How to Make Money Taking Pictures – How I Negotiate


Katie (Question):
Do you let people go if they say you’re out of their budget, or try to have some negotiation with them?

Phillip Van Nostrand (Answer):
Great question! If I feel like it is worth it for me I am always willing to negotiate, and even at the highest level of photography people are negotiating and bidding on jobs, and figuring out ways to gain more money or, if they have to go lower, cut costs somehow.

I think the best advice (from Tim Halberg, I’ve ever heard on the subject is: Never give a discount for no reason at all, it cheapens the deal and makes you seem less valuable.

So for example, if I charge $300 for a family session and they say they have a budget of $200, I would respond like this:
“Hmm, I think I can do $200! I’d love to take your family photos and you guys seem like a lot of fun! How about we do a half hour session, and we’ll still get all the combinations of family members, nice portraits of everyone and the whole group together having fun. In a half hour I can give you exactly what you want, and we’ll just do it in one location instead of a couple.”

(I’ve actually done this before and the family/person was extremely grateful and totally happy to do it. But see what I did there? I’m now making $400 an hour and I just gave myself a raise by meeting their needs. This is assuming you do a session in one hour, which I usually do)

Photography Negotiation


$$$ TIP:

 This post doesn’t need much of a money tip, since the whole question and answer is about money! Just remember: There can always be a win-win in almost any negotiation. Find a way to say yes without just throwing away money or feeling like you’ve compromised

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