Get Paid More For Your Photography With Value Shifting

Do you have a hard time differentiating yourself from the price anchors of other mediocre photographers? Have you considered taking the Starbucks approach to your products? In this two part series by Spencer Lum, of the Ground Glass Blog, he takes you through the psychology and sales techniques to increase your sales. Check out part two below.

Price Anchors

Often times the biggest reason a photographer lost a job is because another photographer offered a much lower price. These are called price anchors and are a huge obstacle to overcome when booking a job. People will undoubtedly shop around for photography to get the best deal as we do in most situations. Inexperienced clients will treat photography as if it is a common commodity found at the local market. In these situations price seems to become the common denominator that wins bookings with clients and a leading reason why many photographers devalue their work. It it critical for you to have clear and concise reasons why you value your work at a higher price than Joe Schmo Photography down the street.


"Probing" is a term I always remember when selling anything. Open ended questions early in the conversation will give you ammo for later in the pitch. Probing questions like "have you ever hired a photographer before" and "do you have a clear idea of what you are looking for" and "have you shopped around for other photographers and if so what did you like or dislike about them?" These are all great questions to ask that get the client talking about what it is they are looking for and allow you to unearth any concerns they may have early in the conversation. If you don't unearth these concerns, it's likely they might not share them. When this happens, its likely they won't make a decision on the spot and will keep shopping elsewhere.

Remember that if you are doing most of the talking in your sales pitch then you are most likely doing it wrong, no matter how great it is. Probe probe probe early in the conversation and then listen and encourage them to keep talking. You must then quickly address the concerns with a practical solution that meets their needs. This will alleviate any stress they have if you can offer solutions that address these concerns.

Increase Your Sales

In my experience, and explained very well in these videos by Spencer, it is critical to 1.) Educate your clients on the differences of what your products offer through value shifting, and 2.) Be upfront about the pricing from the beginning to get into the follow up questions more quickly to unearth any concerns. It's important to address these concerns in order to offer alternative solutions that will meet their needs.

Remember that consumers are willing to pay a higher price for a superior product if you can differentiate your products and services with shifting the conversation to the value of your services and not just the price compared to other photographers. Changing the conversation from price to the value they are getting from having you shoot the wedding will help book clients who are on the fence. The value however, is up to you on what makes your products have more value than Joe Schmo down the road. Focus on value added services and not just awesome photos.

Also remember the example Spencer gives us about Starbucks and apply that mentality to the services that you offer that will differentiate yourself from the competition and elevate your brand to a luxury experience.

Part Deux:

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This is one of the best posts I've seen on Fstoppers. Thank you for sharing this!

Great insight, but I have never seen so many hand gestures in my entire life! haha.

Great post, I just gotsickness from moving his hands so much, but thats detail.

Michael Osei's picture

Had to pause after 2 minutes. He drives me nuts... Content is probably great...

I didnt watch the second video just listen to it and browsing on flickr...

Kurt Langer's picture

He's quite annoying to me - I.e. as usual takes to long to get to the point. I think he's done a hand gesture tutorial or course or something.

Interesting talk for sure. I'm a bit of a hand talker myself, so wasn't as put off by Spencer's waving as much.

Jason Ranalli's picture

It's not that his hands are moving too much, it is that his motions are FAR too robotic as well as his "pitch". Looks far to scripted.

But the advise is sound though, will give him that.

Jason Ranalli's picture

Actually, I take that don't gesture on every phrase in your sentence of every's annoying to the person watching/listening.

it looks robotic because video was probably taken on too fast shutterspeed so it looks like this...

Absolutely great material!!

That's great advice I formerly worked at a very large fruit company where these same types of emotional observances really make all difference in transitioning to purchase. I've been asking that question for 3 years now in my freelance work and it really does come down to the client feeling their needs will be met. Great video. Tons of truth in this simple little question! Keep things real, down to earth, and be genuine.

David Apeji's picture

I had to go back and watch it again - and then I noticed the hand gestures. The first time I was just listening while doing something else so I didn't get the gestures.

I am Italian, tie my hands down and I cant talk. Hand gestures dont bother me. I think the camera angle or closeness made the difference as the hands are right up there in your face as you watch. This line of comments made me laugh, something I needed this morning :)

Tony Guillaro's picture

Same here my Italian Brother, I can not speak without using my hands lmao