"Do you have any deals..."

jowensphoto

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****DISCLAIMER**** I'd really just like examples of how this type of situation has been addressed by others. I'd prefer that this not turn into a debate about noobs saturating the market. :)

I'm frustrated. A few months back, I changed my pricing (as in increased) to better fit my business goals/CODB requirements. It seems like everyone is looking for a handout and I'm not really sure how to handle questions like, "I don't want to spend that much, what can you give me for $XX?" without sounding like a total snob.

On the other hand, I kind of need money and could do a shoot on the client's budget but include the online gallery only (rather than the prints and coffee table book my standard package includes).

Anyway, how do you deal with situations like that?

FWIW, my basic package is still a really good deal - especially considering the HCOL area that DC is.
 

kathyt

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Your standard package includes a coffee table book and prints? I would include that in a second or third tier pricing model. First thing you need to do is get clients in the door and then wow them with service and delivery. IMO, a book should be an upgrade. How do you up sell after they already have a book in hand? Of course I don't know all of your pricing structure but from a client standpoint I would think to myself, what if I didn't like my images and I was stuck with a book and prints. You know what I mean?
 
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jowensphoto

jowensphoto

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That's a good point Kathy. I'll admit that this is a test model for a permanent package, and I guess the test results are in :) I tried it out because it did REALLY well on a specialty boudoir package.

Even in this specific case, I not sure I'm the right photographer for her. She was asking for something around $100.
 
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jowensphoto

jowensphoto

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And idk why I said prints. It's the coffee table book and online gallery (PASS).
 

Steve5D

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When I quote someone a price, and they ask "Do you have any deals?", my response is always the same:

"I just gave you one."

I'd recommend having "ala carte" pricing available to quote. It won't take long before they see the price disparity.

I tend to quote on the low side. I've been fortunate in that I can often take these "low side" customers into the realm of "real money" customers. So, given that, if someone doesn't want to pay what I quote them, that's completely fine. I won't throw a fit and I won't disparage their choice. I'll thank them for paying me the compliment of enjoying my work to the point where they were considering me, and I'll wish them well.

And I will do so knowing that they won't get anything even approaching my quality for anything near what I quoted them. They'll certainly find a photographer to do the job for what they want to pay, and they'll fool themselves into believing the quality will be similar to mine. And it won't be.

And I'll sleep well...
 

nycphotography

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If you can't cover your costs and leave enough profit at $50 an hour, you need to rethink your business plan. So for $100 she gets 2 hours of your time. That can be 1 hour shooting and 1 hour post. Or it can be 2 hours shooting and then hand her a DVD.

The entire time, you can be talking about all the things you COULD do for her. Book. Prints. Galleries. Styling and hair and makeup. With examples laying around that she can pick up and hold and look at.

Most people will end up spending more than their budget, once they see what they can get and they decide they want it.

You take the sessions knowing that you have the opportunity to sell much more. And that "selling more" is the real trick in business. Every business. ;-)
 

amolitor

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For $100? All I can do is hang up the phone, cuz I'm already losing money.
 

amolitor

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I've already mentioned this elsewhere, but I think it's a solid enough idea to be worth repeating.

Photographers in this sort of line are under pressure and will continue to be under pressure. An approach to evolving a better business model is:

- sell experiences
- sell unique objects

based on a photographic theme. Experiences like trash-the-dress are already out there, invent more things like it. How about a boudoir shoot paired with a massage or a personalized yoga class? Unique objects might be things like tintypes or similar one-off photographic objects.
 

e.rose

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"Do you have any deals?"

39215-grumpy-cat-no-rwoe.jpeg
 
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jowensphoto

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If you can't cover your costs and leave enough profit at $50 an hour, you need to rethink your business plan. So for $100 she gets 2 hours of your time. That can be 1 hour shooting and 1 hour post. Or it can be 2 hours shooting and then hand her a DVD.

The entire time, you can be talking about all the things you COULD do for her. Book. Prints. Galleries. Styling and hair and makeup. With examples laying around that she can pick up and hold and look at.

Most people will end up spending more than their budget, once they see what they can get and they decide they want it.

You take the sessions knowing that you have the opportunity to sell much more. And that "selling more" is the real trick in business. Every business. ;-)


I think that's fair and something I am considering. Maybe even spin off the idea as a mini-session type deal and offer it to 3-4 others I know who are working with lower start budgets. It's publicity for me, money in my pocket and people are happy.

Thanks for the feedback,everyone.

Andrew - I like where your head is! Definitely food for thought.
 

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Time is the biggest thing to consider. In a crowded metro area, drive times to and from can easily turn a "30-minute" mini-session into a one-hour there, one-hour back deal that takes, actually, three full hours! ACK!!!!!!!!

One thing I have noticed low-end mini-session shooters doing is scheduling multiple mini-sessions at one good outdoor location. Combining even two short sessions at one location, back-to-back, can cut the effects of drive times down quite a bit, and lessens logistical hassles too. Two, 30-minute sessions, back-to-back at $100 each is $200/hr. Of course, the final part is to be able to pose, shoot, and process the images VERY quickly. And by very quickly, I mean 30-40 seconds per image. The way the modern, higher-volume portrait and event pros do it. Not slaving over images, but creating images that are done right, in-camera.Finding and or creating/modifying the light, at the scene, is what the best shooters do. You simply can not take shots that need "heroic" or even level 8 rescue processing and make any profit if youi have to spend 10 minuites per image at the computer.

You cannot "perfect" each and every image down to the last fine detail at these kind of prices. You will need to start with fundamentally good lighting and excellent posing. The way old-time professionals did it.

If you're going to shoot this low-end stuff, you simply can not spend a lot of time perfecting sub-par or "needs-work-to-make-it-work" images. This is the way shot-on-film used to work: you lighted the images right, from the start. It's a different mind-set.

$100, 25 minutes shooting maximum, five poses, one CD. ONE person, one location, one clothes change, each additional person $35. That pricing is actually almost double what I see around here from these mini-session new pro's.
 

kathyt

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That's a good point Kathy. I'll admit that this is a test model for a permanent package, and I guess the test results are in :) I tried it out because it did REALLY well on a specialty boudoir package.

Even in this specific case, I not sure I'm the right photographer for her. She was asking for something around $100.
Oh yeah, boudoir sessions are almost 90% a book sale for me, but not regular sessions. My albums/coffee table books are in the top tier of my pricing model because they are very costly and time consuming to put together.
 
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jowensphoto

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Time is the biggest thing to consider. In a crowded metro area, drive times to and from can easily turn a "30-minute" mini-session into a one-hour there, one-hour back deal that takes, actually, three full hours! ACK!!!!!!!!

One thing I have noticed low-end mini-session shooters doing is scheduling multiple mini-sessions at one good outdoor location. Combining even two short sessions at one location, back-to-back, can cut the effects of drive times down quite a bit, and lessens logistical hassles too. Two, 30-minute sessions, back-to-back at $100 each is $200/hr. Of course, the final part is to be able to pose, shoot, and process the images VERY quickly. And by very quickly, I mean 30-40 seconds per image. The way the modern, higher-volume portrait and event pros do it. Not slaving over images, but creating images that are done right, in-camera.Finding and or creating/modifying the light, at the scene, is what the best shooters do. You simply can not take shots that need "heroic" or even level 8 rescue processing and make any profit if youi have to spend 10 minuites per image at the computer.

You cannot "perfect" each and every image down to the last fine detail at these kind of prices. You will need to start with fundamentally good lighting and excellent posing. The way old-time professionals did it.

If you're going to shoot this low-end stuff, you simply can not spend a lot of time perfecting sub-par or "needs-work-to-make-it-work" images. This is the way shot-on-film used to work: you lighted the images right, from the start. It's a different mind-set.

$100, 25 minutes shooting maximum, five poses, one CD. ONE person, one location, one clothes change, each additional person $35. That pricing is actually almost double what I see around here from these mini-session new pro's.

It is low-end... and I hate that. If I didn't need the dough, I don't think I'd consider it. I don't have huge issues getting it in camera - but I loveeeeeee photoshop more than is probably healthy. So stopping myself from going above and beyond would be a challenge.

I have three people in mind and have offered it to them. We'll see what happens.
 

amolitor

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This is probably obvious, but if you're gonna set up $100 mini-sessions, and set several up to go back to back you gotta have a "pay in advance, no money back for no-shows" policy. The low end is *tough* in any business. You've got to guard your margins like a junkyard dog, and you gotta be ready to deal with ugliness.
 

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