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You need to be strategic about how to price your photography, but finding an optimal price range can be difficult. Too low and you can’t make a living. Too high and you might not find many clients (so, again, it’s hard to make a living).
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to think about photography pricing that can help you easily identify your price range. So here’s how you can create a pricing strategy when you first open a photography business.
The formula for photography pricing
Different types of photography lend themselves to different pricing models. Event photographers might frame their pricing on an hourly basis while commercial photographers may charge one price that is reflective of the project. Choose a model that makes sense for you, but take some of these factors into consideration when you’re determining photography pricing:
- The time spent on a project: The amount of time you spend on a client’s request should be reflected in the overall price of a photography project. Aside from the actual time spent at the photo shoot, think about the initial stages of the project, like drafting the proposal and creating contracts. Also consider the editing process and the amount of time it takes to perfect your work.
- The equipment used while working: Photography equipment is a major business cost that you need to factor into your pricing plan. First map out the lifetime of each product that you’ll use on one specific project, which can be determined through product reviews and other research. Then determine the per-project cost by taking the total cost of a product divided by the approximated lifetime. For example, divide the total cost of your digital camera by the amount of projects you believe you’ll use that specific camera for. This computed number should be factored into your final pricing.
- The editing process: Many photographers often forget to bill for the work done after the photo shoot. You spend long, grueling hours sifting through the multitude of photos taken, editing images, and perfecting your work, so don’t forget to include this in the price.
- The marketing efforts: While marketing can’t necessarily be tied to a specific project, you should consider these costs in your photography pricing. It is advised that small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allot seven percent of their revenue to marketing, whether that be invested in online advertisements or the creation of a photography website. You can factor in marketing costs by using the same outline as equipment. Decide how much to spend on marketing for the year and divide it out by the amount of projects you intend to take.
- Your skill and expertise: Don’t forget to factor in your talents in your overall pricing model. Skilled photographers with a specific niche or unique flare can sell their photography services at a higher price because they offer something their competitors can’t replicate.
- The industry prices: You also have to be mindful of other photographers’ prices to remain competitive in the market. Research the top 10 competitors in your industry and get a sense of the prices they charge clients for their work. While you don’t need to match these prices, you want to be able to justify why you are charging more or less.
Taking payments from clients
Now that you have a pricing model, you should think about how you take payments.
Photographers usually create contracts with clients that define the scope of work and create photography invoices as a way of collecting payments.
With contracts, you can create a shared understanding with your client and better manage expectations. While you can write your own contract, Square provides free contract templates that allow you to easily develop custom contracts that fit your business needs.
Once you create a contract, you can attach it to online invoicing software that allows them to send billing statements quickly and store customer information effectively. You can create, send, track, and accept invoices all from an invoicing app.
How much money can a photographer make?
Photographers just getting into the industry often wonder how much they can make. In short, the amount photographers can make depends on their skill level and their ability to sell photography.
As of May 2016, the median income for a professional photographer is $34,070 per year, with an hourly wage of $16.38. Remember, that’s a national average, so the hourly wage or annual income may be more or less depending on where you live. See if you can find similar stats for your state or city and then use that information to further determine the best pricing for your work.