Setting a price point

► Facebook post

"Does this group help me with pricing? Or no? Lol Delete if not allowed. My area of photogs charge $250 for sessions and so I’m super happy to share I’ve finally feel my photos are worth $200 and hopefully if i can improve some more i can be right where i need to be at $250 but i charge $200 for 30 minutes but i enjoy shooting baptisms and intimate events but they are normally an hour so for pricing i put $150 with a 2 hour minimum. Does that make sense to do that? I’ve had it this way for the last year and it’s been fine and I’ve only booked a handful of events which is great. But how much should i be charging for events? Is this price ok? Does it make sense for me to do it this way."

► My response

Don't cheap out on.... you. Charge more. I'm serious. It's a psychological game. Not a business game per se. Why more? I'll elaborate.

If you're easy to go with as a person, if you're willing to run the extra mile for your client, If their entire experience of booking you is worth it to them: they'll pay regardless. Higher prices don't necessarily mean less business. Personally in my case, it means more and better.

As a full time professional I charge pretty steep prices. Meaning people who actually can't or won't afford me stay away. It means that the actual clients stick. Those are the people I'm willing to do it all for. They return to me for future jobs. Those are the one who pay without question. Because they simply know I can deliver by only looking at my portfolio. That's why my website and socials are on point. And that's why I do not list prices. Anywhere.

When a client wants information or wants to book me straightaway, I always call them back first and talk to them in person. When it's going to be a big shoot I'll drive out to meet them, often free of charge. But since I don't do anything for free I see it purely as a business investment. Because based on that particular conversation a price estimate is drawn up. And at that point almost always after meeting with me in person that has become just a formality.

I'm willing to invest in getting to know my clients beforehand, which most of the time gives me the edge over the far more business driven photographers. Most of them charge lower but I have many respected returning clients from all over the country. From individual people to large businesses. Not because of my gear or prices but because they consider me easy to go with.

What I charge isn't a secret but I don't make it my main issue and I do not list it anywhere. You're always free to ask and I do have an hourly wage guideline, a price for editing, mileage and delivery. Even parking, flying or lunch/dinner and hotels are calculated.

But that's not important. My main issue is "having fun, taking photos". My next issue is having fun with the people I work with. It's an experience both to me as well as for them. And it'd better be a fun experience regardless of price. I always follow my gut feeling in the first phase of contact. If it doesn't feel right I don't take the job. Of course money is an incentive but I am way past the point of taking any high paying job just like that. I have the luxury to cherry pick.

Now after 5 years of running a nationwide photography business with literally hundreds of clients a year, this let me to solely nice things, compared to almost all of my friends and acquaintances in corporate jobs: I don't have to work full time to have a more than a full time income. I could sleep in everyday of the week if I want to. I can go on holiday whenever I want. And most importantly: I do what I love every single gig and I get paid to do it. How cool is that?

So to get back to my opening statement. Invest in you. By setting a higher price you make yourself more exclusive. Both quality of work as well as your gear and your knowledge of how to use it, should of course 100% be on point but most of all: enjoy what you do. If you TRULY do that, it'll radiate onto your clients. Paying the final invoice to them is just a formality then. The final photos are a mere product of what they're getting by booking you, but it's not what they're buying: they buy an experience. And that in fact is... priceless.

In case you're interested in my story: www.tpjverhoeven-photography.com is my website. For a general impression: It's all there. Except prices ;) They're not on there but I keep those on a separate page, which I mail out to potential clients along with the terms and conditions when the time is right.

Feel free to ask me anything anytime!

Greetings, TPJ Verhoeven Photography âˆŽ

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