Intro by Skip Cohen

There’s so much business and marketing help on the Internet, and Sarah Petty leads the pack. But what she regularly shares won’t help you if you don’t follow her!

I love this post she recently shared as a “must-read.” I’m sharing it in two parts because there’s a lot here to think about. Her opening line says it all – you don’t want to be in a race to the bottom! 

People rarely buy what they need, they buy what they want.

Seth Godin

Just that quote alone should get you thinking about planting those seeds that give value to what you do and make working with you unique. It’s up to you to make sure your target audience wants your skill set and your ability to turn memories into tangible photographs. You’ve got to separate yourself from your competition.

I’m sharing tips 1- 7 from Sarah today, and in the next post, we’ll wrap up the rest. But through each value point, think about your business. There’s so much potential to make 2022’s holiday season the best ever!


If you’re going to survive in this economy, you can’t compete in the price race to the bottom.

I realized early on that a low price never really wins: There’s always a “Walmart” doing it for less. Instead, compete in the value race to the top!! There are way fewer people there! 

So today, I’m going to give you 13 ways to create VALUE in your photography business. 

Remember, value means what people think something is worth. If it’s more valuable than the money in their pocket, they will buy it. If they see it as the same thing as what everyone else is doing, they’re not going to pay more for it. 

Here are 13 things you can do to increase the value of your photography, so people will pay more for what you do, refer you, and be lifelong clients: 

  1. Offer Products Versus Digital Files

Commit to offering products, NOT high-res digital files. If you’re trying to be somewhere in the middle, that’s like creating a beautiful steakhouse with a drive-through window where you also sell happy meals. It doesn’t work that way! 

You have to pick one or the other, products or digital files. 

I do give my clients a low-res digital file of everything they purchase as wall art.

But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about printable digital files. 

What we offer is beautiful artwork.

So, we create value by offering something that they’ll be looking at every single day for the rest of their life. 

  • Learn How to Sell Your Story

In Boutique Breakthrough 2.0, we call it your “why” story, and we teach you to tell it in a way that increases your value. 

I get so passionate about photography because I did not exist in photos when I was a child. I have one photo of me when I was probably a year and a half old. I’m out of focus and you can only see the tip of my head. That’s why I’m so passionate about what I do. 

That story in itself makes me more valuable than the person who’s out there marketing 50 digital files for $100. 

3. Have Professional Design and Branding

Having come from a branding background, I am kind of a branding snob. All the pretty and trendy fonts make me crazy. It’s like when the font, Papyrus, became a thing and everybody used it… now it’s dated.

It might come back, or it might not. But if you’re using it when it’s not in style, it positions you as dated. Professional design and branding elevate people’s perception of you, especially when we’re marketing a service.

People are judging you based on everything, and your design and your branding are part of that. So up your branding game.

4. Serve Throughout Your Process

I have a five-step framework that serves hard. I hold my clients’ hands from the first phone call all the way until the very last pickup appointment. I know the more time my clients spend with me, the more value they will see in my process. 

Holding their hand throughout the whole entire thing takes away the fear of them making a bad decision or ordering the wrong size. It’s worth more than someone giving them digital files and thinking they may print them themselves… which they never do. 

So hold their hand to help them get beautiful artwork on their walls, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping people be celebrated.

5. Offer High-End Products 

When I first started my business, I worked with a local artist, and we handmade frames that she would paint. In my displays around town, I had this high-end product and people would say that they had never seen anything like this! They would come in and still invest in the same basic things, which is fine, but it positioned me as high-end, which created more value. 

We also offer paintings of portraits, and we do composites where we might put your five-year-old little boy on the moon, or in an astronaut suit.  Even if you don’t sell them often, you’re going to have a high price on them, which raises the value of everything else. 

6. Have a Boutique In-Person Ordering Appointment

In a boutique in-person ordering appointment, the more you can serve your client (whether you have cookies, wine, a charcuterie board, or soft music) the better.

You have one hour to help them!! 

That appointment creates value because you’re taking away the fear of all of the things that are holding them back, so the system itself is really about serving and creating value. 

7. Educate Through Your Marketing

When you’re marketing using relationships and education, you’re talking a lot about what it looks like to work with a boutique photographer. You’re educating and showing them why fewer, bigger pieces of art in the home are so beautiful versus a bunch of small knick-knack paddy whack items or digital files. 

Education makes you worth more. 

Once you learn how to do these things, they become second nature. It’s like any skill that you want to learn.

You practice, you get coaching, and you get better.

You can do this!