Life lessons come in all forms and usually when you least expect them, and this was the case when I was, oddly enough, shopping for a Vitamix blender. How does a blender have anything to do with business and photography? I’ll get to that.

After going through an unexpected cancer experience in 2009 I decided that it was time to step up my health and I was going to achieve that goal through fruit and vegetable smoothies. I picked my random mental number that I didn’t want to exceed ($100) and started shopping around online. After all, $100 was a lot for a blender and it seemed like a fair budget, right?

The more reviews I read, the more I decided that I wanted an industrial strength Vitamix blender with its impressive warranty, fantastic reputation and tried and true fans. The problem was it was over 4 times my (mental) budget; with a whopping sticker price of $430! For a blender!!

Sound familiar? A newly engaged couple comes to you, flushed with love, but green with inexperience. They likely picked a random budget number for photography, something that seemed like a fair number, not knowing that they’d fall in love with your work that could be double, maybe even triple their number. So now what? My suggestion is to listen. Really listen!

I recently met with a couple that was interviewing photographers and they had their budget number in mind. My package was right there hovering at the maximum. We were hitting it off, but would they end up booking me? Could they find someone with a lower package price with similar quality? As we finished up our ice teas she said something interesting. “This is kind of silly, and you’ll probably think I’m strange for suggesting, but wouldn’t it be fun if we…”. I listened. I loved the idea! And even though I knew her idea would skyrocket the photography budget, I took a chance and created a new package to incorporate her ultimate photographic experience. The new package was nearly double the original. She loved it and she booked me!

As you can guess, I ended up purchasing the $430 blender and I’ll be honest, at first it was a bit difficult to choke down that number, but once I saw the long-term value in it, I knew I made the right decision and I suspect many of your couples are the same.

Written by Megan Clouse

Megan Clouse is a California based photographer, residing in the beautiful wine country town of Sonoma. She’s been happily married for 11 years, is bordering on wedding obsession thanks to shows such as Say Yes to the Dress, and loves leading her local PUG group.

In addition to photography, Megan is focusing her renewed and cancer-free energy as a board member of Pink Initiative (.org) , an inspiring organization filled with wedding professionals who are pulling together to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

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