Potential New Client Wants a Discount…. Should I?

Image Copyright Stefanie Carlson - www.stefaniecarlson.com

Today’s scenario involves a client hoping for a last minute newborn session, which the photographer happens to be able to accommodate on less than a day’s notice.

BUT…. the client then wants a discount… a big one. For no reason other than she doesn’t want to pay more than an amount in her head.  What do you do?

Dear Stefanie Shutters,

Tonight I just had a potential new client ask if I could squeeze her in for a newborn session tomorrow.  I can fit her in, so I agreed. Then she messaged me and asked if I could discount her session fee by $150!  Basically she wants my deluxe package for the price of the base package.  I was speechless and didn’t know what to say. I’ve never been asked to discount like that.  Help!

~Flabbergasted and Offended

Dear Flabbergasted,

What do you do? You stand by your pricing, especially for a ‘can you squeeze me in tomorrow’ client. Because those types or clients are MORE LIKELY than the average one to be the VIP clients (Very Irritating Person) where you wish you’d charged MORE because they’re ridiculously demanding.

For her to not be “oh hurrah, you can fit me in… here’s your money!” is a big RED FLAG to me about her future behaviors. 

We teach people how to treat us. Teach her her from the start that you’re a real business and you respect yourself and your time.

Also, feel free to be offended. Just because she can’t afford you doesn’t mean you’re too expensive.  It means that she needs to adjust her expectations or she needs to find a photographer who is in her budget. There’s someone for everyone out there; and its not your problem that you’re priced higher than the number she had in her head.. 

Finally, give her a firm pay by deadline. No pay, no shoot. Because she may just not show up tomorrow if she isn’t paid.

If you lose the session, its not a loss, it was a sign that I was right. 



UPDATE:   The client wanted to let the photographer know the morning of if she still wanted to have the session without a discount.  The photographer declined, the client didn’t book.  The photographer kept her sanity and her self respect.

SECOND UPDATE:  I was right 🙂

The photographer sent me a further update after this published: “I just wanted to say THANK YOU for giving me the courage to turn down a client. I later found out through a photographer friend in the area that she was a your definition of a VIP client, so a million thank yours for making me realize my worth, & for keeping my sanity! ”



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