Ever been told that you should base your photography business pricing on COGS?
Depending on what stage your business is at, that could do you far more harm than good…


In this video I talk about some of the myths and misconceptions about pricing for professional photographers and why no one business model is better than any other:


  • [00:01:01] Why not everyone can serve the top end of the market.
  • [00:02:59] How putting up prices too quickly brought one photographer’s business to a grinding halt
  • [00:03:47] How starting off with lower prices can increase your chances of success
  • [00:05:03] Going from £500 weddings to £3,000 weddings




[00:00:01] Hey, it’s Louise Beattie and I just wanted to record you a quick video about pricing and the marketplace. There’s this thing where everybody thinks they’ve got to be high end and you’ve got to go high end and lower pricing damages the market. Well that’s absolutely not true. Take a look at any industry, food, restaurant, cars, motorbikes bicycle’s housing, you name it. Any kind of industry, and there is a whole range of price points and in these industries the lower end of the market does not damage or de-value the higher end of the market, they sell totally different products aimed at a totally different segment of the market and photography is exactly the same. But we seem to have lost sight of that in the industry as a whole and there’s a lot of talk about you’ve got to charge high ticket. [00:01:00]


[00:01:01] Well I’m sorry, not everybody can serve the top end of the market. You know there just aren’t enough people in that market, segment of the market for everybody to serve that. And it’s perfectly possible to serve the low end of the market very well, make them feel good which is what a lot of photographers say is one of their drivers, making people feel good, and how they make the clients feel and be profitable and you can then still get to enjoy doing what you love. Making people happy taking photos and you know you just give them, you don’t give them the high end edit, the painstaking editing, use presets, but they are going to love them and it is still going to be a professional quality and a quality that they couldn’t get themselves. [00:01:45]


[00:01:46] So there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that you just need to do it in a way, a business model that’s more high volume, perfectly profitable, perfectly doable, and it’s a great place for photographers starting out as professional photographers just to start, starting out to start, yeah I know. Great English, were here to learn good English not! [00:02:07]


[00:02:09] So, yeah absolutely, you know if you’re starting out trying to sell higher end ticket because people say, oh you know the old analogy that people pay 60 quid for a plumber and all that well a plumber or an electrician have done several years at college. I don’t know how long they do but certainly several years and the majority of the time they would have served an apprenticeship. So if you’re just starting out as a photographer, chances are you haven’t done several years at college, you haven’t done a year or two’s apprenticeship, so treat serving the lower end of the market as your apprenticeship. That’s where you learn your skills, you learn to be able to deliver in any kind of conditions without the pressure of having charged someone you know a lot of money for a session and then being scared to go out and market yourself. [00:02:59]


[00:02:59] That actually happened. Someone who had been a client of mine for a while and she went and put up her prices, she followed the you know the usual photography market industry advice to base pricing on cost of goods and for six months she hardly marketed her business because she was frightened to, because she was scared of her pricing. She came back to work with me, we talked about her pricing, what was blocking her. I could see straight away what was going on. She’s gone back to her original business model while she builds her confidence and all of a sudden she’s out there marketing and getting leads. So don’t shoot yourself in the foot. (laughing) look at Duke back there you always does this who I speak to the video or the camera. So don’t shoot yourself in the foot. [00:03:46]


[00:03:47] You know it is okay to start off charging low prices, serve that end of the market. Someone’s got to. There’s no shame in that. Put your ego aside that you want to be this great rock and roll photographer that everybody looks up to. Forget about other photographers. Think about your clients and your market and how you can give them value. Doing a high volume lower price business model is a great way to get started, building your experience because you get to shoot more. It’s easier to book clients, you haven’t got the pressure, you’re not frightened at your pricing you believe in it. There’s a whole bunch of things going on energetically and in your self belief as well. [00:04:25]


[00:04:25] It absolutely does not harm the market at all. Just like you know Daceas, the Hyundai, the Skoda, well Skodas have have gone upmarket a bit now but you know the cheap cars don’t devalue the R8s, the Ferraris, the Aston Martins or even the more expensive Mercs and Audis or just like McDonalds and KFC dont harm the Michelin restaurants, Michelin starred restaurants so you know don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t reposition yourself in the market because you absolutely can. [00:05:03]


[00:05:03] I have a friend who started off doing 500 quid weddings, within two years she was minimum price was three grand a wedding she was doing destination and celebrity wedding so it’s absolute bollocks that you can’t reposition yourself in the market. Look at all the car manufacturers. They have a range of cars you know Ford’s Ka doesn’t devalue their top end models. Audi’s A1 doesn’t devalue their R8, their A8, their A6, their A7. So you know don’t believe anyone that wants to tell you that bull shit. They’re just trying to protect their own business they haven’t got your best interests at heart. Anyway, I just want to record that, I’ve waffled on long enough, I’m going to carry on enjoying this fabulous day and finish walking the dog says Midge patiently waiting and Duke. So have a good day. See you later. Bye. [00:05:03]


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