Could a retainer save you money?

WLC Business Excellence Awards 2016-1.jpg

New Year revisiting a new idea. Last year I introduced the idea of a retainer to my business photography client options. It was new to me and I wasn’t entirely sure how it would workout for either me or the client. The only ‘retainer’ type structures I could find online were either similar to a shoot deposit or were guaranteeing availability, whether work was carried out or not. The latter usually being fairly expensive for the client.

I wanted to do something that both saved clients money and made it easier for them to include photography in their annual budget and I hoped gain a slightly higher overall spend and a more steady income throughout the year. I was pretty sure it would be very cost effective for the client and that the regular payments would be good for my cashflow, but I was a bit fuzzy on the details.

My usual approach would be not to take an idea forward until I had every detail perfected with the consequence being never taking any action. This time I decided to suck it and see!

A big thank you goes out to West Lothian Chamber of Commerce for being the first to take me up on the offer…the guinea pig so to speak. We sat down and came up with a budget, event list and a few other details to build flexibility and reliability in to the agreement. Now with 3/4 of the year through I’ve done a quick audit. 10 events have been covered from the launch of the Developing Young Workforce programme, annual awards to the monthly breakfasts. When the normal fee is compared to and the amount paid through the retainer the Chamber has so far saved 60% and been able to build a great stock of images of all their events for PR and future promotions.

I’d love to hear about any successes and failures you have had with similar or new pricing structures. Or for that fact any time you’ve introduced new concepts to your clients that they might not be familiar with. How did you go about it? What did you find that did or didn’t work?

And if you’d like to talk through how a retainer might work for your business give me a call and we can grab a coffee and a chat.

Contact me on 0776 309 2221 or email


Competition Winners!


  • Profile picture day session (value £25) Nic Macaulay-Smith
  • Event photography (value £130) Jennifer Skedd, Artisan Stitch
  • Photography Training for Business Marketing (value £25) Jonathan Downie
  • Property Photography (value £50) Tara Macgregor, Ticketyboo Marketing
  • Profile picture day session (value £25) David Robertson, EICC
  • 1hr Profile Pictures session (value £85) Cat Trebilco, Reach The Peak
  • 1hr Photography for Business (value £110) Claire Brotherton, A Bright Clear Web
  • Photography Training for Business Marketing (value £25) Gail Scott, Welgo
  • 1hr Business Image Review (value £85) Denise Strohsahl, Sandstone Castles 
  • Profile picture day session (value £25) Julia Lister, Cairngorms Webhelper
  • Photography Training for Business Marketing In House team session (value £150) Carrie Sanderson
  • 2hr Photography for Business (value £180) Catherine Lepreux Interiors 

I’ll contact all the winners individually with the details of their prizes. Congratulations!

If you’d like to see what I got up to in 2016 and are looking to procrastinate. I put together a wee gallery of 366 images for 366 days. A few of you might be featured 😉