Friday, July 8, 2011

Haggling Prices....

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blogspot @ ... a little better way to get to know more about me personally...

Are you one of those people who haggles over the prices all the time?  Trying to always see if you can get something for just a little bit less?  That works in some places, but most of the time the price is just the price.  When was the last time you saw someone in Sam's or Costco saying "Will you take $2.00 less for these paper towels?" or "I'll buy this lawn furniture right now if you knock 20% off the price."  Obviously, they would probably be walking out with nothing - and looking pretty dumb in the process.  I am a photographer.  It is what I do - my job.  Only I am amazed how often people want the work that I do, but they don't want to pay anything for it.  I have heard the stories of how broke someone is (when they might have even just gotten back from some big vacation!) to how they have someone else who will do the job for a much lower price.  There have been times that I've finally had to just say "I would love to be able to work with you sometime, but if that's where you need to go for the price, then that is just what may be best for you."  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings - afterall, this is my job... how I've chosen to make money.  But there are a few points that I wish people would consider:

1) It may seem to you that the photographer is not "out" anything by taking your pictures.  After all, anyone can click a button on a camera, right?  If that's so -- then just find the cheapest person out there and go for them.  But you are paying for much more than that.  Behind my photography is talent and skill... and both have come with money and time in classes, workshops and seminars to continue growing in my skill & talent; and then there's the equipment (most people would be surprised at the price tag on all of that equipment!) as well as things most people never consider, such as insurance, licenses, etc. 

2) I'm an on-site/on-location photographer, so there's usually some travel involved in my shoots.  Often, my drive will be an hour or even a little bit more to meet a client at their home or wherever they've chosen for photos.  Already, by the time I meet with a client to do a photo shoot I have already invested at least 2-3 hours in them... from preparations of getting my gear together, props (when necessary), packing up my car and traveling to get to them. This is all part of the job, but please know I do what I do because I love it -- not because it will ever make me wealthy!

3) When the photo shoot is over, it's still only just beginning for the photographer.  I shoot in a format (RAW) that requires that each photo is edited and processed to make it into something beautiful for you.  Often (which is what I strive for!) it will take very little editing -- but it is still time.  In the least, it is about 5 minutes for a photo.  But often if there is heavy editing (fixing blemishes, scars, etc.) it can take much longer to work on just a single photo.  There have been photo sessions that I've done that easily I've spent 18-20 hours on editing.  But I want to give my clients the very best photos I can give them... I would settle for nothing less from myself!  

I absolutely love all of my clients... and even those who want to haggle over the price.  My hope is that when someone contacts me to do a photo shoot that it is because they've seen my work (or are repeat clients!) and they feel I'm well worth my prices.  But I've learned as time goes by to stand my ground if someone wants to haggle the prices.  Ultimately, I do want to make everyone happy.  And there are times that I will try to find a compromise if I feel it's necessary - actually just creating a photo session just for that client that will fit in their budget.  I can't think of the last time that was done for me at Sam's or Costco!  
Just a note.... I took a lot of time coming up with my pricing - looking at what others charged, how much work I put into each job and what it would take to cover all of the time and expenses involved, etc.  I always want to be fair to my clients -- and return clients are the greatest of compliments.  Most of all - I want my clients to feel that every penny they spend with me is well worth it when the job is done.  Photography is SO MUCH MORE than a job... it is a passion... and I want to share my passion with you in the photos I take for you!

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