5 Photography Pricing Pitfalls with Vanessa Joy
Running a photography business is a rewarding experience. However, many photographers, new and experienced, still face pricing pitfalls that lead to frustration and not booking clients. How you price your products and services plays a larger role in the sustainability of your business than you may think. Here are five photography pricing pitfalls that may be harming your business, and what you should do to fix them.
1. MAKING PRICES TOO COMPLICATED
Sometimes, business owners feel that the best way to communicate with their customers is to lay everything out on the table. However, there is such a thing as making prices too difficult to navigate or too annoying to access. I believe that pricing needs to continually evolve to adjust to changes in the culture and the evolution in your business. If you need adjusting, you’re not alone. Just yesterday, I made adjustments to my pricing when I noticed couples not being receptive.
Don’t send PDF files to deliver your prices or add overwhelming text that customers have to weed through to understand how much something costs. If you make customers go through too many channels to view your prices, they are more likely to move on to a photographer with a more simplified process.
Instead, you should focus on creating clear photography packages that effectively communicate what the customer will receive in as few words as possible. Additionally, if you can have some sort of cart on your website, that will make the purchasing experience even more seamless.
It’s also important to ensure that your font style is easy to read and that your website is organized and free of clutter. Consumers love and need simplicity. With that said, if a customer is interested in your services, they expect your prices to be laid out clearly, so they can easily make a decision.
2. PRICE IS NOT TO BLAME
Many photographers spend a lot of time thinking they need to lower their prices because it will help secure clients. Some photographers will lower their prices figuring that this will urge people to take advantage of their services. It’s not a good idea to lower prices because you’re scared. Instead, you must realize that price is not always to blame.
If you are struggling with getting the clients you need, it probably has to do with a combination of things, including your experience level, style, products and marketing. All these factors play an important role in landing your next client, and it doesn’t matter if you’re charging $10 more than your competitor or $10 less.
For instance, if you don’t have much experience in your industry, clients won’t be willing to pay top dollar for your services. Similarly, if you are an extremely skilled photographer, clients will be willing to pay a little more for your quality work, but your branding and marketing message has to be on point to communicate that expertise.
Additionally, how you present your business and your products is important. Your presentation impacts potential customers’ perceived value of your services. If you take the time to invest in your product offerings, website design, and marketing tools, your target audience will be more likely to invest in your services regardless of price.
Remember, presentation is just as important as price. Changing your prices won’t bring you more clients if your presentation isn’t stellar. Businesses should focus on adding more value to clients instead of altering prices. If somebody loves your work, they will book you. If you feel you are pricing your services fairly and you’re not booking the amount of business you want, then it’s time to think about other aspects of your business that could use some polishing.
3. YOU’RE CHARGING TOO LITTLE
Many photographers, especially those just starting out, feel tempted to set their services at a lower price. They usually do this in hopes that potential customers will give their services a try or because they’re not confident in their skill level yet. That’s ok, but don’t live there. Charging too low can actually harm your business in the long run.
Some photographers find themselves having to get supplemental income or let their business go altogether because they are afraid to charge what their services are worth. Unfortunately, this is not a business model that any photographer should follow if they expect longevity.
Charging too little can also impact the way potential customers view your business. Low prices signify an inexperienced photographer or someone who doesn’t have much added value in their services. You want your potential clients to think the exact opposite of you.
It’s important to remember that customers are more than willing to pay for something that fulfills a need or desire. If your services can fill that gap, then you won’t have to charge less than you’re worth in order to get someone to invest in your business. To determine appropriate prices, businesses should take the time to figure out costs, along with current industry demands to ensure they are not underselling themselves.
4. THINKING YOU HAVE MORE MONEY THAN YOU ACTUALLY HAVE
We’ve all done our fair share of overestimating. When it comes to your photography business, overestimating the amount of money you have can be detrimental. Many businesses set their prices based on the current market. However, they fail to take into account things they have to pay for in order to keep the business running.
Just because you have money in your bank account doesn’t mean that’s actually what you have. You’re also collecting expenses such as sales tax, income tax, payout to freelancers and graphic designers, and products. So while it may seem like you’re taking in a lot of money, you may only get a relatively small percentage once you’re done paying out what you need to in order to get the job done and keep your business running.
As a business owner, you need to look at the whole picture when setting your prices and ensure that you are not overestimating the money that’s actually yours to keep. Do the math, friends.
5. NOT DOING THE MATH
As photographers, it’s easy to want to dive into the creative side of your business. However, in order for your business to be sustainable, you must do the math to understand what you need to charge to keep your business running and be able to pay yourself. A lot of photographers screw up here, because they don’t really understand all the math that goes into creating pricing.
Doing the math means you are adding up the costs of sales and the costs of business. You need to account for any subscriptions you have, any canvases and albums that you have to purchase to deliver a product, and what you have to pay to make the actual sale go through. For more detailed information on this, with actual pricing examples, go to www.BreatheYourPassion.com for a free download.
Additionally, you must consider how much you want to make per hour and how much time you want to spend on a typical job. Understanding these factors will help you determine the minimum price you can charge a client. Although doing the math may not be the most fun part of your photography business, it is necessary for your business’s sustainability.
Running a photography business takes creativity, hard work and dedication. If you are having issues with growing your photography business, it’s important to not get frustrated. Instead, it’s time to take a good look at some of the things that are potentially hurting your business’s growth. Many photographers face pricing pitfalls on a daily basis, but understanding these pitfalls and how they impact your business will better prepare you for the future.