If you’re taking the jump and taking your photography to a professional level, by starting out your very own business and offering your photography services to potential clients, then you’re going to have to figure out one very important thing: the pricing.
One of the main questions new professional photographers ask themselves is how much they should be pricing their services.
It can be quite a struggle to try and figure out the right pricing: too low and you will be selling yourself short, providing your services without receiving fair compensation for your hard work; too high and you will lose out on potential customers, because it will be too expensive, and they will seek out other photographers.
Within the photography industry, there is a standard for professional prices which you can look up so that you are somewhat within the average range.
That’s usually the safest bet for a beginner until you can fine-tune how much your services are worth.
In time, you have to adjust your prices so that they are a reflection of the worth of your services, taking into account your set of skills, the use of your equipment, and the amount of time you put into achieving that final result.
However, with photography becoming a more widespread industry, and with more and more photography being available for amateurs and hobby enthusiasts, the prices have taken a big plunge in recent years.
It can be a struggle to remain competitive so that customers will consider you, while also trying to make enough money so that you can support yourself. After all, the aim is to make a full-time job and career out of your photography!
So…how much money should your photography services cost? How can you figure out a good balance between affordable and fair?
Here are a few factors you should consider when coming up with your pricing:
The Cost Of Running The Business
One of the first things you need to consider when setting a price for your services is how much it costs you to run the business.
After all, you need to know how much you are spending, so that you can determine how much you need back as a minimum!
This includes many different expenses, let’s go over the main ones:
This tends to be one of the biggest expenses because professional photography gear is pretty expensive.
(But it’s this high-quality gear that can make all the difference!) Costs such as the camera and lenses, the lighting set up, the accessories, and more. It’s an investment at the beginning that you have to win back through the payment from clients!
Place Of Work
If you’re renting a photography studio or an office out of which you run the business, you need to take this expense into account.
In order to get clients for your photography business, clients need to know that you are an option.
The way to do this? Marketing. Whether it is paid adverts, campaigns, collaborations, or more…you need to make yourself known within the industry in order to establish yourself as a professional option.
This cost only applies if you hire people to work for your photography business. Other photographers, assistants, or secretaries are in charge of managing your clients.
Licenses, Paperwork, And Others
If you need any official paperwork or licenses in order to work as a professional photographer, then these are costs you also need to consider.
The Cost Of Your Time
Time truly is money. Depending on the amount of time and effort you put into the end result of the photographs, you need to adapt the pricing so that it is a fair reward.
In the same way, other workers get paid hourly, you need to be compensated for the amount of labor you put into your services.
Photoshoots can take from half an hour to several hours, but you also then need to take into account the time spent selecting and editing photos.
The Margin For Profit
Once you have calculated all of the costs that you have within your photography business, you need to make sure that you make enough money not only to cover those expenses but also so that you make a profit. After all, you’re trying to make a living out of this, and living costs money!
It can be tricky, as a lot of customers see professional photographers as slightly more skilled hobbyists.
But this is not the case. For professional photographers, their photography business is how they make a living, and it is their full-time job. There are minimums to be met!
The Prices Of Competitors
In order to remain competitive and within the industry standards, you will have to do plenty of research on how much other photographers charge for their services.
Make sure to compare yourself to photographers with similar services and styles, so that the prices are easier to compare.
The Value Of Your Brand And Style
Building up a brand and personal style within your photography can add a great deal of value to your services, especially if you begin to get a good reputation and you become a desirable photographer to work with.
The more you climb within the industry, the more you can charge for your services.
As you will be making your photography into a business, you will have to pay tax on your earnings. Make sure to include tax within the pricing of your services, so that you’re not making a loss on it!
There are many different types of photography businesses that you can create, focusing on different aspects and styles of photography.
If you get into a certain specialty, such as wedding photography, animal photography, or high-key portraits, or similar, then you need to research the pricing standards within those categories.
Usually, you will be able to charge more if your photography skills are specialized towards a certain style.
Basically, the pricing of your services needs to cover all of your expenses and costs, plus have a margin so that you are able to make a profit and support yourself.
You need to remain competitive, by adhering to industry standards, but also you should be fair to the amount of effort and time you put into your photography, as well as covering the value of your brand and style.
It can be very complicated to find the exact pricing for your photography services, and beginners tend to underprice themselves out of doubt and insecurities.
But don’t worry, as your business grows and you gain experience, you will be able to price your services more accurately while managing to make a living out of it!
Just a quick tip: never work for free. There are so many people that will try to get photographers to work for nothing, or for “free promotion”, and that’s wrong.
You are putting time, effort, skill, and some very expensive equipment into the photos you take, and therefore you deserve to be compensated appropriately. Sure, you can offer discounts and promotions for family and friends, but don’t let anybody take advantage of you!