Pricing matters. It’s easy for anyone who enjoys photography to make a buck with their talents if they so desire, but a buck isn’t enough if you want to sustain your business. When many photographers price unsustainably, it sets a precedent for clients to expect to pay unsustainable rates. If you respect the industry and value your own time, charge accordingly. If you don’t, just shoot for fun and don’t try to make it a business. Cool?
Now, if the respect is, in fact, there but you just don’t know what’s a fair price to charge, read on. Pricing anxiety is a real thing, and it stems from not having a solid bottom line. When determining your bottom line, there are many factors to consider, and Tony and Chelsea Northrup have recorded a friendly sit-down to help you solidify your rates so you can present them to prospective clients with confidence and stop losing money.
Many factors contribute to what your personal bottom line will be. Here are a few for starters:
Location – Where you operate your business will have a significant impact on how much you can or should charge. Living in a large metropolitan area will provide you with plenty of potential clients with a variety of photography budgets. Living in a more sparsely populated area may not allow for the higher prices one could charge in a city.
But, a rural-dwelling photographer’s expenses are almost certainly going to be less than that of their city photographer counterpart, so this doesn’t necessarily affect your profit margin.
Time – Don’t undervalue your time! Time has a way of slipping by unnoticed, so track it to make sure you aren’t working more than you think. There are time-tracking apps specifically for work activities that let you clock in and clock out, and using one while you work helps you realize if you’re working efficiently and enables you to decide how much time to account for in your pricing.
Perceived Value – It may feel counterintuitive to raise your prices to be seen as more valuable, but if your prices are too low, some potential clients will wonder what’s “wrong” with you. Why are you in the clearance bin? There must be some defect, the clients assume. Raising your prices will increase your perceived value, provided that you can give clients a high-quality product.
Expenses – There are more expenses involved in running a photography business than you may think. There are the obvious ones, like your equipment, but taking time to really consider what you’re spending to deliver images to your client may yield some surprises. Don’t forget to factor in essential costs like insurance (every working photographer needs this, period) and the percentage of income that must be set aside for taxes.
These tips are just a taste of what the Northrups cover in their video, so if a pricing inquiry gives you hives or you are wondering why you can’t seem to turn a profit, 30 minutes of your life would be well spent watching the video below.