Photography prices and devising a photography price list is, arguably, one of the most important tasks when starting a photography business. Set your prices too high you won’t win any work and your photography business will fail. Set your prices too low and you will win work but the rewards won’t be worth the time and effort you put in. In fact if you set your photography prices too low you may actually find yourself losing money and not being able to survive and make ends meet.
The key to setting photography prices is to set them at a level that is low enough to win work (i.e. encourage potential customers to use you rather than other photographers in your area) but high enough for you to make a profit and make the shoot worth your while. There is a fine line between charging too much and charging too little, but you have to identify it if you want to succeed.
When deciding on photography prices and devising a photography price list the first thing you have to do is find out what the competition are charging. Charge more than the competition and you won’t get any work and won’t get a chance to show people what you can do, and get more work as a result. It doesn’t matter how good a photographer you are, if you charge more than the competition when you first start out (and do not have a reputation or following) your photography business will fail.
When setting your photography prices you have to check out what the photographers in your local area, i.e. the market you are trying to get in to, are charging. Photography prices vary from city to city so setting your charges based on what photographers in other parts of the country charge is a total waste of time. When you first start out local customers are what you will earn money from so make sure you charge the going rate for your local area.
Finding out what local photographers are charging is easy, and all you have to do is get some quotes for different photography services. If you have already started marketing your photography business, touting for work and getting your name around (including on social media) getting quotes from other photographers is going to be a little tricky, especially if the photographers are aware of your intentions.
You can, of course, go incognito and approach the photographers without giving your true identity but the likelihood of you obtaining a detailed pricing structure is pretty small. If you have already started getting yourself out there the best way to get a photography price list from local photographers is to get a friend or acquaintance to get the information/prices for you. If you have yet to start marketing yourself you can get the price list from the local photographers yourself and remain under their radar. The trick is to get in there and get the photography price lists as soon as possible.
There won’t be a set price of all types of photography service, and the amount charged will vary from service to service. For example, wedding photography is lucrative and photographers charge far more than they should for wedding photography services. At the other end of the spectrum corporate headshots is a service you can’t charge a lot for, even though there is still a lot of work involved. When getting the photography prices from the local photographers you need to get the price charged for the photography services you are going to offer.
Once you have the photography price list from the various local photographers you then need to sit down and critically analyse it. Can you provide the same level of service for the same price? Are the prices charged by the local photographers too low for you to match and actually make money? Can you provide the same services for less?
The ideal situation is when you can provide the same services as your competition for less money. Price is a sensitive issue and since everyone loves a bargain and value for money you will win work if you can undercut the competition and charge less. If you can’t match what the competition is charging, i.e. it is not enough to make any money out of the shoot, you will have to think about the photography services you intend to offer and perhaps change them to suit your local market.
As you can see setting photography prices isn’t simply plucking figures from the air, and you will have to research the market to see what the going rates are and then see if you can make any money charging the going rate or, ideally make money from charging less than what the photographers in your local area charge for the same photography services.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.