Should you Post your Prices on your Website?
Join any photographer’s forum on Facebook and within a few days you’ll inevitably see someone ask “Should you post your prices on your website?” – at which point the forum explodes with very passionate debates. I’ve written about posting wedding photography prices online before, but it deserves a more in-depth discussion.
When it comes to posting your photography rates on your website, there are 2 very different schools of thought on the matter:
1. Those who believe their website can create a strong enough of a first impression
2. Those who believe a proper first impression must be made face-to-face
Posting your Prices Online
If you feel like your website truly reflects who you are; it’s written content, it’s flow and it’s design, you’re probably pretty darn comfortable with your website aiding in your client’s first impression of you. I think of my website the way I think of my home office; it’s the colours that I feel reflect me, it’s designed in a crisp and clean manner (the same way in which I would decorate) and it’s easy to navigate through. Everything is organized just as my walls of pictures and shelves of albums are organized in the office. The way I designed my website means it’s an extention of who I am. If a client likes my website, they will – for the most part – also really like me, too.
I post all of my prices online because I don’t worry – not a single bit – about competing on cost. If there’s something who offers a similar style to me for $1,500 less then my job is to educate my potential clients (which I do as a magazine style pricing package) as to what I can offer them and it’s entirely up to them if they want to invest in me or go elsewhere. If they choose to go elsewhere, it means that they aren’t the clients that are best fit for me. Not everyone values quality over pricing and I’m okay with that. I want my clients to LOVE quality images and breathtaking albums – those are the right clients for me. By posting my prices online it helps ensure that the right clients are choosing to contact me in order to take the next steps in our relationship together.
I always post all of my prices online instead of “packages start at ….” because you’re not telling them what that package is. Is it a half-day package? A full-day package? You’re providing a dollar number, yes, but in relation to what?
If you don’t put your prices online, you risk spending hours meeting with people who may be absolutely lovely but have a budget that is quite minimal in comparison to your rates. I would feel terrible if a client left my office feeling disappointed that they couldn’t hire me – especially after taking an hour of their time. I also wouldn’t expect a client to go into debt or re-arrange their budget just to fit me into their day. I believe in acknowledging a client’s initial budget. Budgeting it often a point of stress during the initial stages of wedding planning and it is not my place to ever purposfully make a client feel like their budget is inadequate. If a client really likes you, they will determine – on their own and without any outside influence – if they can rearrange funds for you. I’ve been the bride in the consultation chair before, being given pricing that was 50% more than my allotted budget. I know all too well the heartbreaking feeling that ensues and I could never operate my own business in such a way.
Another strong argument for posting prices online means that it helps minimize the amount of emails you have to reply to on a regular basis. As a professional, you need to ensure that you’re working efficiently and being as productive as possible. Taking the time to send out the same “Here are our prices” email 15 times a week and then going through a follow-up process on those emails, really cuts into your time. Trust me on this. This is all time you can spend either doing online classes (CreativeLive.com is one of my faves), writing blog articles, increasing your social media presence or doing that nasty paperwork and bookkeeping with all love so much.
Finally, there’s the old saying that “If you can’t see the prices then you probably can’t afford it.” How often have you seen those bright neon tags hanging from the windshield in an Aston Martin? Yeah, I thought so.
When a client takes the time to meet me, they’ve seen my work, they’ve read through my pricing guide and seen everything that there is to offer and, if I’m lucky, they’ve even read a few of my blog articles. They have a pretty thorough impression of who I am as an artist and as an business person. The majority of the clients that take the time to meet with me ultimate book – often at consult. For me, posting my prices online is a no-brainer and I’ll always continue to
Not Posting your Prices Online
While this method isn’t for me, I have a lot of awesome colleagues who firmly believe in this method and have taught me a lot about what they feel the advantages are.
Some photographers believe that the most genuine first impression can be made face-to-face and no amount of website content can replace that. They believe that when a client sees who they are not only as an artist but also as a person, it will help solidify their decision in commissioning them for the day.
Prices are often not given until time of consult as these photographers believe it’s truly more important to get someone in the door and establish a relationship before discussing the financial aspects of the services.
The human connection and the formation of a relationship are the key motivating factors for those who choose not to post pricing online. While photographers who prefer this method do understand and appreciate budget restrictions, they typically are of a firmer belief that if a client feels a connection with you, they are able to adjust their budget accordingly.
Whether you choose to post your wedding photography prices online or not, you need to do what is right for your company’s image and values. There is no right or wrong answer to this question but there are definitely pros and cons to each option.