As someone who earns their living as a self employed photographer I have arrived at a rate for a day’s work that I think represents fair value. A client is buying my experience and technical skill together with my imagination and contributing towards the cost of my overheads; photographic equipment, insurances all the things that any business has to cost in to their selling price.
Over the years if I’ve learnt anything about people it is that invariably it is not the price that is wrong but the client.
When I had my shop the ones who wanted to haggle over the price were always the worst customers during and after the sale. I sold a hi-fi system to a man who could only have it delivered and installed on a Saturday. He wouldn’t be there of course, he would be out leaving his wife and small children to deal with the man from the shop. To cut a long story short the wife thought I should move two floor to ceiling bookcases full of books that were screwed to the wall so that the cables could be run behind them. I refused and the bloke went nuts on the phone on the Monday morning. I told him we do not move furniture we sell hi-fi. He ranted on for a while threatening to complain to B&O. A classic example of the wrong customer.
I had an occasion last week where I was asked by an agency if I would look at some work for one of their clients. I gave them what I considered was a very good price for a three day shoot. A message came back that the customer wanted to reduce it by a third. At this point you have to make a decision, how badly do I want the work? The short answer is not that badly. However I dropped my price because I want to work more with the agency, they’re nice people. Did I do the right thing? Only time will tell…