Most photographers focus their business growth strategies on booking more clients. However, the most financially savvy photographers understand the full revenue equation, i.e. revenues equals the number of clients multiplied by the average revenue per client. So, for example, if you want to double your revenue next year, you can either double the amount of bookings or you can double the revenue you make for each booking. In this article, we’ll teach you photography pricing tips to help you charge more for each client that you book.
We’ll review these concepts:
- Understand the Mindset of Luxury Versus Consumer
- Get Creative to Provide a Luxury Experience (Even Without a Studio)
- Focus on Being Unique, Not Necessarily "The Best" at Everything
- Use Pricing Psychology in Your Package Design
Note: This education is directly from our free 1 hour masterclass called “3 Steps to $100K More.” If you’re interested in learning more about amplifying your business with more leads, more revenue per client, and higher sales conversions, we encourage you to register here.
As a heads-up, this article is a long one but just like the last article, "3 Photography Marketing Tricks and Hacks That Actually Work," it’s jam-packed with real-world, proven strategies. Feel free to bookmark this and revisit it over time!
Understand the Mindset of Luxury Versus Consumer
The first step to being able to charge more per client is to understand that photography is not a consumer product. It’s a luxury. Photography stopped being a consumer product when everyone ended up with a phone in their pockets that could take pictures that are essentially “good enough.” From there, photography became something different. Customers sought out photographers as a luxury, as a unique experience that provides them with something they can’t recreate on their own. At the same time, photography became easier to access for everyone. Great cameras are affordable, and digital photography took away the expertise and cost of having to shoot with film.
From economics 101, we know that the price of a product is based on the meeting point of supply versus demand. When digital came about, the supply of photographers grew.
The image above is a standard consumer product, a luxury demand line looks more like the image below. It’s a little less elastic, a little less volatile. That’s a good thing!
This is good news for photographers because, as a distinct, luxury product and experience, the price you can charge is less affected by the increasing supply of photographers. There is still a strong need for a photography experience that goes beyond what consumers can create with their phone or at home. But this also means two other things:
- Your product is a luxury and needs to be marketed that way, regardless of your price point.
- Your photography needs to be a luxury experience that provides value beyond just the photos.
How to Create a Luxury Experience
In order to build a luxury experience, let’s review a couple of examples of consumer versus luxury. I want you to take a look at these comparisons and notice how one is a luxury experience, while the other is a consumer experience. But what are the differences that you’re seeing?
What you’re probably noticing is that on the consumer side, we’re presented with tons of options. If we’re looking at the car showroom, we see multiple cars and plenty more on the lot.
But in the Bentley dealership, we see calm. We feel at peace. We’re shown a single car, shown as a piece of art more than a product. We see a simple fine art print. One chair and desk to sit and discuss the purchase. On top of that, do you think the salesperson will ever really talk about features like the stereo, leather, and electronics? No, because if you’re buying a luxury product, you expect all of those features to come standard.
Take a look at the department store on the right, versus Louis Vuitton on the left. Isn’t it the same thing? On the right, tons of products. On the left, one purse/product displayed at a time. You and I know there are more in the back, but they are displayed as art pieces, one at a time!
Ok, but how does this translate to photography?
Website Design and Product Offering
Your digital showroom is your website, and to ensure that you’re offering a luxury experience, here are a few tips and guidelines to follow.
- Specialize: Offering too many services is the equivalent of offering too many products in a single store. Focus on a single photo niche and consider branching off and rebranding your other services to a separate website and brand.
- Consistency and Curation: Only show your best work. Constantly curate and remove outdated imagery. Just like Bentley won’t showcase a beat up old car, don’t showcase your sepia toned photos from 2008.
- UI and Navigation: Keep your website clutter free, simple, and easy to navigate. Create the same positive, clean, and welcoming vibe for your website as you would a physical storefront.
- Be Unique and Tell a Story: To be clear, we’re not advocating that all photography brands take on the same branding as traditional luxury retail brands. In fact, we believe that your website and brand should have its own character and story, whether it be funky, boho, fine art, or other.
Luxury Experience Without a Physical Studio
You can still create a luxury experience without a physical studio if you’re meeting in coffee shops or over Zoom meetings. Here are some ideas.
When you’re on the phone, booking the visit, you should already be aware of what type of photography they’re seeking. Grab the most appropriate album for that client. For example, if it’s an Indian wedding, grab an example album that fits! If it’s a portrait session, same thing. Bring along an album or fine art portrait prints, but no more than one album or a few prints!
On the phone, ask them what their favorite drinks are. Schedule the meeting at a local boutique coffee shop, bar, winery, or restaurant. Get to know the owner and staff because it’s likely you’ll be there quite often. Let them know that you’re there to support them as well. Arrive 15 minutes early to the coffee shop, find a good seat in a quiet corner. Next, order their favorite drinks and have them waiting for when the clients arrive.
When they arrive, show them the shop. Introduce them to the owner, and tell them why it’s your favorite shop in the area. Now, have a seat, give them their drinks, and get started in getting to know them! (We review closing sales in the full webinar).
Could you create a similar luxury experience via Zoom or online video-conferencing? Absolutely! You could set up your broadcast and video to have a studio-level quality by simply plugging in your camera and using OBS and designing a unique, appealing background. The screenshot below is an example of the setup I use for my Zoom meetings and my YouTube videos.
You could also deliver a “care package” with a few of your favorite treats and a box that’s marked “open once on Zoom.”
Be creative. You don’t need a studio to create a luxury experience. You simply need to incorporate some thought and a bit of what makes you unique!
Use Pricing Psychology in Your Package Design!
Your package pricing should be simple to understand, and it should incorporate pricing psychology!
First, let’s talk about the package design itself. Ideally, you want to create three main packages with the ability to customize if needed. You can do more or less. We’ve just found this to be an ideal number that’s easy to understand and hits the marks across the board.
This is the MVP or “Minimum Viable Product.” Now, this doesn’t mean that you include as little as possible in this so someone has to upgrade to get a complete product. That would be super annoying and would create mistrust in the client/photographer dynamic. This is like walking into a dealership to buy a car and then being told that the tires and steering wheel are sold separately.
Your MVP should be the minimum service that you need to create a product you’re proud of. For example, if you need a one-hour engagement shoot and at least six hours on the wedding day, build that into your base package.
You also want to be careful with naming your packages. Names like “bronze or silver” can denote that it’s not as good as the rest. So, give each package more neutral and positive names.
Package II represents the package that you want to sell the most. This is your “signature” product that is right for the majority (60-70%) of your clients. Its price point is going to be comfortably sandwiched in-between your low and high packages for a reason we’ll discuss below.
Then you have Package III which is your highest-end package as well as your price anchor. What’s important in package three is that you’re not just throwing in unnecessary or unreasonable items just to raise the price. These need to actually be things that people want; otherwise, they’re just going to ask you to remove items from the package and reprice it.
When it comes to presenting your packages and prices, present them in order of most expensive to least expensive. Here’s what I mean. Instead of presenting Package I, II and III, present Package III, then II, then I on any and every pricing documentation.
The reason for this is that Package III is your price anchor. This is the package that’s designed to create a little “sticker shock” and sets the tone for “hey, this isn’t cheap.” Then, when they get to Package II, your signature package that should be your most commonly booked package, they think: “phew, that’s much more reasonable.”
The best way to make something look like a value isn’t to reduce its price. It’s actually to place it next to things that are more expensive. A $5,000 watch looks expensive when you place it next to a $500 Movado watch. But then again, that same $5,000 watch doesn’t look so bad when next to it is a $20,000 Rolex.
We hope that this article was helpful to you and your photography business. We know it was a lot of information, so we hope you save it for later reference. Also, to learn more and see the video presentation of this information, see our full one-hour free masterclass on ways to add $100K more to your photography business.