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Photographers – Just Say No to this Negotiating Tactic

Ever since I entered the ranks of professional photographers many years ago, there has been a particular negotiating tactic that some potential clients use that I absolutely cannot abide. They will say, “My uncle / cousin / friend can do it for half what you charge!”

Really? They can? Two different photographers have different rates?

Is it possible that they have different costs of doing business? Or perhaps one is not a professional photographer who makes a living off of what they do and specializes in this particular line of work?

just say no to this negotiating tactic photographers

Or, is it likely that there is no uncle, cousin, or friend who is willing to do the same work for half the rate? I feel that this is often the case and that someone, somewhere recommended this negotiating tactic to trick photographers into discounting their rates out of FOMO.

Listening to other photographers, I am not the only one who hears this price negotiating tactic on the regular. But what can we do about it?

How To Respond to this Negotiating Tactic?

Seriously, though, don’t yeet them across the room. I have found that the best response in these scenarios is to calmly say, “Oh, wow. Really? You should hire them. That’s a great deal.”

If they respond with something along the lines of, “Well we’re really interested in hiring you, though. We love your work!” Just reply, calmly, “Well, I can’t match that rate if that’s what you are looking for.”

See what they have to say then. And don’t sell yourself short! Only give discounts when it benefits you (e.g. working in a venue you have always wanted to shoot, getting an immediate booking, etc.) and be clear that if you are adjusting pricing, you will most likely be removing services to make up the cost to you in giving a discount.

Tell me what you think about this way of negotiating in a comment below or find me on Instagram, Threads, or TikTok. I would love to hear your feedback!

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The Nerdy Photographer

With more than a quarter century as a professional photographer, The Nerdy Photographer's goal is to spread knowledge and laughter throughout the photo industry. Please follow along on social media and subscribe to the podcast.

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