25+ Ways Photographers Can Respond to “Your Prices are Too High!”
Every business, including professional photographers, probably has heard a prospect or customer complain “your prices are TOO HIGH” or “that’s more than I want to spend.” It is easy to quickly get frustrated, angry and even defensive. If you respond with “they are not” or “we are less expensive than other photographers” or even “you get what you pay for,” you may turn your client off from your product or service. While there is no surefire way to tackle this question, I posed it on the MCP Facebook Page for photographers, and got a plethora of responses.
A few thoughts, if you keep hearing that you may be attracting the wrong clients. As one commenter explained, “Do people walk into a BMW dealership or Nordstrom and proceed to tell them that their prices are too high?” If you have solid branding in your marketplace, you will start to hear less of this. When you build a reputation, your brand will set an expectation of a certain quality, service, product and price point.
Some people truly will not be able to afford you, and those are NOT your potential customers. Unless you want to do some charity work, which is admirable, they will not fit your pricing. This goes for both high and low priced photographers. On the flip side, many will not place value in hiring a professional and experienced photographer. They do not value the service and experience. If you cannot easily help them understand why your provide something they need, they may also not be your target customer. Even millionaires prioritize what is important to them. It may be an expensive car, huge house, diamonds, designer clothes and accessories or it may be custom portraiture.
Another valid point made on this Facebook thread was “instead of always throwing the blame back to the clients for not appreciating or understanding what goes into custom photography and running a business, make sure you really ARE worth premium pricing! Some of us definitely are, some of us definitely aren’t, or at least not yet!”
Below are some of the ways photographers have dealt with answering the question, “why are your prices so high?” or the attack “your prices are too high!” Read through them and in the comments, tell us which you feel might be the most effective! And the least effective. Also share with us what has worked best for you. Keep in mind some of these were shared but might be sugar-coated when delivered to a customer.
- “You get what you pay for!”
- “I understand that my services are not in everyone’s budget. I hope that you’ll keep me in mind if your budget ever increases.”
- “There’s a value to the product – and if you can get the same quality, satisfaction & service elsewhere at a lower price, I challenge you to do so.”
- “I understand you may think that but I take pride in my work and give great service and believe you get what you pay for. I know my services may cost more than some but I promise you will not be disappointed in my work or I will give you a full refund.”
- “I hope you find someone within your budget.” No need to defend my pricing to someone who is not a good fit for me.
- “Custom photography is a work of art!!! During your session AND after. Each photo is handcrafted to perfection. If you want Walmart quality, go to Walmart!” (and I say that with love)
- “Thank you for considering me. Would you like to be notified about mini-sessions and specials?”
- Explain that the session is about more than just the prints. I go on about how the session, time, talent, travel to and from location etc.. how this all incorporates in the fee. Then they either accept or call back or don’t…
- I give them Walmart or Sears phone number and tell them that they are very reasonable and cheap and they will get what they pay for.
- “I’d rather do one shoot for $1000.00 than 10 shoots for $100.00.”
- “What is your budget? Let me show you what I can do for the budget you have!”
- Then I offer them “package B”…a sugar fed monkey with a point and shoot.
- ”I understand. Money is tight all around, but capturing these memories is very important, so I do offer a sort of layaway plan if budget is your concern.”
- “Anything else ‘Custom’ isn’t cheap!!“
- “Why yes, yes my prices are high compared to discount stores. They push a button and collect your money. I offer creative talent, experience, passion for the art, professional retouching, and much more. Does Target or Walmart give you that, or do they have a minimum wage employee that doesn’t give a care about you, little Johnny and Jane or what you want out of your ‘shoot’?”
“I understand your concern, especially in this economy. I offer a different service than chain style photography studios. Each session is specifically designed around your personality. You are more than just a number on a sheet or a quota to meet. I also have a wonderful information piece on my website that discusses this very thing and explains our editing process as well.”
- Start calling your cost “investment” instead of “price.”
- “Photos are not just images, they are memories.”
- “I do not respond at all…”
- “My creativity is priceless.”
- “Our prices reflect the quality that we strive to give every client.”
- “Thank you for your interest and I hope one day we can do a session together.”
- Occasionally I hear those words, but it’s usually followed with “but we really want to, so we’re saving up… we’ll be in here next summer.” (and they are). But, for the few who complain, I remind them that it’s a business and I need to charge the amount it’s worth for me to take time away from my family. They seem to respect that even if they don’t choose to hire me.
- “How much is too high?”
- “Custom portraits can be a real investment. I offer a payment plan that can help you maintain your budget AND receive some beautiful, priceless images. May I ask what your current budget is, so I can show you all we can do for you?”
- I think a big problem is the over-saturation of shoot and burners. I have people tell me that so and so will give me a whole CD for only $50, to which I reply “I’m sorry but I can’t offer that.” Another favorite is “Don’t all my pics come with my session?” I think the biggest problem is they don’t realize how much time actually goes into a session.
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