Despite the great looking picture your friend took with their cell phone, not all Phoenix photography is created equal. As you talk with potential clients about pricing, you may find yourself playing defense. While you may be tempted to take a much lower fee for a wedding or corporate event just to get the job, you have to remember what you, your skills, your education and your equipment are worth.
Explaining the Difference Between Cell Phones and Professional Gear
You probably never thought you would have to defend your $10,000 worth of professional camera gear against a cell phone that came free with a service plan. In today’s competitive market, many clients will want to point out that a cell phone “takes a great picture.” Heck, even people with a moderate DSL think they are professional shooters. As a professional photographer, you’ll have to take a deep breathe and get ready to explain what is already obvious to you. The gear you carry can take images when it is nearly dark, capture motion in milliseconds, and provides coverage in ways no cell phone can ever dream of. A photographer with a cell phone or low end dslr will be able to stage some great shots, but professional gear is going to give your client a large portfolio of images from the event that are all crisp, composed and amazing.Not only is your client paying for your capabilities, they are paying for the fact that you know exactly how to use that equipment. Through and through.
Price Yourself According to Talent and Skills
Don’t be tempted by a cheap client just to gain more experience. You should really be asking yourself, “Man, I’m spending a lot of time on this, would another photographer do this much work for this little pay?” The work it takes to create the images, work with the client and produce the final produce takes time and energy. Be mindful of the hours you are going to spend both at the event and in pre and post production. Consider the hourly rate you want and don’t price yourself below this rate. You can end up making less than minimum wage if you price yourself too low. Discriminating customers are out there, and many won’t choose the cheapest photographer because they want someone of higher quality. You also don’t want to ruin other photographers livelihood because you are bidding so low. Think of sustainability for your field you are working in.
The photography market is competitive, but for those that rise to the top, photography is still a very profitable career. Hone your skills, know what you are worth and charge what you should according to your talent. There are plenty of charts and resources online to gauge your hourly rate according to where you live.