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You Get What You Pay For


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The saying, “You get what you pay for,” cannot be attributed to any one person.  If you search the Internet, you’ll find it everywhere.  Who said it first?  I have no idea.  BUT, if you ask me, it was probably someone who paid a friend of a friend $20 to do their first headshot.

Northern Virginia is an extremely competitive marketplace, especially for photographers.  When I moved up here from Georgia, it was hard to figure out my pricing strategy.  Just like any entrepreneur who provides a service, it was really, really hard to adequately value my time when I just wanted people to experience my work.

I confess: I gave away too much back then.  I had a hard time saying “no”. 

Somewhere along the way, I realized that if I didn’t value my own time and talent, then no one else would.  Once I valued myself, everything began to fall into place.

We should all take advice from the auto industry – the masters of pricing.  Yes, it is true that some of your cash could be going to the buy into the brand itself.  Luxury cars price themselves out of the average person’s budget for a reason. 

Yet, let’s just say you want a car.  You want a car that is solid, dependable, and represents you as a person.  There are lots of options.  Maybe you figure out that a little sedan suits your needs.  Do you buy a used one to save money?  Or, do you buy new from a manufacturer with great ratings?

If you choose to go cheap, there’s a good chance you are going to end up paying more in the end.  Car repairs are expensive, and maybe there’s a reason someone else offloaded the hunk of junk.  $4,000 could quickly turn into $5,000 or $6,000 within a year. 

The new car?  Well, your payment is only $250 a month, and it runs like a dream.  It represents you as a person (because you got to choose the color and the options), it’s fuel-efficient, and you know that it is going to get you from point A to point B for years and years – without any costly repairs.

I know, I know, why the car talk?  Well, it’s like headshot industry.  I figured out that I’m not the used car dealer.  I’m not the photographer that is going to make you cry when you see how bad you look in your proofs.  I’m not the photographer who is going to settle for bad lighting, a zit on your forehead, or outdated camera equipment.  I’m not going to have you stand in front of a wall and cross my fingers for $20.

Those photographers are out there.  I’m not one of them.

I am the affordable car manufacturer with great ratings.  I’m dependable.  I create great lighting if the day doesn’t provide it for me, and I take away that little zit because it’s not the best version of you.  I can guarantee that you will get a headshot that you can get some great mileage with, and that represents you the way you need to be represented.

I may not be the cheapest, but I am the best deal in the long run.  And you know what?  I love that.

Read the Comments +

  1. Ken says:

    Agree! 100% I actually had a few clients "leave" when I was presented with "cheaper" options and they wanted me to price match. I almost caved, but stood my ground. I’ve been doing this a long time. I know what I am doing and pretty darn good at it. It paid off in the long run, and both clients are back…and happy to be back. They indeed "got what they paid for" when they tested the waters elsewhere. Footnote: This is not boasting, this is not ego….as professionals we must value our time and talent. I think it also creates a better sense of professionalism.

    • Aliyah Dastour says:

      Yes, and it truly creates an environment where you value your time which will in turn help others realize you are offering a product or service that is worth a lot of value (does that make sense). I mean, come on, would you value a maserati that you purchased more or a beat up ol honda that you paid next to nothing for? Will they both get the job done in terms of transporting you to your destination? sure. But they are def. very very different.

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