Photographers constantly are pressured to compete on price. It’s a function of supply and demand. Since there will always be some photographer willing to do the job for less than you, it’s never a good idea to compete for a job solely on price. But as clients tighten budgets even further, there will be increasing pressure to reduce your rates to get the job. What’s a photographer to do?
The best strategy is to keep your rates the same but find other ways to increase the value to the client. For example, look for ways to reduce expenses and still get the client the shot they need. Perhaps expenses can be reduced by finding cheaper alternatives for travel, talent or location, or it could result from working with the client to develop a new concept for the image that will be cheaper to produce.
Another area where you can provide more value is to give extended right for the use of the image, such as granting unlimited use for a specific period of time instead of just print and Web use. You risk losing some money in new licensing fees, but images aren’t always re-licensed. But never grant use for an unlimited amount of time and of course never give away all rights.
Lastly, perhaps you can work out an arrangement with a client where you’ll shoot at a reduced rate but all images they don’t choose can be used by you to license as stock. This way, the client is helping to pay the costs of your stock shoot. This only works if the nature of the shoot lends itself to stock imagery. The client will also usually stipulate that the images cannot be used by their competitor (of their client’s competitor if they are an ad agency) so the images would need to be licensed as Right Managed and not microstock. And always be sure that any model and property releases allow the images to used as stock.
There are many ways to provide more value to your clients without reducing your fees. Even in tough times, clients aren’t necessarily looking for “cheap,” but they are looking for “value.”
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