Pricing Your Photography Talent

Sale TagSo many photographers offer so many packages at staggeringly different rates. There are even those that have their pricing set and will immediately give a 50% discount just to get the job if the customer complains about the price.

Pricing your talent in the ever-changing business world is a difficult task regardless of what business you are in. I find people would like you to work for free . I have actually been approached with the “Can you do this one for free, we have plenty more work after that”. I have never agreed to it and neither should you. In all likelihood, there was never any more jobs after that in the first place. No professional should be asked to work for free.

In the photography world, finding the fine line in pricing has become very difficult.

Why you ask?

Well, we have to look at a few different factors such as experience, competition and demand.

  1. The demand for professional photographers has gone down since the DSLR camera became affordable for the masses.
  2. This has made competition rise because now everyone owns a DSLR and wants to make money from their investment.
  3. Experience levels overall have gone way down because people try to start a side business way too soon without any type of training, shadowing or reading.

 

So what is the best way to price your talent / work?

 

Well, start off by evaluating your competition…and their pricing schedules, packages etc.

You need to price your work according to your experience level.This exercise is just to give you an idea of the local market. Don’t simply copy someone elses price schedule either, it will not go unnoticed!! There are many pricing models in the industry and you should try be original with yours and price your work / services accordingly.

Evaluate your own experience level

If you are just starting out, don’t be afraid to let people know that. you can simply explain that you are charging a slightly lower rate because you are gaining traction in your community. Or you are charging a higher price because you have 20 years experience and thousands of happy customers under your belt. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to your level of experience!

Don’t under charge

At First the other photographers in the community will seem like your worst enemy. If you are under charging by a large amount, this will remain true! There is a common stigma in the business world that competitors are enemies but this does not apply to photographers.

Cutting the rate by 50% is a slap in the face to other photographers. After attending some networking events, you will find you are getting jobs sent to you from other photographers because they are booked solid. Photographers run in a community, you need to be a part of that community to succeed. If you anger the community, your business will not succeed.

If you are just starting out, set your pricing slightly under the going rate (10%-15% or so) until you gain the experience and portfolio you need to raise your rates. During this time period it would be wise to advertise this discount as a grand opening special. This way when you raise your rates your existing client base can not really complain and you now have a solid portfolio to show new clients. The other option is to charge the same amount but offer more in your package(s). this way your client is getting more bang for their buck for the same price as the competition. These are just 2 options out of many creative marketing ideas.

To the photographers that have been slapped in the face by rate gouging, the people who booked with these photographers never intended to pay your higher price in the first place. There is a market for everyone regardless of experience level, please don’t get discouraged when this happens. There are always people who are looking for low-budget services, so let these photographers take these jobs and gain the experience they need. You likely would have made little to no profit on this job, so there is no need to worry or be angry about it.

 

Hopefully you have enjoyed this post. Please share it if you agree…or disagree! If you don’t, leave a comment below. I am always up to hearing other people’s points of view on this touchy subject.

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Posted on October 30, 2014 in Blog

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About the Author

I am a freelance photographer and web designer / graphic designer with a flair for creativity and a passion for anything digital. I love to learn about new and emerging technologies. I currently reside in cambridge, ontario with my beautiful wife and 2 (mostly well behaved) children.

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