How One Photographer Used a Creative Pricing Model to Triple Her Sales

To learn more about how to price and market your photography, check out CreativeLive Photo Week.
Jen Rozenbaum doesn’t shy away from change; in fact, the Queens-based boudoir photographer confidently embraces risk, experimenting with every part of her business at every turn. Jen’s entrepreneurial ingenuity is most apparent in her ever-evolving and non-traditional pricing practices — one blockbuster strategy in particular.

When Jen started her boudoir photography business in 2009 in her bedroom, she was charging clients just $300 for a 2 hour session — a price she made up. In the next year, she gradually raised her rates and also experimented with boudoir parties, which she later wholly abandoned. Between 2009 and 2012, Jen consistently raised her prices.

This is what Jen’s price list looked like in 2010:

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This is what it looked like in 2012:

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In late 2012, becoming increasingly baffled by fewer bookings  — despite having the same volume of inquiries — Jen took to Facebook to find out why. She polled her friends, family, and existing clients on what was stopping them from booking boudoir shoots — either with her or with another photographer. “I wanted to find out what was stopping people,” Jen recalls, “but even more than that, I wanted to learn what people thought the photography was worth.”

The resounding answer was price.

“I had an epiphany,” Jen says. “I’m a higher-priced photographer. I’m not approachable for some women. I kind of felt that was unfair; every woman deserves to feel beautiful, and to be able to have a boudoir shoot that makes them feel that way. That’s part of my mission — so why would I say no to somebody just because she only had a $1,000 or $500?”

So, Jen decided to throw out all of her online price lists and focus exclusively on in-person sales. But Jen’s most groundbreaking — and high-risk — decision was to throw out her prices altogether, allowing every client to name their own price. Jen was blown away by the immediate success of this calculated risk. “Once I changed my minimum, all the offers that came in (with one exception) were $1,000 or over.” In under 12 months, Jen’s average sale went from $675 per client to $2,000 (and then rose again to $2,500 the year after that). “By giving clients the option to choose, they decided what was worth it.”

Jen’s pricing tips:
— Set up your price list so even if you sell the least expensive item, you still make your minimum.
— Make a slideshow with Animoto for every woman. It raises the emotional power of the photos greatly, especially during the reveal.
— Keep your products to a minimum. Let the photos do the selling.
— Specialize. Specialism allows for a higher price point. If you aren’t definably different, you become a commodity and will be priced into oblivion.
— Your price list should be a living, breathing object that you address regularly. Don’t wait until January 1 to make adjustments.
— Be creative. Come up with something new based on what your goals and mission are.

To learn more about how to price and market your photography, check out CreativeLive Photo Week.

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Whitney Ricketts is CreativeLive's Senior Communications Manager. Email her at whitney [dot] ricketts [at] creativelive [dot] com.