We understand value by comparing it to other items in the same category. For example, the price for a night at Four Seasons is indicative of its perceived higher value when compared to the price for a night at Holiday Inn.

So, a $2000 photographer is better than a $350 photographer. Am I right? Here’s a hint: It depends.

Pricing Right

One of my favorite activities is attending wine tasting sessions. This is because, quite frankly, I have trouble telling the difference between different wine qualities. Unless you are a wine connoisseur, I highly doubt that you could too.

domaine carneros champagne corks

When it comes to esoteric items, it’s difficult to tell the difference between good and great. Other obscure products include coffee, water, and beer. For example, I love coffee, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you which is of subjectively “higher quality” or, simply speaking, “more expensive.” But I could tell you when I taste bad coffee.


How are photography clients able to tell the difference between a good photographer vs. a great one? They haven’t labored over thousands of images a week to understand what makes a great photograph just as how I haven’t drunk a wide enough variety of coffee to know the difference between good and great.

Indicative Value

So, considering a bride (or mother of a newborn, father of a family, or …) only gets married once, how will she know who is a better photographer?

She will rely on mental shortcuts. A $5,000 photographer has to be better than an $800 photographer, right? At least that’s how it appears.

Be honest about what you can do. If you’re truly an $800 photographer at this point in your career, own it. If you’re highly skilled at what you do and put out the best quality out there, price yourself accordingly. You want to exceed expectations. That’s the name of the game in growing a business.

But does low balling work? It might be tempting to set ridiculously low prices to get a lot of work and build a reputation. But think about it this way: Would you eat $0.25 sushi? Sounds fishy, right?


Don’t try to undercut the market or worry too much about people who do. This usually just ends up as self-sabotage because being the cheapest is not a good brand differentiator.

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Your tofu loving friend,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. I want to share a nice note from David and Drexelle Park Studio

“The information that Lawrence provided was easy to understand and really helped us strategically construct our pricing and packages…

As a result, we recently booked our ideal bride with ease… [and made sure that our] services were a fit for her.

I highly recommend this for all photographers – old and new [to the industry]…”

Read more about this rewritten 2nd edition pricing e-book HERE.

Or …

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