The Right and Wrong Way for Raising the Prices of Your Photography or Video Services

The Right and Wrong Way for Raising the Prices of Your Photography or Video Services

All books on economy may tell you that you desperately need to raise your prices, but the specialists and formulas may be wrong.

I'm talking to smart people here. Nobody expects that you are going to wake up in the morning, stretch up your arms, and suddenly (the camera zooms into an extreme close-up), as lightning strikes, you make a decision to double up all of your prices.

There are objective reasons for raising your pricing, but you need a subjective factor too. Let me first outline the most obvious cases when you may consider increasing your rates.

You're Too Busy in Your Business

Having lots of projects means you are heading into the direction of scaring some of the clients by bumping those numbers up. Increasing your prices will drive some of your current clients away, but if the numbers are well balanced, the loss will be compensated by this other type of client who values your work.

More Team Members

Having more people in your team means you need more help. Being a solo artist may not work for the projects you work on. A bigger team means you need to pay extra salaries, and you will probably need to raise your pricing.

More Gear

It's never enough, but sometimes you have to buy a few more gadgets to make your life easier and get better results. Investing in more gear means your rates have to be adjusted accordingly. This is what any economy book and your common sense will tell you.

But in Reality...

Despite the sound economic arguments that are in favor of raising your pricing, your clients don't care if one of your camera monitors costs more than a cheap used car or one of your light stands costs as much as their monthly rent. Clients will not listen if you try to justify your rates and explain to them how high your cost of doing business is. Why is that? Because they think art is easy, cheap, fun, and it's not business. The only way to justify your prices is to put out work that matches those numbers. Don't talk about numbers. Show your work that justifies its price tag. Show people what you can do with your resources (team and gear). Make personal projects that utilize all you have. Forget about "simple projects." If you want to show projects with minimal gear, you wouldn't think of raising your rates. Make something that's close to impossible with less resources. Publish. Repeat.

Conclusion

Raising your pricing should come hand-in-hand with new additions to your portfolio. When clients see high-end work, they won't be surprised if your rates sound about right. Asking for a lot of money without a strong portfolio is as persuasive as trying to sell a cardboard time machine to the government.

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5 Comments

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

I really like the business related topics. And I highly recommend watching The Futur channel in this regard. Here's a small debate / role play on raising prices: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIw-PBNXWgE

:)

I start by raising my prices for new clients, and then later tell my existing clients that I am adjusting their prices to match what new clients have been paying for X months. It 1) says others are willing to pay the new price; and 2) helps them understand that they have actually been getting a discount in that ensuing time.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

That's a nice way to step the prices up.

Rifki Syahputra's picture

you can treat your work as an art, or as commodities.. both has pros and cons.. you decide

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

It's not about your treatment, but how clients treat your work. If they ask you for a price without taking a look at your portfolio, you are a commodity to them. If they are aware of your work and then ask for a price, they ask, because they liked it. If you show work that looks like everyone else and nobody can remember you with anything, you are a commodity. Otherwise you are a boutique service.