Photography marketing

4 photography pricing tips to charge more per client

Most photographers focus their business growth strategies on booking more clients. However, the most financially savvy photographers understand the full revenue equation, i.e. revenue 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 number of bookings or 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 you book.

We will review these concepts:

  • Understanding the luxury mindset in relation to the consumer
  • Get creative to deliver 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 training is directly taken from our free one-hour masterclass entitled “3 steps to earning an extra $100,000.” If you want to learn more about amplifying your business with more leads, more revenue per customer, and higher sales conversions, we encourage you to sign up. here.

As a warning, this article is long but just like the last article, “3 photography marketing tips and tricks that actually work“, it’s packed with real-world proven strategies. Feel free to bookmark it and revisit it over time!

Understanding the luxury mindset in relation to the 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 ceased to be a consumer product when everyone found themselves with a phone in their pocket that could take photos that were essentially “good enough”. From there, photography became something different. Clients sought photographers as a luxury, as a unique experience that gave them something they couldn’t recreate on their own. At the same time, photography has become more accessible to everyone. Large cameras are affordable, and digital photography has taken away the expertise and cost of shooting 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 arrived, the supply of photographers increased.

The picture above is a standard consumer product, a deluxe demand line is more like the picture below. It’s a little less elastic, a little less volatile. This is 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 growing 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 it also means two other things:

  1. Your product is a luxury and should be marketed that way, regardless of your price.
  2. Your photography should be a luxury experience that offers value beyond the photos.

How to Create a Luxury Experience

In order to build a luxury experience, let’s review some examples of consumption 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 you see?

What you’ve probably noticed is that on the consumer side, we’re presented with tons of options. If we look at the car showroom, we see several cars and many more on the lot.

But in the Bentley dealership, we see calm. We feel at peace. We are shown a single car, presented as a work of art more than a product. We see a simple art print. A chair and a desk to sit down and discuss the purchase. On top of that, do you think the seller will ever really talk about features like stereo, leather, and electronics? No, because if you buy a luxury product, you expect all these features to be standard.

Take a look at the department store on the right, against Louis Vuitton on the left. Isn’t it the same thing? On the right, tons of products. On the left, one handbag/product displayed at a time. You and I know there are more on the back, but they’re displayed like works of art, one at a time!

Ok, but how does this translate into photography?

Website design and product offering

Your digital showroom is your website, and to ensure you deliver a luxury experience, here are some tips and guidelines to follow.

  • Specialize: Offering too many services is equivalent to offering too many products in one store. Focus on one photography niche and consider branching out and rebranding your other services to a separate website and brand.
  • Coherence and curation: Show only your best work. Organize and constantly delete outdated images. Just like Bentley won’t feature an old beat up car, don’t feature your sepia photos from 2008.
  • User interface and navigation: Keep your website clutter-free, simple, and easy to navigate. Create the same positive, clean, welcoming vibe for your website as you would for a physical storefront.
  • Be Unique and Tell a Story: To be clear, we’re not advocating that all photography brands adopt the same brand image as traditional luxury retail brands. In fact, we believe that your website and your brand should have their own character and story, be it funky, boho, fine art or otherwise.

Luxury experience without a physical studio

You can still create a luxury experience without a physical studio if you gather in cafes or on Zoom meetings. Here are some ideas.

When you’re on the phone, booking the tour, you should already know what type of photography they’re looking for. Take the most appropriate album for this client. For example, if it is an Indian wedding, take an example of an album that suits you! If it’s a portrait session, same thing. Bring an album or art portrait prints, but no more than an album or a few prints!

On the phone, ask them what their favorite drinks are. Schedule the meeting at a local cafe, bar, winery or restaurant. Get to know the owner and staff as chances are you will be there quite often. Let them know that you are also there to support them. Arrive 15 minutes early at the cafe, find a good seat in a quiet corner. Then order their favorite drinks and have them wait for customers to arrive.

When they arrive, show them the shop. Introduce them to the owner and tell them why this is your favorite store in the area. Now sit down, give them their drinks and get to know them! (We are reviewing closing sales in full online seminar).

Could you create a similar luxury experience via Zoom or online video conferencing? Absolutely! You can set up your broadcast and video to have studio-level quality by simply plugging in your camera and using OBS and design a unique and attractive background. The screenshot below is an example of the setup I use for my Zoom meetings and YouTube videos.

You can also deliver a “care package” with a few of your favorite treats and a box labeled “Open once on Zoom”.

Be creative. You don’t need a studio to create a luxury experience. You just need to incorporate a bit of reflection and a bit of what makes you unique!

Use pricing psychology in your package design!

Pricing your package should be easy to understand and should incorporate pricing psychology!

Packaging design

First, let’s talk about the design of the packaging itself. Ideally, you want to create three main packages with the ability to customize them as needed. You can do more or less. We have just found this to be an ideal number that is easy to understand and serves all purposes.

Package I

This is the MVP or “Minimum Viable Product”. Now that doesn’t mean you include as little as possible in this, so someone has to upgrade to get a full product. It would be super boring and create mistrust in the client/photographer dynamic. It’s like walking into a dealership to buy a car and being told the tires and steering wheel are sold separately.

Your MVP should be the minimum service you need to create a product you are proud of. For example, if you need a one-hour engagement session and at least six hours on the wedding day, build it into your basic package.

You should also be careful when naming your packages. Names like “bronze or silver” may indicate that it is not as good as the rest. So give each package more neutral and positive names.

Package II

Package II represents the package you want to sell the most. This is your “signature” product that suits the majority (60-70%) of your customers. Its price will be comfortably sandwiched between your low and high packages for a reason we’ll discuss below.

Package III

Then you have Package III which is your most premium package as well as your anchor price. What’s important about the third package is that you don’t just throw away unnecessary or unreasonable items just to raise the price. These must actually be things that people want; otherwise, they will just ask you to remove items from the package and reprice them.

When it comes to presenting your plans and prices, list them from most expensive to least expensive. Here’s what I mean. Instead of presenting packages I, II and III, present package III, then II, then I on all pricing documents.

The reason is that Package III is your anchor price. This is the package that’s designed to create a little “sticker shock” and set the tone for “hey, it’s not cheap”. Then, when they get to Package II, your signature package which should be your most often booked package, they’re like, “phew, that’s a lot more reasonable.”

The best way to make something look like a value is not to reduce its price. It’s actually putting 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.

More information

We hope this article was helpful to you and your photography business. We know that was a lot of information, so we hope you save it for future reference. Also, to learn more and see the video presentation of this information, check out our free full one-hour masterclass on ways to add another $100,000 to your photography business.