Why choosing the lowest priced photographer will be your biggest mistake

Hi everyone. My name is Michael and I am an expert boudoir photographer who works with wonderful women from all across New Jersey and the NYC area. Finding the right photographer is hard... but with a bit of work you can keep from making a big mistake. Found the lowest priced photographer and think you've got the deal of the decade? ...Maybe not. Read below for some great insight into how the lowest price will often be your biggest mistake.

"Let me stop you right there--" are words you may hear from me sometimes when I speak to potential clients. See, I like to play Marvin the Mind-reader sometimes after I hear a client say certain key phrases along the lines of "I found this photographer on craigslist once and---" because, sadly, I know where that story goes from there.

​​It's not fun hearing about someone who has had a bad result with their photographer. People often have the best of intentions when they set out on their hunt, and can't immediately be blamed for their bad decisions. As consumers, we are programmed to be deal hunters from early in life. Deals are an American birthright! Deals on cars. Deals on vacations. If finding a dress you've been dying to get on sale for $100 is great-- finding it somewhere else for $75 is even better. Deals are great, but in some situations...well...not so much.

I talk to many people throughout the year and one of reasons I may hear for not working with me is "you're too expensive." This may be for several reasons. 1) They may not have reasonable expectations. 2) Someone may not be knowledgeable about photography pricing in general. 3) Finally, some folks just may not have the disposable income to work in my style-- which I completely understand. I'm not for everyone, nor do I expect to be.

Reasons 2 & 3 have workable solutions. I can certainly help educate a prospective clients and give valuable information to help from possibly making a bad decision. And this applies across all types of photographic services. As for item 3-- The best advice I offer to someone who has budget concerns is to save. Don't get a hack job. I offer payment plans in some situations, which can be helpful to people who enjoy my style of work and can pay for their products over time. I know other photographers may do that as well, so ask. As for item 1-- There isn't much I can do about an unreasonable person-- you can't argue with ignorance, so I don't bother.

Lets go back in time...

A few years ago I received a message through my website from a woman wanting session information. I called her soon afterward and before I even finished introducing myself on the phone she was already asking "I just wanna know, how much is it?" I know well enough from hearing those words even before I get a chance to ask her a few questions that I'm in for a rough ride. She's probably not my type of client. One of the benefits of being involved in sales for years is you develop certain instincts.

"I don't think I'd be the right photographer for you" I replied, which threw her off a bit. I then continued to tell her briefly about my services. We talked for about 10 minutes, and after her initial bit of phone stress we had a pleasant enough conversation about her looking for a gift for her husband.

To my surprise she contacted me once again a few months later "Remember me?" After another 15 minute conversation she said "I think I'm going to do it. I'll let you know in a few days." About two days later I receive an email, "...so sorry, I found someone who is going to give me a session, all the digital files, and an album for $75." Her email was tacitly trying to find out if I would do the same. No thank you, have fun with your session, I replied, knowing exactly what her future held.

Flash forward another three weeks and I received another surprise email from her essentially stating "OMG. I just had to let you know the disaster I went through." She seemed in good spirits despite her apparent bad ordeal, but nevertheless I hate hearing it. She stated she drove all the way to Pennsylvania to meet this woman who did her session on a couch in a garage. She wouldn't dare give these photos to her husband, and the "album" this photographer sent her was apparently a plastic 4x6 photo holder from a dollar store with a few bad snapshots in it.