If an image is worth a thousand words, what's $1K get you? Questions. How about $960? Fewer questions, for sure. $960, or $1,020 are figures that fall into a concept that is referred to as Odd Number Pricing. Now, to be specific, (as Wikipedia points out) "a 1997 research study published in the Marketing Bulletin, approximately 60% of prices in advertising material ended in the digit 9, 30% ended in the digit 5, 7% ended in the digit 0 and the remaining seven digits combined accounted for only slightly over 3% of prices evaluated." Thus, my examples that each end in zero, supposedly don't fall into this notion of Odd Number Pricing definitively. However, where this concept best applies to products sold at retail, here I am addressing the concept more than the specifics. In that, a photo fee that is $1,000 seems (to a prospective client) to be more negotiable than one you outline as $960, which seems less negotiable. I feel that if you fee was listed at $999, a client would find that silly.
I consider the quality of work I bring to an assignment, and the level of service that accompanies it, on par with the Nordstroms/Saks/Tiffany's of the retail world. There is a market for that level of quality and commitment to the client, yet there is also a market for the Macy's, Target's, and K-Mart's of the world, I just don't aspire to that segment of the market. As such, I see (and I hope too that my clients see) that the type of work I deliver is considered as "premium" or "prestige" pricing. If you too aspire to this level of work, then target that market. Past APA President Jeff Sedlik once recounted during a presentation at PhotoPlus a conversation he had with his accountant, where he outlined that he just wasn't earning enough money. His accountant's advice? Triple his prices. As Sedlik tells it, he's never regreted it, except that perhaps he regrets not doing it sooner.
Photographer's consultant, Debra Weiss, recounted at another PhotoPlus panel presentation that she moderated her experiences with Glenn Wexler about the time Wexler left Art Center in Los Angeles. Some of the more valuable advice Wexler got was "Find out what the most expensive photographer producing album covers is charing and charge the same, or more." Wexler, to his credit, followed the advice. Oftentimes, Premium Pricing applies when the risk of failure in the production of the photo (either once in a lifetime moments, costly re-shoots, and so on) means that it's worth it to pay the extra money to reduce the risk of failure.
Give great consideration to how you price your work, and position yourself in the market. Taking the right (and reasoned) approach will make all the difference in the world.
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