Hey Everyone – multi-part question from buy Pregabalin online usa today – the parts in bold are Josh’s questions and my responses will appear below.

I know pricing is always a hot topic. I’d love to hear your insight on something I’ve been struggling with…First and foremost, I don’t think you should be shooting someone else’s wedding if you don’t know how to properly use photography equipment and aren’t completely comfortable in any lighting situation imaginable, so for this question it’s assumed that wedding photographers know what they’re doing and can offer quality service to any client at a higher price point.  – JG

Agreed.  I know I can be guilty of acting like everyone should be high-end and top-dollar, but that’s just because I can’t get beyond the fact that professional photography is a luxury (see where to buy Lyrica cream parts buy Lyrica overnight, buy Pregabalin online next day delivery, and buy Lyrica medication) and needs to be priced as such.  I guess I should state publicly that the caveat to every one of my statements is that I’m assuming you are really good at what you do and you’re always getting better.  Honestly, I could talk for days about composition, lighting, posing, and all the tenets of great photography (and someday, maybe soon, I’ll expand the scope of this blog to talk about that stuff – order Lyrica from canada) but right now I feel that this industry needs a boost in the business department.  I know how vital it was for me to learn sound business tactics and I know from the data that is out there that the average pro isn’t making enough.  So right now I’m focusing on the business side.  Please understand that when I help someone improve their business I’m making the assumption that they are actually, you know, GOOD at photography.  More on that in a second…

When a photographer is starting their business, in the first year or two, it is generally assumed that the way to grow their business is to do discounted work or start with low prices in order to gradually build up their portfolio. The inherent problem with this is that most of the referrals from those discounted or low-priced weddings likely aren’t going to be very beneficial when the photographer raises their prices in order to make a living wage for themselves and their family… – JG

OK, here’s where I might lose a few of you.  I don’t buy into this.  I don’t think you should charge less when you are just starting out.  I don’t think you should base your pricing on your ability – if your ability is too low to charge appropriately, profitably, sustainably, etc then YOU SHOULDN’T BE CHARGING AT ALL.  If you are a pro, you need to charge like a pro.  Period.  If you aren’t good enough to charge like the pros don’t charge at all.

Now, I realize that might seem harsh or unforgiving but really I think it makes sense.  You’re either good enough, or you aren’t.  If you aren’t good enough yet (and we were all in that position at one point) then keep working/learning/assisting until you are.  But don’t drag down the professional market by not being good enough and not charging effectively.  It hurts the rest of us and sets you too far back.

Now, having flexed on that soapbox I think you might be surprised at what your referral chain is capable of.  While I know it might seem like a low-dollar client will only beget more low-dollar clients I have found this to be totally untrue.  We were booking a few $1500 weddings in our first year of business and some of those clients have gone on to refer $5,000-10,000 weddings just a year or two later.  Now, not all of those early clients are still delivering usable referrals, but we’re getting more than you might think.  The point is that you shouldn’t judge your clients or your market, you need to focus completely on determining/marketing/communicating your value rather than trying to second guess your market.

Oh, and a word on portfolios.  I think they’re importance is massively overrated.  So many photographers are giving their work away because they think having some shot or venue or bride or dress in their portfolio is going to be the magic bullet for skyrocketing their career.  I simply haven’t experienced this nor am I seeing it happen for others.  Just focus on getting paid bookings and making them look the way you want rather than whoring yourself for some mythical portfolio.  Having said all that, if you are going to screw yourself (hey, its my opinion, right?) in order to build your portfolio you had better make sure that you get to do EXACTLY what you want on that job.  Too often photographers sacrifice to get some job they think will solve all their problems and in giving in on price or policies they lose the authority to control the job and get the shots they wanted.  That means your credibility, profitability and pride were squashed for very little gain.  Think twice.

Oh, and just to be obnoxious I feel obligated to point out the fact that I booked my first 10 weddings without every having shot one.  I had no wedding samples to show (just an engagement book sample) and I booked my first 10 at a profit.  So, yeah, I think portfolios are kind of bullshit.  Your mileage may vary.

When BMW began making vehicles, they didn’t start out at Ford prices in order to build their business, or they would have went out of business. They build in worth, value, and a perception of higher quality from the beginning and sold their products based on those principles. With that in mind, is it possible for photographers in their first years of business to build in those principles of worth, value, and quality from the beginning so that they can run a profitable business instead of having to work for minimum wage rates in the first year or two, or is it a fundamental necessity to start low and work your way up? If it is possible, what are some of the steps that photographers starting businesses should key in on? – JG

I think this industry needs a shift.  It should operate in two phases.  First, you need to immerse yourself in the craft of photography.  You need to learn to be great at what you do, and you need to learn to handle all the situations that you decide are part of your brand.  You need to know what you like and how you want to handle things.  You need to understand the business side of things.  You want to get your licensing/insurance/taxation/etc in place.  You want to get all your ducks in a row, all the gear you need (not all the gear you want – purchase Lyrica cheap) paid for, and you need to have your creative and business life in order.

Then, hang out your shingle, print up those business cards, and charge like a pro.  Don’t half-ass this stuff.  do you want to be a part of a half-assed industry?  Because many days I wonder if we’re even achieving quarter-assedness?  Figure out what it takes to be a pro, then figure out how to implement it, then go out into the world and be a pro.  Don’t just leapfrog to step 3.

It isn’t a necessity to start low because a pro doesn’t work for low rates, they work for profitable rates.  That’s part of being a pro.  Sometimes we need to be patient and put in our time to get to the professional level.  I don’t, however, believe in paying dues.  Once you are good enough, dammit, you’re at the point where you can charge as much as you can get.  Don’t worry about where you fall compared to the other pros in your market.  We don’t owe them anything.  We all deserve exactly what we can get.  so go get what you can.

Thanks for providing such a great resource for us fellow photographers, Todd. You’re doing an incredible thing. – JG

I just wanted to leave that part of the question in because it made me sound good.

Thanks Josh.  Hopefully me spouting off about my opinion helped give you some perspective.  Please feel free to celebrate/disagree/argue and generally send your opinion over to me in the comments section or in the links below.  Also, if you like what you’re finding on this blog please send it to a friend (and if you hate it go ahead and pass it on to an enemy).  I love responding to questions like Josh’s here, so keep the ideas and queries coming.

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