Living in New York I had the opportunity to go to a rare Bradford Rowley seminar evening. Held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square it was an easy 15 minute walk from my apartment off 6th Avenue. Bradford is known as “The Millionaire Photographer” and his 3 studios in the U.S. I believe, turn over more than 3 million dollars a year.
That is one very successful photographer! Bradford has a very simple price list and only sells to types of canvas finishes in sizes and prices ranging from 10×8 inches at $1,000 to 72 x 50 inches at $50,000. All prints are plus frames. Working out pricing for a photography business can be a difficult thing to do. There is heaps of online advice, and of course your photography friends always like to give you their opinion.
Here is an email I came across last week from Amy Fraughton from Photo Business Tools.
“I talk to photographers literally every working day of the month, and the one common thread that always comes up is their pricing…
And so in case we haven’t talked yet, the answer is YES, you are priced too low…
And not just because you have to figure in your expenses.
Not just because you want to value your time more.
One of the biggest reasons you need to raise your prices, is because your prices are telling your clients you are not that good… and in some cases, that you really stink!
I always use this comparison – if you went to buy a pair of jeans and there were 2 stores right next to each other that sold similar jeans, but one was priced at $20 and the other at $250, what would you think about the $250 pair of jeans?
They are definitely the jeans everyone wants to buy.
They are better quality.
They will last longer.
They will make you look amazing.But do we really know if the thread is thicker, the fabric stronger? No, but we assume so because of the price.
It’s the same with everything from ketchup to diamonds… the price tells us whether it’s good or faulty.
I don’t know about you, but I want my clients to know my pictures are good. In fact, amazing!
If you are priced too low right now, I promise there are clients out there looking for a photographer in a higher price range, but when they see your prices, they don’t call you because it’s too low, and your low price is telling them you don’t have good work, don’t have good products, and your customer service is lacking.
So… be brutally honest with yourself… what are your prices telling your potential clients?
Are they telling them you are amazing?
Are they telling them you are so so?
Or are they telling them that you kinda stink?
It’s quite possible that your low prices are actually deflecting your ideal client…
It’s time to change that.
Make sure your prices are telling your clients that they are going to get amazing products with an amazing service!
And start attracting the right clients!”
What About Alternative Pricing?
There are a lot of good points in Amy’s article.
BUT, in my opinion as a photography business coach, it is not just about simply raising your prices.
In my role as a photography business coach, the photographers that I coach come from various levels of expertise, quality and experience, and so after a lot of “test and measure,” I have devised three different price structures, and we select the structure that suits the photographer the best.
Structure one is what I consider the “old way” and is based on the primary premise of selling various sizes of images. This is a simple structure that does restrict high sales, and is used by the majority of photographers in the marketplace. Expect your average sale to be around $600 with this price list.
My second structure is based on years as a photography business coach on having four collections as it’s base, which gives the client a choice of prints and files, with additional extras like wall art, print boxes, and digital file collections also available. Average sales are generally $1,000 plus.
The third price structure is for a higher end photographer who looks for an average sale of $2,500 plus.The emphasis here is on wall art in all of it’s forms…canvas, acrylic, matted and framed, etc. To encourage high sales it also has a bonus gift incentive that gives the client a high perceived value gift if they purchase two or more of the higher priced items. This price list structure has led to two of my clients doing individual sales of over $9,000 in the past week.
When you revisit your pricing try and think a little more strategically and see if you can can come up with a structure it to encourage your customers to purchase more.
Need help? Feel free to email me ….firstname.lastname@example.org
Changing Photographers Lives
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all your help this year.
We had another record month for December with 32 sessions booked in for next year.
I also wanted to tell you, I used your suggestion of a baby plan with newborn clients. I charged them $25 to add a 6 month and 1 year session after doing the newborn session. One family today came in and spent $3,090 for the 6 month session, so it is definitely working. Thank you Bernie” Kate & Chris Beuchner Uber Photography
Photography Business Coach