Money is a sensitive topic among photographers, and it’s especially tricky if you’re new to charging for your services. Many photographers don’t want to sound like “bad guys” when determining the price, so they tend to devalue their work. Also, sometimes it’s difficult to determine what exactly your services are worth. In this video, Photographer David Bergman will give you some precious tips on determining your value and talking about money with your clients.
According to David, many photographers rely on the philosophy that money’s not the most important thing. But actually, it is very important. You need money to go on doing what you do, keep investing in your business and after all – pay the bills. It’s great if you love your job and enjoy doing it. But love doesn’t bring home the bacon. This is why you need to be clear about charging for your services and communicating to your clients about it.
Communication is the key. You need to make that unpleasant conversation about money before you start taking photos, even with your friends and family. This way you will avoid any awkward situations and misunderstandings.
Charging for services
When you determine the price, you should take the deposit in advance. This way your clients will take you more seriously and they can be sure you’ll do the work. Require the full payment shortly after you deliver the images, so you don’t have to chase them down after the photo shoot is done.
Determining your price
This is a very tricky one. Every photographer has their own policy and the way they determine the price. However, David points out you should have these criteria in mind: the usage of photos, your overhead costs and your level of experience. I would also add the duration of the photo shoot, the number of photos you deliver and whether you provide prints or not.
When setting up the price, keep in mind that you are the seller and your client is a buyer. Think of it this way – when you walk into a store, every item will have a price tag. It’s up to you to decide whether you’ll buy something or not, and the seller will not get offended if it’s out of your price range.
Sometimes (from my experience, often) the clients tell you what they are ready to pay for photography. For me, this was always a tricky situation, and I was never able to handle it properly. There’s hardly any other industry out there where the client determines the price.
Of course, you can negotiate and alter the terms a bit, but don’t go under your value and under a reasonable price. You can try this experiment: call a plumber, tell him your pipes are leaking, but you only have $50 plumbing budget. Do you think it would work? Nope, probably wouldn’t. So, have this in mind when clients underestimate your work and try to determine what your price should be.
Don’t be afraid to talk about money
If you decided to start charging for your photographic services, you’ll need to have the money took sooner or later. So, be prepared and do it. It’s awkward in the beginning, but it gets easier with time. Don’t be afraid to set your prices and communicate them clearly. The clients will have more respect for you and your work and they will take you seriously. After all, if you don’t value your work, how can the others value it?