Setting Profitable Prices | Photography Business Tips To Cure Pricing Headaches
Setting Profitable Prices | You can be the world’s best photographer, but if you’re not quite sure why you charge what you charge, it’s hard to stay firm on your prices when your clients want to bargain you down to nothing. For some reason, a lot of people seem to think that it’s reasonable to try and haggle with photographers. It’s bizarre – you wouldn’t go to a restaurant and refuse to pay the prices on the menu, or tell a chef that you’ll need him to teach you how to make the meal yourself so you don’t have to pay him in the future.
Yet most freelancers, and not just photographers, get faced with these sorts of problems on a daily basis. It is not uncommon for new photographers to feel uncertain about how much to charge for their work. Many feel as though the price structures are the most complicated area of their business. As a result, these photographers under cut themselves and unknowingly undervalue their work.
The key to any successful business is understanding how much you need to earn in order to stay in business, and what your ideal client is willing to pay. So when it comes to pricing, many professional photographers will tell you right off the bat that there’s a sweet spot – and the only way to find it is to experiment with new clients and adjust your prices accordingly.
Determine your market | Setting Profitable Prices
Some people would rather pay more for a service if it means higher quality. Some people cannot afford anything but the basics. There are things you can do to make your life easier and to help stop clients from even asking for a discount. Make sure your website presents a professional and clean approach, and, if you include prices on your website, make sure they are simple and clear to understand. Determine which clients you want to reach and begin arranging your price structure from there. If you’re marketing to families on a budget, providing discounted packages or rates might be worth the pay cut in order to bring in new clients. But if you’re marketing to high-end buyers for upscale wedding photography, remember that price is not the most important part of their decision making process.
Create a session fee | Setting Profitable Prices
If you’re setting a new pricing structure, consider starting out with a basic session fee. This should be determined by what you need to make per hour to stay in business. Evaluate hours of preparation, driving, shooting, editing, development, service, quality, and interaction too. Every photographer has expenses above and beyond the time spent in a shoot. This is where many photographers fall short of “making it” in the business; they have not figured out how to identify the additional expenses of running a photography business.
Include editing time when calculating your hourly rates | Setting Profitable Prices
Most clients don’t understand photo editing and how much time it takes after the shoot. Be honest with your clients if they ask, and feel free to break down and explain your work estimate before anyone signs a contract. Give yourself at least an hour of editing for each hour of work. So if you’re planning to charge $50 an hour for a shoot, then actually charge $100 an hour.
Publish some of your prices on your website | Setting Profitable Prices
This is the first step in managing client expectations and not getting the sticker-shocked client trying to weasel their way out of paying your prices. Just publish a couple of guide prices as a reference. Do your research. It’s easy to find the prices of other photographers in your geographic area and your specialty. Don’t forget to note the experience level, quality of imagery, and extra services offered in each pricing structure you study.
Always charge the session fee | Setting Profitable Prices
And always charge up front when making the session reservation. This means the clients are serious and aren’t going to take up half a day on your calendar and leave you hanging.
Remember, your clients aren’t just paying for you to press a button. They are paying for your time, your expertise, your equipment, your knowledge, your retouching skills, even your premises. Photography is a skill that takes years to learn and a lifetime to master. You’re worth every cent that you’re charging.