I hate when prices go up, especially for a product or service that you love.
With Baby Beagle (no longer really a baby anymore, but I haven't found a catchy term I like just yet to switch to) rocking out the whole ‘growing' thing in his first year, we took the opportunity to get pictures taken at regular intervals during his first year, namely every three months.
The three month photo shoot was at a storefront place that processed what seemed like 50 sessions per hour. It was very rushed, very generic, and my wife was not impressed. The photos turned out great but she just wasn't ‘feeling' it.
She asked some other mommies she knew, and got a recommendation of a lady that does photo shoots out of her home as a side business. We decided to give them a try, so we went for Baby Beagle's six month photos (and also has some family Christmas photos taken).
Long story short, we loved them!
The lady took wonderful photos, was very personal in her approach, and quite honestly made us feel like we were her most important customer. Plus, her prices were great. She charged a $10 sitting fee and her price per print was very reasonable when compared to other places that we saw. The only downside, if there was one, is that she didn't offer the option to purchase the digital images. We're able to easily overlook this, though, because this is pretty much industry standard.
Everything was great, and we sailed along for the nine month and the one-year photos. However, when it came time to order our photos for the recent one-year session, the prices on the prints were the same but there was a notice attached that said “Effective next month, the sitting fee will increase to $25.”
My wife and I were really bummed out by this. While it's ‘only' a $15 per session increase, the flip side is that it's a 150% price increase.
The upside for us, at least currently, is that the frequency of our sessions will decrease, at least until we have another baby. We will most likely go every six months at least for Baby Beagle. However, when we have more children, we'll certainly want to get the same schedule for the first year.
From the photographer's perspective, I can probably understand where she's coming from. She's said multiple times how great it's going. She gets all of her business by word of mouth, and since I'm sure she's as awesome with all of her clients as she is with us, I can imagine that many people have referred her (we have!). So, being that it's a part time gig, she probably only has a limited number of slots available. If she's hit that limit and is even turning people away, well the laws of supply and demand make a price increase expected.
I mean, can you really blame her if she has estimated that she can fill all of her slots either at $25 per session or $10 per session.
Still, from a ‘customer service' standpoint, I think it would have been nice for her to offer a smaller increase to those who either have been with her longer and/or who refer business to her. Customer loyalty is a big thing.
My wife and I have discussed it and we're probably going to continue using her. We may bring up the question of whether she would give us a ‘loyalty price' but admittedly will probably use her even if she stands firm on the $25 (I don't think she reads this blog *lol*).
Still, it never hurts to ask!