by Amy V. Cooper on March 7, 2020
I can’t tell you how many photographers I’ve had ask me if they should raise their rates (and it’s not my gentlemen clients asking me for this permission.)
I’m afraid to ask for more.
I don’t want to upset my existing clients.
What if they say no?
I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity.
These are all valid concerns. We all have them. In fact, this is something I’ve been working through in my own business. Last fall I did an audit of how much time I was actually spending on my clients and it was about double what I was charging for. I raised my rates because I realized that I was giving my clients twice as much value and twice as much time as I had estimated when I originally priced my services. Do you know what the response was?
“Yeah, I was wondering why you were so inexpensive.” 🤯
Whenever I have a meeting with a client there is prep time and post time. There is time I put in to emailing, coordinating, scheduling, going back into the notes from our last meeting, looking at their new work. And after our meeting, making notes, updating our shared documents, sending recap emails and next steps, and sometimes sending really cute, encouraging postcards.
I imagine a lot of that sounds familiar. Are you nodding your head?
I actually love all of this peripheral labor. It makes me a better consultant, and I’m going it charge for it. I know I am creating value and I’m not going to apologize for value, so I’m not going to apologize for asking for that money, honey!
I want you to take audit of everything you are doing for your clients and assignments. How much time goes in to planning, emailing, phone calls, pitches, paying your makeup artist, retouching photos? Think about the time that went into creating the promos that got you the job in the first place, the student loans you’re paying off, the coffee that’s keeping you going, your internet bill. Tally it up, sister, you are working hard.
Raising your rates does not mean you are greedy. Raising your rates tells people that your value has increased. Raising your rates means that you are leveling up. Your clients are going to want to be a part of that and if they don’t, they are not evolving at the rate that you are, and maybe it’s time to find clients with bigger budgets.
You do not have to apologize or even explain to your clients when your rates go up, it should be obvious. (Also, please stop explaining yourself in general, it’s an unnecessary waste of time that dilutes confidence.)
Know your value. Charge for it.
If there is a job that you really don’t want to miss out on, tell (and show) your client precisely why you will make it worth every cent that they put in to you. Let them know that the return on investment is going to blow their minds.
I sent this note to a client last week:
Your manifestation powers are waiting for you to release your resistance.
When we let go of those tiny things (and tiny jobs) that we are clutching so tightly to, our arms can swing wide open and make room for us to catch something really big.
Have a question about marketing your photography business? Send me an email or DM, #ImRootingForYou!
©2020 Amy V. Cooper. All rights reserved.
Amy is a photography business consultant and coach, and founder of the artist representation agency, Trove Artist Management. She has worked in the photography industry for over 20 years as a photo editor, art buyer, digital asset manager, consultant, and rep. Amy has worked with clients such as UPS, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, MTV, Capital One, Teen Vogue, The New Yorker, Esquire, and more. As a consultant, Amy specializes in helping her photographers better understand their target market, edit their work to reflect that market, develop marketing strategies, goals accountability, and building confidence to attract the clients that they really want to be working with.