood).
- Consider gel coating.
- Offer a metallic finish.
- Move from a 1” canvas to a 2.5” stretcher.
Other Tips to Keep in Mind When Creating Premium Products
Be careful when making changes to your products to not increase your production costs too much. After all, if you raise your cost of production too much, your increased price for your premium product won’t yield you that much more money.
The idea is to actually get more profit, so always keep your production cost in mind. For example, look back at what we did to create a premium album and you will see how we kept our production cost relatively the same while increasing our prices:
Metal covers actually cost the same as acrylic at Miller’s.
Making the change to thinner pages actually costs less than thick pages. If your previous album featured thick pages, you will actually save money on production by switching to thinner pages.
The thicker cover of the album, moving from leather to metal ensures the album still has a high-quality feel, even with lighter paper.
Above all else, when you alter your current product to produce a premium version, you must be excited about the end result. For example, if you aren’t crazy about your premium wall art, you won’t be able to convince anyone to buy it.
You will subconsciously undermine yourself when you produce a product you aren’t passionate about. Therefore, make sure that any change you make to your product is one you can get behind and get excited about.
Footnote: I recommend that you sell albums by images and not pages. It lets you create the album that looks the best. If the customer wants a lot of pictures you can add pages to keep the look you want. Charge a per-picture fee to add images to the album.
For example, we include up to 25 images in the starting price, and then they can add images after that. That makes sense and feels better then paying for more pages. I found most customer would rather not pay for more pages and just cram tons of pictures onto a single page. We both know that is not always the best look. Hope that little tip helps!
For more help on pricing, see these products (affiliate):