I was literally just on a facebook group for new photographers and I saw someone post a question about whether or not $5 was a good price to charge for a digital file.
The photographer sweetly posted a few questions, she was asking honestly for feedback about her work and whether this was fair to charge for digital files. I love her honesty and her approach…a great way to transition from hobbyist to pro.
But this post made me think of how important self confidence is to start, grow and maintain a successful photography business.
In my humble opinion, self confidence is a pillar if you want your business to be sustainable.
What do I mean by self confidence as it relates to your photography business? the confidence in you to charge what you are worth, to believe in yourself, to not feel like an imposter, to not undervalue your pricing, to not constantly compare yourself to other photographers, to not get upset when a client books someone else – to 100% show up believing in you and your abilities.
So back to the facebook post.
First. This photographers work was beautiful.
2nd. She was photographing horses at equine shows.
She was basically doing these shoots on spec – so I absolutely LOVE her go get it attitude – show up, take the photos then offer them for sale to clients. Great energy there.
BUT her doubting the $5 price tag made me pause.
I would love to be with her in person and have a nice long chat – and discuss all sorts of things. But I would first start with self confidence.
She is talented, does beautiful work, where is the disconnect?
It is because, based on what she wrote that she is new to charging, she doesn’t believe, maybe because she is new, that she should charge more than $5 for these files.
Let’s break this down, someone who owns a horse that is competing at a horse show does not need charity. They can afford whatever you decide you want to charge. But that’s not the point.
My real issue with the $5 charge is that she gets pigeon holes as the cheap photographer, that’s hard to break out of. Especially in a niche like equine competitions.
I feel based on my many years of doing this, that when you under charge you are telling people that you aren’t worth it.
That you are inferior.
That your photos aren’t good enough.
Clients remember this. It leaves an impression on them.
You will forever be the cheap photographer, even if you are the GOOD photographer.
But she wants to establish herself with this group. So my advice would be to charge where she sees her value is. She can’t possibly think she is only worth $5? Maybe it’s $15, maybe its $25 or $50 but it can’t be $5.
Choose a number that you can stand behind, and then grab a pen and start writing down all the reasons you are worth this amount as reminders of why you should not doubt yourself or your abilities for one second.
Building confidence doesn’t happen over night – it can take time.
So I advise that you find that sweet spot, the price that makes you a little uncomfortable but you know that you can back up with the quality of your work.
Don’t get in over your head for where you are currently but by creating a list of why you are qualified, will remind you why you are this talented photographer capable of doing this shoot. Even if you are just getting started, you have value, tons of value. You are uniquely you.
Confidence affects every aspect of your business. From the copy on your website to your email responses.
How do you show up to a phone call or an in person meeting? Your energy is so important, what vibe are you giving off? How do you lead a photo session? Or a wedding day?
Do you over shoot? Stay longer than contracted? Overdeliver images? You are a pro. Remember that. How you edit a session also reveals your level of confidence in yourself? Do you spend 45 minutes editing each head shot, even if you have no idea if they are going to want that one?
Do you hate sharing your pricing info? Or don’t let clients know what to expect after the session – then they have sticker shock when they see your pricing in the gallery? When you aren’t proud of your pricing or can’t stand behind it, guess what, that’s another example of you lacking confidence.
Don’t pre-decide for your client what they want to spend. Clients sense this lack of confidence and can take advantage by making you uncomfortable, asking for more, whatever it is. It’s like when a dog smells fear.
Having self confidence is powerful. It changes everything about you and your business.
Your pricing, your interactions, your delivery – when you work from a place of confidence, the world is your oyster.
You will attract your ideal clients because your are fun to work with, they love your images and can’t wait to work with you again.
When you charge $5 or have a mini session for $50 and give 10 images or $500 for a wedding, the clients become bargain hunters – and you will continue to attract what you give off.
I don’t mean to sound harsh but this is a big one.
Of course there is no magic wand, self confidence grows with experience. [ and I do understand that this is exactly what she is trying to do, moving from hobbyist to pro – gain some self confidence by charging something…but her work is so much better than $5 ]
But please even if you are in the early stages of photography or running your business – find the confidence in where you are right now.
There doesn’t need to be resistance, or dodging price lists or not being forthcoming with your clients. Stand behind whatever you believe in – and your clients will follow suit!
So much more to discuss when it comes to acquiring self confidence.