Special Series: How to Build a Photography Client Base with Seasonal Promos [Step 3/5]

How to Determine Perfect Pricing for Your Seasonal Promotions

At Scott Sylvia Photography, we have tried just about every pricing strategy under the book for creating successful seasonal promotions. What we’ve learned is that pricing should be based on the type of session you are offering with your promotion. Follow along to see how you can choose the most profitable option for your sessions!

-Scott Sylvia
Founder, Hobby to Pro Photo

To recap, over the last couple of days you have already mapped out the holidays you’d like to structure your promos around, chosen your niche for the specials, and selected the type of session you’ll be offering for each.

Today, let’s move a little further and take a look at some different options for pricing our session fee and the products and packages that we will offer with these seasonal specials!

#1: Determining Your Session Fees

First up, let’s consider the session fee.

I suggest that your session fee does NOT include any products (or files if you offer those); rather, this fee is just to cover your time creating the images during the session time.

Pro Tip: A quick aside, always get payment for the session upfront before the session date. This will greatly increase the odds of your client showing up or at the very least giving you a call if they cannot make it.

Session fee pricing formats will be greatly influenced by the type of session you selected in Part 2 yesterday.

Here is how I would suggest pricing each:

A) A Theme Session Promo - These types of sessions are usually the lowest priced due to the fact that the sessions are usually short and more of a “novelty”. These fees will probably be 50% or more off your “regular” session fees.

B) A Regular Session Promo – There are three options for this one: give a discount on the session fee, or on your collections, or both. First, you can charge your full session price as usual and then offer discounts on your packages and/or special bonuses. Or you can offer a discount (say 20-30%) on the upfront session fee. It all comes down to the time of year and if you feel a little extra motivation is needed.

C) A Mini Session Promo – For this type of special, you can tailor the session fee to the allotted time. For example if your regular session is 60 minutes but for this special you are offering mini-sessions at 30 minutes in length, you can simply charge half your normal rate for the session.

#2: Creating Your Product Pricing

Product pricing is important because it can be the extra “push” your new clients need to take the risk of booking the session and spending more with you.

Once again, how your price products will depend on which session type you are offering, so let’s look at suggestions for each:

A) A Theme Session Promo – As mentioned above, these types of sessions are usually the lowest priced due to the fact that the sessions are short in duration and usually using one preset background or “set” and are more of a “novelty”.

Some clients might have their children photographed fairly regularly with these types of offerings, so they are not going to be looking for large wall portraits for the most part.

After you come up with your pricing, put it into a well-designed price list! You can get this professionally-designed price list for yourself with our Seasonal Promos Made Easy Kit.

To differentiate your premium work from your theme specials, I recommend developing packages and products that are specially priced for these promotional events.

Merchandise may be discounted up to 50% from your normal rates. Just be sure it is clear to people that these are not your normal prices and are just for this particular event.

Pro Tip: Another way of bringing up your sales average is not to go overboard on the discounts but instead create packages that include more items (or more poses-if you charge for extra poses) than your regular packages. The cost of more prints is minor to you but enticing to your client.

B) A Regular Session Promo– Because this is a regular, full-length session that was promoted with your holiday tie-in, I find the easiest way to price products is to simply offer a predetermined percentage off our regular pricing. This eliminates the need for putting together a “special” price list.

Pro Tip: When promoting this type of special, it is fine to say something like “save 30% off our regular prices” but also give an example of a dollar savings. For example: Our mini collection regularly priced at $129.00 is now just $90.00 (save 30%!)

Another option: If you prefer not to offer any discounts on pricing, you can use FREE bonuses to attract clients instead.

In this case, you will select an item (or a few) that have a high perceived value in a clients mind yet that are inexpensive to produce. You would then offer these items as a special bonus with purchases during the promotion.

Ex: one of our most popular items in our studio is a 4x12 panel that features 3 square images in a metal frame. We regularly sell this product for $129.00.

This is a highly profitable product for us, as it costs us only around $13.50 to produce. During some promotions we will use this as a bonus, saying something like “purchase any package and receive this beautiful 3 image panel absolutely FREE (a $129 value).”

Pro Tip: When using free bonuses, always tie them to the purchase of something else. Otherwise, you may have clients come in, take the bonus and not make any purchase. This also helps to qualify people that you book to ensure they are not just looking for freebies and deep discounts.

C) A Mini Session Promo– The mini session is one of my favorite offerings. Since you are already offering the session at a generous discount, your products do not have to be heavily discounted, or even discounted at all.

Depending on the time of the year that I am running a promotion, I may structure the offer in one or a combination of the following ways:

  • No Discount- When the session is a popular one or run during a time of the year that is highly sought after, you really don’t have to offer a discount. Example: In New England, the fall foliage season is a very popular time for outdoor portraits. In the past, there were times that I ran fall mini sessions with a discounted session fee, but with no discount on the products.
  • Discount- This is similar in nature to the full length session above, once again I find the easiest way to price products is to simply offer a predetermined percentage off our regular pricing, eliminating the need for a “special” price list.
  • The Add-On Bonus- This is the free add on that a client receives with some kind of purchase, as discussed in the previous section.

I will usually offer at least a small discount with a mini session just so it has a little more appeal to prospective clients that may have wanted to book with us in the past, but might have been nervous to take the plunge.

Now, determine your promotional pricing!

It's your turn!

Here's our challenge to you:

Open up your notes from yesterday's post. You may have already chosen a holiday for each season of the upcoming year, as well as the type of session you will offer for each.

Using the notes above, find the right pricing structure for your chosen sessions. Let us know your ideas in the comments below!

Take it to the next level!

I'll be back in your inbox with part 4 of 5 of the process, but if you are one of the small percentage of readers who really want to get a leg up on the competition and create a promotion that attracts awesome clients, I have something you're going to love...

It’s called the Seasonal Promos Made Easy Kit, and it’s a pre-created promotion toolbox that you can use out of the box!

We are releasing one of these Seasonal Promo Kits per season so that you can literally download the toolbox, customize the materials for your own business, and launch a successful promotion within just minutes. All the templates are created by professional graphic designers and include sales copy so you don't have to worry about any of the tough stuff.

This is going to save you hours upon hours and a whole lot of stress that goes into crafting a photography promotion - this way, you can spend more time on what you love - the photography! Click here if you’d like to learn more.

Until tomorrow,


Let Us Know - What's The Right Pricing Structure For Your Promotion(s)?