What’s behind the price.

Think first…

This blog has been a bloody long time coming. And no, it’s not an in-depth rant about why photography is going down the pan because of cheap photographers etc.  It’s a rant about why other photographers can’t see beyond the headline “price” of competitors when it comes to comparing work instead of comparing value and understanding the reasoning behind business decisions.  i.e. if you are cheap you are low quality.

So, take two photographers. Both been in business 10 years.  Both have a similar style of work, use the same Adobe Lightroom pre-sets so it’s hard to really distinguish one work from another.  Both have similar business costs with regards to hourly rate etc.

Photographer A charges £1000 and gives a USB in a box with some straw in it.

Photographer B charges £1000 and gives a wedding album and the digital images via an online gallery.

Photographer A lives in Bristol and has a mortgage.  Photographer B lives in Wales and doesn’t have a mortgage or pay rent (lucky guy!)

Photographer B is obviously not good enough, is too cheap, is low quality etc etc because they are including an album, and no one can make money giving an album at that price.

Bolloxs.

For a start the cost difference, using the company I do for my albums, between the USB and the album is £56.  That’s all.  The album in question is an 8”x8” album with 20 pages and comes with a presentation case – no straw.

Ok, so it takes a little while longer to design the album and deliver it to clients, so let’s call the difference £150 all in.

And the USB has to be downloaded to and delivered as well, so let’s call that £75 all in.

I’ll make the numbers and the business stuff easy here.

Both photographers want a turnover of at least £50,000 so both photograph 50 weddings a year.

Photographer A has a profit after the USB of £46,250 for 50 weddings

Photographer B has a profit after the album of £42,500 for 50 weddings

That is a difference of only £3,750 a year between the two of them.

Out of that £46,250 Photographer A has to pay for a mortgage in Bristol and that is maybe £600 a month or £7,200 a year so after mortgage payments A has £39,050. 

Photographer B has no mortgage and is already taking home more in his pocket at £42,500.

To get almost the same take home money Photograph A has to shoot 57 weddings!

Photographer B designs their albums so that there isn’t enough pages for all great photographs they take at a wedding and so 90% of the time upsells more pages.  And 50% of the time upsells to a larger album as well, taking the take home money way higher.  Or photographs less weddings 😉

Photographer A meanwhile barely manages to upsell anything as they market to clients who ONLY want a USB, whereas Photographer B markets to clients who want an album and value prints to start with.

So, it’s NOT about price.  Unless you KNOW what costs the other photographers have price is totally and utterly irrelevant.  Unless you KNOW what upsell that photographer does on the base price, price is totally and utterly irrelevant.

What YOU and your clients should be looking at is what is the perceived value those collections look like? 

Are you as the wedding photographer offering what I call a WVP – a “WOW! Value proposition”?

p.s. yeah, price does come into it somewhat further down the food chain.  We all know that you can’t make money from selling your work at £399 all in including 10 6”x4” prints, a canvas, a slate engraving and a cuddly toy.