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How to Price Photography Services: Packages, Rates, & More

How to Price Photography Services: Packages, Rates, & More

Last updated on May 15, 2024 by Southie Williamson

One of the most crucial aspects of running a photography business is figuring out how to price photography services and products.

You need to ensure your costs are competitive, but you also don’t want to undervalue your work. This can make it difficult for beginners to determine how much to charge for their photography work.

In this article, we’ll show you how to price your photography for the best chance of success. Let’s get started!

1. Understand Your Photography Costs

The first step in pricing your photography involves calculating the cost of your business and services. You need to know how much you spend to keep your company up and running and provide services as well as how much you need to earn to make a living.

The average price formula will look something like this:

Running Costs + Cost of Goods + Cost of Time and Labor + Profit = Pricing

Calculate Your Cost of Doing Business (CODB)

First, add up the overall costs associated with running your photography business. This includes things like:

  • Equipment costs: Lenses, cameras, and lighting equipment as well as wear and tear and replacement costs.
  • Studio / Office / Travel: Every photographer needs a place to work. Don’t forget about the expenses of running a home office or renting studio space.
  • Software and Subscriptions: Most photographers use professional editing software like Lightroom or Photoshop, which should be included in your costs.
  • Marketing costs: Even if your advertising in mainly through your website or word-of-mouth, you still need to devote some time to figure out how much you spend each year to keep the customers rolling in.
  • Professional services: You may need help from other professionals to keep your company running smoothly, like an accountant or personal assistant.

Calculate Your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

Now that you know the average expenses you deal with to keep your organization running, you’ll need to assess your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). In a photography business, COGS refers to the cost of producing your services or products, which includes material and labor costs.

If you offer a variety of services such as wedding photography, studio portraits, product photography, and prints, you’ll want to calculate the cost for different services individually.

Everything you produce has additional expenses to consider. Start with obvious expenses like the cost of the paper you print on, then move onto the price of your time and labor. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:

  • Digital file storage
  • Paper and ink or print lab services
  • Shipping and packing charges
  • Gas when traveling to a client location
  • The cost of your time (set an actual dollar amount)

When you’re calculating your time and labor expenses, remember that time is money. You should include things like the amount of time you spend traveling to meet up with clients, setting up your cameras, editing photos, and more.

Once you have a grasp on your costs, you’ll have a much better idea of the bare minimum you need to charge to cover your expenses and make a profit.

2. Research Your Market and Competition

Conducting market research is essential to determine the going rates for photography services in your area. Look at the websites and pricing of other photographers in your niche and location.

While you don’t want to base your prices solely on what others are charging, this research will give you a benchmark to work from. Use an Excel spreadsheet to list out each of your competitors and what they charge for their services. Then, you can determine the range of prices.

Consider the following when analyzing your competition:

  • Their experience level and reputation
  • The quality of their work
  • The services and packages they offer
  • Their target clientele
Competitor Research

Now you need to figure out where your photography prices should fit in on this scale. Are your services on the high-end, low-end, or right in the middle?

Remember, pricing is positioning. Your prices will determine the type of clients you attract and the perceived value of your services.

Click here to download the Excel template above.

3. Determine Your Target Clientele

Who is your ideal client? Are you targeting high-end customers or budget-conscious individuals Remember, pricing is positioning.

If you want to attract luxury clients throwing lavish weddings, you’ll need to charge higher prices and provide a premium experience.

Downton Abbey Wedding

On the other hand, if you’re aiming for a more affordable market, like a larger number of clients looking to get annual family portraits, your prices should reflect that.

Consider the following when identifying your target clientele:

  • Their income level and budget
  • The type of events or projects they need photographed
  • Their style preferences
  • Their expectations for customer service and experience

There are no “right” or “wrong” photography clients: only the clients who are right or wrong for your business. Decide who you really want to serve, then price your services accordingly.

4. Create Packages and Price Lists

Once you have a clear understanding of your costs, market range, and target clientele, it’s time to create your pricing structure. Many photographers opt to offer packages, as they simplify the decision-making process for clients and encourage larger bookings.

When creating your packages, consider the following:

  • The number of hours or images included
  • The type of shoot (portrait, event, commercial, etc.)
  • Editing and retouching services
  • Print and digital deliverables
  • Additional perks or services (e.g., album design, second shooter)

Ensure your packages are clearly defined and easy for clients to understand. In addition to packages, consider offering à la carte options for clients with specific needs.

how to price photography - price list example

Pricing is not just about the numbers; it’s also about the value you provide. When pricing your photography, focus on the benefits and experience clients will receive by working with you. Consider the following:

  • Your experience and education
  • Awards and recognition
  • Testimonials and reviews from past clients
  • The quality of your work and equipment
  • Your ability to understand and meet clients’ needs

Be sure to highlight your unique selling points, such as your style, expertise, or customer service when drafting your price lists and descriptions for photography packages.

5. Prequalify Serious Clients

Regardless of the type of client you want to attract or the photography prices you charge, you need to make sure that every potential client is actually serious before you commit to their session.

This is especially important when the session requires you to do some planning beforehand. You wouldn’t want to spend hours planning a shoot, only to have the client back out at the last minute without paying!

One way to do this is with a non-refundable session fee. That way, only serious clients will book with you. This session fee can either be a small fee on top of your total price, or you could adjust your prices so the session fee acts as a deposit towards the total.

Either way, you may be surprised to find that clients will happily pay the fee up-front to book your services.

6. Regularly Review and Adjust Your Prices

It’s not uncommon to have to adjust your prices after you’ve already set them. That’s ok, and it’s a good thing to make sure that you are always receiving a good return on your investment (ROI).

To calculate your ROI, make sure to keep track of all your time, equipment purchases, travel expenses (including gas), meetings with the client, etc. Then, check these costs against the amount you’re charging to ensure your photography prices cover all your expenses and provide a good profit margin.

As your photography business grows and evolves, so should your prices. Regularly review your pricing structure to ensure it aligns with your costs, market, and target clientele. Having a good ROI is the key to becoming a successful photographer. Don’t be afraid to raise your prices as you gain experience and demand for your services increases.

7. Offer Special Deals

Offering special promotions can help when you need to book more clients in a short span of time.

Take advantage of holidays and other times where photography is in high demand, such as Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, and Graduation season, by offering a special promotion. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of giving away too much.

You don’t even have to discount your photography prices when offering these promos. Instead of a coupon, you could offer bonus prints, extra poses, or additional editing on top of your regular package. For example, this photography company sometimes offers a free photo book with their wedding package.

Clover Wedding Free Photo Book

Get creative and entice more people to book with you, without giving away so much that you lose money in the deal. Remember, the goal of offering special deals is to book more clients so you can make more money overall.

Now that you know how to price your photography services, you’ll want to showcase your work and attract clients. Envira Gallery, the best WordPress gallery plugin, can help you create stunning, professional portfolios and simplify your workflow.

Envira Gallery Home

With Envira Gallery, you can:

  • Display your images in beautiful, responsive galleries.
  • Offer client proofing and ordering directly from your website.
  • Protect your images with watermarks and password protection.
  • Sell prints and digital downloads using seamless eCommerce integration.
  • Create and manage your website galleries directly from Adobe Lightroom.
  • Optimize your galleries for search engines.
  • And lots more!

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By using Envira Gallery to showcase your work and streamline your business processes, you can focus on what you do best: capturing amazing images and providing exceptional service to your clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my photography prices are too high or too low?

To ensure your prices are competitive, research the market rates in your area and consider your target clientele’s budget. If you’re consistently booking clients and have a steady stream of inquiries, your prices are likely in the right range. If you’re struggling to find clients or receiving feedback that your prices are too high, you may need to adjust your rates or better communicate your value.

Should I charge hourly or per project for photography?

The decision to charge hourly or per project depends on your niche and the type of photography services you offer. For event photography, hourly rates are common, as the length of the event can vary. For portrait or commercial photography, per-project rates or packages are more typical, as the scope of work is usually well-defined. Consider your target market and the industry standards when deciding on your pricing structure.

How do I handle photography clients who ask for discounts?

It’s not uncommon for clients to ask for discounts, especially if they have a limited budget. While it’s important to be flexible, you should also be cautious about undervaluing your work. If a client requests a discount, consider offering a modified package or reducing the scope of work rather than lowering your prices. Be transparent about your pricing and the value you provide, and don’t be afraid to walk away from projects that don’t align with your business goals.

How often should I raise my photography prices?

As your experience and demand for your services grow, it’s natural to increase your prices. Many photographers review their pricing annually and make adjustments based on their costs, market conditions, and target clientele. When raising your prices, be sure to communicate the change to any existing clients well in advance and explain the reasoning behind the increase.

Pricing your photography services can be challenging, but it’s crucial to be confident in your value. Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth, as underpricing can lead to burnout and resentment. At the same time, be open to negotiation and flexible when necessary. Some clients may have specific budgets or requirements, and being willing to work with them can lead to long-term relationships and referrals.

By understanding your costs, researching your market, and creating value-packed packages, you can confidently set photography prices that attract your ideal clients and allow you to grow your business.

We hope this article helped you to understand how to price photography as a professional. Be sure to also check out our guide on how to create your own photography studio.

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  1. Thank you for this article.I love that you said to price for the client you want to attract and is right for your business. Every one has their own persepective of ideal!

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