It seems like at the start of a new year, everyone you do business with raises their prices.
So as a photographer, should you raise your prices, too?
Today, I’ve got some tips for you.
My first few years after I opened Sarah Petty Photography, I spent so much time worrying about raising my prices.
But after I converted to the boutique business model, I realized I was worrying about the wrong thing.
Now I spend no time thinking about prices.
And here’s why.
To put it really simply, it’s not about price.
It’s about your business model.
The right question to ask yourself when thinking about raising your prices is this: Can you create enough value to be worth whatever you want to charge?
When we wrote our book, Worth Every Penny, Erin Verbeck, my co-author, and I were very careful to explain marketing terms and concepts like we were talking to our best friend.
Because I think sometimes these concepts get so squishy and they’re really hard to apply.
Creating Value for your Portrait Photography
Value is one of those concepts that I think gets thrown around and people don’t really take the time to understand exactly what it means.
Value means, what are people willing to give up to get something else?
For example, in our world, for someone who doesn’t know how to decorate their home, but wants cool portraits on their walls and not things from TJ Maxx, what is photographic artwork worth to them?
We’re talking about images in portraits that make them walk into their house and get goosebumps every time they look at it.
That’s what creates value.
Giant large artwork in people’s homes that they don’t know how to get any other way.
Value with the boutique model really means, what are the things we are doing in our business to make our clients giddy about investing more with us?
Value is created in so many ways, not just the paper our work is printed on.
It’s the experience we create from holding our clients’ hands and explaining why what we do is so cool for them.
It’s explaining why we don’t just sell digital files and send them home to print on their own.
It’s how we explain why what we do is so different.
And of course, explaining why our prices are what they are so they have no fear in the process.
We are creating so much value in our businesses in what we do.
Value In A Boutique Photography Business is Created by Better Marketing
Better marketing will get you better people who value you more.
This is about having a high touch market system.
We don’t just run out and have them click on a link and sign up for a session on our website.
That’s not going to get you the right clients.
We build relationships and we answer the phone.
We don’t hide behind a cheap price out of fear because our better marketing creates value, attracts the right people, and it makes them so happy that they invested their money with us.
Value In A Boutique Photography Business is Created With Our Sales Process
In a boutique photography business, I really talk about it more like a service process.
Nobody wants to be pushy or salesy.
So, we have a process that is about serving hard and taking care of our clients at every step.
But because it is profitably priced, we can make a profit.
There’s no selling with the shoot and burn model and you’re not even serving them.
You’re giving them raw ingredients to go home and cook a meal that they don’t even know how to cook.
In the boutique model, we serve hard and we sell easy, which means we don’t under-serve them by posting an online gallery for them to order from.
They get overwhelmed.
And while they want your images, they have no idea how to get them from the computer to their walls.
They need your help.
We want to work with people who want that special experience and who value it.
I joke with my students because I have them order 25 price lists at a time.
And I tell them when they run out, it’s time to raise prices.
I did that for the first few years in business because I would analyze what sold and what didn’t sell.
I’ve tried this and tested this and I know exactly what sells.
I was able to keep raising my prices, thrilling my clients, and as I was growing I was attracting more people.
And I can quit feeling like I have to serve everyone.
I don’t have to serve the people who are just looking for cheap.
There are plenty of people to take care of them.
We can’t build a profitable boutique business on those kinds of clients.
Creating an Experience that Keeps Them Coming Back
With a boutique photography business, you create so much magic and so much value in this process that this will become your client’s favorite way to invest their money.
They should be looking forward to every time they get to come back to you and get new artwork.
I think photographers always think that if they raise their prices, people are going to be mad at them.
And it’s the opposite.
When you thrill and serve and create so much value for your clients, you’re attracting people who value it.
They care about it.
When you start creating a system that creates value, you will attract those people with your marketing.
Most business owners compete with cheap, but as photographers, we compete with free because everyone has a digital camera.
You will never win this race competing on price and as soon as you learn exactly how to create value so you can charge more, the sooner you will actually see your photography business as a legitimate business.
Get out of the price race to the bottom.
Following a System is Key
I believe it’s about following a proven system.
I would say, if someone else is doing it, I want to hire them and find out how they’re doing it and have them teach me quickly instead of spending years of trial and error.
What if you learned the business part and you never have to think about pricing again?
Seriously, I couldn’t imagine it either, but it’s where I am now.
And it’s where so many of my students are.
They don’t have to wake up in a sweat at night, over raising their prices $10.
They wake up excited to jump into the day.
And is it easy?
Of course not.
But once you learn how to create value, you’re focusing on thrilling your clients.
And then the rest of it is easy.
I want you to come and start this year with me and my free ditch the digitals challenge that we’re having so that you can see all of the things I’m talking about that create value, so you don’t have to freak the heck out when you bring up price.
Just go to joyofmarketing.com/challenge.
It’s a free 5-day challenge that talks about all the things we do to create value so that you can ditch the digital files and charge what you’re worth.
There is no better time than right now, especially when you are starting with a clean slate at the beginning of the year.
Right now is the time.
Join our community.
There’s no reason not to because I want you to learn once and for all why you can’t ever win the price race to the bottom.
I will see you there.