According to the title, a photographer who charges by the hour is like a vending machine in the photography world. It’s all wrong, and my quest is to help you make more money.
We also know that this can be considered insulting. It is insulting to me to underestimate your service and position yourself in a way that does not benefit your growth. See below for some of the reasons I believe that hourly photography fees can hurt your business.
Why is hourly charging bad for your photography business?
How much is the hourly wage for your photo? Trigger question! Hourly rates are bad for businesses, but many photographers participate in them because they are afraid to do other things.
- Low perceived value: Hourly charging helps reduce your perceived value with the perfect photo client. That means you’re just working hours, not the actual experience they can enjoy. You are exchangeable. Photography is a luxury item and people want to enjoy it. They will probably pay the highest price for a fun experience, like a nice dinner in a fine dining restaurant.
Passport photos are mandatory and quick. They are not creative, and they are cheap. Wedding photos, face photos, baby portraits and more: these are all gorgeous items. They should be empirical and what the client is looking forward to. Clients who pay good prices want high quality and a great experience. They avoid bargain basement-type services. Charging every hour will reduce the perceived value. They assume you are a bargain product and it will discourage the type of client who pays a good price.
- You are fixed in the corner: When clients get your hourly wage, they start making other decisions that boost your level of comfort. Imagine a client who says, “I just need a few shots, nothing serious. It’s easy.” Do you think the client will try to pay you in 30 minutes instead of 1 hour? They will do so! There is a better way to charge. This will be explained in the video.
- You attract bad clients: Hourly rates invite unwanted clients. I’m not saying they are bad people. I say they are unwanted clients. They shop based on price, not service providers. These clients are loyal to the cheapest rates and always prioritize them. When you want to raise your rates, they will probably shop elsewhere for the next cheap hourly photographer. While it attracts unwanted clients, it keeps you and those who stay for a long time away.
- You are an artist, not a vending machine: Vending machines get the job done, but that’s not what you want to pay more than a few dollars. When you put in the money, you’ll hear a voice behind your head saying, “Just wait for something better. Don’t do this.” Once the purchase is complete, the buyer’s convenience often continues. It doesn’t make you praise or feel good. In almost all situations, it is a decision that people regret. They could have waited for a better option, even if it was a more expensive but better experience. They could have eaten a healthier meal at home or spent a little more time eating somewhere healthy.
Photographers who charge by the hour can mistakenly fall into the same category. You will be fast. You will make a hasty decision, not a thoughtful decision. It is not a privilege to sit and look at the clock for the photographer. It’s hard to think of it as an artist’s experience. It’s even harder to pay a large budget for something every hour. If you act like a vending machine, you will be paid like a vending machine.
Now that you know why hourly rates are bad for your photos, check out the video that explains better billing methods and session rates. It also describes the only time you can charge on an hourly basis. You are an artist who deserves fair rewards and respect. Your job is valuable, and if you act like a vending machine, you pay like a vending machine. You are more suitable.