Should photographers post their prices online?
I rarely write blog posts for other photographers. In fact, I rarely write blog posts at all – but I’m working on it! I’ve been talking to a few other photographers about whether or not to share your pricing online and I wanted to share my thoughts. So, should photographers post their prices online? The answer could be yes, no, or somewhere in the middle.
Why some photographers do NOT share their pricing
First, why would you not share your prices online? Many photographers want to go over the details of the session (including price) during an in-person, phone or video chat consultation. Many believe that they can show the value of their products during that consultation and it often works very well! There are other reasons that photographers may not share their pricing upfront, including:
- Offering fully custom packages to every client (particularly for weddings.)
- Wanting to have the ability to negotiate pricing with a client.
- Flexibility to change pricing if needed (ex. lowering a price for something you really want to shoot.)
Why sharing my pricing works for me
For me personally, 95% of my clients come from out of town. I work primarily with elopements and small weddings where the couple is generally not from the Branson area. I also work with extended families who come from all over the country to gather together in Branson. For the majority of my clients, in-person consultations simply aren’t an option. I speak to about half of my clients on the phone, and the other half entirely through email. I have done a few in-person consultations and a handful of video chats, but most of the initial interaction takes place through phone or email.
So, what does this have to do with pricing? I found that when I didn’t post my prices online, I got a lot more phone calls. You might think this sounds like a good thing, but it wasn’t. I spent a lot of time talking to people who were nothing short of horrified by my prices. This never bothered me because I know how much what I do is worth, but it was a waste of time for both the caller and myself.
It’s okay when everyone is not your client
There are people out there who think photographers should charge $50-$100 (or whatever number) for a session or even a wedding. Honestly, I do not think that it is my job to educate people on the value of photography. My ideal clients already value photography! ____ has a great post about the cost of running a photography business. I used to try to recommend other quality photographers who charged less, but most of those photographers have either 1) gone out of business or 2) realized their value and started charging more! I’m happy about this, by the way, #communityovercompetition.
When I started sharing my prices, things changed
What happened when I posted my prices on my website? I stopped getting these calls! Every now and then I might get a call from someone who found me directly on Google or Facebook, but it’s pretty rare. Most of my clients call me already knowing pricing or at least having a good idea of it. Most of the time we talk about other things first, and then they ask what the price includes. Many of my clients comment on how they think it’s such a great price because I include digital files. I know that’s another controversial subject, but it works well for my business and I am happy to offer them. As I mentioned, most of my clients come in from out of town and are busy on vacation, I don’t want to make them do another sit-down session to choose their photos, so I include them!
Should everyone show their prices online?
No, probably not. If you’re an outgoing person who loves in-person consultations – and rocks them – then maybe showing your prices online isn’t right for you. If you’re known for being a higher-end photographer in your area, you may not need to post your prices online. This post definitely isn’t saying that everyone should have their prices online, but simply that it works well for some of us.
The third option
Another option that works really well is showing your “starting at” prices. Even though I show my wedding packages on my website, this is what I use for families and elopement packages, a starting point. That way your potential clients have an idea of what you charge and won’t waste their time (or yours) if it’s over their budget. Even if you do IPS (in-person sales) a starting point can be a great option. For example, you could say: session fees start at $199. Most clients spend between $500-$1100 on their portraits or something along those lines.
Whatever you do in your business should be what works for you. I have spoken to many new photographers who have tried to do things the way another photographer is doing it. Whether it’s pricing or anything else. This simply doesn’t work. There are a lot of things to learn when you start a photography business but trying to copy everything that someone else does rarely work. You have to figure out what works best for yourself and your business and do that.