I was recently speaking to a Client – let’s call him a fictitious “Mr W” – about portraiture work and he related to me a story about some portraits he had taken of his children, and it highlighted to me the importance of balancing price and value, regardless of what you perceive your Client is able to afford.
“Mrs W” was tempted by an offer for a sitting for the children at a prestigious studio, and as happens with these things that sitting eventually turns into a sales consultation, and a few thousand pounds later some beautiful portraits took pride of place in the hallway. I have seen these portraits and they are beautiful. They are high quality portraits, expertly taken and beautifully presented. They are quite rightly portraits to be proud of.
But do you know what “Mr W” thinks when he sees them? His first thought is not the quality, the beauty or the fine detail …. no, every time he passes them he is just reminded of how much money he spent on them. Yes, he could afford it, but his enjoyment of them is now tainted with that slightly bitter aftertaste.
As a photographer, pricing your services and products can be very difficult. There is a balance between your Clients expectation and their perception of what you do, and your reality of running a business and making a living. There are many photographers that undercharge, and that don’t fully account for the hours that they work on a project, or account for future growth but there are also a few photographers that slap ridiculous margins on products “because they can”. This might work most of the time but as with “Mr W”, sometimes it is going to leave a bitter taste in the mouth, and that is not good for your ongoing relationship. Your Client needs to be able to understand and appreciate the value.
So when pricing my products and services I make sure that:
- It reflects the fine quality and workmanship involved.
- It pays me for the hours and effort that I have put in.
- It represents some profit to allow my business to grow.
And most importantly:
- It represents good value for the Client.
My aim is to present you with beautiful products that represent wonderful memories, products that will last for decades, and provide entertainment for generations …
…. without the bitter aftertaste.