The Ultimate Tip for Creating Better Work

Eek! I'm so excited to be talking about this--it's something I've had on my mind since making the jump last July and the results blew my mind, y'all. This may be the easiest, biggest, most useful tip I can think of for any artist. Okay, you're dying to know so I'm cutting right to the chase. The ultimate tip for creating better work is this: RAISE YOUR PRICES. Whaaaat? It can't be this easy, right? What if I don't book any clients? What if I'm not worth it? What if I FAIL? Aaah! Okay, okay, these are all valid fears and concerns. But, if you've ever considered raising your prices, it's probably the move you NEED to make. Not only will you be working smarter, you will be creating BETTER work. Hear me out for sec...

Last year I was a few years into my photography business, I had niched down to family photography, and I was charging an all-inclusive amount for every session. I had steady sessions on my plate, though I wasn't even overworked...but guess what? I was still burnt out. I only LOVED about 10-15% of my images I made. I was only attracting my ideal clients 15-20% of the time. A lot of my sessions I would walk into nearly dreading. And part of me wondered if I would ever be where I dreamed of being. It seemed almost impossible.

I wanted to raise my prices badly, and I believed I was worth it, but fear held me back. Why? Because I was already NOT attracting my ideal clients. I was already NOT booking the amount of sessions that I assumed would deem me "successful". I figured that I needed to invest in things outside of myself in order to become worthy of raising my prices. If I invested in enough education, enough equipment, enough SEO and website building, THEN I would be good enough and worthy enough to start attracting my ideal clients. THEN I could start creating images I LOVED and THEN I could finally raise my prices and feel "successful". Now, these are all great resources to invest in. I assure you. However, if you are sure of the kind of work you want to create, you have professional grade equipment, and you have a website and a social media, then you may be overlooking the ultimate step in pushing you toward the work you dream of creating.

Okay, back to last year. I had already invested in lots of valuable education, I had just invested in film equipment and gotten confident in shooting it (something I had always wanted to eventually do), I knew EXACTLY what kind of images I wanted to make and the story I wanted to tell in my sessions. And guess what? I started losing money on my sessions (film is expensive, y'all, and so worth it to me--but that's for a later blog post). My all-inclusive package no longer served me, AT ALL! It actually took money from my own pocket--on sessions I wasn't even sure my clients valued. So I did it. I RAISED MY PRICES....a lot.

You know what happened next? You may have guessed it. NOTHING. I got ghosted more times that I can count on inquiries. My former clients could no longer afford my rates. But I didn't lower them after 2-3 months of being turned down. I knew my work was worth it. I knew what I could offer people and I knew the value it held. Moreover, I knew that I was not a photographer for someone wanting family photos for a Christmas card and hired on a whim. My prices didn't reflect that, BUT if someone valued my work enough, they would surely save up their money over a few months to be able to hire me, even if they weren't wealthy. I knew this first hand, because I saved my money as a single mother from my photography a few years prior in order to hire Brooke Schultz, a photographer outside of my usual budget but who's work I admired enough to save and invest in. All this to say, the silver lining is coming up, my friends.

I received my first inquiry a few months after raising my prices that didn't state "what are your rates?" It said, "I love you're work and I want to hire you". After being a bit let down by the last few months I reluctantly sent my pricing guide in fear of never hearing a reply. But guess what happened instead? Five minutes later, I was sent a the session fee and a session was scheduled. AT MY NEW PRICES. All it takes is ONE person, my friends. If ONE client sees your value and pays your asking price, then you know those clients are out there. They exist.

Let me tell you how that session went. I had all the time and energy to spend prepping for the shoot. I had time to speak to my client before the session to make sure they were 100% prepared, I had time to be there for them and hold space for them before the shoot, I had time to sketch compositions, plan prompts and poses, meditate and most importantly I had energy to be EXCITED for this shoot, the clients who valued my work, and what my work could potentially give to them and their kids for years to come. At the session, I was able to be 100% present with my clients and their space. I never fretted about how many frames I was taking the costs of the rolls of film I was using, the time spent with them being a certain amount, OR inconveniencing them by forcing them to do silly things or things that could potentially bother them. HA! This is a thing and if you're a photographer, you know what I 'm speaking on. I didn't mind to ask them to do the extra because I knew it would be worth it and I knew they were willing to pay my prices and expected my best work, whatever that meant.

I have never loved my images more than I did when I developed those photos. It reflected the images I always dreamed of creating and I was excited and honored to present them to my clients. And guess what--they purchased my highest package. The one I never even expected to sell. And just like that, my former ceiling became my new floor to stand on.

I am here to tell you that I have since booked more sessions after that first encouraging one at my new prices. And although I am shooting less work, I have already made more money than I did the entire year prior to raising them. And most importantly, I am excited and in love with every single session I work. My cup is filled and I am so proud of the work I have created and delighted by the idea of what my images could mean to families for years and years to come.

So quickly, here's a recap of WHY raising your prices could be the Ultimate Tip for Creating Better Work:

  • You are able to invest more time and energy on every client (educating, prepping, planning)

  • You are able to invest more money on every session (time at shoot, film costs, etc)

  • You will be attracting your ideal client (those who choose to invest in you, specifically)

  • You will be excited about every session knowing your value is seen and reciprocated

  • You will ultimately be excited about every session and the gifts you are able to give your client

  • You will always be creating your best work!

Did this blog post help reshape the ideas you hold about pricing and inspire you with the work you could potentially be creating and the tools you could use to get there? Let me know in the comments!

Keep creating, Tricia

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