How You're Undercutting The Industry
Maybe I’ve just been on social media too much lately but I can not stop coming across Facebook posts or ads directly on my socials of photographers in my area promoting their pricing as “competitive” or just being generally far below the average pricing for the area. I want to chat about this!
Before I get into it, I want to start by saying a few things:
I’m not on my high horse here. My pricing isn’t perfect. I was ridiculously cheap in the beginning and I still struggle with pricing to this day. That being said, I have learned a lot over the last couple of years and I have certainly spent a lot of time restructuring my pricing and making sure I am in line with comparable photographers in my city.
This post is not in any way intended for clients. This isn’t on you! But if you are curious as to what kind of juicy drama (lol) photographers have amongst their own community, then read on!
This isn’t directed at any specific person (like I said, I’ve seen A LOT lately), but if you feel as though this is directed towards you then perhaps it’s because you are undercharging.
This is basically a long winded industry rant that may be helpful for other photographers. Okay, let’s do this!
To start, if you are marketing your pricing as “competitive” or you are charging hundreds of dollars less than other photographers in your area and providing way more digitals, then you are absolutely undercutting the industry.
There is no other way to say it. You are purposefully charging less than your peers. Let’s look at some of the reasons you may be doing this and some thoughts on how you can help!
Reason 1: You’re new
This right here was my problem at the start and most likely is the leading cause of undercharging. I was not trying to hurt the industry or my peers but I was also completely ignorant to my actions. I had the wild idea that I needed to charge less than others because I didn’t have as much experience in the industry and my work “wasn’t as good as other photographers in the area”.
Thinking back, this is wild!! Prospective clients have no idea if you’ve been in the industry for 10 minutes or 10 years! (Unless, of course, you broadcast this in your bio). From my experience, people shop around based on style and personality. Now, I do believe that experienced photographers should usually charge more than beginners because experience is valuable. I do not believe that photographers with more experience are necessarily more skilled, however.
Look around at other’s work and be honest with yourself about yours stacks up. Don’t compare yourself to others in terms of success, but do look at your work vs. others in the area and price accordingly.
Don’t worry if you’re new, charge the going rate and if people want to book you, they will! You want clients that pick you for your work, not because you’re cheap.
(Please, do not charge to practice. Do model calls for portfolio building. Hold off on taking paid work until you are comfortable working with your gear and understand the basics).
Reason 2: You don’t value the industry you’re a part of