The Price is Right

Many experts in the field of photography will either admit to making this mistake or remember a close friend or acquaintance who made this mistake: mispricing your business.

Artists of all sorts are asked to work for free or for very little all the time but instead of fighting back against this sentiment by raising our prices, we find ourselves racing to the bottom. We want to be cheaper than our competitors but we can’t sustain it. We want to make sure we can find clients to work with us but we are attracting the wrong crowd.

No matter how many times you are told that finding your pricing is going to make or break your business, it might not sink in until it’s too late. If you are ready to take your business back or to start fresh with the right factors in line to allow your business the full success it deserves, then read on for these smart, simple tips about pricing to get what your business needs.

1. Know Your Numbers

The first element of being able to put a price on your products and services is knowing your own numbers. You are not trying to “reach” the customers. You are trying to attract the right customer in a specific price range.

You have to break down all of your own numbers first before you even think about having the conversation about pricing. Know your costs, your expenses, your monthly bills and add them up. You need to do this because you have to come up with a price that is sustainable so you can actually stay in business after a few months.

2. Understand Your Value

The second aspect is knowing your value. Think now about your training and what you bring to the table. What are your unique talents or abilities that are going to set you apart from other photographers? How can you talk about those skills and share with a normal person how valuable those are? This is just part of the challenge.

You have to sell to a person who does not understand your craft that what you do takes time, energy, and effort and that those things are worth a certain dollar amount. No small feat, needless to say. Sitting them down and having a converstation- an honest conversation- about exactly what you plan to do and use for this particular customer might give them a better sense of everything that photographers have to do to be successful.

3.  Don’t Sell Yourself Short

The third factor to remember when figuring your pricing is to never, ever sell yourself short. We all do it. We Google what other photographers in our area and around the nation are charging and we think, “Oh, I can do that!” or “Oh, no. I could never charge that.” Truth is, pricing is so individualized because no two photographers are the same. That’s the beauty of photography and art in general. You cannot ever base your prices off someone else’s.

This will cause tons of issues and one of them being you will either miss out on clients altogether or you will attract the wrong type of client.

4. Leverage Your Portfolio

The fourth factor is working on building a portfolio and a reputation. Truth be told, you will probably have to work for free a few times. Consider this “tuition” to your education of the real photography business.

However, just because you are working for free, or planning to give someone your services for free does not mean that you don’t get to have the pricing conversation. Here’s how this can work in your favor.

When building your portfolio, you will have to stretch and make things work for a bit because you don’t have a lot of work behind your name yet. That will come. Maybe you are doing some free shoots to practice and help a few people out, which is great, but make sure that they realize how amazing of a deal you are giving them. Tell them your pricing and practice that conversation.

Maybe offer a gift card of some sort or maybe a voucher to purchase some prints after their free shoot. Let them know that despite the fact that you are doing this for free right now, that you value yourself and plan to make money from this in the future to build a reputation of a strong business owner. This lets everyone who speaks with you know that you are serious about your business and serious about the quality of images you are creating for your customers.

Talking a money is hard. Everything about money is hard. Making it, getting it, saving it, and more. It’s hard but it doesn’t have to be scary because we all know that everyone needs it to survive in this world. People will always take advantage of things that are cheap and people will value things more if those things prove their value.

You and your business have to prove your value and that’s something that requires a real strategy to do. You have to know your own worth before you can share that you are worth it to others.