FAQ : Pricing
This is my story. This is how I started the business. It is not meant to be right, wrong, or incredulous, but merely meant to share how everything began and how the ball started rolling. I receive countless emails everyday from photographers asking me how they should price their worth, or where they should begin their pricing period. Let me start by saying I HAVE NO IDEA.
There are (loosely) two school of belief when it comes to pricing your business when you start:
1. Price your business in order to get your name out there, get busy, and practice your craft in real scenarios. This runs the risk of being the 'cheap' brand, clients undervaluing your work, and/or creates a referrals within a distinct price range.
2. Price your business according to your worth. This avoids being the 'cheap' brand and being compared to Uncle Bob photographers.
Lucky for me, the decision was made for me. Back in 2006, I was contacted by a bride. She informed she wanted an Engagement Session, 10 Hours of Coverage, Two Photographers, and Disc of Images, and her budget was $1,000. I never shot a wedding before and I wanted this wedding more than I wanted LA Gear Pumps back in 90s. Badly. But at the same time, I wanted her to value her investment, as well as the enormous amounts of time that goes into the backend of wedding photography. Thus, Jasmine Star Wedding Packages were born.
Package One : Engagement Session, 10 Hours of Coverage, and Two Photographers : $1,000
Package Two: Engagement Session,10 Hours of Coverage, Two Photographers and Disc of Images : $1,500
Thankfully, the ever fab bride booked me for Package Two and my business officially began when I shot her wedding in October 2006. I received the best advice from my dear friend shortly thereafter and he said if I was learning more, going to workshops, and investing in my business (which I was), I had to continually raise the package prices because I was becoming a better photographer, and, therefore, was worth more. He encouraged me to raise my prices $300 for every three weddings I booked. In 2007 my wedding business mushroomed and I booked 38 weddings, so my prices have changed a lot since then, as well as a lot of things in regard to my packages.
So, I know this leads, naturally, to more questions about my current prices and collections, but I'll save that for a future FAQ, where I can get into depth about other aspects of pricing, including the inclusion of albums with my services. I debated posting this because, well, it makes me feel vulnerable and silly. But then JD encouraged me because we stand by the decisions we made. Yes, we lost a lot of clients by raising prices so quickly as our business grew, but being a singular photographer, demand was outmeasuring supply (i.e. I could only book one wedding on a given Saturday), so price was used to monitor my growth. If I didn't raise my prices, I could have easily shot more weddings at a $1,000, but I wouldn't have had measurable business development and further define my brand to be, ultimately, what it is today.
If you're just starting out, I hope this information helps out a little bit. If not, my bad. This was just my experience and how my business unfolded. Like I mentioned before, it's awkward posting this stuff on the web, but after all the emails I've received, I think bringing this subject to the surface might help one person. Or two.
This picture is so random, I know. I found my point&shoot camera this morning (stuck in a purse I thought I lost) and found this photo. I took it at a yummy Thai restaurant we visited in Napa. Totally ghetto fab hole-in-the-wall, but the yellow curry was divine. Seriously.