Pricing and sales, these are some of the most common things that cause many photographers to roll up into the fetal position and rock back and forth.  We are supposed to be “creatives”, right?  Simply being creative is all well and good if you are just shooting as a hobby or for your own satisfaction, however if you want to be a professional pet photographer you need to embrace these two crucial elements of your business.  After all, the term professional means “participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs”.

One of the most common questions I hear photographers asking is when do you share your pricing with your clients?  There are many aspects to this, from the first phone call, to your website, to when you share your full price list and we are going to go into each of those.

Preparing your clients for a multi-thousand order starts well before they see the final images.  It requires laying the foundation and creating the desire from the first time they peruse your website.  Most people don’t wake up one day and say….I want to spend $2,000 on pictures of my dog.  Even if they know that pet photography is a “thing”, they often don’t think of anything beyond some prints and digital files.  You have to help them paint the picture of how they just can’t live without the incredible seamless album….you have to create the desire for your products.

The website:

Often, the first point of contact that a potential client has with your business is your website.  In addition to the basics such as having easy to follow navigation and your city and state listed, (please take a minute to make sure that is on your website…..please)  this is where you start to plant the seeds of desire for your products and give people a gentle nudge of how much this may cost.  Once you know what the “signature product” of your photography business is, build your website around it!  If you love to create custom albums for your clients tell them!  Make sure that it is mentioned throughout your website on your pricing page, frequently asked question page, create some blog posts showcasing your signature product.  After people visit your website they should not be able to imagine their life without it!

{If you need help painting that picture for your prospective clients, I highly recommend Psychology for Photographer’s Irresistible Website e-book.  It is overflowing with real world examples and practical applications for photographers.  Please know that I only recommend products that I have personally used and have found very helpful in my business.  There are a lot of products out there and it can be overwhelming to try to sift through them.  If you aren’t attracting the right client with your website then this book with be of incredible benefit to you.  Before you purchase though, read this post on making beneficial business purchases.}

The second aspect that you need to convey to potential clients on your website is cost.  There are different theories out there about this and some people recommend not having any pricing on your website at all.  If I had a retail studio space, offered many different session types, or had associate photographers at different price points I would not put my pricing on my website as I would have different options for different target clients.  However, it is just me.  I answer every phone call and web inquiry and I have a very specific target market.  I prefer to put some general pricing on my website to not have to waste my time weeding out inquiries from people that are looking for a $150 disc of images or 1 5×7 of their dog for a Christmas card.

There is a fine line about putting your pricing on your website.  There was a time last spring in which I had my collection range on my website.  It simply said “collections range from $675-2,995.”  Crickets.  I did not get one single web inquiry for the 2 months that it was like that.  When I looked at my website to see what was going on I decided to change that one little thing.  I changed it to “collections start at $675.”  I am not kidding, I received a web inquiry the following day and they haven’t slowed down since.   The lesson that I learned was that big numbers can scare people away!

What has worked best for me is to give prospective clients enough information that the price shoppers realize that I’m an investment and move on, but not so much information that people assume I’m out of their price range.   I typically state just a few anchor prices on my website, session fee, 8×10 prints start at, wall art starts at, albums start at.

Even among people that can easily afford a $2,000 pet photography session, that value has to be created.  When people think of a photography session they often think the only products available are prints and digital files; therefore when you say that client’s typically spend $1500 they assume you are crazy expensive because how could anyone spend $1500 on prints?   It’s important to educate your clients on the products that you offer and the value they will bring, and that begins on the first phone call.

Tomorrow we will talk about that first phone call and when to share your full price list with your client.