I made the uncommon decision to post my rates for on-location corporate headshots on my website. Some fear it will scare away clients before the photographer gets to explain the value in their work. Valid concern. Some want to gouge bigger clients who can pay more. That’s not the way I want to run my business.
Posting my rates was beneficial for several reasons, and I wanted to share my experience. It was helpful in raising my rates and having confidence in my rates.
It Established My Rates in My Mind
It can be a little bit of a leap to post your on-location rates for corporate headshots. It’s intimidating. Other photographers, potential clients, and past clients could see. Everyone could see.
Posting my rates made me set my prices for my ideal clients. And my ideal corporate clients really value headshot photography. I needed to price for the companies who cared about their brands and wanted the best headshots available.
It also forced me to really think carefully about my rates, to pick them, and stick to them. For example, I decided that I was going to have a two-fee structure with four tiers based on the volume of the gig. As the complexity of the day increases with more people, my flat rates for travel and setup increase for each group size: 5-10, 11-20, 21-30, and 31-50. My charge per person decreases with larger groups to give them a net volume discount.
I initially set my prices fairly high for me, for a number of reasons. It was a little bit of a stretch for me at the time, but I thought (and think) my service, the experience, and the results justified (and justify) the price.
But once I clicked ‘publish’ on my site, I was committed. No more waffling while on the phone talking to someone, constantly fighting the urge to do it for less, sometimes much less, to get the job. No bouncing around between different pricing structures on the fly. I had my standard pricing and structure locked in.
It Made Me Believe in My Rates
Once I was committed, I had to have enough self-doubt to go online and change them if I wanted to. And it is much easier to hold firm when you need to take action to change it, rather than just give in to that voice inside your head.
Not only did my decision solidify my rates, but it also caused a paradigm shift. Those rates immediately, though slowly, started to feel right. Once I got a few jobs at those rates, the voice inside my head was completely on board. This change in perspective and belief helps me secure the deals at those rates too.
It Gives Your Prices More Legitimacy in Clients’ Eyes
I do not have the scientific research to prove this, but I don’t think clients enjoy feeling like the quote came out of thin air, or that you are inflating the price for them since they have more money. “You’re from a Fortune 100 company, you say? Let me write up a special quote just for you.” People much more like that your price flexed a little to fit into their budget.
That’s just a guess. I could be wrong.
Your prices will seem more legitimate them if you provide a polished-looking proposal to them and direct them to your website where you have your rates spelled out publicly. They are more likely to believe your prices are fair if they are public, not just a price in a PDF you emailed to them. This is the price for everyone. The quote is just a customization of the public price with additional information.
With the combination of more belief in yourself because the rates are public, and the understanding that potential clients are more likely to believe in your rates and go along with them, you will begin to feel more comfortable discussing your rates, rather than hiding behind your website and emailing about everything involving a capital 4 (i.e. ‘$’). When you talk money in person or on the phone, all this will help you to discuss your services and prices with confidence.
I hope my experience and observations will get you thinking about whether posting your rates for on-location headshots would be a net positive for your business.
About the author: Jon Meadows is a headshot photographer and facial expression coach at High-End Headshots in Washington, D.C. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can also find more of Meadows work on Instagram.