UPDATE 1st October 2012
I’ve had a great time offering Pay what it’s worth for 2012,
During this trial, I’ve had many positive comments about how Pay what it’s worth is a good system, but I also discovered that many people found it hard to judge the value of their photography. So in the interests of making like much easier for my clients, I’ve now reverted to a different model, which you can see on my wedding prices page.
You can read below what the PWIW model entailed.
Welcome to 2012. I hope you all had a great break and are now ready to face the new year with a sense of excitement. Those that follow this blog will have seen that we were forced to move house, well that’s now happened, and we’re slowly settling in. I do love that new house smell!
This year I’ve decided to do something quite different with my wedding photography packages, I’m going to let clients choose to pay what their photography is worth to them. But before I share that, I want to talk a little about how things currently work with most wedding photographers. I’ll also add that I’m not in any way dismissing their approach to running their business, this isn’t a critique, it’s an alternative.
How Photographers Set Their Pricing
There are hundreds of posts, directed at photographers on how to set their prices. There are also, equally, a large number of posts directed at clients detailing why photographers charge what they charge. Rather than regurgitate all that, I will summarise.
Photographers are running a business that must, by definition, produce a profit to survive. Prices are set to cover costs, produce a profit, and set themselves into a market position.
The most common advice to photographers is to calculate the fixed costs for the year, and the variable costs for each wedding, and then add a bit so you’re in line with the competition.
Clients have posts directed at them detailing these costs as justification for the prices they are charging. It’s as if all anyone is talking about is pricing.
The Problem with Quality and Pricing
I think that when clients browse photographer’s portfolios, they’re looking at the quality of the photos, but ultimately they’re shopping within their price range. I think that it becomes confusing for brides when there’s not a clear relationship between quality and price. Some pricey photographers perhaps don’t meet the quality needs of that client, and some photographers are incredibly talented but do not charge very much, perhaps leading the client to believe they’re not quite as good.
It’s extremely hard to compare photographers on price alone, and without that direct knowledge of each photographer, you don’t know what your experience will be like. I hope to make that a little easier.
Pay What it’s Worth to You…
Please read that again, “pay what it’s worth to you…”. I would like to focus on the value of my photography to you, rather than try to meet an arbitrary price. The concept is quite beautiful, I think.
I will shoot your wedding, for as many hours as you require on the day, and I’ll give you your pictures afterwards. After experiencing the service I provide, seeing the quality of the pictures I give you, and the speed with which you get them, you decided what is a fair price to pay.
There is a small deposit involved, which is to cover the fixed costs I mentioned, and to save the wedding day.
Only you can answer the question of value
You’re hiring a professional photographer because they’re experience and reliable, and skilled to give you want you want. You may have drawn inspiration from magazines, your parent’s wedding photos, your friends pictures. You might have a style that has to be captured, or a large family that demands to be documented. The point is, that this wedding is your’s, you call the shots, and as a professional photographer I work for you. You hire me to fulfil your requests, and of course bring along my style of shooting.
After the wedding, the question then becomes “Did he give us what we want?” If the answer is yes, then you will know what that is worth to you, and what falls within your budget.
UPDATED: Here’s my fancy-pants webpage on the subject http://www.shotbyrobins.com/#/pay-what-it-s-worth-wedding-photography/
I’m Interested… now what?
I’d love to hear from you and talk about this some more. Get in touch and we’ll get together.
- gareth @ shotbyrobins . com (remove spaces)
- Phone: 021 682 111 or 09 889 0061
- Contact me on Google+