I receive questions about photography & about being photographed almost daily. I share some of my favourite questions on the blog, so that everyone can benefit from the answers.
Q: What advice can you give about setting prices for those of us who are new to the photography industry?
Congratulations on setting up your photography business! And welcome to the never-ending deliberation over pricing… Pricing is quite a big & stretchy topic, and there’s no one-size fits all answer. It depends so much on your market, your business model, your experience and your own goals. But I’ll share some simple tips that will hopefully help you in the right direction.
First of all, you shouldn’t look at other people’s pricing too much, as everyone’s business is structured differently, and their life situations and needs are different from yours. While not ideal in the long term, a still much healthier place to start is a cost-based pricing model, which looks a little bit like this:
1) Work out your own annual cost of living. When doing this, add up everything you can possibly think of from your basic bills to other expenses which add up to the kind of life you would ideally want to live.
2) Work out your costs of running a business, including all your overheads and expenses you can think of.
3) Think about how many shoots you are comfortable doing in a year.
4) Divide the number you arrived at on the costs side with the number of shoots, and you’ll have your minimum that you’ll need to charge per session. Then add a margin for when things go wrong, and you’ll arrive at a sum that should at least keep you in business, and surviving in life.
If the sum you end up looks scary, realise that this is your issue, not necessarily your client’s. In order to justify what you’re charging to yourself, make sure your craft is at a level you are proud of, and that you are offering an exceptional experience and service to your clients.
When you set realistic prices from the start, you will have a much better chance of keeping your business alive, and you will eventually be ready to move on to a pricing model which will leave you with some more breathing space, too.
In order to understand your market, and what kind of pricing would work in it, I would also encourage you to have a business plan in place, and to keep updating it as you and your business evolves. If you feel like you could use some help with your plan, you might be interested in the 30-day Business Plan Refresh course, which I developed to guide you through the process. Good luck!
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