How do you compete against cheap photographers?

In Real estate photography pricing by Build A Photography Business

Architectural and real estate photographers: What do you do when really cheap photographers enter your market? In this video we’ll look at 8 ideas you can use to compete against your cheap competitors!

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Video transcript:

What do you do when really cheap photographers enter your market? I’ve got 8 ideas for you to use, so let’s take a closer look!

Now before we get into that I would like to thank our sponsor for this episode,, and they provide scheduling, payment and photo delivery tools for real estate and architectural photographers, so you might like to check them out if that’s something you’re looking for.

So how do you compete against cheap photographers?

First of all, we need to acknowledge that your clients don’t always buy the cheapest thing. They’re not buying the cheapest car, because they understand how that makes them look. And they’re not meeting with clients whilst wearing a cheap tshirt. Why? Because your clients understand the value of presenting themselves well.

You see, their reputation, and how they think other people will see them, is why they pay more for the things that matter to them. It’s your job to get them to see what you do in that same light. Ok, if they see you as the guy or girl who just pushes the button on the camera, who does the exact same thing they could do, then there’s no value in that as far as they’re concerned. But for those things that they acknowledge as having greater value for them, that’s what they’ll pay more for.

Now, let’s say there’s a really cheap photographer in your area. My first question then is why are agents and businesses using this photographer? Is it just because they’re cheap?

If that’s it, if that’s the ONLY reason, then that photographer is in a pretty weak position because their clients have no loyalty to them except to their prices.

But the cheap photographer can’t raise their prices because they’ve positioned themselves as the cheap one, so they feel like they need to keep prices low, and then they struggle on for a while doing lots of work but with no meaningful profit – they keep prices low, they get busy, they burn out, and it becomes a death spiral for their business. Trust me, you don’t want to be the cheap photographer.

But now let’s have a think about the clients of the cheap photographer. You’ll find it helpful to give some thought to this, because then you can figure out how you’ll communicate to different people, depending on which category they’re in.

So here are three common reasons for why clients hire cheap photographers:

The first reason is because they may have had a bad experience with another photographer, or multiple photographers in the past, and they figure that they might as well use the cheap photographer because they still get bad service or poor images no matter what they pay, or at least that’s what they think.

The second reason they could be using the cheap photographer is because they don’t know what makes a good photograph, so as far as they’re concerned they might as well pay as little as possible. So if all of the photographers are apples, and there aren’t any oranges in the box, then they might as well buy the cheapest apple.

Or three, maybe they’re using the cheap photographer because they’re cheap but they also deliver really good photos. So why are they so cheap? Well, maybe this cheap photographer has no idea how to track their numbers so they’re really bad at pricing, or maybe they’re deliberately using their photography as a loss leader, and they’re making up their margins on the backend through other services. Or maybe they are going for volume, and they’re happy to make a small amount but do lots and lots of photo shoots.

So there’s three reasons why agents and businesses in your area are hiring the cheap photographer. So now let’s go through 8 ideas to see what you can do in response to that:

Number 1:

You could deliver exceptional service – first-class communication, an easy booking process, simple payment, fast and simple photo delivery. Get all that right and clients will love you! Now if you want to implement that then you might like to look at my friends at

If you were to use a system like theirs then the booking process is ridiculously easy for your clients to book a shoot with you - they simply visit your website, your available slots are shown in real time so they can select the time they want which is great for them, they get the whole thing done online, and even the invoice is created automatically for you and sent to the client, with the appointment automatically added to their calendar and your calendar.

That kind of thing is going to give you an advantage over cheap photographers who require their clients to call the photographer, they leave messages and things go back and forwards, and it's not a good experience for the client. You can do better, and your clients will love it.

Number 2:

Find clients that aren’t concerned by price but want the security of a more expensive option. Make sure your street front communicates this clearly, and by street front I mean the thing that everyone sees before they’ve ever worked with you, such as your website, social media, your business card, marketing material and you.

Number 3:

Diversify your client base so that real estate agents only make up 50% or less of your income, and make the rest come from other business clients. So if you can’t get enough work in real estate photography by itself, then get it from somewhere else.

Number 4:

Idea number 4 is to push hard with your marketing so that you’re everywhere your target market is. Go big, and be unmissable!

Number 5:

Build relationships with clients and prospects so that you are the one they hire and trust because of the strong connection you have with them. You are the only you in the world – make that your selling point because you’re one of a kind.

Number 6:

Educate your prospects so that they understand the difference between low-quality, low-cost photography and what you do. This is a big part of what I do with the photographers I work with, and it’s really effective on a range of levels.

Number 7:

The 7th idea is to become a celebrity or an influencer in your local area, because celebrity status matters more than just about anything else these days, and that can help you get more clients.

Number 8:

Join them by offering cheap photography yourself, but make sure you have a rock-solid upsell in place so that you convert those cheap photo shoots into expensive photo shoots that include photos, videos, and a bunch of other services.

So there’s 8 things you can do, and you need to be intimately familiar with your market, make sure you know it inside out, so you know what offer will work best, and what will present your business as a compelling alternative to those cheap photographers.

Need extra help?

Now if you like the sound of that but you feel like you need some extra help then why don’t you join my coaching and marketing program for real estate and architectural photographers. You can get in touch with me if you want to find out more, or visit

My name’s Darryl Stringer, and if you liked this video make sure you leave a comment and subscribe or Like this Page, and I’ll see you next time. Bye for now!