What to say when someone complains about your photography prices


For me, the worst part of being a photographer is talking about prices.

I’d rather round up 150 drunk wedding guests for their group photograph than tell a family portrait enquiry that the lovely framed portrait they’re looking at costs £899.

Studies in human psychology have proven that humans are more motivated by fear than pleasure.

It seems crazy, but the fear of being challenged about our prices is greater than the perceived pleasure we’ll get from earning a nice living.

A long time ago I realised I needed to charge a lot more than your average photographer to make a living. That’s because your average photographer is struggling to make a living.

This means I often get challenged about my prices (luckily most people in the UK do it politely!).

I was so relieved when I discovered the best way to respond. It not only took away the tension, but it also helped me book more clients.

There are 3 times when someone might complain about your prices.

  1. Over the phone, when you give them a ballpark / prices from figure.
  2. When you meet them for a consultation to see if they want to hire you. By the way, this is when you go into more detail on your pricing.
  3. When they’re looking at their photographs for the first time and placing their order. Despite the fact you’ve already gone through your prices in detail before they hired you some clients still whimper a little at this stage.

In the first two situations the person isn’t a client yet. Your goal is to gently get them away from the issue of price and to start thinking emotionally about how important these photographs will be to them.

Start your response with either “I’m so glad you mentioned that” or “I completely understand how you feel.”

This helps to diffuse the pressure and lets the person know you’re ok with them challenging you. It instantly puts down their guard and helps them warm to you.

I then have a whole bunch of wonderful responses I use depending on the personality of the person and what we’ve talked about so far.

For example:

Response idea number 1

“I’m so glad you mentioned that – one of the unique things about my service is…”. With this response you’re effectively using their price objection as an excuse to mention what makes your service unique. If you need ideas on how to make your service unique then check out this post.

Response idea number 2

“I understand exactly how you feel. But just suppose I could create a beautiful portrait of your family that perfectly captured your personalities and made everyone look fantastic. An image that you dearly loved and that whenever you looked at it it brought back all the happy times of this period of your lives. Would you be willing to invest say £x for that?”

There are several wonderful things about this second response:

  1. It’s very emotional and helps the person understand how precious photographs are.
  2. It’s very hard for the person to respond negatively to that, or put a really low price tag on it.
  3. Someone who responds negatively to this is unlikely to be someone you want to work with. It’s a great sign that they may be difficult to work with and more hassle than they’re worth.

These are just two of many effective responses I use. Despite my own personal hang-ups about prices I feel far more confident than before because I know what to say and how to say it. Plus, I know my answers aren’t antagonistic, defensive or wishy-washy.

Not winning photography clients? These two great ideas will help! Click To Tweet

Next week I’ll be interviewing Bryan Caporicci from Sprouting Photographer about pricing, so look out for next week’s blog post.

Bryan actually interviewed me recently about how to get wedding venues and bridal stores to recommend you. You can check it out on his Podcast (I’m on episode 260). Below the Podcast is a link to some ridiculous freebies we’re offering, so go check it out.

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