What I’m looking for are two things: their level of design sophistication and how they’re currently using photography. These two bits of information can give valuable clues to what sort of budget he or she might have for photography.
Lack of pleasing design and imagery might be a good indicator that I am talking with someone who has likely not historically spent money for higher end professional design or art. It might mean they’re used to working with budgets that are small or doing the work in-house.
Ideally, the client’s website makes good use of color, makes use of an attractive font, and it’s navigation is intuitive. It will also look as if it was created specifically for them instead of being made from a template.
Most of all, I’m trying to determine to what extent they use excellent photography. Does it look as though they’ve done a lot of it in house using a point-and-shoot with no lighting? Does it look professional? Do they credit the photographer?
This analysis takes just seconds and can be done during the initial part of the conversation. If it appears they haven’t worked with a photographer of your skills, you’ll know you have to spend a lot of time talking about the value you bring to the project. Put another way, you’ll need to convince them that you’re the correct person for the job and worth the money.
Remember, if you focus the conversation of price, the price will likely go down. Instead, focus the conversation on value, what you can offer that everyone else cannot, the price will likely go up.