Photo Woes

May 20, 2015

Hello Edmonton-based (and other) photographers.

Let's start by saying that I like you all and I want to give you money, but you're making it really hard to do so. Let me explain:

I have a unique project coming up where I have a referral of 10-12 local, small-business clients coming up. It's unique in that the referral is coming from a government source (hopefully more on that soon, but can't say much now I don't think) and offers the chance to work with these business owners as a group for some key parts of the process (explaining the process, creating content, training, etc). However, these clients will likely need photos taken of their business to use on their website and possibly in some related marketing materials.

Now, other than knowing that these are small businesses, I can't yet provide specifics on them because I don't yet have the information myself. I understand that what I'm asking for is a bit tough to estimate and therefore have been pretty upfront that I'm not holding anybody to a price. 

The Struggle

So far, I've been on contact with three different photographers. Not one has used a numeric character in their email with me. Of course, one couldn't be bothered to reply to my email detailing the project. A simple "No thanks" would have been appreciated. The other two have been pleasant, but without a number I can't do squat except pull the photography portion of the package out and either take them myself or use stock photos.

I understand the desire to hear a client's budget number first. I do the same thing, but if pressed, I can give a range on building a site that I'd comfortable doing the work for and allows a potential client to assess the viability of the project without embarrassment (If he's thinking $500 and I spit out $5000, that might be embarrassing for him. If the numbers are reversed, I've quoted a number that I can work with and I'll capture the business.) 

What I Need

I need to know what a basic photo package cost would be for a local small business. I don't know what their budgets will be but there will most likely be some variance between the different business owners. The kicker is though that I can't sell them a $200 or $500 or $5000 photo package if I don't have a ballpark on what it might actually cost. It doesn't have to be exact and I'm not going to advertise the price as your going rate. In fact, I'll likely not even mention your business name but rather refer you to each client individually so you can choose to work with or not work with them. Pricing conversations will be in ranges and ballparks until you have a chance to assess the work. As for the actual process? Well, it's something we can create together. I can hire you or you can contract directly with the client. We'll need to touch base on design for the site and ensure that the photos work with that design. Do want on-page credit for the photos? Sure we can discuss that. Do you want me to brow-beat the client into making sure you have the easiest photo-shoot of your career? I can do that too. Do you want to shoot for 3-4 clients all on the same day in the same location? I can make that work. However, I need someone to give me a price that doesn't depend on knowing the client budget up front. If you're worried about selling yourself short, then don't. Give me price range that let's you sleep at night if the work comes your way. Would I like to see a rate that reflects the lower cost of acquisition? Sure, but just give me a price I can work with.

So, if you are a photographer that is interested in working with about a dozen small businesses over the next 6-8 months and are willing to provide me with a ballpark price range for a service that provides 8-12 "finished" photos per business, then I'd love to hear from you and possibly hand you a bunch of clients with an incredibly low acquisition cost. Email me at




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