In a given week I may have 4-5 people reach out to me to inquire about rates to book a session with my team and myself. I want to be clear, when this happens, I feel honored. I’ve worked extremely hard for the past 15 years to build up my brand and my work to a level where people seek my work out. I take that very seriously.

In the past calendar year alone I’ve had not one, but two, clients travel 7,800 miles to work with me from Sydney to Phoenix.

Whenever someone reaches out to me I realize that they have numerous options on which photographer they could choose. Even if they don’t even up becoming a client, I take pride in the fact they took the step to connect.

That said, I know I am almost never the least expensive option, especially in my local market. A significant portion of the last 15 years has been growing the level of clientele I have. You would be extremely hard-pressed to find another photographer in my market who shoots images that get published and picked up as much as the work of my team and myself do. That is someone I take great personal pride it. We don’t just take pictures; we make images that work for our clients.

With that, comes a higher fee compared to other photographers who, although may take good images, don’t have the history of getting those images published like we do.

Needless to say, a number of people who connect with us can’t afford to go through with the booking or they prefer a more affordable option.

This is never something that upsets or offends me. Part of growing the brand to where it is presently, and where it is going, means that it is not for everyone.

Perhaps the price at this point is too high, or perhaps the style isn’t what they are looking for (yes I’ve declined to take on work where I didn’t match up stylistically to what the client expected).

Either way, my approach to those who reached out is the same. The first is to thank them, again, for connecting with me. The reality that I at least made their list of options is a privileged. Second is to let them know that I am aware that my prices are higher than most, and reinforce why they are where they are at but that I understand that me services and my prices and not for anyone and I truly hope that the person or persons they end up hiring give them a fantastic service. Finally I let them know that if anything changes to please stay in touch and let me know if they would ever like to revisit a booking.

I do not want to close a door on someone. I’ve had clients who ended up hiring other services providers, then a few months later saved up and hired myself and my team.

It is important to note that I don’t take every project as a life or death match up. If I did I would die a hell of a lot more times than I would live. Just because someone can’t hire me now does not mean I will lose my business and everything I’ve worked so hard for.

I truly believe my energy is best spent on continuing to try and grow my brand and earn the right to get more work.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto