As a fairly new(ish) professional photographer, I have felt the need, in the past, to discount or give major coupons to clients in order to feel like they are getting the best possible deal for my work. Before I finished my portfolio building or set my current prices, I would have wavered and bent to every client complaint regarding pricing. In the process, I would be underselling my work, devaluing myself as an artist, and allow my artistic esteem to be slaughtered ever time. I have set my current price list competitively for my area as well as set the prices based of my target demographic.
For me, my target demographic is a client that values photography and have some money to invest in my services and the final products offered. Clients that “value photography” may just simply mean they display images of their family and friends in their home. My ideal client wants to spend a little bit of money to achieve a big statement in their home about their family. This ideal client has a little understanding about the investment in time, the time it takes me to produce the works of art they wish to display in their home. Some ideal clients don’t know they are such until they have a session with me, they see how I interact with their family and then seeing the final product from their session might feel amazed that I was able to get their children and family to connect with me and the camera lens.
Some ways I prevent business that doesn’t fit my business model:
- I charge a minimal session fee. By charging this session fee a) the client shows me they really want this session b) they then will follow through with an order because they have already made that first financial investment in My brand and Art.
- I don’t offer too many ‘sales’ or incentives. I feel that this devalues my brand, and teaches my clients that they just need to wait till I have a sale and this attracts clients outside that “ideal client”
I keep in mind why and how I started my business. I wanted to create beautiful images or moments in peoples lives that make an impact within their family. I also wanted to make these images available at a price that they didn’t have to take out a second mortgage to afford. I believe I have still kept true to those values. At the end of the day I am an artist, wife, and a business owner and getting those things to work together is a lot of work.
So when encountering clients that ask for “A Deal” I politely respond with something like this:
Thank you for your feedback regarding your session. I really enjoyed meeting and getting to know you and your family, and from what I can tell everyone enjoyed the time we spent together. Regarding my price list, I do not alter my prices. Sometimes people can commonly base the value of a photograph merely on what the paper and ink cost to print it. Each image produced during your session represents hours of preparation before, during, and after the session. Education to learn my craft, many thousands of dollars worth of equipment used in the session, not to mention the hours spent to edit and store each and every image within your final album.
Unfortunately taking into consideration these factors, I can not alter my prices. Again I am happy you love your photos as much as I do and look forward to seeing which of the images you choose to display in your home.
Laura J. Middour, LJPhotography
Hopefully these comments don’t offend any of my ideal clients, but then again if they do maybe we aren’t the right fit. I believe in myself as an artist and stand by each and every one of the images I produce. It took me a long time to get to this point, but now that I’m here I don’t ever want to go back! I pour not only blood, sweat and ink into my images, I pour a bit of my heart and soul into each image I create!