Hearing this breaks my heart every time!
“They decided to go with someone else cheaper. The sad part of it is that they hated the pictures that the person took!”
Someone is always willing to do it for less.
“Yes I found an old photog friend to do it for cheap. They weren't the best, but at least it was better than what they had before...”
I hear this often: “The price was right but the results were bad” and this breaks my heart every time. It doesn't have to be that way!
When I get contacted by people who need photography for portraits, products or events, I take them through the Discovery process to uncover their goals and objectives. Based on their answers, we usually establish that they need an expert to execute what they’re looking to do.
However, when we get to the money part of the conversation and I give them a quote based on what they’re looking for, sometimes they come back to me with “Oh, that’s much more expensive than I had in mind. I have a very limited budget and timeline to get this done. I have a friend who can probably do it for me, thanks anyway”
While I understand working with a budget, cutting unnecessary costs is doing good business, based on what most people are looking to accomplish, their numbers are often unrealistic, which is bad news.
Professional photography isn't a commodity like salt or sugar even though it can feel like it with all the easy access to ‘good’ cameras these days. It's easy to think that anyone can take a good picture if they have the right equipment or the ‘right’ price.
However, you should be aware that a ‘bargain’ rate is a sure sign of someone who is inexperienced or apathetic about the work they produce. There's a higher chance of failure and it could be very expensive to fix.
The quality of the work and the experience matters!
If you yourself are not willing to put out an amateur product or service, you should not accept that from someone willing to take your picture. If your pictures look amateur (and cheap) that’s how your audience will perceive YOU to be (and that’s how they will make you feel).
Having quality images is a big deal when it comes to the growth, sustainability and ultimately the success and profitability of your business. Your audience determines what a brand is by the experiences they have and the feelings they take from it. Your images are often the first impression your audience has of you and you want it to be a positive one.
Not to mention, if you’re stuck with images you hate or that make you feel bad, it will affect your own impression of yourself and your business, which can do far more damage to your bottom line than you think.
In the long run, it's actually less expensive to get it done right the first time then have to pay twice to fix it (or pay the emotional cost of disappointment and insecurity).
So, how much should you spend?
Well, if you’re a person who values looking good in life - you wear nice clothes, buy nice shoes, have expensive accessories like ties or purses and jewelry, you should be comfortable spending at least as much on your images as you do on your wardrobe.
Just like a new dress or suit can make you feel like a million dollars and turn a few heads, a well-crafted portrait can do the same.
Consider that your images will make a more significant impression with your audience and have a much longer shelf life than any article of clothing you could possibly buy. Not to mention they will have a direct and tangible effect on your profits, the same of which can not be said about your outfit.
A good photographer should very much be like a good clothier, they should present you with multiple options, help you pick out things that make you look good and tailor fit them specifically to your needs. Most importantly, they should be willing to walk you through every step of the process with expertise and patience, ensuring your complete satisfaction.
Don’t be fooled by the promise of cheap and easy. The results can be heart-breaking and costly.
As I like to say “professional photography is a lot like champagne - it's painfully obvious when it's bad, and well worth the expense when it's good.”
And you deserve the best.
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