Price List Best Practices
Carrying on with the actual price lists, so again, there's a very strong message that we wanna convey to our couples. Before we get to the actual pricing portion in our PDF that we send out, we've put photos with quotes from our brides and grooms emphasizing the whole story telling approach.
I'll read it so you guys can see. "Two powerful stories in one image captured thoughtfully "and with love. As an only child "my mother has always been a trusted best friend. "Now as the love of my life comes to meet "me at the end of the aisle, "she quietly holds my hand as a quiet gesture of love "and support." Come on, that's good, right? (audience quietly laughing) Yeah. I had picked a lot of photos that I felt were really meaningful, but that I knew were also meaningful to our clients because we've talked to them a lot after the wedding. And I wanted to be able to showcase that in our price lists. So you're sharing something that's not fun, which is, here's how much money you're gonna have to...
spend. So, to pair that with the emotional connection, you're gonna spend a lot of money, but it's gonna be really worth it. These people spent a lot of money and it was really worth it for them. You kinda wanna help them through that process and continue the emotional connection. By the way, talk to your clients after the wedding about what their favorite photos are. I love doing that. And whenever I see our past clients at other weddings, or something like that, I just love getting into that conversation with them. It's so insightful and especially if you do wanna have a storytelling approach to your weddings, which I'm assuming you do if you're here listening to me talk. It's even more helpful, it's like studying for future clients. Like, this was really meaningful to this person and maybe I didn't think about that photo that way. And you can add that to your training, I guess.
And those captions, they really emphasize the story behind the images and goes back to our formula, and the subtleties, and the storytelling details. These images that maybe on their own are not as powerful, but once you add the story behind it, it really takes it to the next level.
And again, their names and where they got married that continues with what you see on our website and our portfolio. This is Susan. "The moments between my daughters "and I were some of the most precious from my wedding day." So the stranger who's looking at this knows that this is her daughter. It adds another layer to the story. It shows you, as a viewer, how special that is. "Confetti in our hair, our baby in my belly, "this photo is more than just a portrait, "it is a quiet moment just after the ceremony "that belonged to just the two and a half of us." This is my cousin, Cassie, and her partner, Joanie. And she carried, so they had a sperm donor, and it was her partner's egg, so she got to carry their baby. And she was at the wedding. (chuckles) In there. So, that's, that's story. Like, pregnant, lesbian bride, what's going on here? So hopefully that answers that question, but again, adds the extra layer to knowing that this is a really special moment between them. We have a few more. See, remember I told you the crop ten, it didn't matter to them. "I can still feel the true happiness "and love of that moment. "It radiates from us and our friends "and families surrounding us." When you see that, you feel that, right? To know that they feel that when they look at this photo, it means that it's not just a photo that you as an outsider would look at and be like, that looks fun. Then you get to see it from their point-of-view and hopefully as a viewer, as a potential client, you're thinking, I wanna feel that way about my photos. I wanna remember what it felt like. One more. "That picture brings back so many memories. "It was my last moment alone before walking down the aisle "and I remember the butterflies and excitement I felt "and thinking, wow, this is actually happening. "I didn't even remember it rained until I saw this photo."
Again, this conveys the message of the fact that we as their photographers, we're gonna capture things that they're not even aware are happening. So, the whole storytelling and documentary approach is further emphasized in the words that even our clients are using to describe their favorite photos. Once we get through some of these photos and our price list, we have a little more about us. Sort of what we have on our website, but in a little bit more detail. Talking more about our kids. Talking also about how we did lose my father a couple of years ago and how that has given us our bias and how that has influenced the way that we photograph weddings. And then we jump into our actual wedding coverage, which includes all of this. So, we include rehearsal dinner coverage for all of the wedding that we do. This is something that will often swap for different couples. So if they're doing a boat trip, they're doing a barbecue, or they're just hanging out by the pool with their friends, they don't have an official rehearsal dinner. This is just two hours of coverage that we can apply elsewhere in the wedding weekend.
So, we don't like negotiating. I don't like being asked to cut the price and all this stuff. I feel like it's unfair to all my other clients who have spent the money because they were too polite to ask for a discount. So, having some flexibility within the coverage, I think is really important. I'd rather make swaps and make adjustments and still feel like you're kind of saying yes to their request without cutting back on your price and being unfair to your other clients. So that rehearsal dinner coverage also, it's there because we do want to cater to destination weddings because that's what we wanna do more often than not. And destination weddings often to have these other events. So, that pricing is really based around the fact that we are destination wedding photographers.
We love that event too, just for getting warmed up. Those photos aren't necessarily gonna make it into the slideshow. Sometimes it's just a very formal event. It's kind of like a two hour cocktail and everybody's just hanging out. And that's all good and fine and we'll deliver those photos to the client and they'll be happy with them. Just doesn't add necessarily a lot to the story. But more importantly, it's good for us to warm up to the crowd to get a sense of who the important people are, to see how they react to being in front of the camera, and for them to get used to having us around.
Sometimes that's where that initial training will even start with people. Come wedding day then they've already been told not to look at the camera, the other guests, or they've already gotten it out of their system maybe. So it is kind of like a training on both sides.
Alright, and then wedding day coverage. So our standard coverage is ten hours. The two of us, we explain very clearly that it's to a main and a second shooter. That it's really two primary photographers that they're getting.
Do you think I would deal with that, being called a second shooter? Yeah, you know me by now. (laughs) I have been called a second shooter many a time in my day, but that's a husband and wife thing. We will not get into that. But I will stand up for myself.
So, we like ten hours of coverage because it covers most wedding days and then if they do wanna add extra hours they can do that as well, obviously. But, we find that, that amount is generally good for almost all weddings. We do include a slideshow, which is obviously the final product.
Did you know? (laughs)
I think we've talked about it several times. We explain to them that they get the full gallery, which they can share with all their friends and families. They can purchase prints from there, which gets sent out directly to them. And then with our base coverage, we only include low/web resolution files, so high resolution files. What we do explain to them, however, is that these images are retouched and they have the exact same look as the photos in our full galleries, which they might have looked at as the slideshow that they've seen as the work in our portfolio. So visually the images look the same. It's just that you can't make any prints from that. You guys, as photographers, you all understand that, but a bride and groom who doesn't know anything about photography, often times they'll think of low resolution being unretouched photos.
Unedited, yeah, exactly, so it's important to explain that those photos will look the same, it's just the resolution that you can't make prints from.
Yeah, it says low/web because we many times dealt with that question or people thinking that they could still make prints from it. So web is there for those clients who think that they can still try to make prints, basically. Web says, low resolution is one thing, but web resolution you understand a little bit more. Okay, that means it's only good for the web. But again, over explain things because if your client has a misunderstanding, there's something that they didn't get or there's a problem, it's probably your fault. It's probably because there's something you didn't communicate properly and that's a hard truth to take as a business owner, as a photographer. And we have to remind ourselves of that all the time. Especially if you're getting the same problems over and over again, then you're definitely doing something wrong. If you're booking weddings that you don't like, again and again, or that you don't connect with, then it's because you're not showing the right things. There's always something that can be done on your end to communicate better with your clients and to avoid those problems.
At the Image Salon, we have a rule of three. So if a client has trouble placing an order or doesn't understand something about our process three times, well not the same client three times, but three different clients. That means for sure that there's a problem in our presentation and that it's something that we need to address. If that happens once, that's okay, you can write that off as the client themselves. But if it's happened second, third, fourth, fifth time, then definitely go back to where in the process, is something broken and is not conveying the right message. And then, back to our price list, the most important thing that we've done over the years to set ourselves as destination wedding photographers, is to include our travel and our coverage.
Yeah, so, basically the idea is you get free shipping on Davina and Daniel with this package. Yeah, so we do have different price lists based on the location. North America, Caribbean, Asia, Europe, did I cover everything? Africa.
Still holding out for Africa. Love to do a wedding there. So, every location, we basically look what is the average price that it would cost us to fly to these places? And we round things off and just come up with a price that makes sense for us where we know we're not gonna be losing too much money, we price it in there. So it's not that travel is free, it's just that it's included. But, you know from shopping online the difference between free shipping and paying for shipping. Sometimes you'll actually end up paying more for the final product if it has free shipping because you're perceived value is that it's free, it's included. But actually it's included. Does that make sense? Did that come out right? Okay. (laughs) So, that was basically, actually I was inspired to do this after shopping online and realizing, like, I don't wanna add travel, or not travel, shipping, it gets complicated. And I was like, "What if there was free sh-- "You know, fee or perceived free shipping on us?" So this takes a lot of the headache out for our clients. We wanna simplify things for them. We wanna give them an easy reason to hire us. Just not having to worry about how much travel is gonna cost them helps them to make that decision. Think about it from their point of view, if they're like, okay so this this this, then I have to add travel, their in Montreal, how much does that cost, they start looking at stuff. I don't want them dealing with that stuff. I want them to see one price, to know what to expect, and they don't have to worry about it.
Yeah, that's really key, is the fact that they don't have to start making additions with additions with additions. And then next thing you know, the price is almost double of what our coverage can be. So that way all of the hard work is taken out for them. Also, we wanna be in charge or our travel arrangements. We wanna book our flights, we wanna use our credit card and get our points, we wanna use certain airlines, we wanna book certain hotels. We don't want our clients in charge of booking all of that stuff because they'll put us in the cheapest hotel, the four stopover flight just across the country when it's not necessary, just because they wanna save a $100. So by saying, this is the price and it's included in this grand price, then we're in control of our own travel destiny.
I say destiny 'cause there's a lot of adventures that happen while traveling.
Alright, so further down in our price list, we then start going into albums and the value of those. And the best way that we can talk about the value of albums is to show our own son, Max, looking at our wedding photos. It's one of our, go ahead, go ahead.
I just wanna say, we do have a daughter, Charlie, and we adore her and she's amazing too. (laughing) I know this has been very Max centric, but he is the one that talks and does what we ask sometimes, so. Charlie's a year and a half, so, we'll see. But she has to make her way into this at some point.
She will. (laughs)
That's all I wanted to say.
But this photo is real. We didn't stage this one, as opposed to the clips you've been seeing. So it says, "Our son Max, age three and a half, "looking through our wedding album. "One of his favorite hobbies." And right away we're placing value on this album that we want our couple to get and not only is it going to be valuable right after the wedding but it's gonna be value in five, 10 years once they have kids, and once they have grandkids, and all that. It's true, this is why we really believe in what we wanna convey as a message to our clients.
It also says, "Our children know their Papi, "Daniel's father, through these images. "He passed away just before our daughter Charlie was born. "We cherish these happy memories of him celebrating "our commitment to one another that day." That is personal. But hopefully, they connect to that. And they connect to the fact that albums are important, but also it's further communicating personal things about us. And I want them to know these things about us.
And so, we do want all of our couples to end up with albums, because we do believe that it is the best presentation. The slideshow is the best first presentation, the best way to first look at our images, or at least that's what we believe in. But long-term, we want them to have an album. That's how we print our own personal photos in our own wedding albums and from all of our trips. We have a lot of albums. And we just love looking at those. There's nothing like looking at printed images.
And I think that, what Daniel just said, and it's true, even our, we get a day in the life session done every year of our family and I make an album out of every one of those. And us having that, prints and the printed photos be a part of our lives is the best tool we have for selling that to our clients. Because we practice what we preach. So we can tell them all day long, you should print your photos, and you should get albums, and our clients get albums. But to me to be able to connect with a client and tell them, this is how my children experience these photos. That is way more powerful because it comes from a sincere place.
So then to convince them to purchase an album, we've divided the structure into two parts. So on one page they'll see all of the items prices a la carte, so individually. So you can buy the high resolution files for this much, which is marked at an absolutely absurd price, $2,000.
It's not absurd.
But it's quite high for something that has no overhead, but we've done that on purpose for the next section which we'll get to in a second. And then we have fine art book on its own and story book on its own.
So the values that we put on these individual items, they really would rack up if you want a lot of stuff. But that's the point.
And so, what we've done is, we've bundled the items. So we took, starting all the way at the bottom, it's just a fine art book, which is 40 images, combined it with a high resolution files. We explain valued at a certain amount, which is the two items priced individually. But the real prices we've discounted a certain amount, which is what we feel comfortable receiving and pricing our items at. And they immediately feel like they're getting a discount because they're bundling these items together. But the reality is, the final price on that collection is what we are happy with. And then we've built four different collections all the way up to one that includes three fine art books. One for the couple, one for one side of the family, one for the other side of the family. And then three story books, which include 120 photos up to even 200 photos, so they are more coffee table books. So again, one for each side of the family, including the bride and groom. And then the high resolution files. So that collection is huge and it's very expensive and if you took each item individually, it would get very expensive, but we put a valued at price, which is that crazy amount and then the actual price for it.
Did we say the difference between the story book and the fine art?
I just did.
Did he say it properly? Oh, okay, good.
Go for it.
Okay, good, I'll explain it. So the fine art book, the idea is that it's a lot less photos, it's really the best of. It's what 35 or 45 photos, usually. We had described earlier, not spreads with multiple images, it's really like one image at a time. It really continues on with what you see on our website, with the way the slideshows present it. It's really a continuation of the way that we present, the way that we visually present out work. And the idea is there that it's gonna be their very best images. It's more of a fine art presentation. From that book they can choose a matted version or a flush mount version. The overhead is different for us. The matted album is actually more expensive. But I wanna simplify things, it's the same idea as including the travel. I want things to be simple for my clients. So they're already paying a lot of money. I'm already happy with the margin that I'm making, so I don't have a million upsells or a million options with different pricing. At the end of the day, if they're gonna pay $50 more for this option and that option, it's gonna be so minimal for me that it's just not something I want to be bothered with. I know a lot of people who do a lot of upselling will probably be screaming hearing me say this. Maybe I'll learn to be better at that, but for me right now the simplicity is really key. So our clients when they have a fine art album, they choose between the flush mount and the matted. They choose their images. We do the layout together and that's what that book is. The story book is like a coffee table book, Daniel described. So thin pages and that one holds 120 photos, I think. So actually, that book and having that book as an option to our clients has been really awesome for us with our story telling approach because it's easy for us when we describe it to clients. To say, look, you will have these fine art images that you absolutely love and that stand well on their own, but you're gonna have so many other photos of your guests, of your other events that you might really love and still want to showcase in some kind of form of printed product. And the story book is a really good way of doing that. So already before they're even thinking or when they're just thinking about their collections, they already start thinking about the story book in terms of being a product they probably want because it lends itself so well to the way that we shoot weddings. I'm finding myself all hyped up. I'm gonna have to slow down, I'll try some water.
(laughing) The final kicker, just to try to get our clients to commit to the collections right from the get go when they book with us. We offer a 10% discount on top of the bundled price already. Only when they take a collection, when they sign the original contract.
But that's just on the collection.
Just on the collection, exactly. So we want them to commit to that ahead of time. And then after the wedding, our upselling is really limited to maybe extra photos, but that's about it. We like to make sure that we're capitalizing on that high when the bride and groom are in wedding planning mode and that they're establishing their budget, and get them to commit to spending that money right away. I know it's a different school of thought and there's a lot of value to doing a lot of upselling afterwards. For us this is what has worked over the last few years.
What we find is that couples often, they're working with a budget. They have money to spend ahead of time, sometimes more. And after the wedding, reality sets in and maybe they're buying a house and then they realize, and the energy dies down. So we rather maximize the energy and the money to spend at the beginning and get them to commit to a collection. And then hope that maybe they upgrade their collection later or add more photos to their albums, or things like that.
That's the cool thing about weddings, it's really budget based. So clients, they know what they want to spend and if they have a certain amount, they're gonna go ahead and spend it all. Even when things are a little bit tough, if they've put that money aside specifically for that wedding, they're gonna use it for that purpose.
It's just up to us as photographers to convince them through our work that we're worth that much of their budget or we're worth that amount.