NUMBER SIX: "You charge HOW MUCH? Just to push a button?"
NUMBER SEVEN: "FIFTY DOLLARS FOR A PIECE OF PAPER!!??"
Don't you just love being a professional photographer? It's great isn't it? Now I have to admit with number six, it is getting to be harder to defend. When I was a film photographer - using RZ-67 and Hasselblad cameras - there was a lot more than just pushing a button. I had to focus, determine exposure, etc.
Today, the general populace uses the same equipment we do in many cases, and in their eyes it IS just pushing a button. The camera does pretty much take care of the rest. Having said that, there is still the matter of composition and posing, not to mention the post production work.
When a customer says this to me, I always reply, "I wish that was all there was to it. But there is a lot of work that takes place AFTER I have made the initial image. And I do have a substantial investment in education, equipment, etc. So I do try to make a profit as a matter of customer service. You see, if I cannot stay in business, I won't be here the next time you need or want a great photograph taken. That's important, wouldn't you agree?"
That pretty much takes care of the matter.
Number seven is very easy to answer. Whenever someone says that to me, I take the 8x10 and place it on the table so only the white back of the photograph is showing. I then say, "That is a $50 piece of paper." I then flip it over to show the image of their family, baby, senior, bride, etc. and say, "It's the image on THIS side that makes it worth $50. I think your family (baby, senior, bride) is worth at LEAST fifty dollars... [PAUSE] don't you?" I then I don't say another word.
I once had a guy come in and tell me, "$50 for an 8x10 is outrageous. I do some photography, and I know what an 8x10 costs!"
I didn't issue any rebuttal at that moment. I said, "I understand how you feel. What do you do?"
He said, "I have a trenching business. We do trenching so you can lay pipe, cable, etc."
I asked, "I need a 10' trench at my house. I want to run power from my home electrical box to my new garage. How much will that cost me?" He replied that it would be about $125. My reply was, "You charge $125 to dig a hole!? It doesn't even cost you anything! Talk about outrageous."
He was hot right now. "You don't know my expenses. I have equipment, wages, insurance, overhead!"
My simple reply was, "And I don't?" And that was all I said. His wife said, "I'll take it from here."
I continued to be his family's photographer for many years...but he was still always a cheap so-and-so, even though he lived in a huge home and always drove a Hummer or Escalade. Ain't it always the way?
Again, never argue with a customer. Just lay out your case, be quiet, and smile. It's the best way if you are doing Photography for Income. Til Next Time!