Mistake #1: Being The Cheapest or Allowing Price Be Their KEY Selling Point
Headline Read: Cheap Professional Photographer ... Yes, I actually saw this online. Even worse, another photographer posted that he can do something like 20 types of photography all for only $75 FLAT RATE and that photographers charging $100 an hour made him sick. He will have a hard time buying new professional gear, saving for retirement, supporting his family, paying rent or a mortgage and making a car payment at $75 a pop especially if he doesn't watch his time shooting and editing. There is no need to work for minimum wage.
New photographers often get a nice camera kit, find out that others are burning images to a CD for $75 and then they price themselves at $65. Then, the next guy comes along and finds out that someone is $65 and they price their CD at $50. Do you see where I am headed with this and why being the cheapest or making price the primary focus is not a great idea.
I used PRICE MATCH as the graphic on this post, but for many new photographers, it's more like PRICE MATCH LES 10%-20% because they want to get some paying gigs.
Here is a better option for Mistake #1 if you are a new photographer:
Be competitive when possible - BUT don't be the lowest price!!! Don't let the word CHEAP enter your vocabulary. Sell Quality and Value - Give the client a little something extra for a little more money that they will appreciate. It's better to photograph friends and family FREE initially and say you are building your portfolio than to set yourself up in a never ending $50 trap. Tell them that your price will be X once you get going and that you are only doing a limited amount for FREE initially. That way, they know that you are X for your retail, but you are doing their session FREE to make it a win-win. The point is that they will not be sending you $50 referrals left and right when they know your retail value is $250. Whatever you do, don't be TRAPPED by CHEAP!!!
Mistake #2: Don't Apologize For Your Price
This is a mistake that photographers may make after they are beyond mistake #1.
At the apologizing for price stage, a photographer may know that he or she is not the cheapest in town and could have a tendency to start apologizing for price or discounted his or her pricing. Their is nothing wrong with the word profit. If the photographer has a family to feed, children in college, bills to pay, etc. like many workings folks do, it's OK to cover expenses plus make enough money to live. A good photographer should know their market and what they local economy is for photography which will hopefully line up with covering overhead and making a living. Their is nothing wrong with NOT being the lowest price in town.
Your price is your price and any deviation from that should be on your own terms depending on how much you want/need the business. But don't be in the never ending discounting business. I remember a quote for $500 for a simple project but could tell their was minor resistance while on the phone with the prospect. So I found out on the call that they usually do not pay more than $450 for that particular need. So my response back was that I didn't want $50 to cause her to find someone else. Her response back was that if I could do $450 that it was a done deal and she wouldn't call anyone else. I don't always discount, but in this case, $50 saved the deal and the shoot was easy.
Here is a better option for Mistake #2 if you are a photographer that apologizes for price:
Have someone else that is less expensive that you can refer business two. Yes, you can actually refer business to another photographer. I have found that more often than not, the potential client chooses me at the higher price point when I try to do this which is a GREAT indication that it's not all about price but quality, price, value, experience and more all rolled into one. Most of the time, the less expensive photographer is less experienced as well which for some clients makes a difference. I remember sending one lady to another photographers website that was less expensive only to have her resurface and say that she liked my quality better. But at least having the option to say, "I am not able to do it for X but I know someone who can" is a viable option which also helps the photographer look good by giving the prospect a possible option.
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