Sooner or later, if you haven’t already, you will encounter one of those customers who will challenge the prices of your images, in the specific the prices of your printed products or the cost of a specific medium. In this article, we will touch a critical point that every photographer, who wants to run a viable business, should keep in mind: the value of a photo is not the cost to print it! More importantly we will tell you how we deal with those who challenge this in order to get a better price for their images.
What you need to realise, and strongly believe, is the fact that the cost to print an image is not its price. Capturing a unique moment, making it personal for your customer and leaving on it your personal style is worth much more than the paper and the ink used to put it on paper.
How much did you have to work to be able to capture this kind of images? For how many months have you worked to give that look and style to your photos? Do you honestly think that all those hours spent with the camera to your eyes are worthless? They are not, they are what you are selling, not just paper.
In the same way, you should realise that all the time, the courses and the mistakes you have done to learn the post processing that gives your images that unique touch are equally indispensable. You should also remember how much you spent, both in terms of time and money, in your marketing: your website did not come for free, and all the time spent to promote your business, online and offline alike, is one of those costs you should keep in mind. And all of this before even considering how much you have invested in gears and equipment in general: the thousands of pounds you paid the camera, the lenses, the computer and applications you need to produce those images. As you can see the investment you have done so far, or that your are getting ready to commit to, have a cost that your business must be able to amortize through what you are selling.
Until now I have left one crucial thing out, a detail too many photographers forget about: the value of your art. You are being hired, not because of the camera you use or the paper you print your images onto, you are being hired because of your vision. The way you see the world, that unique vision that is reflected in every one of your photos, is what truly counts.
Have you realised so far that your vision has a price, and that only you can quantify that value?
You can print a 4’x6′ in a Boots for few cents, but I am sure you have already understood that the actual cost of the print it is not the point any longer.
Every time we are challenged on the price of our products, we kindly reply with what we told you already: the real value is not in the print itself, it is in the image you took, and if your customers like your style, they pay your genius, your style. Tell your customers about the time you invested to learn how to create those images, about the investment you have done for it. Ultimately be ready to understand that many of those people will not become customers as they probably do not give enough value to the image itself; it is a good exercise to remind yourself about those things as you need to be the one believing them. If you don’t, nobody will.