"I am worth a living wage" - Successfully Raise Your Prices And Overcome Self Doubt!
Changing how our clients perceive the value of birth photography is not necessarily about convincing them they HAVE TO HAVE IT (“This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, capture it!”) as much as influencing how they FEEL about our presence and about the work we do. So how can we, as birth photographers, influence, change or improve any preconceived notions about birth photography. Notions that prevent moms from hiring us?
Here are just a few notions that the photographers in the Birthbound community would love to eradicate:
”It’s too expensive”
”It’s too graphic”
”Anyone can do it”
“I don’t look that good when I give birth”
“Who would want pictures of their vagina?”
“Birth photography is only for home birth moms”
”My husband said no way, he thinks it’s weird, and doesn’t want me exposed that way”
From Care Providers
”Photographers have no place in the birth room”
”They’ll just get in our way”
”Birth photographers have an agenda”
”They have no idea what they’re doing, why aren’t they photographing that? Or that?”
“If I can’t afford it, I shouldn’t charge it”
”Oh but it’s just an honor to be there”
These notions challenge the “value” of our craft. All of them. And yet, deep down we fear that they are actually true! In reality, these grave misconceptions about birth photography are just feeding our insecurities and casting doubt on our self worth.
So what we should really be concerning ourselves with, rather than changing minds, is the perceived value of birth photography.
Let’s use the music industry and public access to music as an example. In the 50s, 60s, 70s, and even into the 80s, it was all about vinyl records. After records came cassette tapes. Cassettes were all the rage until about 1990, with the introduction of the almighty CD. But the popularity of CDs lasted even less than cassette tapes, when around 2000 music could be streamed for free or at a low monthly cost. And with that development, vinyl made a comeback - in 2014. WHY? Because music fans realized that they want to experience the fullness of a music artist’s creation. They value the artwork on the cover, they want to read the liner notes. Similarly, in our social media driven world, influencers are popping up everywhere, and people want to know them. They want to see into their lives. They want to watch their creative processes. They want to interact with them.
Bottom line, consumers are assigning more value to the overall brand of a person rather than simply their end product. Because it makes them FEEL and CONNECT. Therein lies the value. When we worry ourselves with the petty stuff, we subconsciously devalue ourselves and lose focus on what truly matters.
Were we to take any part of this and apply it to our work as birth photographers, it should be that parents get far more than just pictures when they hire a birth photographer. They get a story. They get vivid memories of that day. But they also get US, all of us, with our presence, our experience, our skill, our time and our value. It really is a FULL EXPERIENCE!
In a women-driven, woman-empowering field such as birth photography, we should feel much more confident about our work and its value. If you are struggling with charging a living wage, or even better, a comfortable wage, here are some tips to help get you there.
TELL YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE WORTHY OF GETTING PAID.
Say it out loud. Several times a day if necessary. Write it down. Plaster it all over your bathroom. Make sure it’s a message you are receiving on the daily. The reason you do not believe you can make XYZ is that you do not believe you are worth XYZ. Plain and simple. You have to change your mindset!
HEAL YOUR OWN RELATIONSHIP WITH MONEY.
What are your fears surrounding money? Maybe you don’t feel that you manage it well. Maybe you grew up with little of it, or too much of it. Regardless of what it is that’s holding you back, HEAL THYSELF. How does a negative relationship with money affect you as a business owner? You might believe it’s unethical to charge a lot of money. That you’d be depriving deserving women of birth photos. Perhaps you’ve fallen victim to the lie that busy equals success. You want to be the Mother Theresa of birth photography! First of all BULK is not, and never has been, perceived as VALUE. And second of all these thoughts, every single one of them, take your value completely out of the equation, and instead focus on appearances. Think about that.
REFLECT ON WHAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT WITHIN YOUR BUSINESS, especially any concerns with clients. What would you change? Are your clients demanding? Are they disrespectful of your time? Asking for extensions on payment, impatient about when they’ll see their images, texting you after business hours, nitpicking your contract… These are all signs that you need a higher quality clientele. And guess what? That’s exactly what charging more will bring you. Remember, by offering things for cheap, you attract people who want things for cheap.
FOCUS ON THE END RESULT, NOT ON HOW MUCH TIME IT TAKES TO GET THERE.
There is no fast track to making more money. There is a lot of trial and error. You’ll need to have a lot of patience. I often hear birth photographers complain that just a few months after raising their prices, nobody is booking. What they are really feeling though, is fear. Fear of inadequacy. So they drop their prices back down. 3, 6, even 9 months may NOT be enough time to see results. And honestly, if charging less has worked so well for you, then you should be booked far enough into the foreseeable future that you have time to be more patient and wait for the results to come.
You only have 24 hours in a day. Spend that much time at or on one single birth and that is an ENTIRE day gone from your week. Think about all the things you can accomplish in a SINGLE DAY. Now put a price on it!
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS.
You HAVE to know your numbers or you will never increase your profits. In fact you will likely crash and burn before ever reaching your goals. It is ALL IN the numbers. You should know where every minute of your time and where every dime of your expenses are going. Add to that the value of your skill set, as well as the means to avoid the “overwhelm zone”. What will it mean for you to keep from getting overwhelmed? Delegating work to others? Sharing call with another photographer? Hiring a maid? Getting monthly massages? Putting your kids into more extracurricular actives? Figure out what will make life more manageable for you and factor it into your cost of doing business. Protecting your sanity and time is priceless. You deserve to not only feel compensated, but financially safe! While also allowing yourself to live a balanced life.
Now, for all you practical folk, who are nodding and saying yeah yeah yeah to all this psychological woohoo, here is a GREAT list of bonafide strategies for increasing your sales!
Want to LEARN MORE? Then our Resource Library is just for you!
**BONUS download your “I am worth a living wage” printable HERE