A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Inside Edition. They had read an article about me and my senior portraits in the Austin American Statesmen. What intrigued them was the fact that I’ve had clients pay as much as up to $5,000 for senior portraits in the past. Keep in mind, senior portraits are still not as widespread on the West Coast as it is here in Austin, TX. So I understood why this would be a story for them.
After much going back and forth, I received an email this morning that read:
Thank you so much for your help with all this. We are still looking for someone that would be spending close to $4-5000. So, I don’t think we will be coming to the shoot this Saturday. But thanks again for your and McKenna’s family’s help. If any other clients come up in the near future….please let me know!
Of course, I was a little perturbed. Not only was my senior portrait client excited about the prospect of being on national television. I was also disappointed that Inside Edition was clearly out to just run a story on the price of my portraits, not the value of them. So here was my reply:
Hi Inside Edition,
Thank you for informing me. However, it’s important that I mention something. Here’s my original quote from the Austin American Statesmen:
“Our average sale for a senior is $1,200 to $1,500, but some parents have spent up to $5,000,” Meyer said.
As I also mentioned over the phone, I can’t predict what our clients will spend after the initial purchase of a portrait package. Frankly, it’s also rude to contact my clients and ask them how much they plan on spending for one of our portrait sessions. Inside Edition has been so hung up on this price of $5,000 that you’re missing the bigger picture.
I know that senior portraits are still rather new on the west coast, however it’s been a long-running tradition in our area. Rather than sensationalizing how much people are willing to spend on for portraits of their graduate, your story should be about our services that help seniors realize the true beauty of their individuality in a society that pushes false beauty during a crucial changing point in their lives. We provide a service that boosts their confidence, gives them a personalized experience, and produces exceptional imagery. You can’t put a price on that.
When I teach other photographers at national conventions and photography workshops, I tell them the same thing every time: “There are those people who will only see the price and then there are those who will see the value in your services.”
That being said, there’s a missed opportunity here on your part to do a story on something bigger than just pricing. Celebrating the individual teenager in a time when there’s so much pressure to conform to an unattainable standard of beauty and popularity. We do something much bigger here than just getting our clients to spend their money. However, I understand that in broadcast media, it’s easier to tell a story about the numbers rather than the bigger picture.
We would love to work with you, but I understand where you’re coming from. The door is always open if you change your mind.
All the best,
Needless to say, I was disappointed. However, I felt it was important to educate someone, especially a national news and entertainment show, the difference between price and value. So when it comes to pricing, how are you presenting your products and services. Do your customers only see the price, or have you shown them the value of you?
This post is sponsored by Kubota Image Tools.
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