Photographers- If you are just starting out, it can be tough determining where to set your prices at. You don’t want to set them so high that no one is able to afford you. You also don’t want to set them too low and risk burning out or not making a profit. Here are some tips to help you establish your pricing when you are a new photographer.
While I always recommend steering away from copying the pricing of your neighbor, I do think it’s important to see the general range for your area. This will help guide you when setting your initial price. For wedding photographers, a great tool to use is The Wedding Report. This site tells you what the average spend is for wedding photographer in your city. If you are a new photographer, aim for a number below the average for now. The Knot has a pricing tool like this as well.
I know this one sounds funny, but it’s important. You have to start at a number that feels right to you and that you can confidently charge someone. If $500 a session sounds like crazy talk, then don’t start there. If you feel $100 a session is way too cheap for your skill level, then know you should be above that number. If you aren’t confident in your pricing, you can’t expect anyone else to be. So pick a number that you are comfortable at and makes sense to you.
A general rule of thumb is that you should charge a number that makes sense for you to pick a session over extra time with your family, friends, etc. You don’t want to build resentment to charging too little to miss your family’s Sunday dinner, or a movie with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
This is especially important if you are not yet depending on this income and still have a day-job. What is it worth to take time out of your weekend to shoot a session, knowing you have a job to go to on Monday? An extra $300 in your pocket? If it’s not worth it to you, you will quickly lose interest in building your business, so let’s avoid that!
I’ll write a future post that dives deeper into discovering your cost-of-doing-business numbers to ensure you are bringing in a profit, but for now- take note of your major expenses (subscriptions like Lightroom, insurance, website cost, average gas spend to sessions) and determine what your business is spending on a monthly basis to run. Then determine roughly how many sessions a month you want to be shooting. If your business needs $300/mo to run, and you’d like to shoot about 3 sessions a month (say one every weekend, with a free weekend for family), then those sessions need to be more than $100 each.
I know we aren’t touching on things like taxes and the cost of acquiring new gear- more on those in a future post. But know that you’ll have to account for things like those as well, so bump up your prices a bit to cover those and still make a profit.
Setting your prices can be complicated, friends. But hopefully some of these tips will help guide you to a number that works for you and your business!
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