(The following is excerpted from the new book The Successful Wedding Photographer, by the editors of Photopreneur.)
It should be clear that when it comes to pricing, there are a range of different approaches, each with its own set of advantages and weaknesses.
Fixed vs. Flexible
Fixed packages with the price and contents clearly stated tell clients exactly what to expect. A range of three (or sometimes four) packages enables studios to provide services for clients with different-sized budgets, ensuring that they can serve as much of their market as possible.
This is an ideal approach for large studios that outsource work to other photographers, allowing them to create specific products easily understood by both photographer and client. When there are a lot of jobs coming in and being passed on to other photographers, keeping those jobs as similar as possible makes the pricing, communication and expectations clear.
The downside to this way of pricing is that it makes the price as important (or perhaps even more important) than the photography or the photographer, and it appears to allow little room to match the package to the client’s specific needs.
Flexible packages, on the other hand, allow clients to build the shoot themselves, adding albums and other extras from a la carte menus, while still communicating the price range the photographer is willing to accept.
This allows the photographer to minimize time spent holding consultations with leads who are unlikely to convert to clients, while still offering deals for a range of different budgets.
Finally, some photographers prefer to save pricing until the end of the sales process, choosing to create desire in the client before hitting them with a price tag. That final price may be package-based or constructed according to the very specific requirements of each wedding.
An Opportunity for Upselling
Packages make it easy for photographers to serve clients with different budgets. A la carte menus enable them to adjust those packages to suit the clients more closely, but they also provide an opportunity for upselling — persuading clients to spend more than they had anticipated.
One of the reasons Chris Leary prefers to hold back on his prices, for example, is to create enough desire in prospective clients to persuade them to increase their budgets, if necessary, rather than walk away.
Additionally, being able to choose from a la carte products such as better albums or more images permits the photographer to sell more items — and more expensive items, too.
Not all photographers are willing to do this. Even some photographers with marketing backgrounds say that they prefer simply to lay the options in front of clients and let them choose the products they want without any further pressure.
But flexible pricing options do provide opportunities to stress the extra quality of more expensive albums or to offer discounts to encourage additional purchases.
For photographers who are willing to do a little selling during the consultation — either before or after the shoot — a flexible pricing system can enable them to earn more from each sale.