"Your work is amazing. But I was only looking at spending $50-$100."
I am going to be honest. Every time I hear this its like getting kicked in the gut. But it also kicks me into full drive to work even harder to achieve my dream of owning a successful small business.
Before I begin, this post is not to shame anyone or to tell clients you are wrong, but more to educate clients on what the pricing of experiencing a session with Intuition Design Photography entails. So let me begin with a blatant statement.
Running a small business is not affordable.
Simply, its just not. Between start-up costs, insurance, marketing, website and hosting fees, packaging, taxes etc, etc, and etc. most businesses don't operate in the green for a least five years after they have started. That's not including the time, equipment or schooling/tutorials/mentoring sessions photographers need to prefect our craft.
And after paying for all of the above, I still need to pay myself. Giving myself a living wage is a huge step in me, as a business owner, valuing the services and products I provide. You see, this may have started out as an interest or a hobby (as many entrepreneurs do), but the moment I decided to start charge session fee, I became a small business. In doing so I had to take of my artist's hat and put on my business hat to ensure the success of my business and the success of my career as a photographer.
So when I have potential clients tell me I am out of their budget it smarts a little. Not because everyone looking for amazing images has to book my services, but that such little value is place on a service that is highly sought after in the Mankato area. I don't just feel the sting for me, but for EVERY photographer out there trying to make a career out of their passion.
This doesn't mean I don't get budgets. I am no stranger to them at all. Since being released from my full time job two years ago and deciding to pursue photography full time, our family budget and hustle to keep on top of that budget has been crucial. But that doesn't mean I haven't invested.
There-in lies the problem of the opening quote to this post. Somewhere along the way dubbing small businesses and their products and services as "affordable," or in other words "inexpensive" has become the norm. But the word "affordable" itself implies little value is given the product or service being purchased, that's why you want it to be affordable. So in short the business of being "affordable", does not create or instill value for my business.
But I don't believe people residing in the Mankato locale, don't value photography. Actually, I believe quite the opposite. They value it a lot. So here are my tips for finding the right photographer for your needs:
1) Don't Let Price Be Your #1 Criteria: When you start searching for your perfect photographer, act like you are trying to find the perfect pair of shoes. No only does size matter, but comfort to does too. Photography, like shoes, is not one size fits all. Not only do the photographers located in the Mankato area have different styles and niche's, they all provide a different EXPERIENCE. I know I can't be the only one who has tried on a pair of shoes that where everything just "clicked." Size, how comfortable they were, how they complimented my style and etc. All these criteria matter before I saw the price tag. After I saw the price tag is when I decided if purchasing the shoes was a justifiable investment. Which brings me to my next tip.
2) Think of Selecting Your Photographer as an Investment: If every year you want a least one session for your family or newborn, or you have a high school junior or senior, or if you ever think of getting married know that you will be INVESTING photography services and products, not just spending money. But using the word "investment" vs. "affordable" you are stating that your hard-earned money is valuable and you are willing to spend that money on items you deem as valuable. Meaning your are willing to invest your money into your photographer's time and expertise in not only capturing memories, but helping you display those images as art around your home.
This tip can be taken as many ways (aka start a savings for your sessions and products, ask if your photographer offers payment plans, etc), but the bottom line is that I value your hard earned money. that's why I offer a unique photography experience with Intuition Design Photography where I capture authentic moments that shows that even the littlest of moments is worth capturing.