I took my car in for regular maintenance this morning. I use a privately-owned small business mechanic who specializes in my kind of car. The mechanic called me later and said that something had been chewing on a couple of my hoses (this happens out here) and that I should replace them. When he told me the cost I said, “It costs what it costs.” He sounded stunned and still apologized for the cost (which, by the way, was not really that much). I had to tell him twice to just go ahead and fix it.
While he didn’t handle it the best way he could have, his actions serve us as a good model. When a client says “why does it cost so much” the worst thing you can do is apologize for your prices. For production charges it’s fine to say “the props cost what they cost” but when it comes to your fees you should make sure to show confidence. Saying something like “I set my creative fees based on many factors and the usage fee is based on the value of the image in its intended placement,” is true (or should be!) and is, in a fancy and confident way, saying “it costs what it costs.”
If the client can’t afford your fees then you can work with him/her to reduce the usage or get some other value instead of dollars, but whatever you do, do not say “I’m sorry it’s so expensive” and then lower your price.