Call it what you will but when it comes to pricing portraits I always take into account who the client is and their situation with the world before quoting a price.
Just this week a possible client sent me a message about wedding package pricing. I sent them the basic information I send all blind requests. Then later that night I am talking about it with my wife and it is someone she knows. She also knows that they will now continue on shopping other photographers because my price was something they probably couldn't pay for. She tells me a little about the family and struggles they have had. My wife knows that my prices are competitive and that I am worth my prices.
What she told me really pulled on me a little bit and got me thinking I should revisit the inquiry with a different price. So I emailed the inquirer back with a different price and received a response straight away. The new price is something they can afford and they were very excited about it.
Did I devalue myself or did I ensure more work for myself in the future? It could go either way really. It is a scary world out there with wal-marts and best buys selling digital SLR cameras for super low prices. In a situation like this, chances are someone who cannot afford professional quality will setting on low quality for next to nothing in prices. Think about it, everyone has an "aunt" who takes pictures that will volunteer to take your wedding photos for you.
Today would have been my Grandma's 102nd birthday. She grew up in a totally different world than I can even think about. As a child she had to walk to the river to see what trees looked like. TREES. Can you imagine that? Now think about growing up in a place that rural and how far away you were from the rest of the world. Do you think their were many photographers out there, and if so do you think they were priced reasonably or really high? The youngest I have seen my grandma in a photograph would have been in her late 40s. I have no idea what she looked like as a child, or a young woman.
This is a personal example of why I choose to fudge around on my prices some. It might not be the best for business and bottom dollars, but I just want people to be able to show photos of their family members to others 100 years from now. If I took it then that is even better.