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How to be more expensive than other photographers (and still get booked!)

Are you more expensive than other photographers in your area? Maybe you're thinking about increasing your prices meaning that soon you will be? It's no secret that your potential clients have A LOT of choice when it comes to booking a photographer these days. So why would they choose you if there are cheaper photographers around? In this video I will explain the secret to being more expensive than other photographers (and still getting booked!)

TRANSCRIPTION

If you charge more (even just a little more) than other photographers in your area OR you’re thinking about making that move soon then you NEED to watch this video.

I’m going to talk about what you MUST be doing if you want potential clients to pay you that extra money.

Before we get into that I want you to imagine yourself in this scenario…

You’re looking for a garden shed. You really know nothing about sheds except that you want one. So you go searching for companies that sell garden sheds in your area, right?

Now you probably have a vague idea of the size you might like but you probably don’t know at this point what a shed like this might cost. That’s why you’re doing some research! To get an idea of what’s available and what the prices are.

So you find a shed that looks pretty good. It’s the size you were looking for and it seems to be a reasonable price. But like any good, modern consumer - you keep searching for a little while longer in case there’s something better or cheaper.

Soon you come across another garden shed on a different website. It’s the same size and it looks very similar to the first one. BUT it’s double the price!

Now you’re not a shed expert. To your untrained eye these sheds look the same. When you look at the description there’s nothing to explain why this second shed is more expensive. Looking at the websites there is nothing really to distinguish one from the other.

How are you feeling right now about that second shed? Are you going to enquire about it?

Of course you’re not.

Depending on the type of person you are you might even feel quite angry about the scandalous price of that second shed!

Ok so let’s rewind a bit…

This time when you come across the second shed you’re immediately hit by how much more impressive this website is. It loads so fast, it’s so attractive and user-friendly, there are beautiful pictures and last but not least, there is lots of information available to you.

You learn from this information that this particular shed, yes, is a little more expensive. BUT it’s made from Scandinavian pine rather than the inferior wood that lots of cheaper sheds are constructed from. This means it’s super sturdy and built to last a loooooooong time. You also learn that this shed is treated and painted in such a way that it will withstand the particular climate that you live in and so it will look like new for many, many years. Not just that, you read that it’s assembled in the local area, not oversees, and that the company value their staff and pay them the living wage. You might go on to read about the company’s commitment to serving you in the best way possible - because it’s all right there on the website. And when you  And you can’t ignore the scores of glowing testimonials from past happy customers.

So how are you feeling about that second shed now?

Don’t get me wrong - maybe you are bargain hunting and will STILL go for that first shed. Maybe you couldn’t care less about the wood and the paint and the living wage. BUT at least you don’t feel quite so confused about the cost of that second shed now - that’s for sure.

You’re in a position to make a more educated choice - whatever that choice may be.

If you do opt for that second, more expensive shed - it means you value those things. That company spoke to your values. You care about how it will look in ten years time. You care that they’re paying their staff well. These things are important to you and you’re willing to pay more for them.

Hopefully you see where I’m going with this.

Did I just use sheds to make you think of your photography - yes I did! (And if you happen to be looking for a shed just like that second one you can buy one from my friend Cara over at Gillies and Mackay 😉 )

Look, I know that you WANT your potential clients to see that your photography is better than your cheaper competition but the reality is that often they don’t. They don’t have a trained eye like you and they probably think you’re BOTH more than good enough for their requirements.

And maybe your photography isn’t better? Maybe it’s of a similar standard. Does that mean you can’t charge more?

No way! What you charge is about so much more than how skilled you are!!

So why would they choose you if you’re going to charge them more?

Depressing, right?

Well no, actually.

Because it’s really very simple to convince someone who is willing to spend more, to spend more.

But you need to give them a reason to. Just like with the shed.

So ask yourself this question. Why should a potential client choose to engage your photography services instead of your cheaper competition?

What makes your service and product the best choice for them?

They can’t guess - they need to be told. In fact they need that information to be so obvious that there is NO MISSING IT!

But how do you do that?

Well first of all let’s think about that second shed again. That company didn’t go about convincing potential clients to buy their more expensive shed by making the other company sound bad.They didn’t say ‘other sheds in the area fall apart, ours don’t’ or ‘other shed sellers don’t paint their sheds with the right stuff, we do’ or ‘other shed sellers in the area don’t pay their staff well’.

All of that would just make them sound like they had a massive chip on their shoulder.

They also didn’t go about bragging about themselves and how amazing they were.

What they did instead was just enthusiastically talk about all the great reasons why buying from THEM is actually the RIGHT thing for YOU.

And that’s what you need to do too. If you’re more expensive than your competitors then you need to be better than them in SOME way and you need to make sure that you let your potential clients know that. Don’t just let them know on your website. You need this to be EVERYWHERE. You need to shout it from the rooftops. There can be no mistaking it!

There are lots of ways you can make your business a MUCH better option (despite the higher price) for that client who is willing to spend a little more for the right service and product.

It’s all about differentiation.

Here are some ways you could differentiate yourself from cheaper photographers in your area.

  • Whilst your cheaper competition has very generic branding - you could make sure yours is that little bit more ‘high end’
  • Whilst your cheaper competition reply to enquiries within a couple of days - you could make sure you reply within a couple of hours.
  • Whilst your cheaper competition send out a standard response via email - you could make sure you PHONE each potential client. Get to know them and talk them through the amazing experience they are going to have with you.
  • Whilst your cheaper competition send out some bulletpoints of information  - you could make sure you send out a beautifully designed eBrochure (or real brochure) which answers every question your potential client might have.
  • Whilst your cheaper competition sell standard prints or digital files - you could make sure you offer something much more special. Wall art for their home and maybe even offer a custom wall display design service as part of the experience?
  • Whilst your cheaper competition don’t bother with a contract  - you could make sure you have one so that your client feels that they’re dealing with a professional business person who won’t let them down.
  • Whilst your cheaper competition doesn’t talk to their client until the shoot - you could make sure you talk to them at length beforehand. You could advise them on what they should wear, ask them about their kids and talk to them about what they want to do with their images.
  • Whilst your cheaper competition send out a USB in a padded envelope - you could make sure you package your products up beautifully and fully branded and maybe even hand deliver them.
  • Whilst your cheaper competition end the relationship with a client after delivery - you could maintain and nurture that relationship with thank you cards, christmas cards and surprise vouchers.
  • Whilst your cheaper competition have a couple of bland testimonials - you could have lots and lots of detailed, personal and glowing praise everywhere from past clients who are exactly like the people you want to attract.
  • Whilst your cheaper competition has a slow, poorly designed and confusing website - you could make sure yours is fast, attractive and super simple to navigate.

Honestly I could go on but we’d be here all day.

Do you need to do ALL of that. No. It really depends how much more expensive you are.

Do you need to start implementing all of this immediately. No. One small change at a time is always best

And did I say earlier that it was simple to convince someone to spend more money? Yes I did! I didn’t say it was easy though. Because what is simple is not always easy.

It takes a whole heap of hard, hard graft to be better than your competition and to prove it to people. To deliver a service that is worthy of higher prices is a lot of work.

But if you’re willing and able to put in that hard work - you will be rewarded. Both financially and emotionally.

So be more expensive. But don’t expect anyone to choose you unless you are differentiating yourself in a few key ways.

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you for this amazing video and all the wonderful tips! I'm definitely going to try your advice since I'm trying hard to differentiate myself from the commodity photography business right now 🙂

  2. Great information. I do already do some of the ideas you mention. I'm struggling with people leaving me phone numbers or calling me. All my clients just prefer to do business thru emails even though I give them my phone number. It's kinda frustrating because I don't get all the details I need for some of the sessions, even though I try to mention I would like to speak with them in person. What is a better way to handle this scenario? Any advice would be great.

    1. Unfortunately that's becoming more and more common Jeanette - it's a sign of the times we live in! Once they are confirmed with you, as a client, it might be worth emailing them a 'contact sheet' asking for their details and telling them why it is so important you have their telephone number and address etc. A shoot might need changed due to weather, illness etc. You might need to contact them regarding their images or products. However, it's also worth remembering that some people have a real fear of speaking on the telephone so we just won't get them all. 🙂

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