Psssst. Hey buddy. Wanna buy some photography?
What about that photographer who will take your photo and give you a disk for $60? Isn’t that a great deal? It might be, it might not.
I’m going to change perspectives on you. I’m going to approach this by telling you what I would tell another photographer or another business owner. Here goes. Make sure you are sitting down. Some of this may be shocking to you.
Here is what I would say to another business owner:
Do you want to be the best or do you want to be the cheapest? What kind of customers do you want? Wal-mart customers or Tiffany customers? If you choose to be the best, and charge accordingly, you will have Tiffany customers. If you choose to be the cheapest, and charge accordingly, you will have Wal-mart customers. Additionally consider this. No matter how cheap you are someone else will always be cheaper.
Wal-mart customers are white trash. Wal-mart customers shop on price alone. Wal-mart customers complain about everything. Wal-mart customers return things that aren’t damaged. Wal-mart customers return things that were not even purchased at Wal-mart. Wal-mart customers are a constant pain in the ass.
I had to learn this the hard way. I gave a discount to someone because I fell for the sob story about not having enough money and how expensive it was and how she got ripped off before. Yup. I fell for it. I gave the discount. I lost money on the project. But had that been all there was to it I could have lived with that. No. This person was being a pain in my ass six months later. The Wal-mart customer is not only impossible to please but also never stops complaining. Nothing is ever good enough for the discounted price she paid.
There there is the Tiffany customer. The Tiffany customer has class. Knows what she wants. Is able to recognize quality and is willing to pay for it. She wants the best. She recognizes the best. She’s sought out the best and is content with paying for the best. The Tiffany customer doesn’t complain because she is receiving the best. The best quality and the best customer service. Why? Because she sought it out and paid for it. Because she has standards and made a wise selection.
As a business owner you have to decide which type of customer you want to deal with.
Here ends my advice to business owners.
Now back to you my potential customer. Which type of customer are you? Wal-mart or Tiffany?
If you are the Wal-mart type of customer then you don’t need to be wasting the time of a professional photographer. You have options. Wal-mart portrait studio or Sears portrait studio. You can have your photo taken in front of a blue backdrop. You can pose with your hands in front of you, one on top of the other, just like the 35,496 people who came before you. If that is what you want to pay for then that is exactly what you should receive.
And let me be clear about this – sometimes that’s good enough. Sometimes good enough is in fact good enough. If Wal-mart or Sears can satisfy your photography needs at a price that works for you then by all means go there. I have had my photo taken at Wal-mart. It was what I needed at the time. It was good enough. There is no shame or disgrace in doing it.
Yet, what if you want to be a Tiffany customer? What if you want the best, need the best and are willing to pay for it? In that case you are an On The Fly Photography customer. Or a Time/Place Photography customer. Or maybe an Absinthe Photography customer. Or the customer of any other creative professional photographer.
Does this explain to you why you should be willing to pay top dollar for a photographer? If it doesn’t then you might wanna get to Wal-mart. I think they are having a sale on 7 piece screwdriver sets.
This is the third post in a series about selecting a photographer. There will be more to come. You can find all the posts by going to the categories tab above and clicking on “selecting a photographer”.