Pricing Your Work
So I went from shooting burn two packages to allah card be extraordinary will be for gotten in a world where specialization increases value if you aren't a finally different, you become a commodity and will be priced into oblivion. This is what is happening to every single one of you that are based on the conversation that we had last night if you're the same as everybody else it's all about price, this is why going back to our first conversation this morning, you need to know who you are, why you do what you do and how to get that message across because if you do that, they don't have anybody to compare teo, nobody else is like you, right? I hate to go so fast on because it's so important, but we're gonna do it anyway, okay? So when I started again, please, this is the point of all these words are not for you to read every single thing, its beauty, an idea of the progression I started by charging three hundred dollars I made that number up and, um it was a two hour session and we shot...
forty six outfits and I really gave myself a raise and I raise it to four hundred twenty five dollars. In two thousand ten, I gave fifty to seventy five edited photos of their choice in an online album and I lowered that two fifty because seventy five is too money in two thousand ten I mean, I really I have to say I put this together and I was like, I was like, okay, it's embarrassing online, I started charging one hundred and seventy five dollars, three hundred funny, um, online doing until email you the picture so you could do whatever you want with them. Um, um, in addition, I make albums, but you're not gonna buy one for me anyway, because I'm already giving you the digitals and I shoot all of the photographs in the studio in my home. My area is in the areas of my house that I photograph is beautiful natural light, which I don't know how to use anyway, it doesn't matter and it's a large space, which is nice for both of us and have referrals if you want to talk to anybody else about this experience that's really important if you're shooting from home and you're you're afraid that people are concerned about that. Put it out there. I have referrals, I've shot other women here, you don't have to worry, I'm safe, and I'm not going to kill you. If you'd like to have your makeup done you can pay extra for that I'm available during the week or the weekend or at night or in the morning or a new year's day or christmas day or any day you want me to shoot you I will be there that's what that says on uh shoot a lot on the weekends so please availability is limited not true okay that's where I started its perception writes all that have a look even better a better way to not make any money is tohave groups and offer them for like three hundred dollars or three hundred fifty dollars shoot a whole bunch of girls in one day which really is exhausting and who really even remembers their name after that and make sure you get them all the photos at an album so they can't upgrade it all and oh the more you book the less you pay and you get out of other things on I mean this was like I see so much of this why but this is what I did you two are parties see a lot of people doing boudoir parties they're great if you want to get your name out there you're starting out awesome if you want to make money he stopped doing them immediately dad okay after that I woke up in small a cappuccino a little and I was like you know what? I better make some money so we're gonna have packages now it'll be so much easier and these are the stupid packages I came up with but they're so cute because they're called the teas and the flirt and the heartbreaker and the vixen and uh they pretty much basically included everything else uh you can see the vixen with six hundred seventy five dollars it was my most expensive package and it included everything including my like ovaries and whatever I could find a home that I wanted to give you and you notice I have makeup included in there some even paying out makeup on top of that six seventy five but you know how it came up this pricing it was really very technical this's what it's called what would I pay for boudoir photography so stupid do not pick up your pricing that way I didn't consider any of my expenses I mean I figured well shit from home what kind of expenses do I have besides the eighty five backdrops I had to buy to keep up with everybody else in the two cameras unaided and the insurance and the you know everything else the baby sitter's all that so I just basically pulled this out of my tush and I'd really I think most people price themselves that way unfortunately and I'm getting a lot of yeses over here right cause that most people dio you know it sounds good sounds good people okay, late two thousand ten is basically the same is here before, but I gave myself a twenty five dollar raise. And can you can you mention some of these prices as as we go through, you can't see them. Yeah, well, my lowest packages three. Fifty. My highest package here is seven hundred. My highest package, which again, includes an album and make up and a private online album. And the high res images and say fifty photos and up to five outfits of shooting. I mean, there is no room for no jolene I know I'm sorry was bad. Listen, I said I'm putting myself out there it is bad now you know why I had three hundred girls at my door. Okay? Because this is this is this was who I wass cheap. This is why they wanted me. They didn't want me very, very depleting. Okay, this's the year of the three hundred women oh, I gave myself a huge raise. My top acted just now a thousand dollars and it's something that thousands nine, ninety nine because I thought a thousand dollars was so expensive who's gonna spend now I live in new york, okay? And I thought, who was gonna spend a thousand dollars on boudoir photography it's crazy, I remember the first time I dan if you're watching you're left with is with my first time ibook that package and I said to my sis and diana I got somebody thinks I'm worth a thousand dollars so stupid I didn't make a penny on anything I really didn't but I sold three hundred of them amazingly but again I was the cheapest I was probably also one of the best but I was the cheapest and the problem was I was devaluing myself in my time and my home and my family and everything but I didn't know I didn't have any friends to tell me that oh this is so fun okay early two thousand twelve is what I like to call the belly flop that's when I had had it with everything I'm sick of this I'm not shooting to manage our clients anymore I want ten clients a month I'm gonna jack up my prices and screw mall they're really gonna have to want me if they want to come in here so I made up again these prices thirty two hundred dollars now is my highest package which no one's really ever gonna book right that's the dream package the vixen I doubled in price and of course I took lots of things out like I lower the amount of photos again I lower the amount of time that they get this is the thing the economy's really tanking at this point and here I am jacking up my prices and, uh, I'm not including hair and everything, which is stupid. I don't know why I did that. Yeah, and who's gonna book six ninety five, you don't really get anything with it, so I really wanted to be in the twelve hundred to two thousand dollar range. What happened? Wass really wasn't booking a lot of clients was having a few moments where it was really quiet and there were crickets. Now I'm going from booking thirty girls a month, teo almost nothing. I had my husband sent me some emails fill out the email form the contract for my my website because I was convinced it wasn't working when his e mails came through it. Okay, through emails working, this is a problem I need to just this is not like if you build it, they will come, you need to reinvent yourself. I had to reinvent my marketing, I had to reinvent where I was going to find these girls. Now I'm in a studio here. This is right after I moved to my studio and I need to pay rent, okay? So I'm not workin in my bedroom anywhere this is a big problem, so somebody introduced me so amazing woman named sally star good sally has a ton of experience in this industry and although I was booking some clients there, I really felt like I needed some guidance again, I'm just pulling these numbers out of my touch I'm not really properly figuring out what my costs are, how many clients I want to shoot, what I need to make. So I invited sally to come and help me again more photography therapy, and she sat down with me for half a day and she said, jen, you're not doing in person sales, you're doing packages, you're doing this wrong, you're doing that wrong let's figure this out excuse me after that, this is what my prices look like so much bad alright, so much easier to read. Well, more expensive can we talk when we talk through some of that? Yeah, so I moved to a session fee, which is not listed on here my session fee, which she suggests it was for fifty I bumped into five fifty I gave myself an immediate race and I want to sell albums I kind all buy albums, but I'm limiting my clients if I'm putting them in package is basically saying to them, these are the twenty photos, it comes with twenty photos, so we would sit and we would pick our favorite twenty photos or I would send them in online gallery and they would send me a list of twenty photos but really they were like thirty photos that they liked but they're like oh what my family was twenty solon our down I was stifling my clients from giving me money I mean, how stupid is that so here's really where my my gold was this is what I wanted and I made it really, really simple I have three albums well four albums but now I'm down to three what you'll see on the next page the black book, the little black book the classic album the luxury album in the courts for album so again we're going smallest to largest there's different levels for everybody if you notice my albums now started six seventy five where my package is you know, I was averaging about six seventy five before for client now my my album start at six seventy five and the reason is because I want to make my lowest album, the minimum amount I want to make. So if every single person walked in and said I want that album, I know I would at least make my numbers everything about that is kind of bonus now I can tell you looking I didn't know what was gonna happen then, but now I could tell you most my clients do fall in this range I know I think I even we'll see on the next page I think I even took one of these albums off I made some collections, nobody really ever buys them. I plant album seeds from the minute somebody contacts me when they asked me about the experience in the pricing, I'll say, and then most of my clients by an album, and this is how much the album's range and I've already planted that seed. I want them to know that's what people do here, okay, so I want to keep it simple. I don't saw that many albums and you'll see I'm going to go actually to the next page. Let's, go back for one second. One thing I want you to notice. I don't have any prints on here, there's not an eight by ten, five by seven or a four by six on here, only larger do I offer them? Yes, but when a client calls and says to me, I only want a photo shoot. But I only want a couple of pictures. I see them, I don't offer prince, they're not on my unless it's eleven by fourteen or eleven by sixteen and higher. I don't offer you don't offer that, but when they're in my studio for my in person sales session, which I also switched to, we need to talk about that. Um, when they're in my studio, if they say I love this picture, I'd love to put in my wall, no problem, if you buy it for your album, you could certainly by an eight by ten or eleven by sixteen that's fine, I sell it to them after they've already purchase something else. But if you're coming to me to buy prince, I don't sell them that's having a backbone and that's, okay? Because if I don't offer it, if you don't offer it, they're not going to ask you for it if you want to throw free eight by ten in after they bought a two thousand dollar album before tracy, but if they're bought an eight by ten and you're giving him an eight by ten no boy, no great again, I'm going to say the extraordinary be forgotten and yes, I put this in twice because that's how important it is, okay, when I just raise my prices, I just raised my prices, but when I raised my prices this way and I offered them more things, like appreciate consuls and mood boards and in person sales and I'm gonna help step you through the process, and I'm gonna custom designed her album for you, now I'm worth more money it's not just about raising your prices and again nobody can do what you d'oh no anyone could do it you do nobody can be who you are so I don't worry about how expensive I am and my mindful of the economy yes I'm mindful of what other people charge sometimes yes but I'm not really afraid of reason my prices are trying to get but I think my value is because if you want me that's how much across nobody is going to you can't get it somewhere else people will say for it people say for shoes people safer hand best people safer the cars they want with houses they want if they want you they're going to say for it mmm this is what my prices looks like now okay yes I added digitals and I'm prepared to wear a big bull's eye on my chest and all the portrait photographers were going you're selling digitals but it's a couple of reasons why I did this first of all it is a digital world that we live in a lot of my clients have their husbands overseas they say really want to send them digitals or I want to put it on their ipad um I shoot a lot of photographers this is a big change in the past year a lot of photographers want to come to me and they don't want to buy albums for me they want to buy digitals so I made a change if it doesn't work, I'll change it again next week. Here's the other thing people don't think about this in text if I see if I sell let's say this album, I'm getting these from white house custom color well, okay, if I buy this white house custom color listen, it calls me about one hundred twenty five dollars herself, right? If I sell this costing me really anything, so is a little more profit in here for me now I do offer digitals toe add on also so if you buy an album and you want to buy the digitals of the pictures in the album, I will offer them in a little bit of a discounted price for me as a bonus. There's no overhead here. Really? I'm sticking them on a seven dollars drive and I'm sending them out and that's fine, you know, extra shipping anything about so yes, I do are traditionals. You know what, that's going to be a question wellit's. Definitely always a topic of conversation for sure when you said, uh, this just for people if who who might not have been able teo see that? Yes. So we were talking about the twelve hundred right sorry it's, a classic album with let's say about twenty to twenty five photos and I charge twelve hundred fifty dollars for it here's the other thing I want to mention um I hope I'm not stepping on any toes here but a lot of people price by what they're bender charges I charge four times what my vendor charges I don't understand why people do that in my head logically because if tracy did that and courtney did that, how do I know what tracy's costs are for her? She works out of her house let's say courtney had a studio she needs to make more money than tracy does she needs to make different money so if you're both buying your albums from somewhere that charges one hundred dollars and you're both charging four hundred dollars for your album you might be making more money than she is or vice versa you have to face your prices on your costs your time the amount of photos that air in them I tried I tried to look at it as I charge by the photo I want to make about fifty dollars a photo let's say making up a number so I make it a little bit more profitable than the a little bit more a little bit less expensive for my clients that more photos they buy but I want to make sure that I'm making about fifty dollars a picture people have said like eight by tens for like ten dollars fifteen dollars that's not enough money it's, just not enough money. I don't care if you're shooting out of somewhere free and someone loaned you the camera, you're not going to make money that way. Don't be afraid to charge for you're doing, and I keep it simple. Um, so I have is I still have that little black book, but nobody ever really buys it. So really right now I'm selling classic albums and luxury albums. Classic albums are these? I get them from white house? Absolutely love him the press printed albums the turnaround is amazing. They have a million different cover options thie classic albums I'm getting from leather craftsman. They have some other options there a little bit more flexible as faras hominy spreads you khun put in where these go by five these goes in individually, it's a couple of little differences in them and that's why I used the two different companies that's it it's, not five hundred different albums when I present my clients with their pricing, it looks like this it's in a menu there's nothing here today. All right, it looks like this. If you're just handing them like a little price sheet or something, don't you that try to make it look pretty? This was like seven dollars, or something I bought, I don't know how much help set them through the process make it really simple for me I even like I'm looking at this now like maybe I just need to take my collections off I never sell them anyway the less stuff that's on your priceless the better and you know things like companion albums like the four by four albums or accordion albums please well I'm going to say this it might not sit well with people but please stop selling them is a main album because you're not going to make money on them awesome you want to add them on you want to charge in addition to hey you want to take your top seven pictures or nine pictures and throw them in an accordion album awesome it's another two hundred dollars or whatever but people are selling them is main albums and you're not getting enough stuff out there and those like many albums and accordion albums are great to give women his gifts because they're inexpensive enough and then they'll stick them in the person show them to their friends but stop selling them is your main album still order them just don't sell them this made up those questions on this before I move on how feasible is it that I start with prices that you know as a newcomer how do I come and say oh you know this is really expensive, you know but I'm new like okay, excuse me we're gonna talk about a couple of these things I want you to start where you're comfortable and make a promise yourself that let's say every three shoots you're gonna raise your price a little bit that was my second question how important is it to keep consistent with the prices? Um I changed my priceless whenever the wind blows, whatever I feel like it, I could change it today um I'm not saying like you should fluctuate all the time it might be confusing for you, but if I see for example I haven't album that I love and it's not selling and I don't know why I might drop the price a little bit if I haven't album that selling to every single client I'm going maybe maybe this is too inexpensive I learned that lesson back in your three you know, let me raise the price a little bit more maybe even if even if it's twenty five dollars in your shooting you know, ten clients a month it's just a little bit of extra money that's ok? You know it should be and I think I have a slide on this but you're priceless should be a living breathing document if you only changing your pricing on january first, you're doing yourself a disservice because things change centre's prices changed well so as as a newcomer maybe just do like you said as you would in any business, figure out what my cost is, what my time is worth and then start from there and then just keep bumping it up. Yeah, okay, don't do a belly flop like I did. Ok, thank you. Wave a question from the internet. Um, so john c asked. So when you have a list of several packages which she find that the clients by more of the middle of the top or the bottom in usually the middle, I highly recommend getting away from packages and doing all the cart and in person sales, letting your I presented to my clients like, well, I customize your session and I'm gonna customize your product for you two. You are not like everybody else. You're in individual. I want you to pick what you want, okay? I think packages air stifling. Sometimes I think he was basically saying your client this is what you're gonna buy. They might want more when they see the pictures. Yes, so it seems like as you embrace your individuality is a business on your you're helping them to empower them to embrace their percentage. When you sit with them and you help them pick their pictures, you're becoming a friend, you're more you know you're trusting and that's the things that are going to get you more clients because they're going to say, listen, don't worry picking your pictures of so easy jen's going to sit with you and she's gonna help you figure out you don't even have to stress first is throwing them online. This is how girls look at their pictures online would you like me to show you I've never been there but I know how to do it I like this one I like this one this one's nice hair write it down then they go through them a second time. I look fat in that one oh my boobs in a weird position in that one but nobody's sitting there to say to them, you're not weird position or you know your boob is in a weird position let's keep that picture move onto something else women ripped themselves apart I know I am one I do it and I don't want to be left alone in a room with my boudoir photos that's just sound mad, right? And that's what's happening. So if you're putting your photos online for your clients, look at online you're definitely doing them into service it's like you're holding their hand and you're saying, I'm going to step you through every single part of this process I'm gonna dump you at the end the most important part where you pick your images are gonna be here figure it out yourself it doesn't really make sense when you think about it that way but that's what most people are doing and they don't want to take that extra hour or two hours to meet with their clients because they have kids and it's hard and this and that but trust me if you let your shooting ten sessions a month and you said you know what I want to do in person sales so I'm only gonna take eight sessions a month because I don't have more time you're going to make that money anyway you're going to make more money since I moved to all across sales I went from an average of six, seventy five a client which is horrendously embarrassing that I let that happen for so long especially in new york to about two thousand client two thousand dollars a client in under a year okay, I've had larger sales in two thousand dollars my largest they'll issue was sixty five hundred dollars sixty five hundred dollars okay first of all I would never spend sixty five hundred dollars on boudoir photography so that's why I need to stop pricing it based on what I would spend okay? Because photographers or cheap people sorry just is just the way I don't know what your friends would spend or whatever based on what your ideal client would spend um but I'm not just charging more again. I'm providing more provided more service. I've said this already let's go self trust is the first secret to success. Tracey self trust was the first secret to success. You need to trust yourself. I used to believe in yourself and you just say it's okay, I'm worth this money and I'm going to make myself with this money and sometimes I think when you raise your prices a little bit you almost feel like you need to live up to that even more and your pictures get better because of it. All right, pricing tips pricing is actually pretty simple math. Do you guys know how many shoots you want to take a year and how much money you need to make? If you do that it's really simple. Matthew, just do some division. For example, I made it really nice seeing you. See if you want to bring in a hundred thousand dollars and you want to average seven hundred fifty dollars a shoot, you have to have one hundred thirty four sessions a year. Can you handle one hundred thirty four sessions a year? That's about twelve a month? You know, thirteen a month. Whatever. Yeah, assuming you take a few weeks off, can you cancel that when you break it down that way? It might be like, whoa, I can't hands one hundred thirty four sessions or oh, yeah, one hundred thirty four. Totally reasonable. In fact, I can handle two hundred sessions or whatever it might be. So maybe, you know, my pricing will be different when deciding how much you need to make it your keep in mind your expenses. So it's not how much money you make, it's, how much money you get to keep it's? No. Good. If you're making one hundred thousand dollars and your studio close to ninety thousand dollars what's the point of that do you know how much your expenses are, by the way, I also I want to mention I include hair and makeup in all my sessions now. And you absolutely should be. And we're gonna talk about that later. But you definitely should pay, so yeah. Okay. Um, again I took my print pricing off. Keep your foot your products to a minimum. Okay, so this is really where my my heart is. Leather craftsman, white house, custom color, everything I offer on my price. You just pretty much from them. I want to keep it simple for myself. I want to keep it simple for them, I know where I want to order from. I know that I have a relationship with these people I'm intimate with them as faras you no one to one I can call them I have problems something got screwed up you put one of my pictures and wrong whatever it might be evolve does my editing for me for my albums you guys don't know who they are checked him out definitely they do album designs and editing and we're gonna talk about them again later um I hate to edit you're gonna learn this about me I hate editing I love photographing I hate editing so they do all of it for me now I did spend quite a few years doing it so I can really tell what it's like and that's why I hate it um okay so marketing points to remember that was so long ago ready to figure out who you are marketing to step out of your comfort zone and use your pillar words and your authentic self to attract and repel the clients that you're looking for pricing tips think about how you want to deliver your message and special is um certainly allows for a higher price point than just being generalists and did I get that in under the radar you have questions way have questions is in the audience will start here yes, I have another question when do you show them your price menu do do you let them know in the very beginning this is how it works. They contact me for pricing will go over the experience with them. I will tell them what's included with the experience and maybe at some point we can get into that even a little bit more. Um, this is what the experiences like any questions on the experience when they say no, then I will get into the pricing and what I will tell them is it's a five fifty session fee it's due up front as a non refundable retainer. When they come in for the shoot, you don't owe me anything. You just come in and have a good day, which makes it sound free. And then when you come back to view your photos and I'm gonna help you step through their process of picking your pictures, we have a wide range of things to choose from. Our albums range from about seven hundred dollars up to about two thousand dollars, but what I can tell you his most, my client's been in twelve to fourteen hundred dollar range if you're comfortable that number there's plenty for you to choose from what I'm not committing. Teo is certain numbers, so if I feel like changed my pricing today and she's not coming for another six months, I'm not laughed into today's pricing. If their specific and say well, I really want to see the price menu, I will send it to them and I will say just so you know prices are subject to change based on my vendor. I'm sorry I blamed my vendors, my vendors price list, but it shouldn't be too far from where you are now. Otherwise I do not show them the priceless. They already know the average some people spend less, some people spend more, it might sound like it's, not a trustworthy process, but it's really not worried about the money? I don't want it to be about the money. I don't want them to come in and say, well, I'm only gonna pick twenty pictures. I want them to fall in love with the pictures. I want the pictures to do the deciding for them, I will help them if they're say, well, my budget is really only this and I love this. I will help them figure it out, but that very rarely happens. Usually what happens is the girl will come in and she will say, listen, I really only wanted to spend twelve hundred, but I can't live without these other ten photos, so throw the other five hundred dollars on my credit card. They really want it and they're invested that's what I'm saying if you really do what you do right and you're really connected to claim it's not about the money so I'm not hiding my priceless from them but I'm not making it about price it's not about price you make it sound so easy thank you took a long time it took a long time to get to that point yeah so about the retainer is we kind of discussed this before but I've had issues with collecting a retainer and they may or may not show up and because I work out of my home I'm have this fear that if they don't pay me the retainer but they show up anyway I'm at home but I'm not ready for them so I don't know okay, but I give you permission to take retainers do you feel about her now you need to take retainers even when you don't pay me if they don't pay you the retainer, then they don't get a session because here's the thing I'm assuming that you're booking a makeup artist or something for them and now the makeup artist shows and your client doesn't show and you're making her mad and she's probably gonna stop showing at some point that happened yeah exactly so and this is the thing so I have a contract and when they say ok, great, I want me a second excellent. From here, you're going to sign my contract. I've attached it in this email. The five hundred fifty dollar retainer is due to me with the contract. You can either send it back with a check or you can call me with your credit card number. And once I get that, I will send you information with the next steps. I do appreciate consulate. I'm constantly they'll be like, okay, great. When we do appreciate counsel when I get your retainer and it clears, I will contact you. I'm sorry, but I value my time and I value my business and I'm not for hire. You know, I'm a photographer. This is what I do. These are my rules and you're walking into my house. So you need to follow my rules. Very simple and no one's ever given me a hard time about it. So I just want to clarify for everyone before we get a break again was your is the right? What is your retainer? Retainer is my full session thing is your full session okay? And the session fee is then different from what people end up purchasing back. That is totally separate. There was a couple of reasons to do that. One is because five hundred fifty dollars is too much money for somebody to walk away from. Generally speaking, so I know if I collected one hundred dollars, somebody could chicken out easily and go it's only a hundred dollars, but if it's five hundred fifty dollars, they're pretty much going to do everything they can to make it to that session on, and if they don't, I still have the money if I wanted to to give to the make up artist of the hairdresser or save myself or you know what? This stinks, but at least I have five hundred fifty dollars in my pocket, even though you know, if I lied that my baby sitter or whatnot that's the first reason the second reason is when they come in for the shoot, I don't want to exchange money with them. I just want them to have fun. I'm not making it about the money. This is just about the experience, it feels free because they've already paid for it, and then when they come back to purchase the product, I'm looking for about a two thousand dollar sale from them, so I don't want to make it twenty five hundred dollars if they know they still owe me that five hundred dollars, or they still only half of that five hundred dollars, they're less likely to spend money on the product, so I want that five, fifty is like, spent and forgotten about and over totally non refundable please don't call your retainers deposits deposits are refundable retainers or not can they take you to court and have a hole and do people ever say to me please return it anyway? Yeah, of course, but it's a lot of money and that's the thing um people will really think twice am I ready to send this woman five hundred fifty dollars and that's good yeah how do you handle rescheduling? Because I recently had some issues with it's not refundable but I give them up to seventy two hours so they're calling before that seventy two hours to reschedule and it's really messing me up I started charging a fifty dollar fee to reschedule yeah then that since e I give them seven days up to seven days before they can reschedule they can reschedule once without loss of retainer after that is done and I think I might have even changed in my contract recently I think I might have taken out and just rescheduling is loss of retainer because I'd rather make it worst case scenario but if they say to me listen, jen, I broke my leg and bubble blood like you know what? No problem you couldn't you couldn't reschedule I'd rather say, oh, forget the contract it's okay, I'm going to make it to your friends I'll give you a break be like a strict as you need to be in your contracts. And then you can always make the call when it happens.