I’m in several photography groups on Facebook, and I’ve started noticing a trend. There have been a bunch of posts talking about being undercut by photographers offering their work for almost nothing. This is a problem I see with a lot of newer photographers (in fact, I was helping my sister with this issue a while ago), and I’d like to offer a bit of advice.

Why you’re getting undercut with your pricing

At $75-$150/session, you're pricing yourself in the "budget photographer" range. Your clients in that price range will usually be parents who don't understand what makes a good photograph, so they don't know the difference between your photos and the high school kid with a basic DSLR who's charging $30. Why on earth would they choose you then?

Unless you have a brick and mortar studio (and you charge extra for prints), clients who book photographers in that pricing range are expecting mediocre photos. They aren't expecting your photos to be any better than the aforementioned high school kid.

But I won’t get as much work if I charge more.

There's a bit of a psychological trick to pricing photography. When you start charging more for your work (I personally charge between $60-150/hr depending on the job), clients will begin taking your work more seriously because they have more skin in the game. If they don't dismiss you off the bat due to the price (something that will happen from time to time), they will usually be easier to educate, and will also be better clients to work with. You'd be shocked how open people are to paying more for photography if they think the quality will be excellent.

Usually when you give them the price, there will be a bit of sticker-shock, but most of them will stick around to hear you out and will be genuinely curious as to why you charge what you do. This is your opportunity to show them why you are the best fit for their needs.

Talk about your process, and be sure to show them what makes your particular style of photography unique. By doing this, you set yourself apart from budget photographers, and are better able to keep and maintain high quality repeat clients. Since I’ve started doing this in my business, I’ve only had one client that has just booked me once, but they really liked my work and have sent plenty of other clients my way in the form of recommendations.

Treat your clients like you would a corporate account

Ultimately, you want to help meet your client’s needs, whether it’s a soccer mom looking for family portraits, a business looking for promotional photos, or a music artist looking for concert photos. All of them have their own unique challenges and nuances, and if you’re willing to raise your pricing while simultaneously creating a phenomenal customer experience for them, you will find that they become extremely loyal to you. Don’t market yourself as the budget photographer. Market yourself as the professional photographer.

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