Courtesy of Arch Daily

During a recent consultation with a couple, I was asked this question, point blank. “Why do you charge thousands of dollars more than photographer B, when you are providing the same product?”  Great question! This got me thinking maybe other photographers get this question all the time, too. In order to answer this question effectively,  I based my answer on the following 3 things about myself and my business;

  1. I am a full time wedding photographer. not a weekend warrior, not a hobbyist. This is how I support my family, pay for my girls’ weddings (someday very far away), and how I buy them all the cool DS games.
  2. I accept the fact that I’m not for everybody. And I’m perfectly fine with that.
  3. I am extremely comfortable with what I charge for my services based on talent, customer service record, and experience level.

There are many, many, many different business models, my model is certainly not the only viable solution. What I do know is that by following my own system I’ve been able to create a 6 figure wedding photography business in 30 months. This is not a blog post telling you that you SHOULD price your services certain way. It’s merely me sharing what has worked for me.  So by now you are probably wondering what the diagram means. There are three basic things people look for when they hire anybody in the creative field.  Cost of work, amount of time it takes to do the work, and quality of work.  The universal truth is that you can only have two of the three. It is an impossible utopia to have something that’s cheap, fast, and good.

cheap + fast = can’t be very good
cheap + good = can’t be very fast
fast + good = can’t be very cheap

Once you understand these three paradigms, it’s time to set your business model.  What kind of studio would you like to run? Would you like to run a studio based on volume of bookings, or quality of bookings? Very early on in my career, I decided that I wanted quality of booking instead of volume. I know for the life style I wanted, I would hate to shoot 50+ weddings a year and burn myself out in a few short years. Also, I would want to spend enough time with each client so they can have my personal attention. There is just no way I can properly serve 50+ clients a year. Granted, I could hire outside help. But that also means I’ll loose the personal relationship I build with each one of my clients.  So before you even decide on pricing, you need to decide what kind of  business you would like to run. Again, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. For example; Walmart. Number 1 in the world on Fortune 500’s list as reported by CNN.  It’s a company that sells things for cheap, but makes it up in great volume. Now on the opposite extreme of that, Apple, is Number 6 in the world, who’s known for selling overpriced MP3 players.  They have different business model, yet both are really successful retail companies.

The same logic can be applied to wedding photographers. You can choose to crank out weddings cheap & fast, and make it up in huge volume. But what does that mean to the clients? There are only 24 hours in a day. If you are dividing your time with 50+ weddings a year, mathematically everybody will get less of your attention.  On the opposite of that, if you choose to be great at your craft, and turning over work at a very fast rate (since you don’t have 49 other weddings to worry about), you will be able to charge a premium for your service.   Pretty straight forward, right?  Now I won’t advise you on how much you SHOULD charge for your work in this blog post, but we will be discussing that in details on my upcoming WORKSHOP on 10/26/2013.  We will be discussing pricing strategies based on your individual work & experience level. The class is purposely kept small so I can spend time with each attendee discussing their business.

So, why am I thousands of dollars more than photographer B? I believe my work speaks for itself, first of all. Also, my outstanding record for customer service and consistency of my work. When my clients hire me, they know exactly the type of images they will be getting. Modern, architectural, and romantic. They never have to worry about what kind of work they will receive!

I hope you found this post useful!

If you would like to sign up for the upcoming workshop fro the serious photographers, visit the official website for all the information. 


Since every blog post looks better with an image. Here’s another shot from last week’s engagement session for Joe & Christine on a dry lakebed in Palmdale!

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