How to price your photography: One crazy trick to double your average sale!

how to price your photography - photography pricing tutorial tips

How To Price Your Photography

One crazy trick to double your average sale

I came across a pricing strategy the other day that was truly genius.

Its essentially a psychological pricing life hack that will instantly get a good percentage of your clients choosing higher end packages. If you want to know how to price your photography for maximum sales, this is for you.

Its called the decoy effect.

Chances are you’ve never heard of it, but its almost a sure thing you’ve bought something because of it.

Let me show you how it works:

Pretend you’re going to the movies. You buy your tickets and then get in line to buy yourself some delicious, buttery popcorn.

When you get to the front of the line, you see there are two sizes to choose from:

  • Small popcorn is $3.00
  • Large popcorn is $7.00

Decoy Effect Pricing (Before)

The medium popcorn looks tempting, but its more than twice the price, and the small is already plenty big.

Chances are that you, like most people, will opt for the small popcorn.

Now lets look at how movie theatres use the decoy effect to sell more popcorn:

Pretend you’re going to the movies again, and you get in line to buy your snacks. This time however, there are 3 sizes of popcorn available:

  • Small popcorn is $3.00
  • Medium popcorn (decoy) is $6.50
  • Large popcorn is $7.00

The Decoy Effect (After)

Instead of thinking “Wow that large popcorn is more than twice the price of the small”
You’re likely thinking “Wow – If I only spend 50 cents I get the large instead of the medium”

See how that works?

Odds WAY more likely you’ll go with the large this time, because you’d be absolutely crazy to get the medium when you could have a large for only 50 cents extra.

And that my friends, is the decoy effect.

See it in action in this video:

This is one simple pricing strategy that can make a HUGE difference in the average orders of your clients.

The irony is that for a lot of photographers, our pricing is set up exactly opposite. When I started out, I was told I should offer 3 or 4 packages for photography:

  • A cheap option that came with hardly anything: $1000
  • A best value option that most of my clients would book: $1300
  • A crazy expensive option to make my value option look like a better deal: $2600

When you think about it, my prices were encouraging clients to pay less instead of more. I was accidentally using the decoy effect in reverse!

But what if we introduced the decoy effect the same way as our popcorn example?

Lets change our middle option pricing so that clients feel they’re getting a better deal, the more they spend:

  • Base Option – $1000
  • Middle Option – $2500
  • Ultimate Option – $2600

How many people are likely to book our middle option, when the our ultimate photography package is just $100 more?

We haven’t changed anything except our middle option price, but now our average sale has gone from $1300 to $2600!

You might be asking “But won’t less people book me if they could only afford my middle package?”

This is a valid concern. There are a few possible results to changing your prices like this:

  1. You book the same amount of photoshoots, but suddenly make twice as much money (Awesome!)
  2. You book less photoshoots, but since you’re charging twice as much, you can work half the time and make the same amount of money (Still good)
  3. You book WAY less photoshoots, in which case you adjust your pricing down to fit your market, while still using the decoy effect to increase your average order. (Might take a little experimenting to get right, but in the end you’re still making more $$ per shoot)

To recap, the decoy effect is an amazing pricing strategy you should be using in your business.

It works to increase your average sale by creating a decoy option in your pricing, which gives your customer a reason to spend a little bit more to get the value of your higher package.

Can you see this working in how you set up your photography pricing? Why or why not?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


Comments (3)

  1. Love this idea! Will try it in my own pricing guide!!

    December 5, 2018 at 3:23 pm Reply
  2. Clever, I will give it a go. Thank you!

    January 23, 2019 at 2:35 am Reply
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