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VALUE | Cleveland Area Photographer

June 10, 2015

Business Matters

Dear Friends,

Putting a price on photography services is hard.  There are a thousand different pricing structures, business models, formulas, and experts out there to help determine how much photography should cost.  I know – I read them all.  But what I determined after all these months is that no one really knows.  It’s unique to each photographer.

THE GOOD LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY | THE BOOK

When I first started in business a year ago, I sort-of just picked a number out of the air.  I saw what a few other photographers were charging and said, “Yup.  Looks okay.”  And it was okay.  I was portfolio-building and focused mainly on creating the art – not as much on creating a sustainable business or even thinking about what I would want as a client.  I bought Thanksgiving dinner for my family with my own money that I earned, something I hadn’t had the privilege of doing for several years.  Then in the winter a new client said to me, “I am so glad to have found you this early before you realize the value of what you do and raise your prices.”

Value.

That’s why it’s hard to put a price on photography.  Because people value things differently, there is no right or wrong answer about what photography should cost.

What do my clients value?  Because I get to know them so well throughout our whole photography process, I know that they value a lot of the same things as I do.  I know that in so many ways, I am the same as my clients.

What do I value?  I value art.  I value sweaters that are perfectly cozy.  I value restaurants that know to cook a steak exactly as I like it.  I value exceptional customer service.  I value Belgian-style tripel beer.  I value my every-four-weeks haircut.  And when I value something, I like to pay what it is worth.  Above everything, though, I value my family and I value my time – with them and away from them.  I value my clients and I value my business.

THE GOOD LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY | THE WALL

I absolutely love my job and I know that by focusing on the value of the art we create together, I will be able to serve my clients even better.  When a new client gets in touch, it is always because they already value my work.  They aren’t price-shopping — they’re looking for custom artwork that they know they are going to love.  They are looking for art that captures exactly who they are at this particular moment in their lives.  They are looking to invest in art they cannot get anywhere else.  Because that’s what my clients value.  They value the art and they value the experience they get by coming to The Good Life Photography.

THE GOOD LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY | THE BOX

The new pricing reflects months of research and a whole lot of math.  But it also reflects the voices of my clients who know that I value them.  I’ve talked at great length with them about their needs and wants with their sessions, listened when they talked about past photography experiences elsewhere that they were unhappy with, and restructured more times than I care to count to try to accommodate every type of client that I get to work with.  I wanted to be able to offer clients products and services that align with what they value, whether it be art for their walls, albums to pass down to their kids, or digital files for social media sharing.  I am still a business and have licensing, insurance, taxes, equipment, training, and the like that I need to account for within my pricing model.  That said, I am confident that the new pricing will allow me to continue delivering art that my clients are consistently thrilled with, while allowing each client to get everything they need and want out of their experience with The Good Life Photography.

The Good Life Photography | Cleveland Family Photographer

Thank you to everyone who values photography – especially my amazing clients.  I can’t wait to capture more memories with you.  I know that together we will make something awesome.

xo,

Virginia

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