Without question, the number one query we receive from clients during initial consultations is HOW MUCH? Some would argue that price is the single most important factor in any decision, and that’s perfectly understandable in this present economy. However, I’m going to attempt to frame this in a way that might help you understand why this should be the last question when selecting a photographer.
Let’s say there were 3 roofing contractors bidding on your home. The first estimate was $20,000, the second, $10,000 and the third $2,000. How would you choose? Would you hire them based on price alone? I’d venture to say with 99% certainty that you’d want to know how the contractor arrived at those figures. And you’d weigh the services, quality of the products, reputation, time frame, etc. to arrive at a decision based on value.
So back to the bids. $2,000 sounds really great! You can take the rest of the money and get new windows, new floors, new… Whoa! Pump your brakes! Doesn’t that seem like TOO much value? A contractor like that is either not doing the job well, not finishing the job or not making a profit. In any case, they will have vanished like a fart in the wind by the time you realize what’s happened.
If $2,000 sounds great, I’ll assume your eyeballs are hemorrhaging at the prospect of paying 10 times that figure. Of course, there are sure to be a ton of extra services and top-of-the-line products, but if you’re only going to be in that home for 5 more years, you might not see the value in putting on a 40-year roof. But what if you sold that house to your eldest child and his/her family? Would you consider going that extra mile?
Psychology has proven that buyers typically don’t choose the least or most expensive options when making a purchasing decision; so I’ll wager that, subconsciously, the $10,000 roof was your choice. Why? In the middle, there is a perceived correlation between the value of a service and it’s cost. It’s almost certain that in this range there will be an optimal return on investment.
Like any other product or service, photography provides a range of tiered options, and there is a market for all of them. Ultimately, the best value for you will be made by clarifying your expectations and weighing that against the financial investment.
If you simply want to document the family, are budget conscious, and willing to do the legwork for prints to save a few dollars, the most inexpensive option may be right for you. You’ll want to be aware that photographers in this tier are most effective when shooting outside in available light, but become less consistent in low light scenarios where experience, professional gear, and lights are needed.
Is it critical that your portraiture is posed and well-exposed? Do you appreciate a structured, full-service experience, and intend to purchase large format prints? A brick-and-mortar studio could be your cup of tea. As you weigh this option, you’ll want to remember that studios carry overhead costs that are passed to you, and since they are production-based they typically focus less on creativity and more on a quick and consistent workflow. Most often, you’ll be required to invest in prints as a condition of your session.
The third tier borrows customer-centric features from both the least and most expensive options. Here you’ll find great value if affordability, versatility, creativity and service appeal to you. With an investment that typically sits between the top and bottom tiers, photographers in this group have the technical ability and equipment to assess and capture the creative potential of your location whether inside our outside, in rain or shine. For those who like options – complete control of personalized galleries, online print ordering, mobile gallery apps and digital downloads for social media are hard to beat.
Studio 35 is a strong proponent of the customer-centric service-model. We believe that a lasting relationship with clients is best achieved where passion for craft meets affordable creative. We invite you to connect with us and experience the difference.
Thoughts? Observations? Experiences? Share with us.