Let’s put an end to this…

I was just about to go to bed, when I made the almighty mistake of doing one last peek at facebook.

Why was that a mistake? Well…I could list of a hundred reasons (but that will be a post for another day).

However – this random image popped up into my newsfeed.  I’ve seen many like it before.

And I’ve listened to many o’ photographer conversations around it.

I’m sure you have to.

Look familiar?

My friends…if you truly, truly have your clients best interest at heart, and you are in this business to wow them,  then please, PLEASE end the spread of this nonsense.

This is NOT the way to wow your clients.  This is not going to have them feeling warm, fuzzy thoughts when they think about your business.

Now, I’m not saying what is written on these things are false.  And it’s important as a business owner to understand how much time we spend on each session, and what other costs we incur in the year.  And to understand why we price the way we do.

But, please PLEASE do not wave this in front of your clients faces.  Or potential clients.  Or…really….ANYONE’S face!

First of all, if they believe your prices are out of their range

a) it’s because you haven’t shown them the amazing VALUE they receive
b) they genuinely cannot afford you

In either of these cases, do you believe that plastering your facebook page with a “This is why I’m worth it?” image is going to win them over?

No my friends. It isn’t.

It could, however, make you look like a ego-driven goof.  Sorry. That may be harsh. But it’s true. And sometimes we need a cold splash of “reality water” tossed on us!  Especially if we accidentally let ourselves get sucked down one of those nutty negativity rabbit holes that crop up time to time in photography circles.

If that has happened to you, that’s ok.  Shake it off!  Seek out positive circles.

 

Stop focusing on what YOU are worth, and start focusing on what value YOUR CLIENTS receive.

See the difference?

It’s not about you.  It’s about them.

We’ll continue on a bit more about this…but, I just had to write this down or I would never be able to sleep!

 

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Emily Reply

I LOVE love love this. This is so true and what you wrote is inspiring!

Reina Procee Reply

Completely agree. I posted something like this before but immediately regretted it. Thank you for posting about this, cuz for photogs just starting out its great to have a role model like you who will talk about things like this with our best interests at heart. Thank you for saying what I was instinctively feeling but could not put to words. 🙂

Ashleigh Wells Reply

I think you are right. I think that there should be some more client education around photographers and why they are worth it, but keep a link handy for those who complain about prices and that should be more than enough. I don't think a little meme like this is going to revolutionize the industry.

Roberta Gavigan Reply

I couldn’t agree more with you Lisa, I know that I am worth what I charge but you’re right in saying that I need to show my clients that in my work, not in black and white. I prefer not to plaster these types of posts on my wall because I don’t think they need to to be bombarded with my finances, every company has expenses, if they’re coming to me or even considering me they see my worth. Well written as always!

Amanda Borowski Reply

I SO agree. It makes me cringe everything I see something like this!

Karen Mackie-Dumont Reply

I love how insurance is misspelled… lol… Not only is the bluntness of this extremely rude, misspelling anything and wanting to be taken seriously just don't work well together 🙂 I do mostly agree with this post but I have to say, I have seen some well-worded, polite, lovely and informative blog posts about why it's important to choose a custom photographer with experience etc… (for newborns especially) I have one posted on my website, borrowed from another blog, but I did cut out the parts where they "breakdown" the costs and compare KFC and High end restaurants because I feel it to be tacky and ridiculous… Although it's technically all true and it's okay to discuss among ourselves as photographers, our potential clients aren't stupid when it comes to what they value and where they want to spend their money… But I do believe that some do need to be educated on the fact it may not be the safest choice to go with a less experienced photographer because they cost less and include a disc of 150 photos 🙂 I've had people come to me desperate for a booking because they went with someone cheap and their photos were horrible, not realizing they were hiring someone who didn't really do newborns because she never told them that… they were referred to her by a friend and were fairly happy with their maternity images so they didn't think anything of it :0 They weren't people who didn't "value" what pricier photographers had to offer (because they were more than willing to pay what I was charging) they just didn't know any better and the photographer they chose to work with was not honest with them… 🙁 So I do think it's good, if worded properly and respectfully to educate our clients a little… but certainly not like this!

Michele Q Reply

Thank you THANK YOU for posting this! Maybe people will start to listen.

Dana Fiorito Reply

I also noticed the insurance mis-spell…haha…I couldn't have said it better myself.

Sarah Jane Cothren Reply

SO GREAT. So glad someone else thinks those things photographers "share" online are detrimental to the profession, not some noble outcry that will make everyone stand up and agree with is being said. I like what my sister said about it: Posting these things doesn't so much build up the photographer as insult the potential future clients who may have been unable to afford a professional photographer in the past.

Katy Reply

What a great post!!

I have a question I’d like to pose! I agree 100% with not posting such images on facebook pages, but what are everyone’s thoughts on having a “Why does custom photography cost more?” link on your website? For example, in the investment section of my website, I have my prices listed – including session fees, as well as a la carte product pricing. At the bottom of this page, there is a line which reads “To find out why custom portrait photography costs more click here!” which is linked to a great article which outlines why it’s a great idea to invest in custom photography. Is this the same thing in your opinion? If in fact it is giving off the same vibe as the above image, I won’t hesitate to remove it, but I just wanted to know if having something like this is worthwhile or helpful to clients when choosing a photographer!

Jennifer Gilbert Reply

I couldn't agree more!

lisa Reply

Honestly, I’m not sure that the ‘Why does custom photography cost more’ route is the best one to take. How about a ‘What can expect when you book a session with ? and talk about the fabulous experience they are going to have…or “5 things to ask before booking your session to ensure it’s a great match for your family” Our take – why assume your clients are thinking “Why does this ‘cost’ so much?” Think of ways you can weave into your web copy, pre + post sales information, and regular communication with your clients that SHOWS them the value they receive…how can we talk about the benefit for THEM. 🙂

Catherine Dalton Reply

Love your great insights. I saw this doing the rounds too but chose not to post this to my business wall. I could see where people were going with it but I felt that my clients have been happy and referred people which meant they felt my work was valuable enough to tell others so I don't need to break it down for them. They saw first hand how patient and careful I was with their precious babies and the attention I put into details and editing with their pictures they got in their hands was enough without spelling it out for them. Thank you 🙂

Tracy Hoots Hoexter Reply

Amen, sista!

Karine Reply

Finally someone thinking the same way!

I mean, your client don’t give a s**t of your cost of business… they are interest in what they get for their hard earned money.

Tunde Reply

Well said, I just had a conversation with somebody today discussing similar things.We have to value whop we are as business owners and try to educate 1 client at a time as to what we do.

Carrie Vines Reply

Bravo!! Love this.

Katy Reply

Great points Lisa! I honestly had never thought of it that way before 🙂 But now that I have, you’re approach is much better than the route I was taking. I’m glad I learned something and can modify how I was doing things!! 🙂 Thank you!

Lindsey Burnett Reply

What a breath of fresh air! I am so glad that there are others that agree with me. I cringe when I see these on Facebook or blogs. It’s a terrible terrible idea and I think it’s a total turn off to current and potential clients. We are no better than any other person trying to work hard and run their own business. It’s our job to make our client’s see the value, not what it’s costing us.

Jessica Reply

I could not agree more!! Thank you for keeping it positive:)

Lisa Reply

Love.

daisycoleman Reply

Awesome. i am just an amateur photog. Didn’t want all the hassles of the business side. I totally agree. My favorite photog does not post anything like this on her site. She does awesome photos. Never posts anything negative. She just post her pics and that’s it. Her work speaks for itself!!! And she has TONS of people who love her work! As a potential client soon I would never use someone who posted this thinking that they would get my business. As someone put it in their comment on the blog ” I don’t care what your cost are for all your time. I just want my photos.” You(as in a photographer) may think of my payment as in terms of your talent, equipment, etc. I think of it as in my photos. My payment is for the photos you take of ME. When this is posted it makes it sound like you are conceited and I am paying for all your stuff and my photos are an after thought! Great photos speak for the photographer. You can have all the training in the worldwith the best equipment but if your photos look like crap I am not using you!!!

Mikelle Reply

I totally agree, but does anyone have suggestions on how to deal with clients who seem totally shocked when they find out they have to pay more to have images on a CD? Or that buying a CD isn’t even an option? I’ve recently decided to only do 4×6 images on CD (got that idea from you Lisa) but it seems that people expect to get all the full size, edited images with a session fee. These aren’t people that are not happy with their photos, but people who are thrilled, love them, and want them all, but are angry that I won’t just burn a cd, because in their words “How long does it take to burn a cd?” This hasn’t happened often, but even when it happens once it’s a little upsetting. When a client goes from being thrilled to being angry, it’s hard to know what to do 🙁

lisa Reply

Yes…it is OUR job as photography business owners to clearly explain what we offer and showcase the value to the client. By ensuring what your session does and does not include, doing a pre-session consultation and going through a contract that clearly outlines everything, you will ensure that both you and your client are on the same page with the same set of expectations from the get-go. If your client wants all images on CD and it’s not something you offer, they need to know this so they can make a decision as to whether you are a good fit for them (it might not be). When something like this happens, it is a great learning time…you can ask yourself, ‘what could I have done to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future?” I think it’s easy to think ‘well, perhaps our clients aren’t being reasonable’ – but, when you take a hard look at the situation, it’s probable that the expectations/outcomes were not clearly communicated 🙂

Mikelle Reply

Thanks. I’m sure you are right, and in this case I think it was a combination of one family member not being informed of all the details and not being able to afford what they wanted. The business side of things is not my strong point . . . working on that :).

Amie Reply

I completely agree. Let clients base their decision on value for money. If it’s a great product, people will pay. Let your images do the talking!

laura medina Reply

I think these posts make people look insecure and defensive. I’ve never seen ANY other profession or trade (hair salon, restaurant, mechanic, etc.) constantly trying to explain their prices. If you don’t like them, move on…What does this say about photographers? And what does that say to your clientele that DOES value your work, doesn’t complain about prices, and then they see that there are others who are questioning you? I say stop trying to drag people in your doors who aren’t eager to go; it rarely works, and if it does, they make the pickiest clients.

Laura Short Reply

I think this entertains more photographers than it does clients. I want positivity surrounding me. No more negativity. This is just too much negativity. Great post. <3

Heather Reply

I agree these types of posts are not of interest to the average client! They just want gorgeous pictures…they don’t care what your costs are. However, I do understand, with all the undercutting and SUPER cheap photography going on these days, why photogs have chosen this route to try to educate people as to the difference between what they offer and some of the other stuff out there. These are desperate times for many photographers :(.

We’ve tried to address some of these issues in a manner of interest to clients (as well as safety concerns, quality imagery, etc) on our website, http://www.takeoffyourmommygoggles.com. Please come take a look 🙂

Lindsay Faber Reply

YES!!!

It is OUR responsibility to create value in the eyes and minds of our clients. It is rather frustrating to have people scoff at what I charge (friends and family included) but I do my best to describe the experience, take genuine interest in all clients and potential clients, and find ways to showcase my expertise whenever possible. After that if people are not going to book then I’m not the right fit for them and they aren’t the right fit for me and that’s OK.

David Grupa Reply

Bravo. This is info that does not need to be shared with clients.

Do we sometimes need to look at this ourselves and remember why we need to price appropriately? Absolutely. But to put it out there (misspellings and all – ugh!) for clients to see isn’t going to change their mind. People who value what we do will understand and pay our prices. Those who don’t get it probably never will.

Right now, I don’t think it’s the clients who don’t understand this. It’s many of the new photographers entering the profession who need to understand the business side of things. It’s not “click click money”. It’s “click click download process work work work”. If they’re lucky, there’s some money left at the end.

Becca Reply

AMEN! And I’d like to add the sob stories of “I was going to book a session with you so my family could have pictures of me but I decided to get my hair done instead because you’re so expensive and now I am dying and wish I had spent the money with you.” Or, “my wife just died, but I’m so happy she spent a fortune with you 2 months ago even though I was upset with her at the time.”

Because you should not have to guilt someone into making a purchase of ANY sort. And those stories sound incredibly made up.

janice Reply

Oh my gosh..I hate it when I see these on Facebook and you’re the first person I’ve seen to address it. Yay for you! They sound completely arrogant and obnoxious! If someone is surprised about my prices, it’s because I haven’t explained myself properly. In the end, they are very negative, aren’t they!

Karine Reply

OMG ! I sooo repeat it over and over. Clients DOESN’T care about your cost of doing business. They are interested in what’s in for THEM for the price they pay.

Lisa Reply

Exactly!

Linda Reply

Thanks for this point of view. I have not posted this, but I have seen similar things like that floating around the internet and I thought it was pretty right on. I never thought that clients fall into two categories, either I have not shown them the amazing value they would receive with me or 2) they cannot afford me. However, I do have one question. How can I really show them the amazing value that I can give them if they are initially only looking at my website? Should I post photos of the boutique products that I offer or is it just my photography that is supposed to wow them? I have lots of aquaintances who say they LOVE my work, but they never hire me? And some of these people have money. Are they just cheap or is there somewhere I am going wrong?

Celeste Reply

Great job, I saw this post and made the same comment, no need for that so Unprofessional for your client to see it , so glad there’s more ppl out there that feel the same way , there’s always going to negative remarks, as a “good photographer” u need to learn how to deal with it in a Professional manner and childish manner, it makes other photographers look bad

Linda DLR Reply

So true. Thanks for posting. That graphic is so “in your face” and unprofessional. When people walk into a Mercedes or Jaguar dealership, they know they’re in for a LOT of money but with that investment, they’re going to expect high quality and attentive customer service. It’s not much different with photography. Show your value by your excellent work and your caring and attention to your clients’ needs.

Carolyn Reply

I wholeheartedly agree. I also get annoyed by those Satire Quotes that people put up. things clients say, and honestly making fun of clients. It’s funny to joke with family and friends, but don’t insult the people that might hire you. And definitely stop trying to justify the budget.
Thanks for posting. All the best.

Pamela Reply

Perhaps including a resume of your experience would be wise. When applying for a job your potential employer wants to see if you are experienced enough for the job. Same goes for people looking for a good photographer. They want to know if you know what you are doing. I would gladly pay good money for someone who knows their camera, has spent time on their education of photography and has the talent.

Karin Reply

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! This has been one of my biggest pet peeves in our industry. Our clients just want to see our beautiful images…not the cost of doing our business!

Melissa Reply

I love this! I totally get this. What I really want to know is how do you show your value? My promotional video seemed to help (seeing what I do)… but what about when they’re on the phone doing a consultation and you hear them gasp at prices or even in person. What do you say then… especially if you’re 80% certain they can afford you? Just curious because this happens a ton!

Lisa Reply

I love this Lisa! Thank you for posting!!!

Erin Reply

YES thank you for posting this! I TOTALLY AGREE!
I see similar posts relating the the time and effort we put into creating beautiful, unique props & I hate them. Everyone’s time is worth money. Everyone needs to remember that you get what you pay for.

Loraine Reply

Bravo! If I was a client I wouldn’t go with someone who posted this! Thank you Lisa.

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