How to Price Your Photography Services, Wrap Up: How to Start Charging Your New Pricing

Service Pricing Wrap UpI hope that everyone who took advantage of our 3-Part Pricing Photography Service for Success series found the worksheets useful. Keep in mind that these are only a guideline to help you determine the minimum price needed to cover your time and tasks.

(If you’ve missed any of the three parts, you can check them out here first: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3)

In this article, I’ll wrap up the series with some tips for how to implement your new pricing, and how to get comfortable with becoming a premium photography studio.

How to start charging your new pricing

If the numbers you came up with in your worksheets seem too low, then by all means charge as much as you’re willing!

As your business grows, you will want to inch up your session fees to a level that is inline with the type of studio that you plan to have.

If you’d prefer to start with somewhat lower pricing, I’d suggest to increase your session fees 10%-20% each January 1st and July 1st. This way, your price increases are incremental and relatively painless. Before you know it, you will be at your desired premium prices.

What if you are just starting out and you’re in the portfolio building stage?

As we mentioned in the last article, many new photographers build their portfolio by doing a lot of client work for free. This can make it very difficult to charge your ideal pricing in the near future (going from free sessions to premium pricing can be a huge leap!)

So, instead of charging nothing for your first sessions, advertise the pricing you’ve calculated in your worksheets as your regular price. Then, run a limited-time Portfolio Building Discount.

When offering a model discount, be sure to make clear that this is a limited-time opportunity. Set a date that clients must book their session by. This creates a sense of scarcity and will make people act by your deadline so that they don’t miss out.

For example: If your goal pricing is $75 for a 1-hour studio session, offer your first clients something like a 60% discount ($30 session fee) for allowing you to photograph them as models and to display their photos on your website and marketing materials.

This will allow you to still bring some money in while also setting yourself up to easily remove the discount when your portfolio is in place and you’re ready to charge your regular price of $75.

If you follow this method and your first clients come back to you in the future, they won’t be shocked to hear you’re charging more (you’d simply be charging your regular price of $75 without the model discount, rather than going from a free session to $75 session.)

Note: Be sure not overuse discounting techniques, or people will become conditioned to wait for your next offer rather than pay full price.

Another option for bringing in your first clients is to run a promotion for special edition portraits, such as a special holiday session in the studio or day at an outdoor park. This is a great way to schedule several new clients for a single day. You may be able to charge a higher session fee, as these can be positioned as one-of-a-kind events.

Pricing high from the start does more than just allow you to earn a better living;

It also serves as a qualifier.

If it is your goal to be a low-volume, high-dollar studio, you do not want to spend your days answering inquiries from bargain shoppers.

By having a session fee that is suitable to your ideal client, you will attract clients that are expecting to pay more. At the same time, your pricing will repel those looking for department store prices, saving you time and hassle.

Ideally, you want to find a sweet spot where your target clients can afford your session fee, but still feel a little sting from it. In other words, your pricing should surprise them at first glance, but they should decide that they are willing and able to pay it.

This type of pricing sends a signal to your client that you are a professional that values your time as well as your client’s time.

Keep in mind that photography is considered a luxury item to many people.

Unfortunately, some people simply do not have the extra money to drop a large sum on portraits even if they wanted to. But as a business owner with a goal of providing for yours and your family’s future, it is impossible to survive as a business by providing high quality customer service and great products at discount chain prices.

That’s why we have Day’s Inn motels and Ritz Carlton hotels; there’s always options for everyone’s price range.

So, when people think of your studio which do they think of? Always remember that if you want the public to perceive you as a four star studio, you need to provide a superior customer experience at a premium price.

Think of the long haul with your clients.

By providing your clients with a fun photography session and portraits that bring a tear to their eye, you have the opportunity to forge a bond with these families.

You can become the only person they trust to document their family’s milestones. When people like you and have a great experience with you, they will gladly spread the word about your services to their friends.

Don’t think of the client in front of you as a one-time transaction; always think of how your can turn a new customer into a long-term client. It is much easier to sell new services and products to current clients than to convince a brand new prospect to become a customer.

With your new pricing and strategy for servicing your first new clients in hand, you’ll be ready to get your photography business off the ground!

Next Steps:

You are ready to implement your new pricing! You may want to review the steps from the series. Here’s the links for the all of the posts and resources from this series:

I want to hear your thoughts!

In the comments below, please write: What do you think of this series? Did you find the worksheets helpful? Are you ready to charge your ideal pricing for your photography?

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

Ready to dive deeper?

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