Should You Post Your Prices on Your Websites

The pricing is a satire , please do NOT use this example on your website... NEVER give away RAW files

It’s becoming a common question. Should I post my prices on my website? Photographers struggle with this question as much as they are deciding how MUCH they should charge for their work, it’s a critical decision. Make the wrong decision here, and you could cost yourself a lot of business. Thing is potential customers love bargain shopping and they will look at the prices on your site and never call you. A potential client calling you and asking questions about your pricing and your work is a much better option.
Here’s my take...I’ve had a website of some kind since 1994, I built one of the first portfolio websites around. Over time I experimented with several ideas even used some hybrid solutions. In short, there is no perfect answer for anyone, nor is there a right or wrong answer, but my experience has taught me that there are some guidelines you should carefully consider before you decide.

First, you have to understand and define your market. Are you appealing to the price-conscious bride or the high-end, couture bride? Are you selling “fine art” or are you selling “posters.” Knowing your market is extremely important. If you’re at the low end, frankly, you’re offering a commodity – wedding photography or posters for instance – and in that case, I believe showing your price online is probably a good idea. After all, if you compete on price, then you want the thing you compete on to be front and center. If you want to sell inexpensive weddings or posters or post cards, etc., then make that your message loud, early and often. If your clients believe there’s no difference between the 8×10″ print you sell and the 8×10″ print your competition sells, then you will need to be cheaper to win the business.

If on the other hand you’re going for the carriage trade – the country club wedding, the fine art buyer, etc., then I believe there’s no need to disclose your price. In these situates, the buyer isn’t money conscious. They aren’t looking for the best deal. They’re looking for the right fit. There’s no need to talk money until they are sure they are comfortable with your style, your approach and your demeanor. In these cases money is often no object, and if you post a price it may be much lower than the client was willing to pay. If the client has high expectations and a big budget, your low price may actually COST you the job, because the client may assume that you aren’t qualified to do it since you charge so little.

There are a couple of other considerations. If you want to try the hybrid approach, you can say something like “Our packages start at $XXX.” This helps weed out the lower end price shoppers who think $100 is too much to pay for a job. It also provides wiggle room in case you get a client who values your work, your art and the experience more than the money they spend.

If you don’t want to list prices to avoid price shoppers, another way to accomplish is to say something like, "Each assignment is as important and precious as the images we will create for you. We don’t offer package pricing, but we are willing to work with you to create somthing that you will be happy to walk away with."

This is a subtle way of selling against package prices since it implies (and you can more directly say it if you prefer) that package pricing doesn’t always meet the client’s needs. What if the client doesn’t want wallets size but the package includes them? Best to let the client share what they hope for and then react with a price based on negotiation including knowing their budget in advance.

So I am sorry to say that I can’t tell you yes/no – prices should/shouldnt go on your web site. There’s no one size fits all solution. Think about these concepts and make the best decision you can. If it doesn’t work, you can always change it. After all, it’s not like a Yellow Pages ad you have to live with for a year.