“Charge what you are worth” seems to have become the universal advice on pricing.

Facebook groups, ads, podcasts, some days no matter where I look, there is a conversation to be had on this.

My opinion? This is bullshit.

OMG! Did I really just say that?!

Now, there is very little that makes me happier – professionally – than seeing my clients doing what they love and enjoy being rewarded for their gift and hard work. I love seeing their confidence grow as they can finally stop worrying about paying the studio rent and their sales become consistently higher.

But this has got nothing to do with charging what they are worth.

First of all, like a client of mine said today, it’s a bit of advice that doesn’t really give you a precise idea of what to do and how.

It has no practical meaning whatsoever.

Most importantly, though, I believe that reinforcing the idea that our deepest worth as a person is, in any way, connected to the amount of money we charge – or make – does far more harm than good.

We already see and experience every day the effects of this way of thinking.

From a business perspective, this framework makes even less sense. Firstly, it introduces an emotional element into pricing, with the result of making us even more neurotic about it.

“I struggle with my self-esteem, I know I am not charging enough…

but I have also just started, I look around and I don’t think my work is as good as other photographers charging as much as I do!

So am I too expensive?? Maybe I should charge a deposit instead of a session fee…

No! Maybe I should ask other photographers… but I know what they are going to say!

They are going to say I am too cheap!

Do I even need to explain why this could be a slippery slope?

As if we were not already dealing with self-doubt, self-worth and self-esteem (or lack of it) on a daily basis.

Instead of trying to put a price tag on your value as a person, start asking yourself what price makes sense given the lifestyle you want to have, the amount that would feel good to you and where your business is right now.

Secondly, it distracts us from other important and rational elements we should consider – for example, how aggressive we want (or need) to be in our market.

Do we need to gain “market shares”? Or do we need to differentiate ourselves from the competition, instead?

Are we consistently selling products we want to sell?

And so on.

How to price your sessions is a matter for another post but the point is: instead of trying to put a price tag on your value as a person, start asking yourself what price makes sense given the lifestyle you want to have, the amount that would feel good to you and where your business is right now.

In other words, know where you are with your business and life, know what the next step is, and know where you ultimately want to be. Have a strategy to get there and price yourself accordingly.

Pricing is a practical matter that does not need to be any more complicated than it already is – so leave your worth out of it.


Hi, I am Giulia (weird, uh? It sounds like Julia – but it’s written with a “Gi”) and I am the founder of Grow Your Photography Studio.

I am known for my no-BS, hands-on approach to helping newborn photographers get more clients and grow a business they actually enjoy running. I believe marketing should not be a “necessary evil” and that taking action is the first and most fundamental step toward success.

Need more hands-on help? Book a marketing call with us

Need help with your pricing? Check out our Perfect Pricing Blueprint

You know that feeling when you “end up” on your competitors’ page and all of a sudden a thousand anxious thoughts fill your head?

“I really need to step up my game.“

“I should be posting more.“

“She’s got double my followers, she’s probably got an inbox full of enquiries – god, I really need more bookings, things have been slow the last few weeks.“

“That post is good, and why is she getting so many comments?? She is good.”

And so on.

It’s all good to say you should not compare yourself to others, but in the age of social media sometimes it’s really inevitable. We are on each other’s faces – or feed – almost all the time.

If it’s not a post on a group it’s an ad, or a recommendation, or whatever else.

But if comparison is (almost) inevitable, you have a choice over what happens next.

If you are still at a stage where those anxious thoughts follow you to bed – breathe, please. You have time.

Step away, close your laptop, throw your phone away (figuratively!) and forget about it all for a while. 

Focus on what you have achieved so far. Chances are, it’s pretty fucking amazing.

Go back to where you started, how many things you have figured out. Go back to when your page had 15 followers and you had no solid plan to get more. Go back to shooting for free for family and friends.

Everything that’s happened between there and now, including taking your business through months of lockdowns and no shooting, it’s yours. You have built it.

And you will keep doing the same. It’s going to be ok.

If, instead, you have already mastered the art of “staying sane when your demons come visit”, I have a challenge for you.

Learn to keep your eyes open. Don’t run.

Learn to stare those demons in their eyes – and see what they have to teach you.

Learn from your fear.

Learn to sit in the eye of the storm, stand in that space between “she’s better than me, I am going to fail” and “fuck it, who cares” and see if there is a lesson in there for you. 

That fear might be showing you something that you know, deep inside, you have not mastered yet.

Something you are missing, or have been neglecting for a while. 

An “I keep meaning to…” or “I really should be…”

Whatever that is, deep inside you know you’ll have to face it, at some point.

And that point is now.

So go master it.


Feeling on the brink of burnout? Read our guide “Photographers on the brink of burnout

Thinking about our Marketing Mentoring programme? Read this first

Waiting for restrictions to ease, because then “hopefully business will pick up again”?

But what if it doesn’t? 

As I write this, on the one side I’m seeing headlines talking about recession and disruption caused by Brexit.

On the other side, all top marketing inner-circles worldwide have become an incessant flow of posts about a secret war over privacy between Apple and giants like Google and Facebook.

Yes, it’s true, these cycles have always existed.

Recession has happened before and, eventually, things have always improved.

But what if your business was the price you have to pay to survive all of this?

What if resting on your laurels, expecting business to ‘pick up naturally’ meant losing it?

After all, business doesn’t tolerate complacency

Remember Blockbusters…?

IS THAT REALLY THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?

If you still don’t believe me, take a walk around and see how many businesses have already been forced to close their doors. 

And the reality is, they will be followed by many more before the end of April 2021.

Now, if you think I am just trying to scare you and don’t want to deal with any more stress… I hear you.

Believe me, I do.

Navigating through these last 12 months has been exhausting and has forced me to change many aspects of my business, way beyond what I planned.

I am so very ready for some normalcy and rest.

But as tempting as it is to comfort myself with the idea that we are “near the end of this”, I know I need to prepare for what’s next.

I know, and you also do, that the way we do things has already been altered.

The way we shop. 

The way we spend. 

The way we work. 

The way we go out to pubs or restaurants.

Many of these changes will last way long after restrictions have been lifted, so what makes you think your business will return to normal ‘just like that’

Marketing has always been a fast, ever-changing, vertigo-inducing practice.

Why should that be different this time?

3 THINGS YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON RIGHT NOW

Want to know what is the good news?

It’s not too late, you still have time.

So instead of burying your head in the sand, get to work right away and make sure you have the following in place for your business:

  1. A crystal clear strategy to use your session portfolio to target the right audience. No, I am not talking about an abstract idea of “ideal client”

    I am talking about having the right offer and the right marketing to reach the segment of your audience that will be able to afford you 12 months from now.

    Because remember: some of those businesses that will be forced to close belong to your (potential) clients.

    Some of those employees who don’t have a desk to go back to anymore ARE your (potential) clients.

    Some of those families you have been calling “ideal clients” simply won’t have extra money to spend on luxury.

    So you better diversify and prepare.

    photography studio lockdown marketing

  2. Have a bulletproof strategy to reach new people fast and predictably, and to do it in more than one platform.

    The vastitude of the changes that will take place in SEO, Google and Facebook within the next 6-12 months go way beyond what you can imagine.

    You know why? 

    Because nobody is more aware of the tsunami that is going to hit small business than the giants (a.k.a. Google and Facebook) that made a fortune providing them with a platform to promote their services.

    So they too are forced to diversify, making it easier for big brands to eat a bigger piece of the online-customer-base cake.

  3. Stop worrying about what other photographers do.

    We all know that the market is over-saturated. It has been for a very long time.

    You’ve been undercut left right and centre.

    Look around, visit 5-10 websites of other newborn photographers and tell me if at least half of them are not using the same pricing, offering the same products and even using the same words on their pages.

    This is not the time to look like everybody else. 

    This time, the market is not going to be forgiving with those who are not bold enough to craft their own path and build their own business identity.

WHAT IF RESTING ON YOUR LAURELS, EXPECTING BUSINESS TO “PICK UP NATURALLY” MEANT LOSING IT?

AFTER ALL, BUSINESS DOESN’T TOLERATE COMPLACENCY.

REMEMBER BLOCKBUSTERS?

MARKETING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS: WHAT NEXT?

There is a bumpy road ahead, but there is still time for you to prepare your business for what’s coming next.

Focus on the 3 points aboce and you will not just survive this, but come out on top because of it.

If you want to know more about how these strategies can help you create a competitive advantage and position yourself to dominate the market, book your free marketing coaching call now.

Some days it seems like our entire life depends on making “the right decision”: the success of our studio, our next sale, being happy, healthy, and even being in the “right” relationship.

From the moment we wake up to bedtime, we are constantly bombarded by millions of pieces of information. To make matters worse, the world we live in operates and changes at an incredibly fast pace. Think about these two examples:

1 – You are walking in a side street at night and in the distance we see two people talking animatedly. You can’t hear what they are saying, or see exactly what they look like. Are you in danger? Should you walk away? Or is one of them in danger, instead, and it would be wiser to call for help? Or are they maybe just two people debating animatedly about a trivial matter?

2 – You are now a pilot, it’s past midnight. You are flying a modern, highly automated, plane over the ocean in complete darkness. All of a sudden, you start seeing and hearing all sorts of conflicting alarms, each with a different sound, light, and tactile feedback: you are flying too fast, too slow, then too low, but your computer shows that you are still high above the sea. How do you know which alarm to believe? How do you decide what’s the best thing to do when you can’t see the whole picture?

Our brains are constantly required to construct meaning, to make sense of situations like the ones above. They have to do it fast and accurately, allowing us to make decisions that will impact our success, happiness and survival.

To achieve this our brains have had to develop strategies and “shortcuts” that help us:

  • Filter out information that it’s not important or relevant
  • Make sense of a situation and the world around us even with limited access to it; we fill in the gaps to create stories coherent with our experience and mental model
  • Avoid paralysis, make snap decisions and act fast
  • Decide what information is going to be useful in the future, and it’s therefore worth remembering

Sounds good? Not entirely.

These shortcuts, called Cognitive Biases, can also sometimes make us prone to errors.

Biases, in fact, operate without our consent: in an attempt to bring us to a conclusion, they sometimes disregard important and relevant information. Or give excessive weight to specific aspects of the problem distorting our perception. Sometimes, we jump to conclusions that are actually counterproductive.

To make matters worse, biases can have a significant impact on creativity and innovation, as we have evolved to instinctively seek information that confirms our beliefs, keeping us on a safe path.

The 5 enemies of decision making for businesses

Many cognitive biases have been identified (and it’s worth looking at the brilliant categorisation made by Buster Benson), but we have picked 5 that you really need to look out for when making decisions.

1. Confirmation Bias

A new client comes to the studio for a cake smash. Since the moment she has sent an enquiry, she has seemed very cold and not very engaged. She has not been particularly difficult during the session, but not very excited either.
After the session, you sent her a link to her gallery, she reads the message but does not reply.

All you can think is that she is difficult, hated the experience and does not like the image. You are bracing, thinking that she will reply complaining about the gallery – or will only order a couple of prints.

Maybe you are already preparing for a difficult conversation, for having to explain why you cannot re-edit the images in a specific way.

She really does not like you.
Or does she?

Confirmation Bias refers to our tendency to interpret information around us in a way that confirms our preconceptions, dismissing at the same time opinions or facts that disagree with our own beliefs.

Confirmation bias is one of the most common biases that sneaks into our decision-making process, at work and in everyday life. Controlling its consequences might be a tough job, but can also avoid you spending time and energies worrying about something that is NOT real.
One way of dealing with this bias is to force yourself to find and list at least 10 facts that disagree with your theory.

2. Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon bias occurs when you adopt a belief because more people around you hold that belief. This can lead to groupthink, in which the desire for group consensus and acceptance is stronger than people’s willingness to express an unpopular opinion or critique a position.

The bandwagon effect is so powerful that its effects permeate politics and marketing and it’s critical to understand that the industry leaders have the biggest influence on the “followers” and the industry itself.

Industry leaders say you should charge a session fee? You will most likely feel like that is the right thing to do, regardless of your specific circumstances?

Same for marketing trends! SEO is THE most important thing. Have a newsletter. Have a blog.
Facebook ads, Google Ads…

So how do you control the bandwagon effect?
Become an observer rather than a follower! Learn to question everything and find YOUR OWN path to success.

3. Fundamental attribution error

Is the tendency for people to place more emphasis on internal explanations for behaviours observed in others, rather than considering the circumstances. In other words, we see others as “internally motivated” and responsible for their behaviour: a client being short (see above) might actually love our work and the experience in our studio… but have a different way of interacting with people compared to most of our clients! OR she might be going through some personal issues!

In business, the Fundamental Attribution Error is responsible for everything from arguments to firings and misunderstandings. While it can’t be overcome completely, one way of limiting its effect is to practice empathy (should we dare calling it emotional intelligence?) and ask questions before making assumptions about someone’s behaviour.

4. Planning Fallacy

It’s our tendency to underestimate the time (and effort) we need to complete a task or achieve a result. Coupled with our inclination to say yes to most people who ask for our assistance, this bias can contribute to stress, burnout and… overtime!

There are several strategies that can help dealing with this bias: consider setting your personal deadlines 2 days before official ones, add a time buffer to your appointments and most of all… learn to say no!

Organising your to do list in the form of an Eisenhower Matrix can help choosing what to say no to.

5. The Sunk Cost Fallacy

It is the tendency to honour already spent resources: we are more likely to continue with a project if we have already invested a lot of money, time, or effort in it, even when continuing is not the best thing to do.

This leads to misallocating resources based on information that is either irrelevant or not up to date. Clearly an enemy of efficiency, but not only. Examples of Sunk Cost Fallacy can be found in all aspects of life, from getting a degree on something we are not interested anymore to eating too much, to sticking to bad business ideas.

To reduce losses due to the Sunk Cost Fallacy, it is essential to review periodically your investments (in time and money) and your return on investment. This should be based on data, not hearsay.

Awareness is key!

Cognitive biases are one strategy used by our brains to ensure we don’t get stuck, unable to choose and make decisions. While they make it easier for us to navigate the huge amount of information we are faced with every day, they also create traps that can cripple our ability to make good decisions.

As always, awareness is the key: know your limits and never settle for “the first answer”.


Online advertising can be quite complicated… and launching campaigns without knowing the rules can be quite costly! Not to mention that you might not getting the results you were expecting.

To help you get started, we have created a simple 5-step guide. FAR from being a comprehensive guide to advertising for Newborn Photographers, this should help you avoid some of the most common mistakes… such as launching ONE CAMPAIGN with ONE AD and running it without tracking results.


Almost everybody has had this experience.

You go to a store to buy something. A pair of trousers, for example.
So your trip is purposed, you are leaving your house to go and buy something you need.

You enter the store, the customer assistant comes to you and asks “Can I help you?”

“No, I am just looking”.

In fact, this is our conditioned response to almost anything that can get us into a “sales process”.

We say no because we don’t want to be pressured into buying something.
We say no because we don’t want to have to explain WHY we don’t want to buy those trousers that apparently fits us perfectly and look good.


We say no because we want to be free to “think about it”.

You know why?

Because we’re supposed to.

Starting from childhood, we’re taught to be wary of people we don’t know and to never make a fast decision when it comes to buying something.

We aren’t supposed to buy at first. We’re taught not to do it.

So to expect our prospects to go against the very habits and beliefs is foolish.

Still, this is what most photographers and businesses in general try to do when it comes to promoting their services over the internet. And especially when it comes to paid ads.

We expect an immediate return, we expect “instant bookings”. For some reason, we are happy to spend hundreds of pounds or dollars in activities that don’t generate any return, but the moment we invest £10 in Facebook Ads or Google Ads we want to see bookings flocking in.

And for this reason, we mostly put out campaigns, ads and posts that sound more or less like:
“Give me X amount of money NOW to get Y”.

The bad news is that this message is exclusively designed to focus on the tiny percentage of prospects who defy human nature and buy quickly, and it ignores (and usually irritates) everyone else.

The good news is that there are massive opportunities for studios and photographers who do things differently.

You can start today by booking a free business and marketing strategy session below.


Expensive new car. Check ✔️.

Designer clothes. Check ✔️.

Apple watch for both mom and dad ✔️. Check

New phones. Aaaand check ✔️.

Ever had in the studio someone who checked all of the “HIGH spender” boxes… and ended up buying a bunch of digitals?

Or the opposite, a totally unexpected BIG sale.

So… if targeting “high spenders” or “ideal clients” is not as easy as targeting more affluent people, how can we ensure we get “the right” people in the studio?

Who are these “high spenders”?

Why people buy

Despite what most of us believe, very rarely clients are happy to pay a higher price because “they value your time or talent more” than others do.

Why? Because the motivation to buy comes from within the buyer. In other words, it’s never about YOU.

Don’t believe me? Think about the last time you went on a workshop.

“Well, actually I chose my trainer because she was the best one… and I know quality comes at a cost. So I was happy to pay more!”

Sure. But you probably picked that trainer because…

  • You had a “painful problem” you wanted to solve. Maybe lighting, or wrapping, or maybe the idea that creating better images would get you more (or better) clients
  • You wanted their name on your curriculung (prestige)
  • It was an easy and safe decision, as you trained with them before
  • You wanted results quickly, and training with “the best” was a guarantee of results

This is why you were happy to pay more.

The same applies to your clients.

They spend more because they believe you offer a better, quicker or more prestigious solution to their wants and needs.

In light of this, virtually almost everybody who can afford your sessions can become a high spender – if you put enough work into uncovering their wants and needs.

Or, better, their motivation for buying.

QUALIFY AND NURTURE YOUR LEADS – TOP TIPS

The reality is, though, that you won’t be able to turn every client into a high spender. We don’t have infinite time to understand everyone’s motivations and triggers for buying.

Additionally, you are a photographer… not a professional sales-woman!

“Ok cool, but I still don’t want to have in the studio people who are just looking for a bargain and will make my life a nightmare!”

This is where your marketing and pricing strategy really make all the difference.

Here are 5 tips:

1 – Choose a pricing structure aligned with your business goals. Are you a new photography trying to get market shares? An established photographer looking to increase the average spend for your newborn sessions?

2 – Align your marketing to your business and pricing. If you want people to stop talking about prices… stop focusing on price! You just cannot market yourself around price (Read this for inspiration). Divide your content in two: use some to “nurture” your leads (make them “hotter”) and some to qualify them.

Make clear who you are and what you stand for – so your content will only resonate with people who understand it and appreciate it.

3 – To understand your prospects’ motivations you need to… TALK TO THEM. So figure out a script for your Messenger and Email conversation that will help you do just that.

4 – Identify 3 to 5 key questions that can help you understand who is in front of you. Have they had a session before? Have they already thought about ways of displaying their images?

5 – GET MORE LEADS! It is almost impossible to understand trends, to perfect your scripts and really charge WHAT YOU DESERVE if your business depends on a handful of leads and bookings.

TO RECAP

Almost every client who can afford one of your newborn session has the potential to become… a high spenders.

  1. Ensure your pricing and marketing qualify your leads. Use your content to make it crystal clear who your clients are and what you stand for.
  2. Remember that what makes this possible (and sustainable) is generating enough leads and enquiries.
  3. Understand what motivates your people to book a session… and buy!

If you have found this article helpful but need some help to put together an action plan to help you get MORE of THE RIGHT clients, book a free business and marketing coaching call below.


So someone sends you an enquiry in reaction to your latest post.

You reply – they book a shoot almost immediately.

What is your first reaction?
“Now THAT’s my ideal client!”

But are they really? Or are they just “easy”?

WHEN PEOPLE BUY

One of the biggest traps when defining your “ideal customer” is to confuse them with the ones that are ready to buy now and then to put all your marketing efforts into reaching as many of them as possible.

Imagine you were running a restaurant.

As you are about to open, a couple is waiting to enter. They are hungry and have heard about your restaurant and have looked at your menu online. They come in, sit down, order within 5 minutes.

Then another couple: they are hungry and are looking for a nice restaurant, but they haven’t heard about you and are on the opposite side of town. Chances are, they will be eating somewhere else tonight.

Now imagine a couple who have just had dinner, or who is on a diet right now. They surely will be hungry or eating out at some point, but not now. Not today.

So, saying that your ideal customer is the one who books NOW equals saying that your ideal client is ONLY the couple that’s hungry RIGHT NOW, knows they want to eat at your restaurant, and knows what they want immediately.

Although your business certainly needs this kind of clients, and benefits from them, why would you target only them? They are, in fact, already your client.

THE THEORY

At any given time, your audience is divided into 3 big groups:

  • The “Now Buyers”
  • The “Future Buyers”
  • The “Never Buyers”

The Now Buyers, or active buyers, are people who have a need and are actively shopping for vendors. These are effectively “sales leads”, they might have already heard about you, are more receptive to your offers…. and only account for 3% of the marketplace.

The Future Buyers audience is made of two subgroups: first, those people who intend to change their supplier. They might have had a shoot with another photographer and didn’t like their style, or are simply looking for something different. These people account for 7% of the marketplace. They have a need for your product, but aren’t proactively searching for options. This means they can easily be turned into a client or a sale if they engage with a well timed marketing campaign – or engage with YOU!

And now, at the core of the Future Buyers group, please welcome your biggest opportunity: a  whole big 60% of the marketplace that either has a need not big enough to act on it  right now, or does not have a need… yet. It might be a couple that is thinking about having a baby in the near future, or might be one that just got the news that they are pregnant. Their priority right now is to enjoy the moment and excitement, not to book a photoshoot.

This group will not buy from you today, and for this reason is not targeted by your competitors as heavily as the Now Buyers: here is where you plant the seeds for your future success: engage with this 60% of the market the right way and be assured that when the moment comes for them to buy… they will come to you.

This is why I always suggest to create strategies aimed at reaching both the Now Buyers, to increase bookings quickly, and the Future Buyers, to secure your long term profitability.

In other words: at any point in time you roughly have a top 10% of your audience who has a need for your services, however only 3% of this group is actively searching for a provider.

Then you have another 60% of your audience who doesn’t have a need for your services today, but will in the next few months. 

The remaining 30% of the marketplace (the Never Buyers) is never going to choose you. They may be loyal to the competition, or may just never have the need for your services.

WHERE THINGS START GOING WRONG

Here are two common mistakes that we must avoid at all costs: 

1- Focus exclusively on the 3% of people ready to buy now

Why is this a mistake? At the end of the day, 3% might still be a lot of people. 

It is, but… firstly, you have to share this 3% with all your competitors. 

Whenever you see a “Get Offer”, “Book Now”, “Offer valid for the next 24 hours”, “Limited Time Offer”, “Limited Availability” call to action, that speaks to this audience. Which means, this audience is more likely to engage with another offer before you get to them, or to ignore offers in general as too heavily targeted.

To make matters worse, with photography being a “luxury” purchase, your competitors are not only other photographers. A holiday, a SPA break, a home theatre, these are all purchases that could potentially compete with a Newborn Session and related products.

2- The second trap to avoid is to use the same message for everybody in our audience, no matter if they are or aren’t ready to buy, and expect the same reaction from everybody

This is why traditional websites only work for a few photographers… and adverts in general work for even fewer of them.

The “This is my offer, click here to book now” message will never work with a future buyer… simply because at this moment in time they are not interested in what you have to offer.

Engaging with Future Buyers is only possible if you create content that brings some value to their life and it is not attached to an offer, so that you can establish a relationship and create trust before they are ready to buy.

If you invest into creating content that makes people know you and trust you before they have a need, they will skip right over your competitor and call you first when that need arises.

This is the best place for your business to be in. This is where you build a future of growth and profitability.

WRAPPING UP

If you reached 100 people today, chances are that less than 3 are very likely to book (competition, remember?) and, if the offer is compelling enough, 7 might switch to your services in the near future. Of the remaining 90, 60 people are the ones you should be investing on to build your future success and win the competition.

If you want to know more book a free coaching session for your studio using the form below.