Putting a Price on It

Guest: Angela Kurkian

Director of Education | Professional Photographers of America (PPA)

DATE: September 9, 2021

If you want to send nice portrait photographers into a tailspin, start talking about pricing their work.

We’ll chat all day about lighting and technique but when it comes to putting an actual value on what we do, ah, get ready for some serious pushback.

“I could never charge that!”

“I’ll lose all my clients!” 

And on it goes. 

 If any of that sounds uncomfortably familiar join me for today’s episode where I’m joined by the Director of Education for the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), Angela Kurkian, a wedding and portrait photographer herself, who has worked with thousands of photographers through PPA to up-level their businesses. 

Unfortunately, pricing is more often than not an awkward topic of conversation in our profession, and even more unfortunately, many portrait photographers hugely undervalue themselves. 

But how to effect change? 

Angela has an interesting take on recognizing the value of what we, as photographers,really  do for our clients 

From understanding what you want, to creating unique customer journeys and being clear about your offerings, to taking the emotional element out of pricing, Angela has a wealth of knowledge to share, in her characteristic encouraging, kind, and honest way. 

We’ll discuss pricing from the inside out. From assigning value to your work to getting out of your head and getting into a profitable, sustainable business. This episode might just change the way you think about pricing your work. 


[0:00:59] How to get portrait photographers excited, and how to scare them away.

[0:01:18] An introduction to today’s guest, Angela, and what we are going to be talking about today.

[0:04:48] One of the main reasons that portrait photographers often don’t charge what they should.

[0:06:55] A mistake that Angela sees portrait photographers make with regard to pricing.  

[0:07:28] The important realization that Angela after six years in business. 

[0:08:14] What it means to really know what you want.  

[0:10:55] Trends that Angela and I have noticed in the way some photographers price their portraits, and some reasons why.

[0:13:53] The shift that occurs as soon as you start charging for your work. 

[0:14:43] Angela explains what a Salesman Session Projection is, and the value of engaging in this process.

[0:17:52] A meme I saw the other day which accurately captures the pricing element of portrait photography. 

[0:18:22] The two camps that have formed in the realm of photography pricing. 

[0:19:34] Steps that follow the Salesman Session Projection in the Business Challenge that Angela runs. 

[0:20:06] PPA’s highest cost of sales recommendation. 

[0:21:24] A mental exercise which drives home the importance of pricing correctly.

[0:24:09] Creating customer journeys; this is what you should focus on after you have had your pricing ‘aha’ moment. 

[0:26:02] What I have noticed about the photographers in the recent class I have run. 

[0:26:49] A word on subjectivity and the danger of comparison. 

[0:28:23] The surprising prices that people will pay for impersonal items.  

[0:29:35] Don’t sell from your own pocket.  

[0:30:32] Why your marketing strategy should not focus on price.

[0:33:13] A new way to think about money.

[0:36:33] Angela’s personal experiences which highlight why you need to be very clear about what you do. 

[0:39:54] Continuous evolvement is essential to the journey of a portrait photographer.

[0:41:37] How to handle your emotions and the emotions of your clients. 

[0:44:31] An example of how I sell my value to my clients. 

[0:45:45] Portrait photography is about the experience as much as it is about the final product on the canvas. 

[0:47:55] Traits that Angela believes auger well for success. 

[0:49:05] A TV and book series that Angela highly recommends. 

[0:50:52] Why Angela advises photographers learn from outside the world of photography.