Pricing yourself correctly can be a learning process, full of trial and error. When first starting out, a lot of photographers don't really know what they should be charging (I was one of them). It can be a bit tricky, but ultimately you want to make sure that you're charging enough so that a.) you are actually making enough money to keep your business running AND to pay yourself, b.) you're appealing to your ideal client, and c.) you're getting enough bookings. Here are some tips to remember when setting up your pricing.
- Charging $150 for a one hour session SEEMS like an easy way to make some quick cash. You're only doing an hour of work, right?! Wrong. When setting up your pricing, you have to take into account not just the amount of time you spend shooting, but the amount of time you spend corresponding with the client, potentially location scouting, traveling to and from the session, shooting the session itself, importing and backing up files, editing, posting sneak peeks or a blog, exporting, uploading to a gallery, and delivering the images. Let's say for arguments sake that it actually takes you 5 hours to fully complete a session, taking all of those things listed above into account. If you charged $150, that equals out to a measly $30/hour. THEN if you factor in all of your many business expenses (taxes, gear, computers, hard drives, various office supplies, subscriptions to Creative Cloud or studio management software, education....the list goes on and on), you'll realize you're walking away with next to nothing. You absolutely want to make sure you're charging enough to keep your business running and keep food on your table.
- The way you price yourself will also directly influence the type of clients that reach out to you. When I first started photographing portrait sessions, I was cheeeeap. Like, $50 cheap. Granted, I wasn't very good at the time. But the people that came to me then were people that were honestly looking for CHEAP PHOTOGRAPHY. My work was sub-par, but most of the clients didn't care because they were getting a "steal." As I grew and learned, I adjusted my pricing pretty frequently in small increments. And yes, of course I lost clients. The ones that had been coming to me for $50 dollar sessions didn't want to fork over $150 a year later. Then the ones that paid $150 maybe didn't want to pay $300 a couple years later. And I had to become okay with moving on from past clients who were clearly price-shoppers. Eventually I found my grove with pricing. I now charge enough to make it worth my time and enough that I get clients who actually appreciate good photography and are willing to pay for it - but not SO MUCH that I'm unable to book anything due to being too expensive.
- Finding the pricing "sweet spot" can be a challenge, but you want to make sure you're pricing yourself competitively in your local market. If you're charging too low, not only are you probably not getting the most ideal clientele (see above), but you're also undercutting other photographers in your direct market. On the other hand, if you're charging WAY more than other local photographers, you may find that potential clients are going elsewhere for more affordable options. That being said, there is nothing wrong with charging somewhat higher prices than your competition - if you have the knowledge, experience, and the gorgeous work to back it up.
Pricing directly influences the type of clients that reach out to you. To learn more about finding your ideal client, click the button below. You will also see links to the pricing + information links we send out to our potential clients.