How To Deal With Clients Who Think You’re Too Expensive


“You’re too expensive.” 

“I can’t afford that.”

It’s hard to face these relatively negative responses when you offer your services and pricing to a potential client. So what do you do? Panic? Question your worth and de-value your work? Throw a temper tantrum and curse at them?

No! None of that.

There a few things you can do instead, like having a conversation about the investment or adjusting your budget slightly. Want to know more? Let’s get into it.

How To Deal With The “You’re Too Expensive” From A Client

1. Start a conversation.

If they tell you you’re too expensive, talk to them about it. Don’t be too quick to say “see ya.”

Here are a couple of things you can discuss:

Talk about their budget. Maybe there’s a reason why they’re not willing to invest in you (though they should). Whatever the case, don’t take it personally. If they’re willing to invest in boring, lazy, un-authentic stock photography, then that’s on them — just remind them of why it’s bad for business and why you’re better.

Discuss the return on investment. ROI is a measurement that evaluates the performance, efficiency, and quality of an investment. In other words, its calculations are dependent on whether or not the time, money, and energy into something was worth it. Prove to them how you can provide high-quality work that will positively affect their brand and help their business succeed.

You could say something like, “If I help you with X, Y, Z, you will save so much time, stress, and unnecessarily spent money…and here’s how.” Make them think about the long-term investment and prove why and how you can benefit them.

2. Change your budget…slightly.

If you’re interested in working with this particular client or maybe you’re just really desperate for money and you’ll take whatever you can get, adjust your pricing and see if it matches with their budget.

Offer a discount or alternative pricing..after negotiation. Offering an alternative shows that you’re still confident in your pricing and won’t back down, but that you’re still interested in working with them. It shows that you’re not 100% in it just for the money. (And yes, you shouldn’t create work just to get paid!)

Offer less. Focus on the main goals they need and offer fewer bells and whistles. The less you offer, the less they’ll have to pay. You’ll still get something and they’ll stay on budget.

3. …Or don’t change anything at all!

Kindly reject your services and say they can reach out to you for future projects when their budget allows. Again, don’t take their decline personally. They have their reasons and you’re still awesome so that’s all that matters. You know you have the vision and you make high-quality content.

Remember your worth. Don’t question your value. 

Not only have you spent a lot of money on photo gear, but you have spent a lot of time and energy perfecting your craft too. Your work is high-quality and anyone who thinks otherwise is…well, wrong. Own who you are. We all know that hiring a photographer is the best investment, so let them come to that conclusion on their own if you can’t convince them.

We got the opinion from professional travel and nature photographer Forrest Smith: “If I give someone my rates and they’re too high for them, sometimes they’ll try and talk me down. They’ll try and devalue my work and if that’s the case, I usually just let them work with someone else who might be a little more affordable (and maybe not as good). The fact of the matter is, investing in quality photography — or creativity to any extent — can build a brand over a long period of time.”

Dealing with clients can be frustrating. If there’s a problem with pricing and they think you’re too expensive, try some of these things out. Make some changes to your budget or offer discounts. If you don’t want to do that, remember your worth and don’t back down from pricing. You know how much time, energy and money went into creating this profession. Remind them of what kind of work they would be investing in and how it will benefit them in the long run. Show them how high-quality your work is and why you’re better than the rest.