Probably the most important lesson which you will learn in your career as a photographer is knowing how to price your product and knowing what you’re really worth. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when trying to truly know your value.
Perhaps one of the most common questions I come across in this industry is “How Do I Price My Product?” and this question usually goes hand-in-hand with a conversation about how are photographers supposed to know that their photography-work is good enough to push up their prices.
No. 1 – Understanding Your Quality.
It’s important to make sure that you are realistic about your work. You don’t want to oversell yourself, but you need to be careful not to undersell yourself either. Be sure to listen to the feedback which you receive from your clients once they have seen your work. Make sure you are evaluating your progress. If someone is over-the-moon with the product you have given them, be pleased with your work and look back to see what you could improve on for next time, but make sure to reward yourself for the good outcome. It’s important not to allow yourself to bring you down. Listen to people who build you up, because for the most part – they’re the ones who will give you constructive criticism when you need it – from a place of caring and wanting to see you succeed rather than from a place of wanting to break your hopes and dreams.
No. 2 – Personal Pricing
This point varies depending on what you are looking to achieve through your work. Are you in a position where you have gone full-time with your business, or is this a side-project for you to build your portfolio with before taking the big leap of faith into the game?
If you’re in as a full-time photographer and need to pay bills every month from the work you pull in – you’re going to need to do some extra maths. As a general starter rule, calculate how much income you need to make per year in order to live comfortably and add taxes on top of that amount – then divide that up by twelve. That’s how much you will need to make on minimum every month in order to keep going. Have a look at how much business you bring in on average and calculate your prices for sessions and/or events from there; weddings being the highest cost, then event photography, then product photography, then family portraits or engagement shoots, then single portraits (or whichever way around works best for your business – this part really is up to you).
However; if you’re simply looking to advance your portfolio, you might benefit from slightly reduced prices for the time being – not because your work isn’t good enough, simply because you may need more proof in your pudding before other people notice it. As you start to receive more and more clients and/or enquiries, that’s when it’s pretty safe to assume that it’s worth pulling your prices up to higher competitive standards.
No. 3 – Studying Your Network
Do your research. Make sure that you are keeping up to speed with what others in your vicinity are charging, then compare and contrast your work with theirs. Ask people for advice. Join networks and social communities and ask other people to rate you. Do your homework and don’t be afraid to seek other peoples wisdom and insight.
No. 4 – Allow For Wiggle-Room
It’s a good idea to place disclaimers with your price list stating that your prices are negotiable. It’s important to take time and listen to people’s stories and budgets in order to make your potential client feel valued. Then look at your packages and see if you could come up with a solution for your client by taking a couple of specs out of your package, etc… This is especially key when starting out your career simply because clients will always recommend you to others if you cause them to feel comfortable and heard.
About the author:
Viivi here. You may see my name on a few posts around here. I’m a photographer currently based in Plymouth, UK. I travel with Viivi N. Media worldwide covering weddings, engagements, portraits and family shoots. Head over to our Facebook group and let’s have a chat!