Pricing Tips for Professional Photographers

By Maddy Budd

Some ideas that will help you answer the all-important question: How much should I charge?

Charging the right amount is one of the most important aspects of your photography business plan. Getting this right will allow you to keep being a photographer for years to come. 

Pricing is something that photographers need to regularly revisit and rework in order to make sure they are running a profitable and efficient business.

With that in mind, let’s start with the basics...

What things do I need to consider when I am working out my pricing?

The short answer is everything! But here are some more specific ideas to help you get started. Note: This list is not exhaustive so make sure you include any extra things related to your own photography business.

  • Set up costs - Branding, website, gear.
  • Accounting costs - Accounting costs, accounting software.
  • Gear - Including the costs of maintaining and replacing.
  • Marketing costs -  Website maintenance, blogging tool, Facebook & Google ads, styled shoots.
  • Editing & post - Computer, editing software, retouchers, culling tool.
  • Operational costs - Studio management tools, CRM, photo delivery tool.
  • Insurance - For all of the gear and computers you use.
  • Storage - HHDs/SSDs, cloud storage, SD cards,
  • Shoot day - Transport, assistants.

Don’t forget about yourself:

  • Your time including post-production
  • Holiday and sick leave  
  • Retirement
  • Your own insurance. Many job packages include health insurance etc so why shouldn’t yours?
  • How much you need/want to be earning after all of these business costs?

Remember to always allow extra for things to get lost or go wrong too like lost gear, cancelled shoots etc.

Should I display my pricing on my website?

It is important to give yourself the opportunity to have some contact with a potential client and displaying your pricing on your website might stop this from happening. 

Having some personal contact makes you more memorable to that person, this is especially important when they are comparing different options for photographers. If you have similar pricing to another photographer the client will be far more likely to choose the photographer they have already had some back and forth with.

Another reason is there is never a one size fits all answer when it comes to shooting weddings. You will always have variables like size, place, special extras that will affect your pricing and so it will be a difficult task posting set pricing options for every wedding.

More tips...

Have multiple packages. This not only gives some understanding of what they are paying for but it also gives them the opportunity to pick an option that best suits their needs.

Keep your packages super simple and then offer your client add ons like a second shooter, prints and albums at an extra cost. This will make your packages cheaper and easier to understand.

Then you can have one expensive, top tier all-inclusive, all the frills package for the clients who can and are willing to pay whatever it takes to have everything taken care of. 

Don’t discount yourself. Doing this can seem harmless at the time but there are situations where you might give a discount to one client and then they may refer a friend and tell them they should ask for one too. If you are going to reduce the cost for a client make sure you do it for a reason e.g. a longer turnaround time, shorter shoot time, fewer locations etc.

Don’t include travel. This should always be additional as it will vary a lot for each wedding.

Don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth. Starting at what you are worth is important because it is much harder to increase your prices than reduce them. Charging too little will cost you more than you think because, like with discounts, clients will refer you to their friends at that price too. So make sure you charge what you are worth from the start.

Having said that, you should still review your pricing every year. You should regularly review your pricing to make sure you are covering all of your costs and charging the right amount for your skill and experience too. It only makes sense that the better you get the more you should be charging. If you want to test your pricing out, do it with enquiries that are for a date that is further ahead that way if you miss out on the booking you have plenty of time to fill the spot later if need be.

Vary pricing depending on the season. Peak wedding season should be more than other times of the year because chances are you will get a booking for a higher price due to the huge demand during that time.