Have you ever been scathingly told that you’re undercharging? Or have you been guilty of saying this to another photographer? Why are we so obsessed with what photographers charge?
The photography industry is rife with price-shaming and here’s why it makes no sense at all…
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The photography industry is rife with price-shaming but here’s why it makes no sense at all.
I get it. I really do. Some photographers are undercharging. Massively undercharging. And when they do this it gets harder for those who're trying to earn a living in the industry.
So, I get it.
But is every photographer you think is undercharging – actually undercharging?
It’s absolutely impossible to know without understanding three things:
- Their cost of doing business
- Their business model
- Their financial aspirations
Unless you know their costs, how long they spend on each client and how much they actually want to earn for their time then you have no idea whether their prices are too low or not. They may be just perfect for them.
The problem is they're too low for you, right?
They’re undercharging in your opinion and in comparison to you. It’s totally natural to feel threatened and frustrated by this, especially if you’re struggling to fill your diary.
Here’s a fact…
A photographer doing lots of quick and basic studio portrait shoots for cheap prices can earn the same profit in the same number of hours as a high end photographer working with just a few, luxury clients.
Who’s to say which is the right business model? These two photographers are making the same profit in the same amount of time after all.
Don’t clients who just want a quick shoot and a few images deserve to be served?
Sometimes I want a slap-up a la carte meal and sometimes I just want a McDonalds. I’m glad that I have both options.
But that’s not the big issue is it?
The real problem is when a photographer is offering an a la carte service for a McDonalds price, right? Because when they do this they’re:
- a) Not earning the profit they need
- b) Making it much harder for their competitors who charge a lot more for a similar service
But isn’t this just . . . life?
The problem is not unique to the photography industry. We had quotes for roof repairs recently and they were vastly different. When we mentioned the difference to one roofer he launched into a tirade about how these cheap cowboys don’t know what they’re doing and they’re destroying the industry blah blah blah…
It’s not just photography. It’s everywhere.
So why price-shame? You’re not going to change anything by pouring scorn onto those who don’t charge enough. You’re just going to piss them off.
If someone is undercharging and not earning the profit they need – let them learn that for themselves. It’s a massively important part of their journey. The chances are they're new to the industry. Often business people take a hit in their first year in order to get the experience they feel they need.
If another photographer’s cheap pricing is really upsetting you then it says a lot more about your profits than it does about theirs. Because, let’s face it, if you were making what you wanted you wouldn’t give a crap about their prices, would you?
If they haven’t asked you for advice then it’s not your place to give it.
Take a deep breath and move on to focusing on your business and your profits. The landscape now means it's more important than ever to stand out and create a business that can’t be compared to a cheaper alternative.
But what if you do get asked for pricing advice from a cheap photographer?
Maybe instead of the scorn and the price-shaming you could point them in the direction of a good pricing exercise so they can work out the right price point for them.
It’s profit, not price, that we should all be focused on.
Price-shaming makes no sense and has no purpose. Let’s help each other to get a handle on the numbers in our business so that we can each create a business that gives us the profit we need.
And that profit can and should be different for each and every one of us, meaning our pricing should be too.
And if you’re looking for a thorough pricing workbook and calculator, either for yourself or to recommend to others, then look no further than this one right here.
It’s completely free and you can download it below.