If Photographers Just Push a Button, Why Do They Charge so Much?
Photographers Just Push a Button? Kind of True, but only KIND OF…
Have you heard people say things like, "I just need a few shots, that's it. I don't need it retouched" and it's frustrating. I have and I don’t even have to ask you - so have you! We both give that polite GO F*CK YOURSELF smile. This blog post is going to help you!
We’re punished for being good. Did you know that? Yes, because we make photography look effortless they assume it’s easy and doable by anyone. Could it also be that we have cameras in our pockets and it’s easily accessible? I don’t know but this post is going to show you a few ways to get over that hurdle.
When we have clients that assume this much (that we do easy work), it’s not a loss if you change your perspective. It’s an opportunity to set ourselves apart from the crowd and you should embrace the challenge.
This where the inexperienced photographers fall apart. Maybe THEY just push a button and then run it through a neat little app but not you or I. We put thought into the damn photograph and that needs to be heard and understood.
Can You Really Blame the Client for Not Knowing?
Are we expecting them to know how much thought goes into a location, a lighting situation or even shot list? What about the post production process? Why do we expect photography clients to know our process?
Here’s a solution: Share your process with them and it is bound to be one of the best things you’ve done with your business. Here is how you can share your process with them:
When you have the initial meeting or call, tell them how excited you are to find the right location and to figure lighting. Ask them for access to their IG (if private) and say you’ll need to study their angles. This will not only help you but set your intentions with them on a good foot. This photographer research us!? Are you kidding me? I’ve NEVER HAD THAT!
When you’re shooting explain your process. It helps them calm down a little and enjoy watching you work. Tell them that you’ll move around and play with the light and angles. Show them the back of the camera and explain why you got some of the shots. I do this, and clients light up!
When you’re done with the shoot, tell them your process. You can say that tonight you’ll put all gear away. Then it takes another full day to download the images and to back it up. Then it takes another couple of days to go through the selects. I promise they will think higher of you. Damn it takes that much work after a photo shoot? I never knew!
Speak about it in parts without overwhelming the client. While it may seem obvious, many of my clients are unaware of the pre-production work involved.
Just by casually talking about the process I've learned that the connection to the client increases. They understand there's a method to it all, as a result, they are more patient. They appreciate that I put the time into their photo shoot. They are often more excited because this guy/girl doesn't just push a button.
Keep Them Involved
We do more than push a button. Personally, I find that clients accept the rates once they are brought into the process. For just pushing a button, we are overpaid. Someone left a comment that even building demolition people just push a button, right? Sometimes we let a kid push it, or the local mayor. The real work is behind the scenes.
When they understand that we contribute in a number of ways, they understand the rate and are more likely to appreciate your work. They are increasingly aware that you’re different than other photographers. They’re happy to pay for your service.
I keep them involved in the process, and not to the point of annoying them but enough to educate them on the process.
I am Taking the Side of the Photography Client?
Yes I am. I believe most people are good. They feel that we're too expensive because what they see daily tells a story different than the truth that we know. They take an iPhone photograph, run it through an app and it's done.
If you share the process of their own shoot, with it's enjoyable for everyone, and they tend to respect you more as a professional. Because their "cousin with a really nice camera" cannot do what you can. Maybe they just push a button, but we do a lot more!
Parts of this article were published on Fstoppers with permission
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