would you price haggle with your doctor? // and other problems artists face

think about this scenario…
you’re a doctor.
one of your friends, who has been looking for a new doctors’ office, calls you.

friend: hey, friend! can you get me in to your office?
you: oh hey! sure! does next monday work for you?
friend: well, I was kind of hoping you’d be able to get me in tomorrow.
you: hmm, I think I’m pretty booked…
friend: what about at 10?
you: no, I’m pretty sure I’m booked all day… does monday not work for you?
friend: well, it does I just want to get in sooner.
you: I don’t know, I really don’t see any openings before that.
friend: can’t you just ask one of your other patients if they can do monday?
you: well, no…
friend: oh fine… I guess monday works.
you: so, 10 on monday?
friend: yeah, that’s good. so, how much is a visit?
you: it’s $65.
friend: how does $45 sound?
you: excuse me?
friend: $45. because, I mean, you know me. and don’t you think $65 is a little steep?
you: well, actually $65 is a pretty conservative price. there are several offices that charge more.
friend: but, you know me, I’ve got four kids. I can’t be dropping $65 all the time with everything else I have to be paying for!
you: well, I understand, but I’m really not sure what to tell you… I can’t drop prices for everyone I know… there’s a lot of work that goes into what I do.
friend: seriously? I thought for sure we could… you know… work something out…
you: I’m… sorry…
friend: well, just schedule me for monday.
you: alright, you are on the schedule!

** late sunday night **

friend calls
friend: hey, I’m not going to be able to make it tomorrow.
you: oh… I’m sorry.
friend: yeah… do you know of any other offices that charge less that I could get into on short notice?
you: excuse me?
friend: for tomorrow morning.
you: umm…
friend: you know what, it’s fine. no worries! I’ll just do it myself. I mean, it can’t be that hard!

hopefully, you are shocked and horrified that anyone would treat a doctor and friend with such disrespect.
or be so ridiculously uninformed as to think that she could do the work of a doctor herself!
not only is it offensive, it’s laughably outrageous!
and (hopefully!) something that none of us would ever do.

unfortunately, as a photographer, I have been seen this happen to me and fellow artists on several occasions.
(go ahead and reread that scenario with a photographer or freelance artist in mind, as opposed to a doctor.)

no, I’m not kidding.
it happens.
on the regular.

for some reason, in an artist’s line of work, it is (so strangely) considered acceptable to haggle prices, drop out of a session last-minute, suggest that their skills are insignificant, or assume that they can work entirely around your difficult schedule, simply because they are someone you know, they don’t have a college degree for what they are doing, or because the client personally finds their work less important or meaningful than that of other professions.

I’ve really heard it all.
olivia GR3

as a photographer, I love my clients. ❤
I love getting to know them and their families and capturing priceless moments in their lives that they can only ever relive through the images I take.
though I did not go to school for photography, it took several years and countless hours of practice and dedication to learn the art of photography.
I have invested not only a lot of time, but a lot of money into my craft- cameras, lenses, professional-grade editing software, protective gear for my other gear… that’s thousands of dollars, if you add it all up!
I have not only basic knowledge of how to work my instrument (my camera), but a distinct style, a certain feel, and a lot of carefully cultivated people and business skills that go into making clients feel comfortable in front of my camera and creating the perfect images for their family and situation in life.
I spend hours after the photography session weeding out the best images, editing them to my personal style, and creating a package to send back to them that will make the client feel valued and special.
I work my absolute hardest to make clients look their absolute best.

and I do my very best to price my services reasonably for the people I want to service, while still making sure it is a fair price for the significant amount of work I put into preparing for, shooting, and editing each and every session I schedule.

field4

before haggling prices with a photographer (or other artist or entrepreneur), suggesting that they charge too much, or asking that they make large sacrifices or adjustments to accommodate you or your schedule, think about it for a minute.
would you treat a doctor, scientist, tutor, or other business professional the same way?

your photographer would love to help and accommodate you!!
on rare occasion, I have even lowered my prices (sometimes dramatically) to help families in difficult financial situations who would not be able to capture a significant life event otherwise.
I travel, re-schedule, and work around complications for my clients because I believe everyone should have images by which to remember such special times.
I’ve even given free sessions as birthday or anniversary gifts to friends who I know would appreciate them.
dad kidsbw

but am I almost never willing to do so for someone who believes they are entitled to such preference or belittles my line of work.

I have worked very hard, as has every other successful businessman or woman, to perfect my skill set and arrive at a place where I am confident and proud of the work I do and the results I get! 🙂 although I’ll always be growing and learning (as everyone should!) I really love being good at what I love to do! and even more, I love sharing my talent with people, so they can be blessed by it.
it’s one of the greatest things I’ll ever get to do, and I consider it a major privilege that I’m able to do it.
jenny32

but…

my work is not easy.

my work is not something that just anyone can do.

my work is a valuable profession requiring many hard-earned skill sets.

my work is something I love to do, and that I am good at.

and therefore my work is not simple or cheap.

and I’m proud of that! 🙂

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