There's so many ways I want to write this blog, however as a Marine, I'm going to go "hard in the paint" on this one. I've gotta because this is something that people inquire about to me daily.
Yes, I just said it. I charge. I've been charging the same amount for shoots since 2016. As a matter of fact, I want to give a huge shout out to ALL of the photographers out there that charge their worth, and do this full time for a living!!! Seriously, there's always someone who asks, "What's your real job?", and I just them the website link, or just give them... "The look!"
Now you've probably looking around on my website for my rates, or expect this blog to have my rates listed in them, but it doesn't. As a matter of fact, it never will. Yep...it never will because I personally like to get to know my clients, and the people that are inquiring. Before I send someone my rates, I like to know what their needs are and assist them in knowing that I do provide payment plans. They are investing in their brand and their portfolios, so why would I just give them some half-hearted work?!? I constantly preach about "Quality over Quantity"
There's a two-sided argument from photographers about not posting their rates, and some that do, however in my opinion, those that do post their rates are always going to get window shoppers, and bargain hunters, and that's just not the type of clients that I want for my business. I like to think of my business as a "Fine Dining" restaurant that doesn't even have prices on the menu. Sometimes I really wish I could share what those people looking for free, or bargain shoots have said to me. Let's get logical here....I did a photo shoot with a 19 year old who wanted to pursue her dream of being a signed model, she paid me for my third tier pricing package. Shortly after our shoot together, she was signed with one of the top modeling agencies here in Colorado. The other day, I had a plumber come over to my house to do some work, and I mentioned to him that I was trying to install a new kitchen faucet, the guy gave me a side deal from my insurance and I paid him, and I even threw his family into my "Mother's Day" photo shoot.
A long time ago, I was being mentored by a photographer friend of mine named Kris Josef who lives in Toronto. In one conversation back in 2013, I was telling Kris how hard it was to get business and I wasn't understanding why people didn't want to hire me, then he asked me something very pivotal, "Are you just shooting the pretty girls for free?". At first I was a little offended, however he was right. It made me hit a turning point in my photography and realize where I wanted to be. Rome wasn't built in a day, and now I may, on occasion throw in a free shoot, however it's only for my clients who've paid me full price, and I'll have event sessions for them that I'll throw them into. You can't just shoot the pretty people for free...that's the sign of being desperate, and there's no way I'm going back to where I started. No business wants to go backwards!
Mike @mikeconphoto on Instagram