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Ahhhh, the age old debate. I probably see this question at least once a week on the various photography forums I follow, and we can learn two things from this: 1) It’s a question that pretty much every photographer needs to answer at some point, and 2) People need to learn how to use the dang search button on these forums to stop posting such redundant things!! Haha.
So the question is, “Should I have my pricing listed for all to see on my website? Or should I simply put ‘Inquire for Pricing’?” While there are definitely pros and cons to each, here is my opinion. I think you should list your pricing! Or at least a starting point (this is what I do). Here are a couple reasons why!
I am all about the client experience, and I am more than happy to chat with any potential brides! So obviously it’s not a waste of time, since you’re spending it with another human, but I think you get my point ;)
I think a great way to put this into practice is simply listing your starting prices. A lot of photographer’s choose to do this! They are showing potential couple’s that they should be looking to spend at least $xxxx on a wedding package, and then it’s not a shock when they first hear from you!
Also, I know for a fact that it can be a huge turn off to potential brides when your pricing is not listed on your website. Everyone wants to think that all their brides have been obsessed with their work since day one, and just always knew you would be their photographer. That’s very lovely, and sometimes it does happen, but it’s not very realistic! Realistically speaking, when a bride gets engaged, she is probably furiously Googling all the photographers in her area, trying to find a few that match what she’s looking for. I can just imagine how frustrating it would be to find a photographer whose style you love, but not knowing if they are within your budget, or 3 times over!
Think about it this way: say you walk into a gourmet cake shop (I use a lot of cake analogies in these posts… I must always be hungry). You see a gorgeous display of wedding cakes, but nowhere on the sign does it mention a price. You go up to the cashier and ask how much a cake like that would cost. The cashier hands you a long form to fill out and you’re just sitting there thinking “whoa whoa whoa… what if this thing turns out to be $3000??? I know I can only afford a $500 cake right now. It would be SO much easier if she could just tell me about what price I’m looking at here!?”
This happens in day to day life as well… Not just when looking at fancy cakes ;) My dad is a painter, so of course he offers estimates for people who want him to paint their homes! It’s so important, because it gives them a general idea of what to expect. You wouldn’t take your car to the mechanic and just say “sure, fix whatever you want!”. You might come to pick it up and have a $6000 bill on your hands!! No, you need to have an idea of what you’re getting into.
Another example… sometimes I’ll be shopping online and I’ll see an item that I really like. But underneath it will say something like “add this item to your cart to see the super low price!” (loosely translated to: there are too many 0’s to fit here”). I will pretty much immediately say “skip you” and move on. Why waste my time adding it to my cart, just to most likely find out it’s way over my price point?
Of course, there is always the exception to the rule. Say I’m shopping online and I’ve found the most beautiful pair of shoes in the entire world… but the pricing is not listed. Am I in love with those shoes? Yes. So am I then willing to take time to put them in the cart to check the price? Heck yeah I am! If you love something enough, you’ll do anything. So there are some photographer’s that have that mindset – “if a client loves my photos enough, they’ll contact me anyway!”. But what I say is “why not go ahead and open that door, and just be honest from the get-go”.
Sure, sure, there’s the whole argument that says “but what about the brides who will just compare your pricing to the photographer on the next tab?”. And my answer to that is, “she is probably not your dream client then”. No, not every bride is going to be obsessed with your work, but you need to be working with clients who understand the importance of photography and who value your work! A bride that values your work and is absolutely in love with your photos (isn’t that everyone’s dream client??) probably isn’t going to be swayed by a bigger price tag.
The decision is yours, but hopefully this gave you something to think about if you’re not already listing your pricing!