Sales & Pricing
Mar 2021

Negotiating Photography Prices: How to Avoid Things Getting Weird

7 min read

Negotiating your photography prices doesn’t have to be a negative experience when you understand where your client’s coming from with these pricing truths.


Understand why photography clients try to negotiate your prices

You’ve priced yourself in a manner that allows you to work enough to pay yourself without having to work so much that your work-life balance is entirely out of whack. You’re fair to yourself and your clients.

So why do people still ask for that dreaded discount? 

Take a look at why people broach pricing negotiation and how to get that booking without cutting into your bottom line.

Four pricing truths that are hard to swallow

Understanding the underlying reasons people counter your price list with a negotiation process will give you the confidence to respond in a way that better serves everyone that inquires with you.

couple in field

Lexi Foster

#1: You’ll never charge what you’re worth

Worth has nothing to do with what you should charge! When someone contacts you and asks for a deal right off the bat, please know, it isn’t an attack on your value as a photographer or worth as a business person! 

Are you still getting your hackles up? What if I pulled in a little tighter on that? 

Your worth as a human is not equal to what someone is willing to pay for your services.

So how do you price yourself?

#ShootProofPRO Tip

Don’t negotiate your photography prices! Be confident in your pricing equation!

Truth be told, you shouldn’t be charging some arbitrary number you align with what you think you’re worth. It doesn’t matter if you capture light way better than the wedding photographer next door, and she’s already charging 10k per wedding!

Your pricing should be a fine-tuned calculation that adds up your strengths, customer service, and experience with market share, demand, and overall business expenses. 

Mindset application: When you remove the concept of charging what you’re worth, you cut out the offense that comes when someone requests a discount.

couple hugging

Lexi Foster

#2: You simply can’t work with everyone

It may sound super obvious, but sometimes you need to remind yourself that you are not supposed to work with every person who likes your photography. And thank goodness for that!

Think about the sustainability of your business and not burning out. You can’t humanly deliver consistent results and excellent customer service if you were to accept every prospective client that pops into your inbox!

#ShootProofPRO Tip

Don’t negotiate your photography prices! Set up a referral system and keep dates open for ideal clients!

Instead of being tempted to reduce your prices to meet the inquiry where they are, consider offering up a list of alternative photographers you love and trust that come in at their specific price range. 

You’ll thank yourself when you get an inquiry from someone that wants to book you at your largest collection on the same day!

couple in field

Lexi Foster

#3: They can’t see the difference between a good photo and a great one

You know your camera like the back of your hand. Your post-production skills are unmatched. You’ve perfectly curated everything you post on social media.

But they want you to negotiate your prices, or they’ll have to hire their uncle with a pretty big camera? 

Most people outside of the art world don’t know the difference between a professional photographer and Uncle Bob.

#ShootProofPRO Tip

Don’t negotiate your photography prices! Focus on the value and service you provide your clients!

From the first consultation, educate your clients on everything you bring to the table – not just your phenomenal pictures! Show them the value of hiring you by highlighting what makes you a true professional.

Some wedding photographer specialties:

  1. Can you fly through family portraits in a certain amount of time?
  2. Are you able to light up the dance floor like a boss?
  3. Does your calming character soothe any day of drama?
  4. Will you break the laws of physics to get the must-have shot?

Bonus: Ask direct questions to understand your clients’ specific pain points, then highlight how you can solve each one. 

couple in golden field

Lexi Foster

#4: Some people can’t afford you

What is cheap for one person may be expensive for another. How much people can budget for a photographer depends on so many factors, and only rarely does it have anything to do with you.

So if an inquiry comes in asking for a bit of wiggle room, understand with grace that this potential client values your work enough to contact you even though they can’t fit you into their finances.

#ShootProofPRO Tip

Don’t negotiate your photography prices! Get that booking by offering payment plans!

Just because a customer cannot pay for your services all upfront, doesn’t mean they can’t find a way to make it happen in the long run. Work with your client to break up the payments into easily digestible bits that allow them to book you without ruining their budget.

couple on road

Lexi Foster

Note from the author – The secret love language of price transparency

While I firmly believe in never negotiating my photography prices, I also believe in never evading questions about how and why I price myself the way I do. 

When clients book me, they know exactly what they get. I present my prices to every customer in a clear and precise fashion. I never hit my clients with additional charges or confusing numbers. 

Price transparency lays a solid foundation for setting expectations and providing exceptional customer service.


Written by RACHAEL LAPORTE | Photographs by LEXI FOSTER PHOTOGRAPHY LLC via Two Bright Lights

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