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Guest Post from Sarah Roshan of Sarah Roshan Photography in Denver, Colorado

I have heard it in so many photographer forums lately:

“I am so frustrated, is $XXX too much for a session? I had a potential client tell me I was too expensive! What is everyone else charging?”

Repeat after me: “I totally understand, maybe you can find someone who is a better fit for you.”

As you raise your prices more and more people will be unable to afford you. 

And that's ok. 

Guess what else? 

There were people who wouldn’t have contacted you before because you were too cheap. That is due to something called perceived value: the assumption that because you charge more you are better.

Does this mean you will probably get more people who can’t afford you? Absolutely.  But it also means that you won’t have to do 800 sessions a year in order to turn a profit. All it means when someone can’t afford you is just that. They can’t afford you. Sometimes they even value photography, but simply don’t have the funds.

Remember, photography is a luxury item and not a necessity. Just because you want everyone in the world to have beautiful photos doesn’t mean that everyone believes they need them or will make sure they put aside the money to afford it. The ones who do will value you more and, in turn, you can photograph fewer sessions and (gasp) actually turn a profit…oh and you might have a life outside of photography.

The other misconception is that you should set your price based on what you can afford. This is absolutely one of the biggest pitfalls I see in photography businesses. Set your prices based on how much you want/need to make, not what you think people can afford. If you can’t afford you it is absolutely okay, you know why? Because:

You are not your client. 

So….next time you feel the urge to be frustrated that someone can’t afford you (that panic voice that goes off in your head wondering if you are too expensive and maybe you should lower your prices or discount), take a deep breath, remember you are worth every penny, and confidently thank them for thinking of you, but you are $XXX dollars. 

The more you do it the easier it gets, I promise, and it’s okay if people can’t afford you, someone else out there will.

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