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Simplify Your Pricing to Build Your Photography Business

Posted By Sean Cayton On January 21, 2009 @ 9:03 am In Business of Photography | 12 Comments

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Most wedding photographers are guilty of producing complex price lists that are hard to understand. Pricing that is indecipherable to the first-time photography buyer is a stumbling block to making a sale. Your goal should be to make your price list as easy to read and digest as the menu at a fast-food restaurant.

Good, Better, Best

One of the most effective ways to simplify your pricing is to use a “good, better, best” approach. This strategy not only streamlines your price structure, but also encourages your clients to spend more money, not less.

“Good, better, best” pricing is particularly well-suited to wedding photographers, because we often provide our customers with both services and products.  “Good, better, best” enables photographers to sell their service first and their product second. It is also a structure that enables you to treat every customer the same, no matter what amount they pay for your services. 

Good

This price point represents a minimum level of service you provide to every client. It covers your costs to shoot a wedding and process the images. This is also the lowest price point for your business that is profitable. It may include some product, or a small credit that provides an incentive for the client to come back and spend more down the road. 

Better

This price point represents an attractive combination of service and product, and will likely be your most popular package. The price offers the client a broad selection of product that encompasses all of their perceived needs. Parent albums, a second photographer or both may be included at this price point.

Best

This price point represents the best your business has to offer. It should be all-inclusive and include your finest products as well as any service you can offer a wedding couple who are dreaming big. Rehearsal-dinner coverage, a morning-after slide show, and your finest album set may be included for this price. This price point helps potential clients understand the value of your services — and also enables you to clearly define their expectations for the other two price points.

“Good, better, best” pricing has other advantages. You can track your results and modify your pricing based on what works and what doesn’t. For example, you may see over time that your “good” price point is selling more than your “better” price point. Adding products or incentives to your “better” price point can reverse that — and increase your revenues.

Statistically speaking, “good, better, best” pricing has a proven track record that will improve your bottom line. If structured correctly, most buyers will gravitate toward the “better” price point.

A La Carte Pricing

A la carte items are still an option with a “good, better, best” pricing approach, and they can be used to up-sell your clients to a higher coverage level.

For instance, if a potential client chooses a “good” coverage that doesn’t include a second photographer, but wants to add a second photographer, then logically they should pay more for that service as an “add on.” You can make the argument with the client that by choosing the “better” coverage, they will ultimately pay less for more. 

By simplifying your pricing, you will remove obstacles for the first-time buyer to hire you — while guiding them to the price and service packages that are best for your business.

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12 Comments (Open | Close)

12 Comments To "Simplify Your Pricing to Build Your Photography Business"

#1 Comment By Neil Walker On January 21, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

Very interesting...is the wedding package on the way out??

#2 Comment By Terry Lee On January 24, 2009 @ 6:06 am

Great article. It's a model that I use; it's especially good because of it's dynamic nature. If one is in more demand than another "package" then I can adjust accordingly. Minor tweaks can reap great rewards!

#3 Comment By Laure Lillie On January 24, 2009 @ 8:34 am

Simplicity is key. I have three packages myself that include the coverage, proofbook, online gallery and different album credit levels. I also have a la carte items. My client love the simplicity and always come back for more!

#4 Comment By JC On January 29, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

Great article Sean. I don't normally shoot wedding, but recently I found myself being asked to, and thus have been researching the pricing issue and found it very useful.

#5 Comment By Greg Loehr On January 30, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

I wholeheartedly agree. I have always had a simple, "good, better, best" pricing structure. A couple of years ago, I abandoned it for an "ala carte" type of ratecard. It was a dismal failure. I went back to the original pricing (3 packages, 6-7 options) and it has been working well ever since.

#6 Comment By Monica Michelle On January 30, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

Great article. I think many of us forget what it is like to look at the wedding industry from the bride's perspective. Thank you for bringing this view point.

#7 Comment By Dominique Gordon On February 9, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

Exactly my business philosophy.
"Don't confuse the customer"
Too many choices can cost you the sale.
Outstanding article.

#8 Comment By Tommi Heinonen On July 25, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

I usually have only one price - hourly charge and fixed sum for portraits. They can ask for additional services and I allways tell them to do so, but I feel that giving one price helps them to calculate what they want.

#9 Comment By Sophie On October 15, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

We have found that our pricing has slowly, slowly become more complicated. It's good to be reminded of the basics again. It is so easy to stray of course.

#10 Comment By Gena D On January 25, 2011 @ 2:17 am

Great article I started in business 6 months aga and now seriously need to revise pricing ...

#11 Comment By Wedding Video On September 5, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

Totally spot on. Working out your prices is probably the most important and easiest thing to do and get wrong.

#12 Comment By 0-60 On November 3, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

This is so true, especially about a la carte pricing. This is a great way to increase your average order value and make more money. Great article!


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