Would you walk into a Mercedes Benz dealership and say, “I see you want $100,000 for this new Mercedes. I saw a Honda down the street for $25,000. Can you match that price for this Mercedes?”. Sounds silly, right? Yet, I get confronted with that “logic” nearly every day from potential clients who are seeking to hire a commercial photographer!
I was recently contacted by a potential client who needed a business headshot and an “environmental portrait” of himself in his office. I told him I’d be happy to provide him with the photographs he needs for $200. He replied, “Well, I talked to a Brooks student who said she’d photograph me for only $25. Can you match that price?” Uh, no.
In a similar case, a potential client contacted me regarding product photography. After he described his needs, I told him I could provide his product photos for $25 each (which I considered to be a bargain low price). He balked and said, “Well, I saw another photographer on craigslist who charges only $5 each for product photography. Can you match that price?" Uh, no.
A realtor contacted me regarding architectural + interiors photography he needed to market a new listing. I quoted him what I thought was a very fair price for his project. He replied that his previous photographer charges only half my price and he wanted to know if I’d match it. Uh, no.
There is a reason a Mercedes costs more than a Honda. There is a reason an original Picasso costs more than an original Jones. And, there is a reason a professional photographer with 25+ years experience costs more than a photography student or a guy who just got his first camera and decides to advertise himself as a “product photographer” or a “real estate photographer” on craigslist. Talent, skill level and years of experience all count for something and it is only right that the price reflects all of that. I may not be able to match their low rates, but I believe I deliver work that is simply worth more than a newbie’s or an amateur’s photos. Not all photographers are equal.