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Organic Headshots turns 12… Discount time!

March 28, 2017 Published by . Leave your thoughts

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If you’ve been following Organic Headshots for a while now you know that about once a year we offer a discount on in-studio session fees. It’s time!

To celebrate our 12th year in business, you get 20% off session fees for in-studio headshot sessions. That’s right, 12 YEARS! Organic Headshots has been taking awesome headshots for awesome people in business and entertainment for a whole 12 years now, and we’ve been loving every minute of it.

Discount details:

Book an in-studio headshot session between now and April 30th, 2017, and receive 20% off the session fee. The session doesn’t have to take place in that time period, but has to be booked and in our system by April 30th, 2017 for the discount, and you must mention the discount at your session (it won’t be applied automatically). Discount cannot be applied to add-on services such as retouching or a makeup artist.

Thank you for 12 awesome years!

We can’t believe it ourselves, so we’ve got to say it again: 12 YEARS. Thank you so much to all of our clients over the years for continuing to choose Organic Headshots for their professional headshots, corporate portraits, and marketing/press photographs. It’s been a real honor to take everyone’s photos and we feel so privileged to have met so many amazing people in our work. And we’re so excited to kick off year 13 with our growing team. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Book your session here

How to ask your photographer for a discount

August 10, 2016 Published by . Leave your thoughts

Today is the day I’m finally tackling the controversial issue of pricing in photography.  Specifically, discounts.  As a small business owner and service provider I’ve been asked for a discount more times than I can count.  I believe we’re living in what I like to lovingly call the “Groupon Era,” where no one pays full price anymore.  Pricing for everything online and in stores is in red ink or with flashing lights and lightning bolts pointing to it. chicago headshots

Picture that shirt at The Gap that was going for $39 so you were on the fence about buying it, until you saw the redlined original price of $59 and you couldn’t get to the checkout line fast enough with your steal of a deal.  There’s a definite psychology to discount shopping too tangled to get into here, so let’s just say that in a nutshell, buying things at a lower price makes us feel good.  We feel like we got more value out of what we’re getting because we paid less for it than others would have.

As a small business owner with no red lines through the pricing on my website I have to say I’ve felt the brunt of the “Goupon Era” mentality to the point of… well… sometimes rudeness.  Some people don’t know they’re being rude when they ask for a discount or tell me my pricing is too high and I actually don’t blame them, I blame the discount culture we live in.  But these are some things that have been said to me:

“Ha!  Don’t you think that’s a little expensive?”

“Is there any way you could just charge me less?”

“Can you do the same amount of work for $200 instead of the $700 you quoted me?  Our budget is $200 for the project.”  (coming from a private equity firm with a self-proclaimed portfolio of several million dollars in holdings, by the way.)

“I don’t understand why I have to pay that, I only want 1 photo.  Why can’t you just take 1 photo?  You just want my money—this is a scam.”  (I wouldn’t have believed this one myself if there wasn’t a photo assistant in the room to verify this.  This was actually said to my face.)

Now this blog post isn’t going to be another one of those “OMG DON’T ASK FOR A DISCOUNT THAT’S SO RUDE” posts, because I get it.  I shop at thrift stores because I love the thrill of the hunt and getting a $50 sweater for $5.  I love my money, I worked hard for it, and I HATE parting with it.  I’m a part of the discount culture and I hate paying full price for things.  So I get it.  I totally get it.

And as a small business owner I have to face the fact that discounts are common practice and here to stay.  But instead of laying out my expense sheets, justifying my pricing, and begging people not to discount hunt with their photographers, I decided to draw up some tips for both clients and photographers to better navigate the discount road.  So here they are: tips for how to ask your photographer for a discount, and tips for the photographer on what to do when you’re asked for a discount.

 

How to ask your photographer for a discount:

  1. If you think the price is expensive, ask yourself what you are comparing to. Is this particular photographer more expensive than another? If so, compare their portfolios, their experience, etc.  Or is it possible that you just had a lower number in your mind when you started price shopping?  Which is totally fine if that happened, you did nothing wrong by expecting it to be less.  But now that you’ve been given a number different from what you expected, try to figure out if your expectation was within range of the value of the service in the market.  Look at pricing from several other photographers with portfolios you like—if there’s a trend, chances are your expectations were off, and that’s okay.  Now adjust your budget or the project accordingly.
  1. If you’re going to ask the photographer for a discount, start with asking if they have any existing discounts or a time of the year when they run a promotion. Some wedding photographers, for example, have lower rates for times when business is slower for them, such as during the winter, Thursdays, or Fridays.  Be prepared to give a little if you want to take a little.  Asking for a discount is asking for something for nothing, so you might have to adjust your own plans to make the price you want work.
  1. groupThink about “what’s in it for them.” Photographers are small business owners.  They only offer discounts when they can get something legitimately good for their business in return.  Something that makes less work for them they might do for less money.  For example, I have a standing 2-at-once headshot discount where if 2 people come in for a headshot at the same time they each get 20% off their session.  This makes less work for me since I don’t have to schedule back and forth with 2 people for 2 different sessions when they come together, so I pass that time/effort savings onto them in the form of a discount.
  1. Please remember that this person is a working professional who owns a small business, and asking them to do their work for cheaper with no good reason or incentive is, well, let’s just say it, insulting. Your boss wouldn’t say “your paycheck is going to be half what it usually is this week because your pay is not in our budget,” and if that did happen, how would you feel?  Just try to keep this person’s feelings in mind when asking for a discount.  Word it carefully and with respect.

 

For photographers—how to give a discount:

  1. Offer a standing discount that makes good business sense for you: clients get a reduced rate, but you get something of equal value in return. For example, a discount for someone who refers a new client to you, or an exchange of services of equal value such as 15% off photo services for your hair stylist who gives you 15% off his or her services to you. Or offer a discount for a cause you believe in.  I offer discounts to military personnel because I see how hard it can be to transition from active military to making a career change and I want to offer a discount on professional headshots so they can do that more easily, and I view it as a small thank you for serving our country.  It legitimately makes me feel good to offer that discount and when someone redeems it.  Also having a short list of standing discounts gives you a good canned response when someone gives you that “can I have a discount?” question.  It turns an awkward conversation into an empowered one where you can list off all of the exact situations that qualify for a discount, and puts the responsibility back onto the client to see if they fit into one of those situations.
  1. Know your numbers, know your business, and know what you can and can’t do with your pricing. Assert yourself and avoid the guilty feeling that you have to make everyone happy with your pricing by immersing yourself in your profit and loss statements, expense reports, and pricing structure.  Know your numbers thoroughly, know why you charge what you charge, and then own it.  If you want to help a client out without discounting your rate, consider adding value by adding service instead; such as a free retouched photo, an extra hour of event coverage, or offer to throw in some free prints.
  1. Remember that some people just aren’t your clients. And that’s okay.  Even when they beg you.  Even when it’s been a slow month.  Take care of yourself and listen to your emotions and determine if you’re relinquishing discounts because they make good business sense or because someone is toying with your emotions and trying to make you feel guilty because they can’t or don’t want to pay for it.  Every time someone asks for a random discount I don’t offer or tells me my rates are too high for them I feel crummy.  It does beat me down a little.  But then I scope out my competitors’ rates, look through my own portfolio, and I straighten my shoulders and remind myself that my pricing is correct and it’s okay that it’s not for everyone.
  1. Think of the industry. If you’re a working photographer you’re part of the photography industry, and we photographers stick together.  Every time you lower your rate, another photographer gets asked to lower theirs because someone out there got it for cheaper.  Please keep the integrity of your profession in mind and your rates in line with industry trends.  So many of your fellow photographers are still working part time and even full time jobs outside of their profession because of the discount culture created by bidding sites and other service industry pricing pitfalls.  If you haven’t already done so, consider joining a local or national pro photo group like the PPA so that you can keep up with the issues everyone in your industry is facing so we can face them together.

 

Free event coverage for non-profits in Q4!

August 1, 2016 Published by . Leave your thoughts

Every year Organic Headshots gives away several hours of event photo coverage, divided into quarters.  This year, Visionshare already has dibs on a few hours of coverage for an event they have in October: a group that places donated eye tissue for transplant recipients is definitely a non-profit that restores vision is definitely after a photographer’s heart!

Past recipients of Organic Headshots’ “pro bono” event coverage include The Childrens Place, the Chicago Volunteer Expo, and the Ozzie Guillen Foundation.

If your non-profit has an event between October 1st, 2016 and December 31st, 2016 and you’d like to apply for some free event coverage by Organic Headshots, contact Michelle!

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The once a year “it’s Michelle’s birthday” discount

January 17, 2014 Published by . Leave your thoughts

It’s Michelle’s Birthday! 105
Discounts on headshots for one month only, before rates increase in 2014…

From January 18th until February 18th, 2014 only:
25% off all headshot session fees
Just mention the super secret password: BIRTHDAYCAKEFROSTING*    

Yup, it’s that time of year again- the only time of the year that I give a discount. My birthday. Woo!

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to update your headshot for LinkedIn? Now is the perfect time to get that done, because not only will headshot sessions booked between now and February 18th, 2014 be 25% off the session fee, but my rates will be increasing after February 18th.

Yes- you read that right. Organic Headshots will be increasing rates for most services starting February 18th, 2014. It’s been about half a decade since rates have been adjusted for inflation, so 2014 is the year. Each session fee will be raised by about $15 to $20. Retouching fees will remain the same. Hair and make-up artists’ fees will also be increased by about $15 to $20 per service. The new rates will be posted on the rates page of the website on or after February 18th.

Too much to do before February 18th to get your headshot done? That’s okay! You can book your headshot for any day of the year- several months in advance- just make sure you call or email me to book before February 18th to get the discount. Get it in your schedules soon, or pass the super secret discount code to your friends or colleagues. Thanks!

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*super secret discount code word is brought to you by cake frosting, which is Michelle’s favorite part of birthday cakes.

Summer Headshots Outside! 20% Off!

June 21, 2011 Published by . Leave your thoughts

Today is the first official day of Summer, and to celebrate it the only way I know how, I’m offering a discount on headshots! Since we only get a few months of really great weather in Chicago, let’s make the most of them by taking headshots outside. Then when you’re looking at your headshot in the winter and you see yourself surrounded by green grass, flowers, and natural sunlight, your photo can warm the cockles of your heart.

From today until July 31st, 2011, any headshot session you book that we shoot entirely outdoors is 20% off the session price! Want to update your headshot with one taken outside? Now’s the time.

And speaking of deals, Organic Headshots is working with GROUPON to perhaps someday offer a Groupon Deal. But we need your help! We need 25 followers on our profile page to be eligible, so please go to our profile page HERE and simply click “follow” at the top of the page. Thanks!

And remember to follow our new page on Facebook!

Contact Michelle Kaffko for more information or to book a session OUTSIDE in the summer sun today. And since I’ll use any excuse to go to the beach, so anyone requesting a session at the beach gets a whopping 25% off!