"You charge too much."
This hurts to hear in any small businesses ear, but to me, this stings more than I'd like. When I was first starting out, I was eager eyed and bursting with excitement. Any client in my inbox was like a gift-wrapped present for me to find. I voraciously took client after client until I realized I had been running nonstop for three months. I spent every free moment marketing, editing, and building my portfolio. I was exhausted, and knew that the amount of time I was putting into my business was not correlating with my income.
So I raised my prices. And for the first time heard: "You charge too much." At first I was shocked. I had spent hours (like most photographers) crafting my work into something I was proud of.
As I raised my prices, I lost clients. It was devastating. I had worked hard to make them each happy and knew that the amount of time I was pouring into my business deserved a form of compensation.
What the world and potential clients see are beautifully curated feeds with the best of the best. They see a simple quick post and some almost non-essential blurb about the photo or some promotional deal. I realized that to them, this looked easy!
In reality, that one photo is the result of 2 hours of driving, 1 hour in the freezing cold, 1 hour of culling, 2 hours of editing and a whole slue of hard work and heart. I completely understand the need for budgeting, but when it comes to pictures - DO NOT COMPROMISE. Years later, as you look back on your wedding day what is the only thing you can physically look at? The pictures. The food is gone. The dress will be worn once. The people will always love you, but the flowers will have long wilted. Your photos are the only lasting, tangible, usable wedding day purchase. Wasting $500.00 on an inexperienced, unequipped photographer and a lifetime of low-quailty images will not bring the same results that investing in an experienced, equipped and high quality photographer will deliver.
And if that isn't enough, let me give you a price break down. Photographers pay for:
- Cameras ($2200-3000)
- Lens ($400-2600)
- Flash ($200-300)
- SD cards ($60 each)
- Batteries ($50-100 each)
- Adobe Photoshop ($40 a month)
- Website ($500 a year)
- Marketing ($50-100 a month)
- Laptop ($1000-2500)
- Booking services ($400 a year)
And that's just to get started.
We want the BEST for our clients. We want the highest quality images, the best experience and the best day for YOU. But to let us do that for you, we need to be able to provide for our business. So next time you look for "something cheap," over style, quality, and experience - remember what you are missing out on.