28 Days of Portrait Photography

Lesson 44 of 85

Bonus: Pricing

 

28 Days of Portrait Photography

Lesson 44 of 85

Bonus: Pricing

 

Lesson Info

Bonus: Pricing

Hi there. If you don't know who I am, I am Sue Bryce, and I am a portrait photographer. And if you do know who I am, welcome back. Today, I wanna talk to you about pricing in the photographic industry. Now, I'm a portrait photographer and have been for 24 years, and pricing, I feel, is one of the most hotly debated topics in our industry. It is one of the most unguided topics that we talk about, or don't talk about. I feel like everybody is too scared to put out what they believe is an industry standard. So let's talk about industry standard. How much do I price myself, is how much is a piece of string? You're all at different levels of photography. Some of you have studios, some of you don't. Some of you have staff, some of you don't. All of you have a very different level of skillset and service, and all of you have a definitely, a different cost of doing business. So let's have a look at how I went through my evolution of pricing, to see if it helps you price yourself. Okay, so firs...

t thing I wanna show you is my price list. I'm pretty luck in the sense that I did not start out on my own. I started in a professional portrait studio. So at the age of 20, this was our price list, and exactly the same as my price list is now, minus the smallest priced image on there, because I wanted to up my sales. I'll explain that in a minute. The reason I had my price list on a business card, is because it needed to be easy to understand, not frightening to my clients, I needed to be able to hand it out, and educate my client at every opportunity, so I put it on a small card like this, to make it accessible, easy to read, and non-threatening. So basically I compressed my price list into sitting fee, $190, images, eight by 10- sorry, seven by 10 now, is 275. 11 16, 450. 16 24, 675. And it basically just shows print cost, okay? Now, my new price list has folio box, 1,200, 2,000, 3,000 plus tax. So, let me talk you through how I got up to this, because my average sale now is $3,300. When I left my studio, and this was in 2003, to go out on my own, I was unable to make any money. I was doing on average, three, $7,000 sales for somebody else in a professional studio, but when I went into my own garage, I was struggling to get around the $400 mark, and even having people not purchase around the $400 mark. So, I need to fast forward first, or sorry, rewind, to how I got to there. I was really unhappy in my job. I was an employed photographer, earning around $400 a week in wages. And I got given a gift to go and see a business coach. The business coach asked me a series of questions that involved who I wanted to be, and what I wanted in my future. He said I was never gonna buy a home, or a car, or get savings, on $400 a week. So, I talked to him about what I was capable of doing, and I explained to him that I was earning between five and $12,000 a week for my studio. He asked me why I wasn't doing this for myself, and I said, well, interestingly enough, I didn't even own a camera. Now at this time, I had had a period of sickness, and I had to take some time off work, so I had no savings, not that I really had any anyway, but mostly that means I had debt. I had a car that I owned, and I had a credit card with about four and a half thousand dollars debt on it, and I was living week to week. The day I went back to work, my car blew up, and I had to go and borrow money, to buy a car to go to work, to a job that I hated doing. So, as I went and did all of this, I went to this business coach, and he said it's time that I went out on my own. He said, "What would it take you to leave?" And in my mind, I needed $400 times four. So basically, or five. I needed five weeks of safety net. And I was surviving on $400 a week, so in my mindset, I was like, I need $400 a week, and surely I can get a shoot in the next five weeks, that would net me $400, and then I would be able to survive for six weeks, and my goal would be to get one shoot a week for $400. Can you see I had this $400 mentality? So, he said, "What do you need?" And I said, "I would need $2,000 and a camera." And he said, "I'm gonna give you four weeks. It's a challenge. I want you to go out. I want you to get $2,000 in the bank. And I want you to buy a camera." And instantly I went home, and my first problem was, there's no way I'm gonna get an extra $2, on top of my wages this month, to pay to live. I just couldn't find a way. And I was like, no, I'm creative. Surely I can get a job. So I put myself out there as a retoucher, to other photographers. And I booked about four photographers that wanted to pay me, to teach them how to learn retouching. And I charged them $100 an hour. While I was doing that, one of those photographers had a 10D, Canon 10D, and he wanted to sell it for $800. So I exchanged eight hours of retouching to him, and he gave me the Canon 10D. Over the month, I got 20 hours of work with as many other photographers as I could, teaching retouching. Actually, I got about 15 hours. The other $500 came from a shoot that I did, that paid me $500 for a family portrait. And so I went back to my business coach, very proud of myself. I had a Canon 10D. Didn't even shoot raw. I had a laptop that was barely surviving. I had no Wacom tablet. I was doing all of my retouching on a mouse. And, I had $2,000. So I was very proud of myself. And he said, "Great, there you go. That's exactly what you set out to do, no more and no less." The problem was, is I had absolutely no idea how I was gonna run a business, how I was gonna sell my own work. I only knew that when it was for somebody else, I could do a 2,000, 3,000, $7,000 sale, but I had no concept of pricing myself, so I took the price list from the studio, and I made it my price list. The biggest problem with this price list, if you take my price list, is two things: one of them is you're competing with me, and two, you also are not in the big studio anymore. So, my idea of what I was worth, was considerably lower, because all of the sudden I was working from a garage. Nobody was gonna pay me this much money. I'm not in the big studio in the city now. So, I see now that my mindset was so off, but I'm gonna push forward, because I'm gonna teach you how I went from $400 to $1,800 pretty much in a month. I couldn't make any money. I was struggling to get $400. I saw no value in the shooting, and I saw no value in my space. I thought people wouldn't pay me, because I don't have a fancy studio. People wouldn't pay me because I don't have, you know, the fancy furniture, or the city space. I had this grungy little garage, with a roller door, that I would sweep out and clean up. I soon realized that really it had nothing to do with where I was located, and everything to to do with the service that I could give people. That service has nothing to do with what you look like, and everything to do with what you're giving. I believe that in that moment, I discovered that you price your work at what is called your survival rate. Okay? You need enough to eat. You need enough to get by. Enough so that you can go week by week. And all of a sudden, you tend to generate the exact enough that you need. My enough amount was $400. This is what I've commonly referred to as the $400 mindset. I knew that I needed $400 a week to survive, and every week, without fail, for about eight months, $400 magically turned up on my doorstep. I would either get a shoot just in time, book a retouching job just in time. Somehow sell something or get something that got me $400. The problem was, I hadn't evolved my thinking, or how I was selling my work, at all, or pricing my work, at all, so I was getting, pretty much exactly what I'd been earning in the studio for the 10 years beforehand. And, I was getting nowhere fast. Okay, so survival rates don't work, and I learned in the industry, that if you look at the evolution of photographers, across the board, in portraiture, the photographers that are starting out, right through to the photographers now that are earning money, and working on their average sale, this was pretty much the evolution that we were all sitting on. We all started around the $400 mark. As we started to value ourselves, we went up to $900. Then we earned between 12 and $1,300 for the folio. Then we up our price to around $1,800. That was the first price point my studio hit, and then stayed at for the next three years. I'll tell you how. We then go to around the $2,300 sale. You know when you're getting average sales around 2,300 that you're doing really well. And then, the evolution is around 2,800. My next step up was 3,300. And that's where I stayed. I stayed at 3,300 for another five years. Why? Because again, this was my safety zone. You keep finding your survival rate, and it keeps shifting with both your mind, and your living situation. Your price of living, your cost of living, and I noticed it seems to be an umbrella. We put up the umbrella. We put a price on it. First of all, we're terrified. Then we hit the umbrella with our head, and we're like, oh, we need to put that umbrella a bit higher. It goes to the next level. Notice all of these increments go up around the $500 mark, but this is the mentality, the safe mentality. So if you want a guideline for upping your prices, this is the guideline for you, because it seems to be an international standard across the board. I look at wedding photographers. Wedding photographers are a little bit different. They always start at the seven to $900 mark, always. Every now and then you get somebody doing the three to $400 wedding to start out, but they soon know that they can't even survive at that rate. Secondly, they then up themselves to around the 15 to $1,800 mark. That's usually around their second season, when they realize that they're starting to get quite good, and they're getting a lot of referrals. Mostly, they're getting referrals from people who find out that they only charged $700 the year before. Everybody gets scared when they put their prices up, because their first fear based thinking comes from, oh no, the people who are gonna recommend me from last year only paid 700, and then I have to explain that I'm better now, and I've put my prices up, and blah blah blah, and instantly all of our energy gets in the way, instead of saying, "Oh, my prices have changed," or not even talking about price change. This is what I offer for the cost. So, 400, 900, 1,300, 1,800, 2,300, 2,800, 3,300, seems to be the general upscale of your portrait work, as you are upgrading yourself and your business. So this is a really great starting point, and let's talk about why. Let's also talk about why 3,300 became my safe zone, and how easy it is for me to get 3,300 now, when I could not get $3,300 eight years ago, 10 years ago, because I simply saw no value in what I was doing, and what I was giving. Now, I think that two things that are very, very, very, very important here. One is, in order to sell anything, you have to educate your client. That's why my price list is on a business card. It's very important, when my client rings up, very first contact with me, or email, that they get a beautiful PDF visual email price list, that is mostly about the experience, but it has a small part about the cost. Remember, don't be brief- sorry, don't be vague, be brief. People just wanna know how much. So, the question then is how do you price your sitting, and how do you price your product? Okay, you have to answer a couple of questions for me. One of them is, are you a la carte, or are you a package photographer? That means, do you charge one amount, and say, "I am $1,200 for a folio. This is what you're going to receive." Okay, that works really well in getting $1,200. It also pushes more people away, who are afraid of that $1,200 cost, because they're not going to commit to spending $1,200 until they see their photographs. So this is where the people who price themselves with a package, can get really, really afraid. Are you a la carte, which means you pay for a sitting fee, and then you buy your portraits as you sell them. So, my first image is $275 on the wall. When they see $275 on my price list, you can be in danger of, do they read the price list, and think that all they're going to spend is $275? So, either way, none of them work without education, and they both have just as many drawbacks, and pluses, but the a la carte menu opens you up to a bigger upsale. It also opens you up to a smaller buy in. The package opens you up to one consistent price, but it also opens you up to more people being afraid of your price. Now, so many photographers say to me, "I put my package up to $1,600, and people tell me they love my work, but they're just not prepared to spend $1,600." And yet, I could honestly tell you, 3,000 times, that I've photographed portraits in the last 15 years, people have spent twice to three times more than they thought they were gonna spend, after they saw their photographs. Because they have no emotional connection to their photographs until you present them, and they see them. Once they see them, then they're gonna say, "I have to have that." Have you ever purchased something you don't need, but you just loved it so much, you have to have it? Definitely. But there seems to be so much fear and conversation around how you achieve that. And I can really only tell you, it comes from you. It's about how you value what you do, delivering that product and service, educating your clients, standing by your price list, and then delivering the best way that you can. But you must choose a price list that suits you. So these are your touch points, okay, for educating. First, your client emails you, and you send a beautiful PDF, hopefully, with links to your Vimeo, or YouTube, or Pinterest page, that shows all of your beautiful work, to really entice them, as to how much it costs. At that point, whether you're showing them an a la carte menu, or a package price, from $400 to $8,000, it doesn't matter, as long as you're making it clear, you're making it brief not vague, and then you're showing this incredible experience that's gonna create desire for them to book with you. Secondly, when they call to do their consultation on what to wear, where shall I come, how do I turn up, who do I bring, what date do I book, this is a must. You must speak to them on the phone or in person. No more emailing after they commit to doing a shoot with you. You must connect with them, speak with them, talk to them about A, how they wanna be photographed, B, what you're going to produce as a final result, because that leads to the conversation, how much, and what sort of product they want. Then when they come into the studio for the shoot, the first thing I wanna do is show them all my finished product, which they didn't get to see in person, because they only saw it on the internet. So I'm like, let me walk you through my price list, let me walk you through my packages, let me walk you through my beautiful products, so you know why I cost this much, and you're educated on how much, and what we're creating for you today. You can do that a million different ways, but if you pretend not to price your work at this stage, if you pretend you're free, and you're just there to do the session, then people are going to be shocked, they're going to be upset, they're going to be frightened, and they're going to use it against you, when you come back to try and sell their photographs back to them. Let's not keep it a secret. You are not there to surprise people with surprise, my package is $5,000. You are there to say, "I create this experience for this much money. How do you wanna be photographed? What beautiful products do you wanna take home? This is what I cost." But spend more time on the experience, and less time on the cost. The other day, I was standing in a big shopping center, and I went in to buy something, and the young girl walked up to me, and she said, "Everything today is 25% off." And I said "Okay, and thank you." And then she keeps saying it to me, and she keep saying it to me, and I was thinking, I don't shop because it's 25% off. I shop because I want something. But more importantly, I keep getting really offended that she'd keep telling me how cheap everything was, like somehow I was cheap. And it was gonna make it better for me that it was cheaper. And I just thought to myself, I would rather just have a look around, and see if there's something I want, and have you help me, than you keep telling me, I'll buy this because it's cheap. Value is so much more important than cost. Cost is only ever an issue in the absence of value. Value is about what do you value? And you don't need to give people the heartstring conversation. One day when you die, these portraits will be valuable. What do you value? Beautiful prints and incredible experience? Amazing service? Do you wanna be pampered? Where is your value? Because the most questions they ask, will be around the value that they really want. And that means that you can shift. Now I think the best salespeople in the world are the ones that are very hypervigilant. The ones that can feel energy around people and say, "You need to be pampered. You need to be treated like a star. You need beautiful product. You need extras. You need to be given more. You need to be this." And I think that they accommodate based on the person and what they need. I address the price again, at the end of the shoot, when I say to them, "Let's book in your viewing session. Your viewing session is really important. Is there somebody you would like to bring to your viewing session? Would you like to bring your partner, your spouse, your husband, your daughter, your sister, your mother? Who would you like to bring? And give them a price list, so that they're educated on how much we cost, because we don't want the boys to get fright when they come in and tell them how expensive your beautiful photographs are." I always say that to people, because sometimes they don't think to tell the people that are coming in how much the portraits are, and I've had partners shut down complete sales, because they simply did not want to be part of it. Now, a la carte or package? You need to decide this right now. But what you need to decide, is which of these price points are you? 400, 900, 1,300, 1,800, two three, two eight? If you're a la carte, and you want your average sale to be 2,800, then what you need to do is you need to take your a la carte, put it together as an example package, which is what I've done, and sell it as both. I'm an a la carte price list, but my best package is 3,300. This includes ... So see how I'm not tricking people. I'm just driving them towards the average sale that I want. I soon learned that people always buy exactly what you tell them to buy. So you're the one that sets the rules, and you're the one that sets the value around that package, and that's the most important part. Alright, there's a couple of things here that I think are really, really, really, really, really important. I feel like you need to understand what your bottom price is. So if you price your images at $65, and they buy two of them, you're going to earn $130. If you're paying for a studio and a makeup artist, you are not going to survive. You need to understand what your cost of doing business is. You need to understand and break it down. If I do a portrait shoot, and they buy $1,200 worth in a folio, I have to pay for my studio, I have to pay for my makeup artist, I have to pay for my retoucher, and then I have to pay for the product, which is the folio box that I buy from Seldex, and I have to price all of that, and then look at what is left over in that $1,200, and that is my profit. I then have to work out how many hours of work that took me, and divide that profit, and that's how much I'm earning an hour. This is just good solid business. So, I guess the question really is, is not how do I price myself, but how do I see my own value, and how do I know what my value is? Now that is an entirely different conversation, because I have seen incredibly average, what I deem as being below average photographers, earning average sales of seven to $12,000 in the studio, because they've got these big systems setup, payment plans, and I used to look at them when I was younger, and think, they are ripping people off. But they're not ripping people off. They're taking good solid family portraits. They're giving good service, good follow through. They've priced their product. They're strong with it. They educate their client. Nobody's getting a shock. Everybody's going in there and clocking up these huge sales, and then paying them off over three to five years. When I started my business, I judged these people. I thought, how disgusting. How disgusting that these people are charging these people this much money. It's so wrong. And then I thought, who am I to tell that you don't value yourself enough to charge $7,000 for a portrait shoot? You can value your product at whatever you think is your value, as long as you're getting the work, your clients are happy, and you're producing a product and a result, and you're getting paid, and you're not hurting anybody, who are we to judge what people charge? This is one of my biggest lessons. I wrote this down, because I feel like this is something everybody needs to remember. Stop looking at what other people are charging. But I know, this is how we learn how to charge ourselves. We look at what our competition is charging. And then our competition isn't as good as us, and they're getting more money than us, and we don't understand why. And we get confused, and then before you know it, your ego is getting in the way of selling, and you're not getting anywhere, because you just don't understand it, because you have come back to comparing yourself to others, and competing, instead of creating a product that you wanna get paid for. So whether you choose to be an a la carte photographer, or a package photographer, I guess what you need to tell me is what you're offering for this money. This is the way I judged how to work my way through the 400, 900, 1,300, 1,800, 2,300, 2,800, 3,300, that's how I went through the structure. I based it on my need to survive. So, I wrote down my survival rate. My survival rate was $400. So there was no way I was going to pay for a studio, pay any tax, pay for myself, and survive on $400. In fact, as I started my business, about three months into it, I was earning $400 a week. I was saying, I'm my own boss. I'm earning the same amount of money, I'm surviving. High five to myself. And then I went to an accountant. And the accountant said, you need to pay yourself 10% of what you earn. And I was like, excuse me? And he was like, you need to pay yourself 10% of what you earn. And I said, what do I do with the rest? And he goes, well the rest is for expenses, and rent, and tax. And I was like, but that would mean I get $40 a week. And he goes, well then, that's what you're earning. So I was like, but I need $400 a week to survive. And he goes, well in order to get $400 a week, you would need to earn $4,000 a week. And that was the biggest wakeup call in the world for me. I just couldn't believe it. I hadn't even considered that this was commerce. So the survival rate is the lowest amount you're prepared to get. And the thrival rate, is the goal that you set yourself, and that goal, instead of crying about not getting this and not getting that, what you need to do, is set a goal. So let's say your first goal is a $1,200 average, and that $1,200 average is what you're aspiring to. So, you know what you do. You add up your last 20 shoots. How much they spent. Divide it by 20, and that's how much your average sale is. If that average sale is 300, 400, 500, then your goal is to take your average up to 1,200. Every single sale, reset your average, add it up, add it on to the rest. 21 shoots, divided by 21, 32 shoots, divided by 32, and the question you have to ask yourself every single week, is how do I take my average up? You take your average up, not by having more fancy equipment, and a bigger flash studio. In fact, when I got my big studio, I didn't make more money. I just had more overheads. I made more money in my grungy little garage in the country, than I made in my big fancy studio. In fact, people used to comment when they came to the studio and say, "Oh, it's a bit flashier. I think you make enough money." And I used to think, oh no, people think I'm really wealthy now? But when I was in the grungy garage, everyone would say, "It's so cute and homely here, and I wanna stay." And it just always made me laugh. So your survival, your survival would be the amount of money that you wanna make every week. Let's work our way backwards from that. I need $1,000 a week to survive. Okay? That's just goal zone. I need to buy shoes. I need to go out to dinner. I need $1,000. So in order to do $1,000 profit, I need to do at least one shoot a week, because I need to pay for my rent, which is my studio, and then I can use that slight percentage as tax deductible, and my office. I need to buy food. I need to buy utilities. I need to save some money. And I need $1,000. This was my goal. So straightaway, I need $3,000 a week to pay my makeup artist, to pay for my product, to pay for my retoucher. Now, at the time, I was earning around $400 and scrambling. This is when I got the best advice ever given to me. One of these amazing women photographers in New Zealand, she gave me this advice. She said, "Sue Bryce, put your price list on paper, so it's set in stone, and believe in it. When people come in, give it to them. Give it to them with confidence. When they come back for the viewing, you say, 'Here is my price list. These are your beautiful photographs. What would you like to buy,' and then stop talking." And instantly, overnight, my average sale went to $1,800, because I stopped talking in my viewings, and I put my price list on a card, and I stopped hiding the money, and I stopped confusing people about the value of what I was selling. And it changed instantaneously, overnight. If you don't believe this, I wanna show you something. Last week, I was designing Nikki Closser's PDF with Nicki. We've recorded it, because I feel like everybody is sucking really badly at designing their PDF's. While we're designing it, I went to write the price list, and I said to Nikki, "How much are you charging for a glamour shoot?" And Nikki said $500. And I said, "Excuse me?" And she said $500. And I said, "Well wait a minute. How much are you charging for a wedding?" And she said $3,800. And I said, "Well, why aren't you charging $1, for a glamour shoot?" And she said, "Well, I don't have a studio. I'm new at glamour, and I've been shooting weddings, this is my second season." And I was like, hang on. Are you getting $3,800 bookings for weddings? And she said yes. And then I said, "Then I suggest you start your glamour package at $1,200." The mentality was all hers. Her very first sale after that was $1,200, but the best part? The woman liked the product, the service, and the shoot so much, she booked in four of her friends, at $1,200. Mapuana, who you know has been working with me, building her business in Hawaii, her average sale was at $750. I challenged her. She put her package up to $1,450, and ever since then has been pulling an average sale of $1,450. It really comes down to you. It comes down to what you're going to earn. It comes down to what you want to earn. It comes down to what you find is the value in what you do, what you give for that value. So if you're going to show a price list of packages like this, or an a la carte menu that potentially can upsell to these packages, I suggest you get busy telling me what you're giving me for this money, instead of complaining about what you're not getting, because I think you'll find it shifts everything. My average has been at $3, for the last three and a half years. This month, I'm putting my money where my mouth is, and I'm putting my package up to $7,000. What I've done, the difference between the $3, and the $7,000, is I've changed the package's value. I've added champagne. I've added a stylist. So I've added personal shopping. I've added fly in the day before. I've also upgraded, so I put upgrades in there. Location of your choice. Stay in a hotel. And I'm going to take my clients out to dinner with me that night. I'm going to make it a full day experience, including the shopping the day before, and the styling of outfits. I'm making the value of my package greater by giving more, and I know that I'm gonna hit that average really, really easily, and I'm really excited about putting my new PDF together, and my new website together, because it's going to show the entire experience of my $7,000 package. I feel like I watch high-end wedding photographers earn seven to $15,000 shooting weddings, and now I have to take my portrait package into the next level, by taking the value into the next level. Okay, let's talk about a couple of really good options. What is a payoff option, and why does it work? In my studio, I made a decision that if people couldn't afford me, they could pay the images off. I was doing a consultation with a business the other day. They're averaging $1,000 to get portraits, but they're averaging $5,000 to get weddings. When I asked them, why is your portrait average so low, they said, "Because the market here does not value portraiture." I said, "That is a lie. It is a lie you have told yourself. You have told yourself this lie, and you believe it." I said, "For starters, they either don't- they're not sold on the work, so maybe, just maybe, your work isn't good enough yet." And if you really believe that, but you're comparing yourself, but you're confused about this, this is when you get a mentor. This is when you get somebody that's gonna be honest with you. Not somebody else in the industry that's competing with you. This is where you give more into your package. And this is where you upscale yourself. Because I would still rather you scrape by with a thousand dollar average, than not get anything, to build up that folio, and get better. And if you have to, do a free shoot, every week. Do a free shoot every month if you have to, to get better and to build your folio up. But what's really important is that you have a look at your belief system, around the package that you think your worth, and challenge that before you challenge anything else. I have also seen photographers that are complaining that they're not getting $1,200, and I have gone to their website, and I'm sorry, but you are below a professional standard, and you are not going to get work, because your work simply is not good enough yet. Okay, so before you start throwing up big numbers on your packages, start to upscale yourself first. So yes, there is a gray area between learning, and between charging, but even at the learning stage, I find it very hard to believe that you're struggling around the $400 mark, because you are definitely worth that, if you're giving a whole CD of burnt images. Okay? I really want you to hone your skill before you start crying about not earning money. And the worst part, even worse than the new photographer that's struggling to find their own validation, is the experienced photographer, like I was, that leaves a studio and could not make their own money, because I just did not see my own value. Here's something that helped me with my value. One of them was, I put the most beautiful poem that I love. It's the Derek Walcott poem, The Time Will Come when with Elation, that was written on the floor in my studio, and what I love about it, is people keep it, and I feel like I was giving a part of my philosophy, whenever I gave away the time, for them to come in with their viewing. And the other one was, I really, it helped me to put my work on this beautiful foldout cantilever, because I felt like I was showing everybody my beautiful work, and it had so much more value, when I spent the money to get my beautiful work put on cards. At the time, these cards cost me just over $2,000. $2,000 was beyond belief, to what I could afford at the time. I do not look back. I got 10,000 of these cards, and they changed my life, because I really felt so proud of delivering my elevator pitch and my price list, when people saw the quality of my work. Nowadays I have an iPhone, okay, so I can show the iPhone, but the good thing is, this is what they takeaway, and this really helped me change my value. So that tells me, maybe the biggest problem was me. Maybe the biggest problem was, I never saw the value. I didn't know how to price myself. I compared myself to others constantly. I saw people who were less talented than me doing better, and I didn't realize that maybe, just maybe, they're struggling too. Do not compare yourself with others. I want you to look at this price list. 400, 900, 1,300, 1,800, 2,300, 2,800, 3,300, 3,800, 4,300. Work your way up in $500 increments. Tell me the most important part, and that is more value. More value. I want you to put more value into what you're offering. Put a price on it, and sell it. When you believe it, everybody believes it. It's just the way it is. And what is your survival rate? What is the lowest that you're prepared to survive on? But more importantly, what is your dream rate? What is your goal? Is it your goal to earn $4,000 a week? Is it your goal to earn $40,000 a week? Break it down into service, and then tell me how you're going to make it happen. Last of all, canceling an order. If somebody is uneducated, or they've come in for their shoot, and they just don't wanna buy. If somebody has told you how they wanna be photographed, and you think you've delivered, but maybe you haven't, maybe you have, you don't know. It's a mystery. Every now and then, we get clients who don't wanna buy. They've been through the shoot. They maybe paid for the shoot. Maybe you've already paid for the makeup artist, and it's cost you money to shoot them. You can let these people go. It's okay. It is better to let them go and cut your losses, take the sitting fee, and let it go. Make no money. Hopefully they signed a contract, so you can use the images on your website, and in your portfolio. It is better to let them go than to make an enemy of someone that doesn't wanna spend. Now, you can sign a sales contract, and if the job has been started, you can say to them, "I'm sorry. You had five days to change your order. The order has been sent to the lab. It is in the process right now, so we can't change anything." But you'll find most people will either back out, lie, make up some silly excuse, or try to get out within the 24 hour period, because they've got what's called buyer's remorse. They've gone home. They've looked at how much they've spent. Or, you were pushing them, and they didn't wanna say no to you until they get home. I believe that you should let them go, but that is your personal choice. Payment options are an excellent option, if you sign people down to a payment plan. I would rather you have 20 people paying off $20 a week, than have those 20 people not come in, as long as you're managing your payments. It's quite respectable to make up your own sales contracts, and to get them to give their credit card number with an authority to charge that card at $20 a week, or whatever it is that you're taking. Setup an automatic payment from their bank. Pre-write checks. But they do not get the work until it's paid for. Sometimes we offer ... You do what you have to do to get paid. And, I've always done payment plans in my studio, for years, and years, and years. And it had a very, very small non-payment rate. So every now and then, we got one or two percent that just didn't pay. We'd have to follow through, have to follow through, but they always start to pay. And, their images aren't printed until they're almost paid. So the truth is, is most people pay it off. And when they don't, they'd already paid some, so we always cut our losses, instead of taking them through debt collection. Last night, I was watching TV, and Volkswagen currently had this ad on TV, and it says zero, for zero, for zero, for zero. So zero dollars down, zero deposit, zero interest for the first year, and then it says, tagline, basically take a car home with your signature. That doesn't mean Volkswagen are giving away free Volkswagens. It means they're deferring the payment. So you need to look, as a business owner, you need to look at how people are shopping. And if big companies like Volkswagen are giving away cars and deferring payment, interest, and deposit, then you might need to giveaway free shoots, and have payment plans. That is your choice. I now work on a how would you like to pay for that system, and people pay for me straightaway. So, sometimes I wonder how much of it is driven by the public, and how much of it is really driven by me. So, there's your guideline for prices. 400, 900, 1,300, 1,800, 2,300, 2,800. Remember, my philosophy is, it's 50% giving and receiving. You must learn to receive. That's compliments, love, money, payment. You give 50%, you receive 50% for the service that you offer. The more value you give, the more service you give, the easier it is to receive, if your right hand is open. Just remember, the first person you have to look at, if you're not getting paid, is you, because you're the one stopping it, and I feel like it's really important. My favorite poet, Rumi, says, "Your task is not to seek for love, but to seek for every barrier you've put up against it." If I change the word love to money, I laugh. Your task is not to seek for money, but to seek for every barrier that you've put up against it. And sometimes, just sometimes, 99.9% of sometimes, we're our biggest enemy. So please, value what you do. Up your value, up your service, skillset. Every single week try harder to give more, be more, and love what you do. Put a price on it. Say it with confidence. Believe it in your heart. And get paid. Thank you for joining me today to talk about pricing. My name is Sue Bryce, and you can find my photography portrait education course, 28 Days, on CreativeLive.com. Join me for 28 Days. You'll get about 31 videos, just like this one, on every aspect of portraiture, small business, and being a photographer, that you could possibly imagine, from a whole lifetime of what I've learned building a business.

Class Description


Sue Bryce's 28 Days is the all-in-one portrait photography class that teaches you posing, shooting, marketing, selling, and everything else you need to know to run a successful contemporary portrait photography business. 

This series begins with two sessions of intense instruction on business, pricing, and overcoming your fears. Following the kickoff, Sue delivers short sessions exploring 28 different topics essential to any successful portrait photography studio. Sue covers flow posing, connecting with clients, posing and shooting groups, marketing to your key demographic, sales, and more.

In this comprehensive series you'll learn Sue's inspiring approach to styling, posing, marketing, selling and so much more!

Lessons

  1. Teaching 2 Photographers in 28 Days
  2. First 2 Years: The Truth
  3. Rate Your Business
  4. Year One in Business
  1. 28 Challenges
  2. Fear
  3. Price & Value
  4. Checklist, Challenges, and Next Steps
  1. Day 1: The Natural Light Studio
  1. Day 2: Mapping Your Set and Outfits
  1. Day 3: One Composition - Five Poses
  1. Day 4: Flow Posing
  1. Day 5: Posing Couples
  1. Day 6: Capturing Beautiful Connection & Expression
  1. Day 7: The Rules - Chin, Shoulders, Hands
  1. First Weekly Q&A Session
  2. Day 8: Rules - Hourglass, Body Language, Asymmetry, Connection
  1. Day 9: Styling & Wardrobe
  1. Day 10: Shooting Curves
  1. Day 11: Posing & Shooting - Groups of 2, 3, and 4
  1. Day 12: Posing & Shooting Families
  1. Day 13: Products & Price List
  1. Day 14: Marketing & Shooting the Before & After
  1. Day 15: Phone Coaching & Scripting
  1. Second Weekly Q&A Session
  2. Day 16: Posing Young Teens
  1. Day 17: Marketing & Shooting - Family First Demographic
  1. Day 18: The Corporate Headshot
  1. Day 19: Glamour Shoot on Location & Shooting with Flare
  2. Photoshop Video: Glamour Shoot on Location & Shooting with Flare
  1. Day 20: Photoshop - Warping & the Two Minute Rule
  1. Day 21: Posing Mothers & Daughters
  1. Third Weekly Q&A Session
  2. Day 22: Marketing & Shooting - 50 & Fabulous Demographic
  1. Day 23: Shooting into the Backlight
  2. Bonus: Shooting into the Backlight
  1. Day 24: Marketing & Shooting - Girl Power Demographic (18-30s)
  2. Photoshop Video: Girl Power Demographic (18-30s)
  1. Day 25: The Beauty Shot
  2. Bonus: Vintage Backdrop
  1. Day 26: Marketing & Shooting - Independent Women Demographic
  1. Day 27: Sales & Production
  1. Day 28: Posing Men
  1. Bonus: Pricing
  2. Introduction
  3. Photography, Style, Brand, and Price Part 1
  4. Photography, Style, Brand, and Price Part 2
  5. Marketing Part 1
  6. Marketing Part 2
  7. Money: What's Blocking You?
  8. Bonus: The Folio Shoot
  1. Photo Critiques Images 1 through 10
  2. Photo Critiques Images 11 through 27
  3. Photo Critiques Images 28 through 45
  4. Photo Critiques Images 47 through 67
  5. Photo Critiques Images 68 through 84
  6. Photo Critiques Images 85 through 105
  7. Photo Critiques Images 106 through 130
  8. Photo Critiques Images 131 through 141
  9. Photo Critiques Images 142 through 167
  10. Photo Critiques Images 168 through 197
  11. Photo Critiques Images 198 through 216
  1. Identify Your Challenges
  2. Identify Your Strengths
  3. Getting Started Q&A
  4. Rate Your Business
  5. Marketing Vs Pricing
  6. Facing Fear
  7. The 28 Day Study Group
  8. Selling Points
  9. Interview with Susan Stripling
  10. Emotional Honesty
  1. Sue's Evolution
  2. 28 Days Review
  3. Student Pitches
  4. 28 Days Testimonial: Mapuana Reed
  5. How to Pitch: Starting a Conversation
  6. Your Block: Seeing is What You're Being
  7. Your Block: Valuing and Receiving
  8. Building Confidence: Your Own Stories
  9. Building Confidence: Your Self Worth
  10. Pitching An Experience
  11. Pitching An Experience: Your Intentions
  12. Pitching An Experience: Social Media
  13. Final Thoughts

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

I have purchased four of Sue's courses and love them all. I have learned so much. I found the lesson on connecting with people thru their eyes has made a huge difference in my photos already. Her before and after's made me cry. I want to be able to take these kinds of photos for my family and friends. I just love what she does. She is such a great teacher. I learn much better seeing things done, so this was the perfect choice for me to learn. I love Sue's humor, her honesty, her detailed teaching and sweet and wonderful personality. Her sessions will or should not disappoint anyone. It is the best money I have ever spent on self-help teaching. Thanks a million creative live. You GOTTA LOVE SUE!

JRomkee
 

I have just began this course and I am excited to see how following her model will help me to improve and get my business started. I have been through the first two days and there is lots of information to absorb and things to get in order before I begin the actual challenges. I am thankful that there are photographers out there who are will to reveal there secrets ad are truly invested in others improving themselves in all aspects of their life and not just their photography skills. Thanks Sue Bryce for your passion for empowering woman and your knowledge of creating and sustaining a business by being true to who you and commitment to the improvement of others! I am excited to grow myself and my business, I am confident this will be worth every penny! Were the templates for the email PDF included in this course

Claude Bossel
 

Based in Switzerland, I am an advertising/commercial photographer since 20 years and I am still learning everyday. I have bought several courses on Creativelive, all are great and inspiring. This one is also fantastic, thanks to Sue and her incredible experience and wisdom, you will improve your personality, your attitude and skills that will bear many fruits in your business and personal life. I highly recommend anyone who loves photography or dream to become a full time pro to invest in courses like this one. Thank you Sue, thank you all from Creativelive.