Do You Know How To Price Your Photography?

Do you charge for your photography? For the photographers who want to use their passion as a revenue opportunity, you will have to figure out what works best for you.

We have numerous pricing options and each one is important for a different type of business. In my experience, the one that works the best across the board is the three-pricing method. Many freelancers will insist their method is the best, and if you believe that to be true, continue doing it. This is a starting point for photographers. Remember, you can always adjust your pricing as you build up.

Why Start With The Three Price Method?

Start with what is the most familiar to your audience. Many wedding photographers, online services, and even small businesses offer this method. It's what takes less effort when you approach this pricing method. For that reason alone, I would suggest it as a starting point. 

Remember that there will always be a photographer who insists their way works better. I want you to create a healthy income because you're doing what you love, and you should use the method which already works for you. 

What Important Role Each Price Point Plays

We could easily opt for a pricing method that allows each option to shine. If you want something small, we have something to fit that. If you want something medium, there's that option and the same for the expensive package. We could do that, or we can utilize each package as an opportunity to work for our business. That's the method I highlight below.

The Cheap Option

This is the entry point for your product. It allows most of the market to try your service and walk away with something beautiful. It's an easier decision for the consumer with the least amount of risk. These packages are often about 4-hours long (wedding market), offer a few photographs, and cover the basics without the bells and whistles. 

The good: It's easy to complete for the photographer and can fill your calendar with a lot of clients. Think, quantity over quality, and this becoming an intro to your services. 

The not-so-good: It's an entry-level client, and you have to nurture them into becoming a bigger client. It's also a lot of client management; because you'll be able to fit many clients into your schedule, you will also have to manage more clients in your schedule.

Photoshoot, Walid Azami
Photoshoot, Walid Azami

The Middle Option:

This is the one that should be called "The Salesperson" because it should do the selling for you. Here's what a client should think when they approach your middle option: "I want a little more than the first option, but the second option is far more expensive with little more to offer."

You want to offer only a little more to this package but the increase in price should be bigger, not proportionally bigger either! For example, if you are offering 4 hours in the first package then this one should have only 6 hours. It should also cost substantially more. That allows the client to think of either stepping down to package one, or paying a tiny bit more and investing in package three. The iPhone does a beautiful job with this pricing model and I discuss that more in the video. 

The good: If they pick this, you have a big profit. You are only offering a little more for a lot bigger jump in price. If they don't select the second option, that is still great! They now either pick option 1 (you work less and it's easy to complete) or they pick option 3. We'll discuss that next.

The not-so-good: I do not see a bad side to this. For the client it should not make sense because they are getting a little more for a heftier fee. 

The magic of option 2 is, it does the selling for you because it does the suggesting for you. The client naturally looks at the selections and decides to either move up to the most expensive, or they move back to the entry-level pricing. In my opinion, the role of the middle option is to do the selling for you. 

The Third Option:

The third option is the most expensive one, but not by a lot. In fact, it sells itself because the client gets a lot more for a little bit higher fee. For third-tier pricing, you could offer many services that do not cost you much more than a little bit of time. Assuming you're there for 6 hours on package 2, what difference does it make to stay for two more hours and make it 8?

Assuming you're giving 10 images for option 2, does it really cost you anything more than some time to give them 15 images for option 3? Does it cost a lot more to give them images perfectly cropped for Instagram? How about a slide show that you can automate with an online service? Does it cost you that much more to upload images, select the music and provide your client something special for their social channels? 

Package three offers far more, at only a slight price increase than package two. The video will explain that in detail but this is to give you an idea of how the packages can work for you. 

The good: This allows a higher-budget client to work with you, they're the ones who hire you over and over. Third-tier pricing makes sense because the photographer can provide additional services that will not increase their cost of operating a business. 

The not-so-good: It could provide a reason for clients to not work with you because it's a higher price point. However, they have option 1 to select from if they love your work and want a starting point. 

Disclaimer

I would suggest this pricing method for the portrait, wedding, or family photographer. When you get into commercial work, there are other factors that could affect your budget. If you have a pricing method that works for you, continue using that. This is to get you started and something that works for thousands of brands over and over. It's meant to give your clients options across the board. If they want the second package, let them have it. And give them the best service they've ever seen. If they can only afford the first option, treat them like royalty and they'll eventually work their way up. This is about making sure the client gets more bang for their buck, and the business has a higher profit margin. 

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2 Comments

Matthias Dengler's picture

8 hours of shooting + retouching 12 images for 550$?
Are you even serious?

8 hours of shooting is at least 1200€ + retouching 12 images another retouching day of at least 800€

Reinis Inkēns's picture

This is a bit counter intuitive. What about anchoring the price expecation with the highest package being almost exorbitant so as to steer the customer towards the middle option?