How Much Should You Charge for Your Photography?

When I was first starting to charge for my photography many years ago - I had no idea how to price my work.

I knew I wasn't 'good enough' to charge a lot so I looked at other photographers in my area, gauged where I felt I sat in relation to them, and charged appropriately less. That was only fair right?? Thing was - I soon learnt I couldn't sustain myself on those prices - let along grow a business.

Later I would tune into other mentors in the industry who spoke about having a 'standard' pricing range for photographers. However - I suspected those ideas wouldn't work either - unless every photographer had the exact same expenses, goals and products!

OK I hear you ask, so - how DO you know what to charge and how to price yourself? Surely there must be an easier way than guessing or copying??

There sure is my friend!

If you were to ask me this question in person - hopefully you'd already know the answers to my following questions.

1. First - this is a biggie but you'd be surprised at how many photographers I've asked who actually don't know (or aren't confident enough to say). - How much do you want to earn?

Knowing how much you want to be paid for your work, your craft, your art, your time - this is very important. Because if you don't know what you want - how will know when you have it?

There's no wrong answer here guys, as like anything - each situation, dream and goal is different - one person may want to pay themselves a modest salary to replace their day job, while another might might want to clear $200k in profit. Obviously with such different goals - there is most likely going to be a different business model and pricing behind each of them. So have a think about what YOU want to earn, how much do YOU want to take home after expenses? From here we can begin to work out some of the metrics of your pricing model.

2. What are your monthly expenses to run your business? Again - each photographer will be different here also - some will work from home or on location with low overheads, while another will have a street-front studio with a lot more expenses. Your pricing needs to be able to cover all expenses every month - obvious yes, but easy to get wrong if you don't know your numbers or plan accordingly.

3. What is your cost of goods (as a percentage)? For example -some photographers might sit at 15% or 20% COGs with products and a re-toucher - while a photographer doing mostly digital options might have a 3% cost of goods. With such different percentages - different pricing would likely be required in each business model if both people wanted the same profit. (Side note - yes you CAN run a profitable business on digital products alone, however when it comes to adding value and putting your prices up, it might feel a little harder without tangible products to differentiate yourself from others in your area.)

Is this starting to make sense?

Once you know your pricing you then work out how how many sessions you wish to do each month, and what your average sale needs to be to cover your costs and ensure you have the profit you desire.

At this point you may also want to look at how to ensure you are adding enough VALUE to your service as this will support your pricing. Value can be the experience, the imagery, quality artwork and products - anything that will make it easier for your customer to say yes and hand over payment.

So the answer is - pricing is personal. It relates to your goals, your expenses and your confidence to believe in yourself and your worth.

So now - if you don't know the answer to my 3 questions above - then you can grab my Pricing For Profit worksheet here. This will help you to clarify what you desire and where your pricing model should sit to achieve your goals.