Pricing for Boudoir: Shoot & Burn/Packages
Okay you guys ready to some pricing stuff all right um so we're going to cover pricing in multiple classes because there's so much information I have literally tried every single type of pricing method more than once, so I am going to tell you all about everything that I've done and the mistakes that I've made and the lessons I've learned and how I've read on them and change them and move them and it's a lot of information so please ask questions you guys because it makes sense to me but because I've been through but I understand for you it might not make much sense because you haven't been through the struggle as I've done it, so please please please ask questions this is the most important part of you know, this is the structure of the business that we're doing here, so please ask questions we're going to start with shooting burn on dh packet and packages and allah card um shooting burn is basically where I started from when I started out of my bedroom six years ago I just took pictu...
res and put them on a cd or whatever it was at the time and it's funny how technology changes so quickly, right? Like what we're doing six years ago I mean I didn't even have photoshopped I was like editing them on picasa it was really awful it was bad but basically went from there two packages and then I went to all the car and now I'm sort of back to packages did name your own price that I'm sort of back to packages now so we're going to cover this over multiple hours all of the progression from shooting burn two packages tow the car to name your price to back two packages okay, okay, so we're gonna start with shooting burn like I said, this is sort of where I started six years ago I didn't even know of a photography industry I didn't know I could order prince wholesale I didn't you know that there were other options for album design and all of that so I really just wanted to take some nice pictures out of my bedroom and give them to the clients and there were a lot of advantages and disadvantages, so we'll start with the advantages it's obviously look defensive I didn't have the trouble of having to order pictures and keeping track of albums and who ordered and who paid and all that other stuff so it was easy I would just shoot them and then put the pictures you know, give him the picture and that was it it's definitely less work as we all know we'll probably dread album designed although I'll teach you how to do it really simply you know it was not as much follow up with the clients it wasn't you know okay, how do you want me to edit this at that? I just did whatever I wanted to the pictures and deliver them and it was quicker delivery at the same token ok, because I really wasn't worried about um you know when you deliver digital's you don't worry about the prince and where am I when am I going to get them in the shipping and the whole nine right? So there are some advantages of it, andi I did make some good money doing and I'm not gonna lie to you. I mean, we you don't really have any overhead you're shooting out of your bedroom, you don't have any product that you're buying, you don't even have photoshopped it had already been paying for that you can make some good money like that but it's not a sustainable for me at least it wasn't really sustainable but this is, um part of the disadvantages and going oh, look at that certainly there were lost house okay or even worth no sales. The worst thing in the world is when your clients get their images but they never print them or they never do anything with them and I'm guilty of that I have even albums I've designed of pictures of my own children I haven't even ordered them yet I mean if I can't do it, certainly my clients can't do it so that's that's kind of sad when they don't do that, or even worse, they get it printed in a crappy, like, you know, drug store and they have really bad pictures. That's, right? That's, even worse way we are. Yes. Ok, I already covered all that. So and again, it's, the no prince thing that really gets me like I want my clients to be able to share their pictures, show their pictures to the person that they're shooting it for or for themselves even now have a lot of clients at blow up images. I think the largest image I've ever sold was, like thirty by forty, which is pretty big for boudoir. Um, but, it's, great to have something that in your home or a little reminder of, you know, that woman that lives underneath the sweat pants in ponytails every day, right? Um, so we're going to shock in a kind of tell you about how I got started in the pricing. I also call it the what not to do. Okay, so I know you guys are taking notes, and everybody at home is probably taking notes. Put your pens down. This is but not to d'oh. Okay, so if you're going to make a note about what not to dio awesome, but oftentimes I see people like kind of copy all of this pricing like no no no that's what's not to dio so I just want to make it really clear it this's mistake time okay there's so much boarding on here I came and see it from that far away which is really awful but this is basically when I started in two thousand nine two thousand ten like this is how verbose did all wass which is awful um I don't even read it like I see you guys reading it so much more important to listen to me and so what I could tell you about what I said here it's bad don't read it but basically this is how I really first started I charge three hundred dollars for a two hour session now you know, at the time I thought it was a lot of money and actually sometimes I want to pat myself on the back for starting at three hundred dollars because there's a lot of photographers now that started fifty dollars, twenty five dollars or free right? They don't even value their time at all so sometimes I look back and it's like oh wow three hundred bucks that's not so bad right? So that that's basically where I started maybe I started too fifty I quickly raze it to three hundred and I just said ok, come in to our shoot you can step all over me whereas many offices you on I don't care what you want to dio I'll do whatever you want to dio and I'll deliver you pictures that I somewhat edited on picasa and you know what? My clients were happy I mean, they were bad pictures um it was not so good. Um but you know, things like this like fifty I absolutely fifty to seventy five fully edited photos that's crazy um and so I was really pushing digitals. The funny thing is I didn't know that that was wrong or that people look down upon that because, like I said, I was really disconnected to the from the industry. At this point, I really didn't know a lot of other photographers, I just wanted to do my thing and I thought, well, digital's air the easiest way to do it. So this was a lot of on educated decisions. However, sometimes I think having no influence from anybody else really helped me quite a bit because I just do whatever I wanted to do and I figured it out on my own. So it's kind of a catch twenty two there. Um I shoot everything in my home you could see I call it well, here I say in a studio in my home, which was really my master bedroom but I never told them it was my master vaginal list they asked I would take all my personal stuff out of my room and I would shoot boudoir in it and then I would take all the boudoir stuff out and make it back to my bedroom before my husband got home at night um and we knew it was time for me to move on like the light stands and the couches and the backdrops took over it was not a bench for many wars like we're sleeping in a studio on and it was it was time to make some changes but it works for about three years for may I had the option of adding makeup at that time and it was one hundred dollars and most people did added but some people didn't that's actually how I found diana because it was a girl who didn't add makeup and I was able to you know, contact and threw her when she showed up with a really beautiful makeup now like I said it's mandatory but back then it was not and this is my favorite line ever I'm available during the week or on weekends I shoot a lot of the weekend so if you want to book a weekend please do so as soon as possible availability is limited which is a lie because if it was limited I wouldn't have to tell them to book it cause I wouldn't care so it sounds kind of desperate, I think, but the truth is back then I was a war I would shoot any day any time, any girl, any amount of hours, any matter pictures, anyway, wardrobe, change whatever they wanted and, you know, I looked back and I want to shoot myself, but the truth is all I have to start somewhere and you have to go through those growing pains. I didn't have somebody to tell me not to do certain things, and I'm very grateful for the experience that I had because I wouldn't know toe limited shoot to two hours if I did do that, I wouldn't know to include makeup if I had not included makeup and learn my lesson before so these air where you can learn from my mistakes of what not to dio so again, this is what not to, okay, so do you the quickest way like if somebody was to ask me what is the quickest way for me not to make money and burn out and be miserable? This would be it food war parties or marathons or whatever you got I saw them now I know a lot of people do them, and again, I am grateful that I did do them because I got a lot of experience meant did I get a lot of experience here? You have never needed a contract worse than when you do boudoir party. You have never needed a way to divorce a client. A way to shut a client up a way to edit pictures faster. I mean, when you do, like four or five girls in a day, man, did they try to take advantage of you? I have really never seen anything like it, but I did it. And, you know, I did it because another photographer in the area was doing that. So can we talk about, like, just for a brief second? And I'm sure this is going to come up multiple times in this class, like doing things because other photographers are doing them and feeling that pressure to be like everybody else. And, well, if she's charging three hundred than I have to charge two, ninety nine or if she, you know they're charging this, I need to do that or whatever. Maybe this was a peer pressure decision that I made. It was for me at that moment. The way that I defined my success was getting as many people in my door as possible. Like hello, dummy. That's not success. That's just being busy too. Totally different things. So this was a peer pressure decision that I made because other people were doing it. And I felt if she was shooting, you know, sixteen girls a month every saturday, she's doing for girls at sixteen, les girls that will come to me like good. Maybe they should have just gone to her because they were cheap and annoying and cranky and like, you give them an inch, they take a mile, right? But I just kept shooting, shooting, shooting. Now I'm not gonna lie to you like I say, I look back at these times and I go, I would know much about posing. I wouldn't know that much about wardrobe or howto work with women if I didn't go through this time in my life. So I am grateful for it, but I don't recommend it. Okay, um, I charge three. Fifty for each girl and I thought I was giving them a mini session. But when I look at it now, I mean, this is sort of like a full session for me. At this point. Three outfit changes twenty photos. A leather bound album book more pay less, the more girls, unless you pay the more work I do, the less I make it's awesome. Um it was they were just exhausting and I used to send my family out for the day so they had to go do something they probably went and spent money that I made anyway so it's like I don't know why I was doing this um and I started sort of dabbling you'll see here in all of card items like things that you can add things you can change I sort of started getting the idea that maybe up selling would be help awful but to tell you the truth why would they need to up sell they're already getting a twenty page album they're ready getting a full shoot and it was exhausting I mean, I I was too old to be doing and I think it was just literally exhausting eso again don't do it and well I shouldn't say don't because there's a lot of photographers out there that successfully do it but think about how you want to structure it don't give away the farm you know if it's going to be three hundred dollars don't give them everything that I was giving them two for three hundred dollars maybe just the shooting a prince or the shooting an image and then they have to upset there's other ways to do it that are more successful I have not gone back and re address that part of my life because I'm still in therapy for it no, I'm teasing uh but I have not gone back and tried it again because it's not how I want my work life balance to be I don't want to shoot four, five, six girls in a day it's just not it doesn't go along with my mission of being really attaching connected to a girl it just it doesn't work for me but it can be done successfully I just choose not to do it it's a it's a choice and and there's a lot of choices that we all need to make and boundaries that we need to put up a ce faras being boudoir photographers and photographers in general any photographer needs to make these decisions I mean shooting on weekends like I don't shoot on weekends anymore I don't shoot on mondays every client that ever came on a monday was weird every client that came in on monday and one day I was just like you know what? Look a shoot monday's anymore monday clients are weird I don't know why friday clients awesome monday clients weird so I don't shoot on mondays anymore it's now my food shopping day it's very sexy but you know this is just boundaries and things that you have to learn over time what is important to you at that time it was so important to me to shoot weekends that's when clients wanted to come I was building my business and I said to my husband, listen, if a client wants a comet three o'clock on a sunday, you better find somewhere else to watch a football game, because I have to do that. But now, it's, more important for me to be with my children on the weekends. They're older, they understand that. It's a weekend, a mommy, I should be home. So I make those decisions. And yes, sometimes I lose business because of it, which sucks. But, you know, if somebody really wants to be with me that bad, they'll take a day off. They'll find a way to make it work and, you know, it's it's a trade off for me, so that has nothing to do with pricing. But itjust leads me short of two, that lesson of boundaries, and for me, the boudoir parties or a boundary that I probably will not cross again ever, maybe ever is a strong word. Most likely not. Uh, so after I burn myself out with the shooting birds, and I really started having, like, a business here, like I realized that people were going to start coming in, and they were going to start looking for things for me, I realized that having that shooting burn at that one price was limiting may okay, so I wanted to come up with packages, and this is about the time where I started realizing there are other photographers that exists in the world, and I started really paying attention to what they were doing. How are they doing? They're pricing. How should I be doing it? Learning from some professionals, esso, before I get into packages, I wantto do. You guys have questions so far? Because this is ah lot of information. Please ask any questions that you have. Okay? Yes, join, um, when you tell clients that you don't work on the weekends because I still feel a little guilty, um, about that, you know, telling them that I just I'm not flexible on that. What do you say to them? But my studio's not open on the weekends, do you know? I mean, if a doctor said to you, I don't work on saturday, you wouldn't go bull, but I really can't come any other day. You know, if if I heard if a salon is closed on mondays, alonso usually closed on mondays, right? You don't say what? I have to have a monday appointment. No. If you need a haircut, you could tuesday, sunday, you know, and, um I make a joke sometimes at them like I'll say uh well she'll say well, I work full time and I go oh, I totally get it you know you should do you should take a sick day and hang out with me when you're healthy and when you're sick go to work you know what I mean? Like spent a day that you feel like should it work spend a day we feel good with me you know and they go yeah, I guess I could I have vacation days I guess I could do that here's the thing I I don't want to not value their time but I feel like when I say to them I don't shoot weekend and they go well I can only come in the weekend because I work you know? I feel like saying well, I have a family and I'm with them on saturday so you have to come on the days of my office is open I mean, if she's not going to value my time and sort of not fit into that maybe we're not a good match to begin with, you know? I mean, I don't like egos and I don't want to be like, well, I'm generous and bam and if she wants to seem you she will come on a tuesday you know and but you know and if a client says me listen, I'm coming from you know california and I want to shoot with you I'm only gonna be there two days saturday and sunday maybe I'll make an exception here and there but in general it's not fair to my family for me to just work all weekend and work all week because the truth is I'm working all week to I need a break I feel like a diva when I say that so I think that's a little bit I mean it worked I'm doing and I've been doing it it's just I feel very much like maybe it's something you need to set up ahead of time julian so when they inquire with you maybe it's something that you have to have on your price sheet or something that you send to him like office hours are or shooting days are it is but they still ask yeah which you can't bake you just need to say I really wish I could take over the weekend but we're not open on the weekends you know you just you have to let go of the guilt you have to be okay with it because if there's any ounce of like well I feel bad sorry but we're not going to like step right in there you know you have to make sure you set up your boundaries because you know as well as I do that if you show up on that saturday and you're shooting her you're gonna be pissed you're really so annoying, I want to be with my husband today, I want to be out doing my errands or whatever it might be, and you're gonna sort of had that resentful feeling towards her, and you don't want to have that either. So you're setting up boundaries not only for you, but for her, too, because that's not fair to her for you to feel like you don't want to be there. Yes, do you also feel that it makes you kind of I don't want to say more desirable, but if if a client calls and like you said like, oh, I'm available twenty four hours a day like it's, just not as exclusive. Do you feel that that's like, helpful for your brand? Yeah, there is a perception there for sure, definitely, um, even if I'm like wide open, I'll never say it. If I well, I'm free the entire week of july fifth. Whatever you want is fine. I will give her specific appointment dates. I'll tell you what if you want the second week of july, I'm free this state in that day at this time or that time. Do either one of those work if they don't let me know and then we'll take it from there and usually they'll just make one of those work, yeah, don't make yourself sound so available even if you are and be specific, you know, like I think sometimes if you say to a client, well, when do you want to come in and just tell me when you want to come? I'll find time for you like that's not they feel like all I have time to book she's not busy, like there has to be a call to action, there has to be a little more urgency for her to feel like, well, if I don't book now, she only has two spots that week I have to get in there even if you only take two clients a week. She doesn't know that, you know, and I'm not saying be dishonest, I'm just saying presented in a way that makes her feel like I got to get on this because otherwise you're going to wait on that contract or we don't deposit, you know, it's gonna take a long time, and I've also noticed that, um, because I'm I'm only shooting like two to three clients a month, my makeup artists has another full time job. So then I have to say like oh this time works good for you then I have to coordinate with her and it's become like a huge mess and so I'm already wanting to move to that where I just have designated chute times and that's good advice yes doesn't need two times were great and then you know your schedule too like moving forward you know I have my ideal thing would be to shoot only tuesday wednesday thursday I don't want mondays are out weirdos come mondays fridays I would prefer not to shoot I mean this is part of being self employed you could do whatever you want to do so I prefer not to shoot on fridays this traffic coming back from the studio it's annoying on in summertime I has been often takes a day off on fridays like I just find these are fun days I don't want to do it I will do it but I usually present clients dates on tuesdays wednesdays or thursdays that's my ideal shooting days and ninety five percent of the time I don't have a problem with it so don't let like those five percenters ruin it for everybody huh? You know it's very much me like when I haven't done a saturday or sunday in a year and I'm still when they're asking about it I know they've read it on my website already and I'm like no I don't but you can at a saturday for two hundred dollars extra um so I mean, I'm still no I don't work weekends you know, I don't know what's going another way of saying it besides, I don't work weekends because that sounds a little confrontational this studio is not open on the weekends blame it on the studio we'll do right? That does not sound different my studio is not open weekend sorry, but I am definitely there tuesday wednesday thursday we could do any one of those days or whatever you know I'm free tuesday at ten o'clock that would be that's perfect, you know, but the studio's not open on weekends, it sounds so much less person also like I don't work weekends you petty little you know, like no it's no, the street does not open on weekends I'm just wondering how that's working for you julian to charge more for a saturday do people do that? No, they never have they take friday off work and and I have lost maybe one or two clients because I don't work on the weekends. But um like jen said, I don't think I wanted to work with that person anyways, I was also wondering if you make yourself available online, you know they're in the weekdays isn't just nine to five what do you make yourself available afterwards? And it all started ten a m and that is because I leave my house at nine o'clock after I put my kids on the bus I go to the studio, we do hair makeup, I shoot, I leave the studio, I come home, I take my kids off the bus and that is why I do it that way not to mention I have beautiful natural light during the day at the studio so that helps also and yeah, I'm kind of strict about it my sessions sorry ten o'clock I just recently booked a photographer said I really need to come at ten thirty I live like four hours away I was like, all right, I'll come in a ten thirty for you um but my session started ten that's it here's the other thing most of what I show on my website, not all of it, but a lot of what I shows natural light and then you have the photographer the, uh the client that's like why wouldn't come at six p m can you give me the picture that I see on your website that I'm like okay, that was shot at ten am no, I can't give that to you in six pm so sometimes it's just a matter of educating them listen, guys, people get sick days, people get days off our vacation, some people can take them, some people can't but the truth is with boudoir is a lot of times people are hiding this from somebody, and they want to come during the week because they want their spouse or their partner. I think they went to work, so they get up, they goto work, they come in, they get home, they wash off their face and they had a really tough day at work. So I don't find that the push back for the weekend is that hard anymore. Um, it's it's really not that bad death custom, so for pricing ay dio um one price for my session and digital copies. I don't require them to buy an album, but I do offer one at a very, very, very low praise. My concern is that I'm still not at the volume that I want, and I'm afraid I need to raise my prices because I'm not charging enough, but I'm afraid that I'm not going to get the clientele because of the price jump understood? Um, I feel like that's a little more of a statement than a question and and that's okay, I'm gonna leave it like that for a minute because I think that as we go through, especially when we start talking about the figuring out your own pricing. This is going to become very clear for you so I I appreciate your concern and you are one hundred percent right? And I bet who else feels that way right now out of everybody like worried about their pricing go raise your hands people let's go um me I readdress my pricing like every five minutes like every five minutes I'm not kidding so your feelings are very valid and this is why I'm doing this so can you hang tight? Okay. All right is that fair? You're good with that? Okay. All right, so let's start talking about packages a little bit and maybe this will help you, um understand a little bit better and we're good everything I'm gonna do is going to address everything you just said so I I do appreciate the concern and even though not everyone raised their hand believe me, everybody is in the same boat because if I am I know everybody else's too. Um okay. So let's talk about the advantages of package is one of the great advantages of it is that you have different price points so you can book a client for five hundred a client for a thousand you have your hitting different price points or hitting different soft spots and people somebody might only have a thousand dollars to spend someone might only have five hundred dollars just down whatever it might be do you have a little bit of variation which is nice because you're not locked into just like where I was at that three hundred dollars, you know you have room to grow here, okay? Um also you know what? You're making up front that's really important, so if any of you balance your own books before I do any type of bookkeeping whatsoever, it's always nice to know what happening, so if you send if you have a package and let's say you sent out a contract, you require thirty percent retainer, you know, when that client comes in that week, you're making the other seventy percent what I say thirty percent you're making the other seventy percent you can forecast, okay, I'm gonna buy something and I know I'm gonna have the money to pay for it or I know how much money I'm going to make this month, so I know I'm in a good place where when you do more like all a car, you don't really know what you're making and a client on a client till they come pick their picture, so this is an advantage definitely for packages. Um some of the disadvantages air still lost sales still like if you say to a client oh, your package comes with twenty digitals or a twenty page album, they're still looking for twenty pictures okay, sometimes I'll say I love thirty pictures could be upgraded, but it was rare I found clients were, like, head in their mind twenty pictures that's what I want to dio also the cost might be too much up front, and there were times, and we're going to talk about that as I go through the pricing that ah, the economy really started tanking, and I'm raising my prices and my packages in, like, two thousand dollars or I tried sort of like a one price fits all type of a thing for twenty five hundred dollars, you can have everything and people don't want to spend twenty five one dollars, or it sometimes even twelve hundred dollars up front for pictures they haven't even taken yet, right? So I would get like, well, what if I don't like any my pictures? But I already kind of about twenty from you, you know? So it was kind of a disadvantage for me that I found during certain times, which we will definitely go through, and they're less customized. So again, when you're talking about high touch experience isn't customizing with the clients want exactly packages don't always fit into that where all the cart does a little bit more, which will discuss next following may, okay. That my packages started like this again this is what not to dio put the pens down everybody this is what not to dio uh this is two thousand ten and I started well okay I named them really cute names of course because that's what? You d'oh right like the tease the floor of the heart breaker in the vixen it took us like a good day to come up with that. It was like, what a waste of time. Um but it was our way of identifying and I mean, if you look at something like the tease it was three outfits twenty photos it was kind of like that group discount andi was three twenty five I don't know if I lower to raise the price but not by much. So that was ridiculous. Um and then all way up to the vixen which was I mean ridiculous like six out the changes fifty photos you get the album, you get the digitals, you get my firstborn a date with my husband and you can cook me dinner later like anything you wanted you got with this package and it was only six seventy five and you know how I came up with that pricing? I called it the pull it out of my ass method it was what would I pay for this now here's the thing do not base your pricing on what you would pay for something because you are not your ideal client you are a photographer and for you you have a different perspective on it then somebody else who can take the pictures themselves right so you can't do it that way it's such an unhealthy way of pricing is also the I'm going to do what everybody else does method which is like well everybody else was around this price range so I'll fit into this price range also so that this bad can compete with them but you know it was giving away the farm here you guys like for less than seven hundred dollars it was ridiculous and you know it's not about the money that you make it's about the money that you get to keep in your pocket for all of that I'm giving away here I can't even imagine that I was making that much that's not really a good feeling but you feel like you are because you're busy and your price is too low and your booking a lot of clients and the money is coming in but it's it's not staying there you know so this is kind of where I started and then two thousand ten who was basically a few tweaks I took a couple of things out delivered a little less photos and I gave myself a twenty five dollar raise per package which was so nice in may two, two thousand eleven let's talk about this year because this was a big year for me I shot over three hundred women by myself in my bedroom in two thousand eleven yeah, you know why you're all shaking your head? Because I'm stupid. Uh, again I know I keep saying this, but I feel like repetition is really important with a lot of this stuff. This is what not to do. Obviously, because of three hundred women were willing to book me at this price. I'm too what? Cheap, right? But I didn't know I had nobody to tell me that I was too cheap, so I just kept pulling it out of my pass. I just kept saying okay, how much of this bay? Fifty bugs? How much of this? One hundred dollars? I wasn't making educated decisions. Um but I thought I was I mean, I booked three hundred girls that's insane. I mean, I brought home more girls that my husband ever did. It was awesome. Um and I changed. My change is a little let's look at this for one sec. It I started with my highest package now and I work down to the lowest cause I must have read somewhere that psychologically you're fooling them if you give them the highest package first and then it's the least offensive package on the bottom and I just again it's nine, ninety nine and I remember I couldn't vividly remember the day I was sitting in my office. Diana and I shared a desk in my old house, so she was on one side and I was on the other hand has like d who had ever booked me for a thousand dollars so much money who would spend a thousand dollars a boudoir photography and I booked the girl like the next day, I was like, oh my god, hello because you're still too cheap it's like a thousand dollars for all that is still too expensive. I just remembered thinking, whoa, I booked a client for a thousand dollars like I am successful, right? But I probably got to keep four dollars out of the thousand who knows? I mean, it was ridiculous how much money that you know, I'm putting into these sessions and how much I'm giving them so but, you know, I made it look more valuable because I made it look like this was going to really be thirteen hundred dollars, but you can get it for nine, ninety nine I mean, there's a lot of psychology playing in here and really the only person I'm fooling is myself because I wasn't making that much money and at the end of that year I took a close look at my books and it was not pretty, but it was not pretty. Did I make money? Yeah, I actually brought into my studio somewhere close to about two hundred thousand dollars that year I can't tell you exactly how much time made I don't remember exactly. I remember feeling like two hundred thousand dollars, this is like my third year of business, I'm killing it, um but I really was not making enough margins. I wasn't I wasn't making enough I was bussing my, but I mean, I didn't see my family ever. I was editing all hours of the night. I was shooting three, four girls a day sometimes, and this isn't even the group packages is like real packages. It was one month I shot forty two girls in one month. I mean, try editing that I had to hire somebody to edit. Diana was doing sale sessions, she's book and client she's doing me. I mean, it was a factory in my house and I I was happy like a the time I'm like look at all these girls, I am successful, everybody on long island wants a shoot with me this is awesome, but at the end of the year, when I looked at the books, I just said to diana, like, I'm exhausted, I can't do this, I can't take this many clients for the rest of my life, I can't not see my family and my children, and I don't think I'm making enough money to make it worthwhile, like I'd rather sit on my bom and do nothing, then bust my ass and and make nothing, you know, like it was it just wasn't making any sense to me is that does you guys understand that? I'm sure you like a lot of you have been there where you're like, oh my god, I'm killing myself and I'm really not making enough money and it was just a really eye opening time for me, the girl's exhausted may I'm not gonna lie to you like I had some amazing clients and I had a ton of really troublesome client and I find that there's like an inverted ratio the less they spend, the more trouble they are, so it was like if a girl book me for three hundred dollars, she gave me so much trouble and it was like how much can I give you? Three hundred dollars like I'm giving you everything I have here. You know, ali, we spoke about this a little bit last night, right? Like when a client just pulled everything out of you it's like I'm done I'm finished in that how I felt so what I did wass raise my prices all walked and it's what I like to call the belly flop in like an empty pool because I really sat down I did the math and I really this is really where I needed to bay okay, now my highest packages thirty two hundred dollars as a huge job on my lowest packages seven hundred now this is probably where I should have been the whole time but because I wasn't I took this major leap and it was practically like starting my business all over again. It was like I had to find new clients. Anybody that had referred me was like, wait, you want seven hundred dollars for that? My girlfriend got me more than that for three hundred dollars two months ago what are you talking about? And it was a disaster and I and it was really quiet and it's slowed down a lot more than I anticipated and I said to my husband like we were laying in bed and we're both on our laptops it was real romantic on dh I said to him, do me favor go on my website I think my my contact form is broken because I haven't got an e mail in like three weeks I don't know what's going on and he fills out the contact for him and he presses sends and my computer goes boop that's huge it's working so nobody was emailing me it wasn't broken, it was just nobody was contacted me and it was I had a following of girls long island that all of a sudden took to like message boards and hating me and she's an egomaniac and who does she think she is for charging these prices? And it was just a really dark bad time and I didn't give up I knew that this was the right thing to do and I was charging what I needed to do and I said I kept saying to my husband I'd rather fail charging what I deserve to get then fail busting my butt that's it period so I stuck to it you have a question, right? Yes, you said no one was contacting you through your website. Did you have your price is listed on your website? No and that's something I don't know the answer to I've tried it both ways right now on my website it says packages start at nine, ninety nine even with that like I got an e mail two days ago did they really start ninety nine or can I do it for less like well, how much less that we're talking you know, like talk to mae you know I want to do it one hundred fifty dollars so sorry can I help you? We're there but um I don't know, you know, I feel like sometimes putting the pricing up is a good thing it saves a step for you but I feel like it's just empty because I want her to connect with me I want her to know me I want to have a conversation with her I want to know if our personalities click even over email you know, and I want to be able to ask her questions and I can't do that if she just reads the prices and goes out this isn't for me because I could convince a girl that I'm worth the money you know, over another photographer or whatever you know I can convince her I'm worth spending the money on, but I can't do that if my prices were just there and there's, nothing is too much behind it um but I get why people do it I don't think there's a right or wrong answer I mean this pricing thing you guys there is no there is it's not black and white it is all gray I have tried things and re tried them and move them and change them and so that's one of the things that I've made a lot of changes on. So right now, it's, the starting price is in ninety nine nobody really reads it anyway, I don't know um, so this is this is coincidently also the time period where the economy started getting really bad and again, people were like, well, I don't know if I can invest twelve hundred dollars um and not know what I'm getting what if I don't like the pictures? You know, even if you break down the pricing even if you break it down, you say okay, semi thirty percent upfront thirty percent at a later date, you know, you can break it down, I would do, um, credit cards I take or instalments payments almonds, but I don't know people were a little leery of that, and it was it was really stressing me out. So in february two thousand twelve, shortly after this whole debacle, even though I did book some clients and I survived, I did, I paid all my bills and I survived and that and that is one thing I want to just tell you guys, I'm really I'm really proud of from day one, my business has been completely self sufficient I haven't had to borrow any money I do not have any credit card debt I never borrowed any personal money from myself or my husband or anything else. My business has been completely self sufficiency is dae won so even during the slow times I would I would have to do some day I would just you know, okay, let me at least book to clients and I'll stop buying things it monk I'm not gonna buy any equipment these air all decisions that we need to make you can't just go out and buy, buy, buy, buy, buy and expect the clients to come you have to sort of make these decisions along the way, so I did survive um but I stopped doing these online galleries and these packages and I started ala carte pricing so much information on like that question so far on this before we start getting into ala carte yes, at what point do you show people your prices there's a lot of theories on this, right right away really up front like I am upfront about my pricing, I don't want any surprises, I don't want my quango I didn't understand how much it costs and the biggest challenge with that is with this ala carte so we're going to talk about that a little bit and that that is the challenge for people like no matter how you freeze it, it's a little bit of a challenge, so we'll talk about that a little bit, but yeah, I'm pretty upfront with my pricing first thing that you talk about when you know the first thing you talk about is like, why do you want to do is shoot? Tell me more. Oh, my gosh, you're turning forty. Awesome. I'm turning forty two. I can't believe it. Um, how do you envision you shoot to be like, what do you think you want to tell you? No telling what kind of story you want to tell did it a owned, by the way. It's this much? Okay, right. Like, I kind of wanna have a conversation with her. I want to connect with her first. If it's over email like there, I'm not gonna lie to you guys. There were times where I get a message. Like, um, prices question mark right. And there's days where I'm like, I'm going to test this and see what happens. Hi. Who are you? Why do you want to do is shoot and she's like I just want your prices. Okay, here's, my price is never gonna hear from you again anyway. It's fine, it's probably another photographer actually. Just looking for my bracing andi truth is any photographers out there that are listening? If you want my pricing, I'll just give it to you just just right to mayhem of photographer can you sell me your pricing? Because I can't stand that I'm tricky I'm going to find your pricing now because I have google and I know who you are like, you know, it's just asked me for the pricing and I give it you but, um so there are moments where like, I just already feel like there's, not a connection and I'll just be like here's my pricing, but typically no, I want to start a conversation for us. I want to start a dialogue understand where she's coming from on dh. I might even go as far a say to her here. My price is right now I think for you package number three would be fantastic or what you know, make a suggestion or whatever it might be a but it's a little different in the ala carte. So we'll talk about that a little, but yeah, pricing is not the first thing out of my mouth at all it's like the absolute last thing you know, I want to be like, oh, my god, I can't wait to shoot. Ok, write the check out to so and so. This is how much you, you know. It should be the last thing.