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Negotiation, The Art of

NY Professional Photographer

      2009 was an interesting year for Wendy G Photography. There was a lot of negotiating. It’s not something I’m especially good at — I’m a wedding photographer, not a street vendor 😀 And now I realize most people getting married aren’t especially good at it either. Negotiation is definitely an art!

I understand folks want to get the most for their money. But what I periodically experienced was someone asking to get X amount of services and products for a lower price. I’ve always been happy to work with a couple to make a custom package that fits. I’m all about customization. But for some reason last year I met a few who didn’t want a smaller package for their smaller budget. They wanted the bigger package but at a smaller price. That’s not so great for me because my rates are based on several important factors. So anyway, since I wanted to be fair, I offered to provide less for the smaller budget. Some couples were happy with that, and found my approach to be very reasonable. But a few ended up hiring other photographers. At the end of the day, I’m actually relieved that they didn’t become my clients. Had I given into the pressure to give more for less, I would have communicated to them that either my prices are inflated or that I’m not fair to everyone. The more experience I have, the more I recognize what can potentially become a issue.

Here are a few red flags:

1- They imply that it’ll be so cool and photogenic, I should give a discount because their wedding will look good in my portfolio
2- They imply that they’ll tell all their friends about me and I’ll get more business down the road
3- They mention that other photographers can give them X number of hours and products for much less

Now negotiation (in my mind it’s customization) is a good thing if done well. Each couple places a certain value on their wedding photographs and has a certain amount of money to work with. I too place a certain value on my services and need a certain amount of money to keep my business open and operational. So together we can be reasonable, and creative, and smart about it. The truth is, I LOVE photographing weddings and I’m open to this whole process. And maybe my services will still be a little high for some people. That’s ok too! I’m not at all offended when people love my work but can’t squeeze me into their budget and go with another photographer. That to me is actually better than if I book them for too low a rate and end up not feeling so good about it later.

I don’t want to be taking pictures of someone and have any negativity in my heart. That little bit of negativity or whatever you want to call it, drains me of creativity and love and excitement for them. And when I look at my work, it’s the creativity, and love, and excitement coming from within me that’s there. It’s not about having gorgeous, modelesque people to photograph. For me, it’s about having a great relationship with the people I photograph. And the negotiation process really kicks off that relationship.

So, please, if you like my work and need to negotiate with me, be nice!:-)

wendy g

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