A Quick Guide Into Pricing For Photographers by Los Angeles Wedding Photographer Brandi Potter
Its engagement season and as creatives we all know what that means; The rejection emails saying we’re overpriced or charge an ‘arm and a leg’ are in full swing. I would personally argue that an arm and a leg are actually much more than what a wedding photographer cost, but that’s a fight for a different day.
I PROMISE you with all capital letters this is not a post about charging what we charge because we have xy & z expenses, because honestly those blogs and posts are just a way to make photographers who don’t create their own value feel ok about what their services cost. Yes, running your own photo business is beyond expensive, but we chose this career path so that’s not a very good argument is it? I would never make the argument that “I paid $4000 for a camera body so my weddings start at $4000”, like that makes ZERO sense to me. We all know what these things cost getting into the business and basing our pricing on our gear is not the best business practice.
Instead we should be basing our pricing on our experience level and the experience we provide our clients. From the moment a potential client looks at our website they should be saying to themselves, “DAMN DANIEL, this photographer is killing the game and I will throw down ALL the cash for them to have that experience.” And that feeling should skyrocket with the first email we send back to them.
Even if they come back with the dreaded, “We love you, but you’re out of budget” email, instead of us moaning and groaning about losing a booking we need to remember that not everyone who loves us can make it work within their budgets. It’s just not possible for some couples, and sending them cheaper referrals will make them remember you for taking time out of your day to do so. You’ll probably still even get referrals from them for being cool enough to help them have a good experience, even if it’s with someone else.
So what are some ways you can show the type of experience you’re giving clients to make others want to immediately book you?
First of all, your website is the end all be all. The homepage can make or break you (literally) and should have enough information and rad photos on it to make people want to continue clicking through. You want to grab their attention with a mixture of text and images as soon as it loads so they don’t immediately click off. We should be constantly updating and improving our homepage to show how we grow throughout the year. Never be stagnant with your website or it’ll smell like that old pool of water in the parking lot.
You also can’t just throw a subpar slideshow together, put some “HI, I’m SO AND SO, HIRE ME” text on the front page and expect people to want to throw money in your face. You may be good, but you aren’t THAT good and you’re not Annie Leibovitz, so stop acting like it. The least you can do is put a little bit of effort into your website and how you present your experience to make couples feel welcomed and like they want to make it rain money on you.
Secondly, your correspondence can either make those initially excited couples even more into you or earn you a spot in the movie “He’s Just Not Into You” (but the one about clients that doesn’t exist that I just made up). If someone takes the time to fill out your contact form and email you and to tell you how excited they are and how much they love your work, do them a favor and you know.. DON’T SEND THEM BACK A TEMPLATE EMAIL.
I understand when some people don’t take the time to fill out anything and just throw their date at you and ask for your pricing, but there is NO reason why you shouldn’t be personable with people who take the time to invest in you. Ask them questions, get to know them, make this a more pleasant experience for them, because I hear planning a wedding can be a real bummer sometimes.
Thirdly, put more of your personality into blogging and social media and people will start to take notice. I can assure you that will be more appreciated than you continuing to drone on about how amazing love is and how amazing everything in life is, because we all know that’s a fallacy. People want to know that you’re a real person and they want to know the REAL you before letting you into their lives to document what should be one of the best moments in theirs.
These are just three VERY simple ways you can create value for yourselves and your clients instead of justifying your price by your overhead costs. Place value on the experience and on your expertise and the bookings will come and continue to come at higher price points. If you have questions about creating your own value feel free to reach out to me and ask anything.