A couple weeks ago, the Focal team came across this Facebook thread on one of our photographers' pages advertising “Glitter Minis.”
It saddened me — not because this potential customer didn’t see the value in the session at $200, but because the only value they saw was in how many photos it offered. In their second comment, they mention they've done other mini-sessions for $50 and normally receive 8-10 photos.
At Focal, we understand that a $200 mini-session isn’t for everyone. It’s just that comparing the two sessions solely based on how many photos they provide ends up reducing and commoditizing both of the respective photographers. Perhaps this other photographer offering a $50 mini-shoot is wonderful — so why not talk about the reasons they are? What makes their mini-sessions special, beyond the fact that they're cheaper?
To compare photographers based solely on the number of photos they offer is like comparing houses based solely on their square footage, or two meals based on their size. You're missing the good stuff! What if the smaller house has a view of the ocean? What if the smaller meal is an ice cream sundae?
With all that being said, I don’t blame the commenter for their opinion. In fact, I totally understand why they would think this way.
When everyone is doing this, it becomes very hard for customers to differentiate. The only tangible information they are given is how many photos they’re going to get.
Customers can’t be expected to imagine the session they’re buying. They can only see the value of what they know.
So as a photographer, if you aren’t conveying how amazing you are with kids or how you have a whole wall of props for them to play dress-up with, you can’t expect the customers to factor that into their purchasing decision.
I think both customers and photographers have a responsibility to each other.
Photographers should focus on conveying the unique value and experience they are offering, rather than simply stating their prices. Otherwise, they can’t expect customers to understand the difference between one 10-photo mini-session and another.
For customers, they should try and consider that a huge part of photography is the experience and service that a photographer provides. Remember, you aren’t just buying photos! That's merely the end-result.
If you’re a customer searching for a photographer, you can easily browse our marketplace and compare the unique experiences that photographers provide in their detailed packages. If you’re a photographer, Focal’s software platform makes it easy to create unique and tangible photography packages that go far beyond how many hours you'll spend with clients and how many photos you'll produce.