Photography pricing tips you need to know!

22 Photography Pricing Tips You Need to Know

Photography pricing tips

Do you want your photography business to succeed?

Of course you. But if you are basing your photography pricing off your competitors or numbers that just “sound right,” you are setting yourself up for failure!

There is a lot that goes into creating pricing for your photography services and products that most new photographers don’t think about.

It’s not your fault… a lot of the factors that go into pricing simply are not intuitive. 

But not to fear – we are here to help you create pricing that will allow your business to grow and thrive!

In this post, I’ve compiled 22 of our top photography pricing tips. These are things you need to know if you really want to set your business up for success.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the pricing tips!

Pricing Basics

1). Before you even start thinking about numbers, you first need to determine who your ideal client is and what they are looking for in a photographer. Knowing this will help you understand their budget and goals.

2) Don’t pull your pricing out of thin air! I see too many photographers make up pricing that ends up essentially costing them money to work.

3) When determining your pricing, it isn’t all about the actual costs of  your services and products you offer. One of the most important factors is the experience. Are you planning on offering a hands-on, boutique experience? If so, you will be able to charge more because you are nurturing your clients more.

4) Creating profitable pricing does more than just allow you to make a better living… it also serves as a qualifier. If you want clients who truly value your work and the art of photography, higher prices will let them know that you are serious.

5) You don’t have to be a premium photographer, but if you want to be affordable, you need to make sure you are at least profitable.

6) Ideally, your pricing should be in a sweet spot where your ideal clients can afford you, but feel a little “sting” at first glance. In other words, your prices might come off high for a moment, but as you show the client the value of your work, they are able and willing to pay it.

7) Never base your pricing off your competitors! You don’t know what they base their prices off of, if they are even profitable.

8) Always get the session fee from the client upfront. Let them know the cost of the session is to secure your time together.

9) Offering digital files can destroy your business quickly if priced wrong. I see many new photographers create packages like “$50 for a session plus 5-10 digital files”. This may be an okay way to build up your clientele, but this is NOT sustainable in the long run. Consider the amount of time and effort that goes into planning a session and preparing 5-10 images. (Selling digital files is a complicated subject. That’s why we’ve created a mini training specifically on how to deal with digital files! Click here to learn more.)

Formulating Your Pricing

10) When you start to form your pricing, be sure to factor in your desired salary and hourly rate. (Hourly rate = Desired Salary / Work Weeks per Year / Work Hours per Week)

11) Your session pricing should NOT be just your hourly rate! I see many new photographers make this vital mistake. Much more goes into a session than just the time it takes to shoot the session. Don’t forget about travel time, packing and setup time, the time it takes to backup the photos, etc.

12) Be sure to consider your yearly expenses when creating pricing. There’s a lot of expenses you’ll want to make sure you cover – Cost of Goods sold, equipment, studio costs, education, taxes, etc. (Click here for our free Pricing worksheet that will act as your revenue and expense map!)

13) Your salary should be at least 45% of your revenue. (In other words, if you bring in $100,000 in a year, at least $45,000 should be your salary. If that’s not the case, you need to either cut costs or raise prices to ensure you are making enough profits.)

14) Your Cost of Goods Sold (what you pay to produce your products for clients) should make up no more than 25% of your pricing.

15) It’s okay (and wise!) to charge more for “primetime,” in-demand session times, just like airlines and hotels do. This can include evenings, weekends, and early mornings.

16) When you are just starting out, figure out what you want your regular prices to be (as if you have already been in business for a couple years.) Then, offer a special Portfolio Building Discount until your portfolio is ready. Then, when it’s time to charge full-price, all you have to do is drop your discounts rather than attempt to inch up your prices.

Presenting Your Pricing

17) Don’t put all of your pricing on your website! You want to help people understand the value of your work first. It’s hard to justify pricing online and can turn off potential clients before they get a chance to know you.

18) When it comes time to sell to your clients, always show them your most expensive items first. This sets a high price in their mind and makes your mid-range products seem more reasonable.

19) Offering collections (packages) can majorly increase your sales! We’d suggest offering between 4 and 7 collections.

20) When creating collections, group together the products that your clients buy most often.

21) When it comes time to show the clients their images and sell, you can make drastically more sales by presenting them in-person rather than letting them go through an online gallery. It will be easier to show them the value of final printed portraits and guide them through an experience, meaning they will be more open to your pricing and to buying more.

22) When you show your clients your pricing, be confident! If you have crafted your prices off real numbers, you will have an easier time understanding why your prices are what they are, and clients can sense that they are paying you what you’re worth.

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With these tips at your disposal, you are ready to create pricing that will allow your photography business to take off!

Are you ready to put these tips into action?

Additional pricing resources

I want to hear your thoughts!

In the comments below, please write: Which tip above is your favorite? Are there any that you will put into action today?

I’ll be here to write back to each of your comments. 🙂