Aside from intrinsic benefits of a partner to bounce ideas off of, there are deliberate advantages of working with someone in a business – it could even be associate photographers.

The two advantages I want to share today are techniques to

  1. safely and immediately increase your pricing
  2. build better customer relationships

Before I continue, make sure to protect yourself from common pitfalls of working with somebody. Be clear from the get-go of expectations and responsibilities. Protect yourself with contracts. In this shaky economy, people easily sue each other out of desperation or sheer shenanigans.

How to Safely and Immediately Increase Your Pricing

Every business has a comfort zone — a pricing range at which it is confident to get repeated business. However, in order to venture out to uncharted waters, it’s scary to increase your prices at the risk of losing all of your current prospects.

great barrier reef

So, rather than setting up one pricing structure for the two (or more) of you, disassociate yourself as the primary and charge more to guarantee your presence. Make sure to have a discernable reason as to why you’re a “better” shooter.

For example, to book you is $2,500. To book an associate (husband / wife, partner) is $2,100. Hint at the suggestion that if you’re available, you would come shoot with the associate. Under promising and over delivering leaves a positively indelible impression on people.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is in effect here. An extra $400 can go a long way … like letting your customers sleep better at night.

burger sliders

This works reversibly as well. If you already charge a nice premium, get associates to scoop up the lower end prospects. Use them as the face of the transactions and show up as an over delivery. Win-win.

You can read more about choices in fear and benchmarking of rates in my pricing e-book.

How to Build Better Customer Relationships

I get my haircuts at this old sports themed salon. Whenever I call in to make appointments, I talk to Jenny the receptionist. When I arrive, John would greet me and cut my hair.

John and I would chat about things we did over the weekend and whatnot. After I’m all cleaned up, he’d walk me to Jenny and wish me a good week. Jenny would process my order and collect my money.

lawrence chan

Jenny is the market norm — handler of logistics and money collecting. John is the social norm — fun and amicable person you want to high five. It’s very clear that the norms are never confused. Why? Imagine how weird it would be for John to be friendsy-friends and then ask for his $25 commission.

It reminds me a lot of Dawn and Bob Davis’s teamwork. When I had the honor of working with them, they shared with me that Dawn is the accountant of the two. Bob is the creative.

Similar to John and Jenny, you should decide which role to play. If you’re the primary photographer, be the creative and friendly one. When clients are ready to book, have your associate / partner process the contracts and deposits. You’ll never have awkward moments involving money (or other market norms).

If you’re by yourself, then try to insert a breaker in between the two sessions (creating a relationship and booking the client). Pause for a drink or change to another table or room if convenient like, “Let’s look over the contracts in my office after a quick break. Drink?”


All of this (especially the pricing strategy) deals with human behavior and psychology. Fun stuff, right?

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. My stay in Washington DC is coming to an end. I’m glad in a way. The east coast is too humid for me this time of the year. I’m sticky 24/7.

washington monument

P.P.S. A lovely note by Jimmy Moncrief (just this morning!) regarding my pricing ebook —

I bought your pricing book as a Christmas gift to my wife. She implemented several strategies you recommended, and has book more wedding with a 50% increase in her prices!

Thank you!

P.P.P.S. Another lovely note by Mili regarding my pricing e-book —

I purchased your eBook, and was soo hooked on it! It’s probably the best marketing, and simple book, I’ve read. Thank you for your awesome advice as well.

Again, a big thank you for your vision and going through the psychology behind how we purchase goods!

Are you writing any other ebooks in this area? If so, I would be happy to purchase them, as I love how you narrate everything and make it really simple for people to read and grasp.