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Pricing Strategies

Lesson 43 from: The Boudoir Workshop

Christa Meola

Pricing Strategies

Lesson 43 from: The Boudoir Workshop

Christa Meola

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Lesson Info

43. Pricing Strategies

Next Lesson: Selling


Class Trailer

Day 1




Let’s Get this Party Started Right!


Redefining Boudoir: YOUR Brand & Style


Working with Women


Creating Relaxed Clients


Posing and Anti-Posing


Flattering All Body Types


Lesson Info

Pricing Strategies

Okay, so pricing strategy so right up front when you're creating your price let's just know that it's going to change okay, you're not setting this in stone, so don't be afraid and just dive in because it will evolve over your lifetime or your career anyway um do your research you don't want teo pull your price list out of you but because that's the first time it's a sure fire way sure, what fire way of not having any confidence you have to be able to stand behind it the only way you khun stand behind it and actually like siri price pricing with you know confidence is that it did not come out of your way you just fling it out of thin air will say s so you need to do your research it's also important that you don't operate in a vacuum you are in a specific market so you want to make sure you are appropriately priced for your market. So when I say do your research you want to research your market um other photographers in the area just to get a sense of what's out there um you need to do...

your research on how long it takes you to actually process from a dizzy a client you know, from first inquiry to final delivery, every little thing in there cost of goods um and so, yeah, you've got to do all of this research because it all goes into the witches brew that is your price list. Um, when they see what else and you guys just pop in with questions as I'm going, okay? T okay, never compete on price, I think I've said this enough, and I think you guys can also tell me why now, but, you know, price shoppers have zero loyalty, they're also the most high maintenance clients ever, and you're not making money off of those people. You're not going to build a business, you're gonna be miserable and unhappy, they're hard to please. Um, and so I don't think anyone really interested in a long term business are successful career is really interested in the price shoppers, so I think we can all say we could let them go, right? Awesome. Be confident. Okay, so premium pricing, if you are gonna be premium price, if you are interested in being ah, boutique business and catering more and I just think boudoir for me, it's like it just lends itself to that more so than the high volume it's. Just what resonates with me. But premium pricing makes a statement about credibility. It's just how it is the more you charged and who said this good start wild the more you charge, the more people respect you, if you do things on the down on the cheap, they get down on you and find fault with what you d'oh, it's just the truth, so premium pricing takes balls, period, you have to be able to stand behind it, and sometimes I think people price low and this is a big mistake they price low because they're like, well, what if I don't get anything good? You know, I would feel awful charging a lot if I don't deliver, so I think maybe a smarter strategy would be, and this is what I did when I first started out shooting family. My session fee was seventy five dollars and a free eight by ten and a personal guarantee that they will love their photos oldie or re shoot, so I make it no risk for them and no risk for me, so I gave unlimited time. Why did I give unlimited time? Because I don't want to feel pressured, I'm shooting kids, you know, as if they're gonna have a meltdown um, you know, so unlimited time everyone always takes about an hour and forty five minutes anyway, but it seems so valuable and it takes the stress out of the session so even when I do put boudoir I call us unlimited time this feels luxurious and relaxed and like I said they typically the same time limit anyway um so so if you are nervous about not delivering the goods and you are changing your pricing because of that guy said I think a better way to do it was is to make your pricing a little no risk but make it almost like you're making commission if you do a good job so like your ala carte prices will be a little high and if you do frickin awesome then they're going to spend more and if you don't do so well then you're not going to spend as much so I've always wanted to be always wanted to be priced based on performance since I was a kid you know I wanna hustle and sell those gift wraps and I want to like see results based on how many boxes I fold and I got myself that polaroid camera I'm still the same when I waitressed uh wanted I always wanted I never wanted to be on salary so to this day it's like I want to earn it so I really believe in if especially if you're starting out and you're nervous about not delivering the goods having a low a front session fee and then high higher ala carte prices um and then a guarantee I do believe in that and that's even more important if you're having a guarantee that you do not go with the high maintenance price shoppers listen to the red flags you can tell when someone's a little fussy control freaky e me that's why I'm not a client you know and might you know take you up on that guarantee even though you're really happy with her photos and you think she looks amazing but she's super self critical um that's probably that's not your ideal client right? I don't think anyone would want would enjoy working with that person because they're just not gonna be happy and you're not going to solve any problems for them okay question do you still suggest to it like because that's totally me do you so totally you know that you do the pricing because you're a little nervous you guys so afraid but but I know like I know I can I can sell I know I could do that but that's awesome do you so lean on that strength that haven't been what do you suggest still having like packages to offer by the end of it or just do l a carpet still sailing yeah no have all apart just so that there is an option that you know you feel like safe that if you didn't do so hot they won't buy so much with it but if they dio they're like wow I really love everything you did now it makes your package pricing look so awesome so maybe not have like suze sorry I'm just trying to like no package pricing up front like this shoot price cost us when you get this this customs just have one blanket this is the shoot and then all the packages afterwards exactly exactly and they can see all that pricing up front but they're just paying that session feet right right and then based on how it went down and if they love everything then they can go in there ala carte or look att the packages because they're really good value he said he's made you sick just having a lot of package options no good uh subway into my next point keep it simple make it easy for them to make decisions you really want your priceless to be so streamlined it's a no brainer um like I do like having four packages instead of three instead of the small medium large we still are in the frugal state of mind currently so I like I suggest small, medium large extra large um or extra huge um and just offer a few of your favorite products so you don't I mean especially for boudoir I think just come up with maybe three or four items they really love and stand behind are really cool that that are unique to your brands like I said if you have like a retro brand I think it would be so cool to do polaroid transfers and that be like a really nice high end one of a kind product I offer and caustic paintings um is the vendor for that wax on wood dot com um because they made us say what? That yeah basically that's uh a painting technique that's been around since the beach c era basically the only updated changes that my photograph is under it so it's basically my photograph enlarged on wood mounted and then painted with you know, pick watercolor and glazes and then bees wax it sounds crazy but it's really a stunning, beautiful work of art there's two artists working on it the encaustic painter and myself it's one of a kind piece framed it looks gorgeous, especially for boudoir the images that are like the soft like semi nude looking away it's not like the happy happy smiley jumping with the pillow type piece you know what I mean? Um and it's a beautiful one of a kind thing and like I said, you know ah lot ofyou are better listening and watching you want to use my vendors awesome trying come up with a product that's just yours though you know that even if it's just the crop, maybe you do pan knows maybe you do a trip tik with your low mow um you know but it has to be tied into what you're passionate about what your brand is and what your ideal client would be after um but have to say if you are passionate about your products and they're so tied into something cool and unique about you and your brand jen um you're gonna have clients crazy for it and they're like no I'm not gonna hire someone so who's to only two hundred bucks because like jen does this awesome thing you know what I mean? And like I said, you get known for things by saying you're known for them ha manali became the greatest because he called himself the greatest I became known for my bed portrait's and my panel and shots and my double profile shots because I said that's what I was becoming known for so there you go any other questions on how to keep it simple with packaging product line and you know make your priceless you can have an internal one or typed out she has all the sizes and if you want to get anal to the inch about stuff like that but that is not the show price list not because you're hiding anything you're just keeping it simple they want to add on later extra pages or a different size or an upgraded cover leather option or whatever don't put that on their price list keep that on your internal list that makes them okay he has me free. Would shani is wondering what about order minimum? I never do it. It just seems like I don't have confidence in my ability. Teo really bang it out. Yeah, but he would never do it. And I know I talk. We talked about this, but folks are asking again priceless on your website or no for beginners are not beginners. Yeah, yes. Great. We're going to talk about websites more in depth because it's so important in a few minutes. But I actually do not like pricing on a site. I just think it's a little tacky. No, it's, just me and, um, I just want to have a dialogue with my client. You don't want them going in there. I want them excited about what I do and what I do it. I want them in love with my work first, and then if they're really interested in the shoot and they really just like, yeah, I'm really considering this. They're gonna make an effort to contact me to get the pricing it's just kind of my own opinion. So when your product catalog, um, since you have on ly for up for package options, what is your product havoc showcasing are you showing a picture of your wax on wood? On one page of giving a long descriptive yeah I don't I'm not big on long descriptions, but I am big on saucy photos so really showing them how they can showcase it in their home that's what the new uh catalog is all about his boudoir tends to get like, you know, just put a book you know, in this just going in the booth address e mean the wax on wood it sounds like, you know, a beautiful piece to put anywhere in the home are you finding that your clients are doing that or are they mostly putting I'm just in the bedroom or their private that's why it's important to think about your product line and shoot for your product line and we'll talk about that sails a little bit but basically I know when I'm shooting okay? This is for the classic painting this is for for her this one's for him this one's like I'm thinking like that this is for the album for design elements you know, good question really good question okay, so moving on so when you're doing your priceless it's usually best to start from the top down start from the anchor and set up from the bottom up it's just kind of an easier way to approach it um what would thrill you ok, so like I said, a lot of photographers ask themselves, what would I accept I guess I would do it for I just hear this is the language I guess I could do it for two hundred or you know, I think maybe five hundred would make me happy that's not the language I would like you to develop your priceless innit it's like um michelle, what would thrill you? What would put a smile on your face that you really like would be like hanging up the phone and like telling your husband oh my god, you just look me for x y z and just realistic that's a better way to come up with what like your base should be not like I guess I like your squeaking out like what it's cheapest you would do it for him when you know thinking that are you thinking like would through only for the shoot or thrilling for this sale in general like I do paul just the session time do ball but I would say, you know more importantly your walk away average what what's your walk away average on each client, give or take I never want to put too many eggs in one basket like it makes me like not it just kind of makes me not live or die on anyone sale so I don't get too uptight that's what makes me so relaxed when I'm selling to someone I don't really you know, I know it's all all comes out in the wash I just operate on my average anyway so you know what I mean? Yeah, so I think that would be a good place to start question no um one hundred percent commitment okay, so this is important I want you do once you come up with their priceless base on all the factors were discussing, you have to commit to it one hundred percent don't keep changing it for every client because you might not it might not uh it doesn't even have to do this at that point so you can't change it willy nilly and it won't really result in any solid testing do you know what I mean? So if you keep changing it it's not a good test of if it's effective so I would have it for at least three months. But if you're just turning out, you might want to keep it for six. And as a professional, I still have the habit of looking at my pricing twice a year and it's usually like every august in every january is kind of I'm thinking about it don't necessarily raise him or change them every year, but you know I'll just say, what am I not psyched about selling anymore product will go or you know what was really working for me? Do I want to make any adjustments um so every six months but in between that time really let it settle and see if it works yes so after we go home because we've been taught very well by you and we have super clients coming in should we gauge ourselves by how many clients they like ten clients have booked us maybe just our prices accordingly or maybe yearly yeah six months uh no you could do it faster if you're seeing like your booking solid and it's like heck yeah I'm gonna do it um you can raise it sooner or if you haven't booked anyone in two three months then yeah okay but that's assuming that you have other things in place like a a website that rocks a solid you know portfolio and um you've got like a marketing piece out there know what I mean okay give bonus never discount okay, so everybody likes a good deal um and if someone wants to ask well is there any way that you know this is a little outside my price range could you come down a little bit uh it's like a slippery slope that's a grey area that drives me you know it's more agony right trying to decide who who and how much and what to discount and so I just have a policy I just dont so give bonus you can give uh more another outfit change you can include hair make up if you're not already um you know, stuff like that you find ways and upgrade on their album our product or like I said, um what's sorry I'm all out of sorts um instead of get doing a discount wanted to transfer them over to the boudoir party just say, you know, um she's like, do you have anything that's more affordable? Maybe a package that's, less expensive and since you don't discount, you'll say, well, I do have this product it's boudoir party you know, you're with two other girls, you know? You're not in the same room together and it's always a lot of fun and I can, you know, send you this information and then you have client referrals who done it and I enjoyed it and stuff and that's a much more affordable price point and it's still me shooting, we're just doing left outfits products are all the same and so be enthusiastic about it and say, you know, I have two spots open for that and you can book your spot with only a hundred dollars right now I'd jump at it great yeah, a question from a rather poetic rather if photographers in your area do not put pricing on their sites, is it appropriate to contact them directly for your research or do you have any other thoughts on research for your area? Right I've done that um when I first started I did that I called up because I also wanted to have the experience of the phone call I like I wanted to know when I first started family photography what did I enjoy what did I think was smart how how was I handled on the conversation so I wanted that experience so I would say yeah sure call him up you don't necessarily they have to say you're a photographer and you want your rates um it's up to you it's up to you if you want to do that from margin is that if you don't have the price range on your site how do you filter out the people who can't afford you yeah I do feel like it's something that self select like if you're very clear on your branding you can almost tell who's cheap and whose expensive right you can tell on the outside of the store what's expensive and what's cheap so it's the same with your website um and like I said if you're targeting certain areas and retailers and amusing your promo cards and like minded businesses then that is your client yes would you would you suggest not putting instead of putting your pricing average investment you can put average investment if you want and show a little bit of a range to say the average investment is between seven hundred and thirteen hundred or something like that question about pricing for the boudoir parties. Yes, how do you go about determining that in a different way, then write session? We'll take a look at your single session pricing and make it more affordable. Make it very comparable. I would probably, but see, I would make it even more simplified. That's how mine and it's, just very simplified version. All the same products are offered. I still I do still dio individual sales sessions, that's, all individual, same settle session, um, it's, just, uh, it's. Just a session. Fees. What's, mostly discounted packages are still a little bit less, but they're almost the same price because their products, right, okay, makes sense. Yes, and one more on that. Simone, in new york city, is, uh, at those parties. Is everyone getting the same set ups in the same shop? Oh, yeah, same setup, same sets, different clothes.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Christa Meola Day 1.pdf
Christa Meola Day 2.pdf
Christa Meola Day 3.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This is meant to be a HELPFUL review for those that are wondering if they should purchase this workshop. About 75% of what I took away from this workshop was posing, composition for boudoir and the importance of eye lines and capturing movement. I had two boudoir sessions a week after this workshop and my images significantly improved. I was able to coach my clients through poses better, direct them on where to look for better eye lines, I was more aware of their posture and how to fix it, I think I sounded more professional and felt more confidant with getting awesome poses, stand out expressions and adding movement to my images. I put a fan on my client the way Christa does.. and she is right! The instant I put the fan on my client, her expression changed and you could tell she was really "feeling it". She told me she felt like a real supermodel right after I turned on the fan. If you are looking for inspiration on how to coach women and pose for boudoir then Christa is the girl for you. I think the most worthwhile thing I learned watching this is something that will help me in the years to come... with my brand, my website, my workflow and my business goals. I learned how to "keep it simple" which is Christa's tag line. For example Christa brings a roll of gray background paper and uses gaffer tape to hang it from the wall of the hotel (instead of bringing a 12ft background stand). I know this seems simple but this will change my life! I hate dragging equipment back and forth. There are some negative reviews on here about Christa's technical skills, but I think these people may have missed the whole point. If you provide an awesome product and an awesome experience for your client, they will buy it. And guess what.. your client will never know if you used your camera in auto or manual and they won't care if you used one light instead of two. As someone who has been in business for 3 years doing boudoir exclusively I learned a lot. I see a lot of value in learning from someone who doesn't spend a lot of money on fancy equipment, yet charges her clients over $3,000 for sessions. I'm a huge fan of her keep it simple philosophy and I'm glad Christa is willing to be honest about her workflow and how she best utilizes her time. Your not going to agree with or use everything Christa talks about, you take the parts that you like and are most helpful to you and work them into building a stronger business.

a Creativelive Student

AWESOME DEAL on Christa's course. I just sent an email to my husband to tell him thanks for "gifting" me this course. I told him just the ONE CLASS about pricing was worth the full $129 price of the course. And there are over 50 classes?! That is a crazy stupid good deal. You can learn something good from every class you take, every book you read, and just apply the stuff that works for you. There are a lot of people out there who seem to just enjoy giving crappy reviews, and to me it's almost like bullying. How someone could not find $129 worth of value in this course is beyond me. In my opinion this course is worth over a thousand bucks, because it can help you make SO much more money. I hate when I see people whining about things that are not 100 percent perfect, and they get annoyed if the person isn't catering to their exact needs. It's like the Yelper generation, with a disturbing sense of entitlement. I would love to see those people try teaching a class about boudoir and see if they could do any better. It also seems like, the more popular a person gets, the more other people feel the need to tear them down. I'm grateful that Christa even offered this course at ALL. Thanks Christa for all you do to help those of us who really need to know this stuff. You rock.

a Creativelive Student

I never thought I would shoot boudoir. I am a shy and private person. I started entertaining the idea when I first saw Christa's work and saw how beautiful and tasteful it can be. I love her lighting and all that she uses from historic painters and sculptors. I watched all three days live and learned a ton. I have a lot of lighting education, but it was nice to freshen up my skills. I loved the posing tips and the three typical situations she uses for one shoot. I loved learning about how she shoots in hotels and also using things like an outdoor situation. I have now shot my first boudoir session and it was a total hit. I am thrilled to show my client her images. This was fantastic! Thank you, Christa!

Student Work