Every now and then I will come across a client who, for whatever reason, cannot afford myself and my team’s rates. The response is they ask for a discount. Typically what I will do at that point is work to reduce the size of the project to match their budget. What I will not do is change my mind about the price I gave.

Essentially I do not waver on my price and neither should you. Suppose you are asked to do an 8 hour modeling gig and you quote the client a rate of $500 for the day (just using round numbers here). The client comes back to ask if you can do it for $250. If you agree to shoot for 8 hours at $250, then you just said to the client that you didn’t believe in the $500 rate you originally asked for.

If, however, your approach was instead to say that you can do a 4 hour shoot, or you could do the full 8 hours but there needed to be something else involved (i.e. you got rights to the photos, you could do a video segment on set for your own purposes, they would do something else for you, etc.) then you still control the negotiation.

To translate into photography. A client has a budget of 5K for a commercial shoot and I sent them an estimate for 8K. I then try to find how I can remove 3K of value to match their budget. Maybe I do a few less set ups. Maybe I do a few less edits. Maybe I give them less rights to the images. But this was I never change what my original rate was.

What is my other mode of pricing? Free. But that is reserved for projects that I set up myself for things I love.

My goal is to never be in the middle of those two rates.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto