Alicia’s new pricing guide called “Easy is Pie” is fabulous! One lucky reader will win a copy of her “Easy as Pie Cookbook.” This is an incredible tool to help you set or adjust pricing, making your job more fulfilling and profitable. Winner will be drawn at random on the 19th. To be eligible, answer the following questions in the “comment section” below (do not reply to me with your answer):
- Do you feel your pricing is: “Non-Existent” (if you do not yet have a business), “Way Too Low” or “Too Low” (give an example), “Just Right” (give an example) or “I Charge What I am Worth” (give an example).
- What is the biggest pricing mistake you have made in your career? If you do not yet have a photography business, tell us what you hope to avoid?
- Tell us what your pricing goals are for 2009 (if applicable)
And for those of you who need this book now – or who do not win, Alicia has offered to do a $15 discount off the cookbook or cookbook+blog access. The code is: MCP15
So with all of that out of the way…. meet Alicia Caine and read what she has to tell you that could, just possibly, change your income and in turn your life…
In my first year in business after moving to a new town, I did over $100K in high-end, luxury photography sales. Not by chance or luck, but by design. If I can do it while homeschooling four kiddos and making dinner every night – you can, too! Easy as Pie gently pushes you in the right direction without offering one of those bogus, one-size-fits-all philosophies. Blog access provides an ongoing area for photographers to submit questions to both myself and my sous chef, Kristen, and gives you access to our current pricing, tidbits that didn’t make the PDF but are still really yummy. It’s good for the next year, and is updated weekly!
So, why pricing???
There are few things that make photographers shudder more than the word "pricing." It's the subject of much debate, it involves EQUATIONS (oh, those awful algebra flashbacks), and it's easier to just let it be. What you have is just FINE, right?
Probably not. If you find that your schedule is full to breaking, you don't sleep, and you spent last night convincing yourself that yes, a juicebox DOES count as dinner, part of the problem could be your pricing. Yep, your pricing. Not your lack of organization or your failure to edit each of your images in under 8 seconds – just your pricing!
Let's think about it: if you're the cheap kid on the block, you're going to be popular. People like cheap. They'll fill your calendar, you'll be booked six months in advance, and your business will be busy, busy, busy.
But is a busy business profitable? Or is it mere busy-ness?
Let me show you an example using two photographers – one high-end, one low-end. Both photographers in this example have no minimum order, and sell only 5 prints from their latest session. (A typical ICK sale, right?)
The first photographer sells her 8x10's for $80 each, so she's made a $400 sale. The other photographer sells 5x7's for $15 each, so she's devastated by her $75 sale. Our first photographer goes home disappointed, but having turned a profit, and the other hasn't even covered the cost of the babysitter, travel, and gasoline. The second photographer has, in fact, most likely PAID to do a photo session for a client, instead of having made money on it.
This simple example shows us the difference between business – turning a profit – and busy-ness – running here, there, and everywhere without making a dime. I'd love to see photographers end their busy-ness, forever. 😉
I think we need to be reminded, for just a moment: don't. get. desperate.
If we are high-end, luxury photographers -- or striving to be so -- and discount our rates by 80% to fill our February calendars, what are we teaching our clients? To wait for the sale. To talk us down. To finagle and heckle our pricing.
Have you ever seen a 'buy one, get one' sale at a Mercedes dealership? How about 'half off all lattes' at Starbucks? Have you ever walked past the Louis Vuitton boutique and thought, "Score! 70% off!" No, no, and no. Because luxury doesn't go on sale. Luxury waits, and luxury remains...luxurious.
Likewise, while many are screaming "BRANCH OUT," I yell "GET MORE FOCUSED" just as loudly. If you are the region's ULTIMATE child/wedding/portrait/senior/boudoir/pet/executive photographer, stay that way! Stick to being the best at ONE thing before you move on to the next!
Branching out means that yes, you'll probably get more clients, but you'll also dilute your brand and your message. Being true to your brand -- and to your strengths -- is taking the long view of the current economic crisis, and knowing that those extra five hundred dollars now could very well be sacrificing your branding and area of expertise a mere six months from now.
Is money tight? Absolutely.
Will I shoot your Granddaughter's wedding/mitzvah/baby shower/birthday party? Absolutely NOT.