How to charge for your photography without confidence

by Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor on September 26, 2017

in This is Business,This is Life

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Shush and smile.

This is how you charge for your photography without confidence.

The Holy Grail for many startup photographers is “confidently getting paid what you’re worth.” This is a noble cause, one you definitely work toward in the Photographer’s Journey, but there’s a chicken-egg conundrum here – how do you feel confident about something you’ve never done?

The transition from free ‘portfolio-builder’ shoots to paid shoots is a HUGE one. It takes so much bravery, and the internal battle rages:

“How much do I charge? I don’t feel like my art is worth anything.”

“Why would anyone pay for my art? I’m going to look foolish for asking.”

“Every time I try to tell people my prices, I chicken out, and immediately start apologizing and discounting.”

I had a great conversation with PTP reader Sherry yesterday. In my last newsletter e-mail, “You have what you need to get started as a pro photographer,” I asked as always for readers to Hit Reply and let me know what was holding them back.

Her response?

One word:


This led to a great exchange about pricing, clarity, self-worth, and how to overcome those deep-seated demons that tell you “you’re not worthy.”

Here’s a two-part solution:

Step 1: Shush.

Step 2: Smile.

These are the two steps you take immediately after sharing your pricing with a potential client.

“I charge no session fee and have no minimum order – you just buy what you love. Prints and files start at just $10, and my average client invests around $100, but again there’s no minimum.”

And then you SHUSH, and SMILE.

EVEN THOUGH your gut is clenching, you can’t find air, sweat is forming on your brow, and your tongue is RACING to wag and begin apologizing and discounting and offering your art, heart, and soul up for free.

Just SHUSH, and SMILE.

(Pro-tip: When you do next speak, the only thing you say is, “Would this Saturday or Sunday be a better day to set up a shoot together?” … then shush, and smile!)

Let me challenge you to test this this month. If you’re Post-Launch in the Photographer’s Journey, but you’re struggling to say your pricing out loud to potential clients and stand by it, just test this method for 30 days. Every time you have the chance to share your pricing, do so then SHUSH and SMILE. Commit to letting the world explode into a million pieces around you. May velociraptors gnaw at your elbows before you say another single world. But whatever you do, SHUSH and SMILE.

You’ll be amazed at how many of your unspoken fears of judgment and rejection don’t come to pass.

What’s the biggest challenge holding you back today? E-mail me today.

– James Michael

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