The Loreal Effect in Photography

The Loreal Effect in Photography…

I’ve spent several years training & coaching & mentoring photographers (predominantly wedding photographers but with a smattering of baby, newborn, family, portrait photographers as well) and a trend seems to be coming out with some of the issues they have had.

I call that trend The Loreal Effect.

So what do I mean by the Loreal Effect in Photography? Simply put the way many “rock star” photographers push their branding and training offering amazing results if only you follow “the simple steps to success” or implement “the 5 things” etc etc and saying dumbshit things like…

“Just increase your prices…because you’re worth it”…or…

“Invest in yourself and your future and for your family because you’re worth it”…or…

“Just increase you cost of products by x4…because you know…you’re worth it” kind of crap.

And crap it is. The only one getting an amazing life and living the dream is the people pushing this crap at £99 a month for a 12 month programme who have 10’s of thousands of subscribers falling for it. Do the numbers…

5000 people buying into this programme at £99 a month = £5,940,000

Ok, so maybe they don’t have 5000 subscribers…it’s just a small thing…so only 1000.

1000 people buying into this programme at £99 a month = £1,188,000

And the programme will more than likely be automated emails sent out once per month or a couple of times per month saying the same thing to 1000 people. A video now and again perhaps. Not much, if any, in the real way or Return on Investment is offered.

And people are scammed by this. And yes I use the word scammed because 99% of the time it is a big con, a big scam.

There is NO get rich quick way of doing stuff or being successful. Honestly, there is no “living the dream” formula. There is no “5 steps to success” formula.

What there is is is bloody hard work and common business acumen.

So let’s look at the “raise your prices because you’re worth it” thing.

Sure I raise my prices then sit back and wait for the cash to roll in. Only it doesn’t And I’ve spent a shit load on a new website, on new leaflets, brochures etc. Because that’s all I was told to do. They (the clients) will come to me. CRAP

If you raise your prices you NEED to readjust your marketing and advertising and sales process. You NEED to reassess where you are getting your clients from and are you hitting your client’s hot points with regards to buying from you. What problem are you solving for them? Because if you are a £100 a session all in with digital files portrait photographer and suddenly go to £500 for a session fee including a 10″x8″ print you’ve just jumped massively into a different target market. All because some dope said, “increase your prices to what you think you are worth…”

You know what? I’m worth at least £2,500 for an 18 hour wedding day which includes an album and a pre-wedding shoot for my Bristol wedding photography. Doesn’t mean anybody will book me – but that’s what I think I’m worth!

So let’s look at the “just increase your prices by a factor of x4” thing

Oh jeez. Where do you the number 4 from? Why not 2 or 3 or 5? Why not 3.5 or 4.5? Or 4.184645637834547564875 or even 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 ;-(


You increase your prices based on your target market, your ideal client profiles, your quality of work, the customer experience, your locale (the local area where you get your clients from) etc etc.

You increase your prices based on your cost of doing business (CODB).

Cost of a portrait session = £100. (Includes %ages towards insurance, kit, software license, travel etc etc)

Cost of a single 10″ x 8″ print = £15 (editing & printing the image)

Total cost of sales = £115

Now ask yourself this question-

“How good are you at sales?”

Because if you are really really good at sales then by all means at a multiple of x4 onto that £115 = £460. Why not add a multiple of 8 ‘cos you are really good? £920. Oh sod it, let’s make it an even multiple of 10! £1150

You have to be very very very good at sales to be able to justify £1150 for a single 10″ x 8″ print 😉 And the sad fact is that (probably) 99.999% of photographers are crap at sales.

So by all means add that x4 multiplier on – but expect to starve and your business to go bust.

You look at your pricing from a realistic numbers based position based on several things –

  1. What will the local area (your clientele) pay for YOUR work. Not what you want to charge, but what will THEY pay.
  2. How good are you at selling? Set your prices to be reasonable and people WILL buy from you.
  3. How easy a life do you want? Expensive prices mean you have to GO to people to convince them to buy from you. Reasonable prices mean people will buy FROM you.
  4. How much is enough? How much do you NEED to cover your personal costs & business costs? That amount is ALL you NEED to make. Nothing more.

But I want to attract high paying clients…

Don’t we all! But you have to do it from a position of grounded thinking. Not pie in the sky Loreal “I’m worth it” crap.

IF your work is good enough then people will buy it. And they will see the value in the work. They will appreciate the effort you put in to achieve that work. They will come back for more.

So you start off small, charging reasonable prices. You build a reputation for good quality consistent work. Slowly increase your profit margin (not just add some random multiplier on!) and at the same time adapt your marketing & advertising and sales process to reflect the increase in prices and change in the ideal client profile.

We cannot just raise our prices willy nilly and expect people to come to us.

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