Book more photography clients with this step-by-step framework.
Hi, I'm Brooke! I'm a believer, wife, mama to two, Oklahoma photographer, and photography business coach.
I help photographers grow profitable full-time businesses from home.
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“Help! People will not pay my prices!”, I hear this a lot inside of my community & the community of others. Today, we’re diving into why people aren’t paying your prices & why you’re not getting those bookings!
A lot of times, we think that when we’re not getting bookings, especially when we are getting the inquiries, we assume that it’s because of our pricing. It’s easy to assume this. Whether you’re sending an investment guide, your pricing information or you’re directing them to your website that goes through all of your packages, if they ghost you, you automatically think “I’m too expensive, I’m out of their budget and they can’t afford me”.
Is your pricing the reason they’re not booking with you? Some of you are not going to know this 110% unless they’ve come back to you & tell you that point blank. I’ve received that statement myself, so I know it can happen. However, today I want to talk about the majority of the time, and that is, that we don’t truly know why people are ghosting us, choosing to not book after they inquire with us or choosing a different photographer…
For some of you, your potential clients are getting confused or overwhelmed by the information that you are sending them.
Some of you have so many options that people are just overwhelmed; they either don’t see the difference between certain packages or they don’t understand your business model and what’s really included. You’re giving them a Chili’s menu, where it’s 12 pages long, and they’re having a hard time making a decision. So, they end up not booking a photographer at all, or they choose someone that gave them a steakhouse menu of: would you prefer this or that?
The first thing I want you to do is investigate:
Is it your editing skills? Did they hear from a friend that they love the images you captured of them? But, then when you sent them your investment guide or your portfolio, are they seeing inconsistencies that make them question your work? The consistent editing style plays more of a role than you would even believe, one of the suggestions that I give often is, when you are showcasing your work, you want to make sure that you’re not showcasing necessarily one image from 25 sessions that you’ve done, but that you want to carefully select images that have a very consistent editing style.
Ensure that those images were taken around the same time and were taken around the two or three locations that you bounce back and forth between. You need things to look consistent, because the minute someone sees an inconsistency, it will plant doubt in their mind and it will allow them to hesitate on booking with you.
So the first part to answering the “help! why are people not paying my prices?”:
Is it really your pricing?
I want you to go through the questions above.
Once you can answer those confidently, then you can move on to digging into more of the is it actually my pricing?
Are your potential clients seeing value in your services? Or, are they not seeing enough value to make them want to hire you as their photographer? This one happens all the time. This is one of the reasons that when it comes to pricing, and when it comes to crafting packages, you have to be very careful that you don’t just look at what everybody else in your area is doing and make similar packages to where literally the only difference is a few images at a price, you have to make sure that you are standing out! You should be pricing yourself according to your cost of doing business.
Look at the area you’re serving as the economy, one that can sustain your pricing. This is not an excuse to be the cheapest photographer on the block nor is this an excuse for you to be the most expensive ever in your area or make you feel bad because the majority of your people can’t afford you.
I want to paint this picture for you because I really want you to understand what I am saying. Most of you know that I live in a cow town. It is rural Oklahoma, it is as country as country can get…one stoplight kind of town. Does my ideal target market live in my county? Yes, some people do; however, the majority 95% of where I live, they will never hire me as their photographer for multiple reasons from mindset to finances (which is also a mindset issue that we’re going to touch on, too).
You have to understand that while I physically live in a cow town, I’m actually marketing and getting clients from a radius of 60 miles from where I live. I travel literally all the directions north, south, east and west, I go 60 miles in whatever direction for my clients. Have I traveled further than that? Yes. Am I currently doing that in my business? No, they have to drive to me if it’s over an hour.
I’m telling you that some of you are getting so discouraged because you are not willing to go outside of where you live and try to track down clients that actually fit your target market, and that is where you are going to stay stuck. You have to be willing to make sacrifices.
In the first five years that I was in business, I traveled to anyone, everyone anywhere they wanted me to. It wasn’t until the last two to three years that now the majority of my sessions actually happen in my own county where people are driving to me to take their pictures. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the first being that I had to build and make sacrifices and become a go to photographer before I got the luxury of what I can do today.
One of the things that I cannot stand is when you have people that are mentoring and coaching and they’re telling you that they built an awesome photography business, but they never tell you anything about the nitty gritty work they did in the beginning. They try to tell you: here is exactly how you do it, according to what I’m willing to tell you.
You should know by now I literally hold nothing back. There’s not one thing that I wouldn’t tell someone out there. Of course, there are some things that remain private, and I will only share with my blueprint students that are in that program because I honor their investment and their time. I’m really invested in their businesses, too, but for the majority of it I have laid it out on the line because I want YOU to succeed, too!
You need to evaluate. Evaluate where you are and where your clients are coming from. From there, you’re going to dive deeper. How do you create packages that sell? It’s not necessarily the price tag, it is the fact that they’re not seeing the value for them attached to that price tag. If they’re saying it’s too expensive, then you’re not doing a good enough job of showing them the value of you can be trusted and showing them what is included in these easy to read and easy to sell packages.
So one of the ways that you can figure out this question is by doing a quick market research poll.
Market research is good because it is either going to validate where you’re at, or it is going to show you that you are missing the mark on what people truly want. I want you to be asking either past clients or potential clients, your audience on Instagram, if they’re really tailored into what you’re doing, if you know that your target market is following you, then you can ask them questions in your stories.
I’m going to give you a couple of questions as examples:
With that second question, you want to be very specific. If you’re a family photographer, you want to say, “what is your maximum budget when it comes to hiring a family photographer.” You are going to leave it an open ended question and see what people say.
This is not to make you feel bad if you are charging $500 for sessions, and then everybody comes back and says $200. It’s literally just to open your eyes. Ask yourself who am I marketing to? Is this even my target market? Or, have I underpriced or overpriced myself out of my market? This is literally part of running a business.
They’re just not be seeing the value.
If after you’ve evaluated and done the market research, you discover it IS your pricing…
People aren’t paying your prices because they’re NOT your client!
You’re not meant to serve everybody. Let this soak in. You’re not supposed to be the photographer for everyone. And this is something that even to this day, sitting in September 2021 I still struggle with myself.
They are simply not your client. Stop getting offended when people tell you that it’s out of their price range. Here’s what I want you to know about pricing, a lot of times when people are uncomfortable or unsure, they’re being stretched out of their comfort zone, the very first excuse you will hear is it’s because of finances, “I can’t afford that.”
This also happens to us ladies and mamas at Target, we find an item, whether it’s a home decor, a new dress or something else and 99% of the time we put it up before we ever get to the register because we talk ourselves out of the purchase.
This is what your clients are doing. “No. Could I find someone cheaper?” “Yes. Is my husband going to really throw a fit? If I go all in and and I pay this much money for a session?” Yes. I think I’m just gonna have to wait on this.”
Maybe it’s not that they’re never going to be your client, it’s just that they need some time, they want to save up, or they want to talk themselves back into it. I just want you to know, let’s not be so harsh on our clients for giving you the number one excuse that literally everyone goes through on a daily basis, “I can’t afford that.”
Give them time, they’ll probably come back, especially if you continue to treat them with kindness, letting them know that, “hey, you would love to work with them in the future. It is totally fine. You understand and respect their budget.”
Remember, not everybody has to be your client and it’s okay, if you are too “expensive”.
Do you want to dive deeper into pricing? Really go all in with packages that sell?
Tune in to the Book More Clients Photography Podcast!
For more episodes on pricing, creating packages that sell and establishing a profitable, purposeful and sustainable photography business, grab a pen & some paper and tune into these episodes!
Inside of the Blueprint, we dive deep into pricing and creating packages that actually sell. This is my number one signature program for photographers. If you are trying to go full time in your business or at least make full time income, then this program is for you. I hope to see you inside of the Blueprint program!
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