The question of whether or not to display your pricing on your photography site is a scandalous debate…
Showing your pricing on your site can do a few things – it can qualify your leads, so you know they can afford you and it can also also prevent potential clients from contacting you because of sticker shock.
Some clients may still contact you, but if your pricing is $4,000 to shoot a wedding and it’s not in their budget, they’ll be too scared to contact you at all.
On the other hand, if you charge $1,000 to shoot a wedding potential clients might be suspicious of that low of a price, especially if the average rate is much higher in your area. They won’t be sure if they can trust you. They may not be confident in how professional or experienced you really are.
If your pricing is on the low end of your local market, and you’re okay with being cheaper, then it can also benefit you to post your pricing on your site. You’ll attract more inquiries, and probably book more work.
It’s not a good long term strategy, but if you’re a new photographer, this can help you get through the initial period of building your portfolio and your business.
And if you’re selling prints, posting those prices online is important. Prints are a commodity, a hard cost. Show those prices.
So the burning question… Do I or did I display my pricing?
NO. I don’t display my pricing on my site.
There was a time when I had “packages starting at…” on my website, back when we were just starting out. I think it hurt us, our inquiries went down.
If you’re the sort of person who likes to feel out a potential client, learn more about the wedding venue, look for just the right clients for your portfolio, posting your pricing on your website is going to result in fewer leads. They’ll be more qualified to pay your full rate, but there will be less of them.
By not having my prices on my site, and bringing in more leads, I have a chance to refer clients to my friends who might be a better fit for their budget.
Being able to offer a referral is a nice way to give back in your community, and it’s always nice to know you’re helping other photographers to put food on their tables, too.
Another thing to consider is what type of photography you do. If you are a commercial photographer, shooting advertising campaigns, album covers, or editorials, don’t put your prices on your site!
Companies have come to me, and their budget may be lower than my usual day rate. Sometimes, I want to take the shoot anyways, because it’s a celebrity client that will look great in my portfolio, or it’s a brand I’ve always wanted to work with. If I had my pricing quoted on my site, those companies would have never approached me, and I would have missed the chance.
Companies also come to me with huge advertising budgets. If I had a lower day rate and it was listed on my site, I will either end up leaving a lot of money on the table (while the company gets a great deal!), or they might decide not to work with me altogether, because they might think I’m not the level of photographer they want to work with.
The magic question is always “What’s your budget?”
Bring them in with your photographs, your site, your about page, and then let them contact you to inquire about your packages. If you’re a wedding or portrait photographer, you can have your generic pricing in a PDF or on a private page on your site, ready to send them. And even get your site listed in other photography directories for marketing purposes.
If you’re a commercial photographer, talk to them to get an idea of their budget and the scope of the project, and then quote them based on those factors. You’ll end up having to consider things like exposure for the images, the type of client you’re working with, and so on. But your best way to start to figure that out is to go straight to the contact and ask what the budget is.
Have a candid conversation, on the phone, or via Facetime. Give them examples of the types of sessions or shoots you’ve done with similar budgets, talk to them about the ways the images will be used, and go from there. Have fun, get out there, and do the work you love!