Portrait Pricing – The Problems

The other day I was a part of a discussion in a Facebook group about pricing for portrait photographers.  It really got me thinking, as I see so many bad habits when it comes to portrait pricing.  The result?  A new video blog!  Watch it below, or read the recap after…or do both!  Whatever you decide, please share it and let us know what you think in the comments!





Pay Attention to Your Competitors


This is a slightly controversial subject.  Some people will tell you to ignore your competition and focus solely on your business.  However, when you are setting your portrait pricing it’s a massive mistake to ignore your competitors, and more importantly the photographers that are NOT your competitors.  What do I mean by this?  Well, if you are targeting middle class families that appreciate  good photography, you need to pay attention to what the photographers that are targeting both the lower and higher markets from your target market.


You have to have a starting point for your portrait pricing.  You have to know if you are too low or too high for not only your target market, but also what you are offering in terms of style.


Define Your Photographic USP (Unique Selling Point)


This, this is the most important aspect for setting your portrait pricing, and is probably what I bang on about more than anything in the video.  If the style and offerings you have as a photographer are NO different than your competitors you will suddenly find yourself competing on price.  Why?  It’s simple, think like a shopper for a minute.  If you walked into a shop to buy a new TV and you had three options.  All had the exact same features, size, and reputation…but they were all different prices.  You would pick the cheapest one wouldn’t you?  Of course you would!  Why would you spend more money on something you can get cheaper?  This is where a lot of portrait pricing falls down.  People like to “think” there photography is different to those around them, but is it really?  Would the customer see the difference?  If they can’t, they will ALWAYS choose the cheaper option.


On the flip side of this though, are people you are clearly different and offer a truly unique service, but their portrait pricing is all wrong.  Let me give you another example.  You walk into a shop to buy a TV.  You have two options.  One is basic, no smart TV, no HD, nothing special and it costs £200.  Next to it is a larger, full HD, 3D, smart TV that only cost £300.  As a shopper you would expect that TV to be MUCH higher than the basic TV.  You now think there must be something wrong with that TV even though it offers so much more.  Sadly, this happens a lot with portrait pricing.  People think they need to have a lower price, but that lower price is actually putting people off.  You see a high end product, you expect to see a high end price or you think something is wrong.  My Extraordinary Portraits brand is a good example of doing this correctly.  That brand offers something truly unique and truly different to other portrait photographers, and the pricing reflects this.


In Conclusion


In short you don’t want to compete on price. You want people to WANT you, not CHOOSE you.  If you are an average photographer that doesn’t offer anything different than your competitors, then you want to be the cheapest.  However, if you are unique and offer something different, your pricing needs to be different and much higher.


What are your thoughts?  What topics would you like us to cover in the future?  Let us know in the comments!