Pricing Your Photography In 2023

It is Christmas already? Back in high school, I used to be called Christmas. That was a nickname because I loved and still love Christmas a lot. Not because of the celebrations, but because of the new thing which is about to come. What new thing? January 1st. Yes! This is the new thing I speak of. The start of something new. A time to plan and a time to take action.

I saw this tweet yesterday by Iman Gadzhi

The only way to lose is to quit. So just don’t quit, and you won’t lose. Not easy, but very simple.

I’m not going to waste much of your time. You’re not here to read stories of the mistletoe but business. So, how do you price your photography? How much should I charge for my services this year? This question is asked by both the novice and the pro because it’s important when it comes to running a business as a photographer. When your price is too low, you leave money on the table. When your price is too high, you still leave money on the table because fewer people will want to hire you. You want to look at what the market is pricing and price accordingly. But note this: pricing is subjective.

As a pro photographer, you want to offer services that stand out, services that make your customers and prospects go like “WHOA” and charge prices that justify your work based on your talent, knowledge and the results you produce.

Now, this article might be general. I might touch on different things or maybe not. But let’s get into it.

The cost of running your photography business

I have personally heard photographers say to clients I charge so and so because of the cost of my gear. Trust me, the client or prospect is not interested in your gear. Nobody has ever asked me about the camera I use. The people who ask me this are mostly photographers. The cost of running your photo-business is not something you really have to share with your prospect. What does it cost?

You have equipment cost. You have a camera, lenses, lighting equipment, etc. Also, be sure to factor in repair and replacement costs.

Office and studio costs. Are you renting a studio or an office space? Then factor this into your pricing as well. Now you’re probably thinking photography is a luxury. Be sure it is, though I also believe photography is for everyone. So what if you’re not renting a studio or office space and work from home? Do this: Assign a rental value to that space and make sure your business earns and pays for that. We are always paying for something, nothing is given to us for free.

Marketing costs. I’ve seen fewer photographers get into this. Photographers, including pros, do not like the marketing side of their business. I was there, and I struggled a lot. Know that if you’re running a business, you’re also required to market your business. How else will you land clients if you do not market? This includes networking, digital advertisement, investing in marketing courses, a website. These things are essential to running a successful photography business.

Fees of professionals. Do you work and do everything alone? Then, you need to price for that. I used to think photography was mostly taking photos alone. Then there is a whole new world called post-processing. It can take you hours to finish a few photos. Some like to focus solely on the business aspect and after taking photos, they send them to retouchers. I think this is smart! You’re going to give another a chance to make money and also give yourself more time to focus on your business. You lessen the pressure and focus on the business. Now, you don’t want to pay the retouchers out of your own pocket. You want the client paying that. You’re in business to profit, not to run at a loss.

Add your profit margin

Now that you have figured what it costs to run your photography business, the cost of your time and labour, you need to decide on profit margins. Most photographers are running at a loss, and it’s staggering. They’re going to go out of business soon. Some have already gone out of business. They’re running a business, hand to mouth.” They can’t save or invest in anything new. Investing in new equipment means they are going to go hungry for a few months or struggle. I knew a photographer who went completely broke after purchasing a new camera. It was sad, but he’s still living that way.

So, what is profit margin? Your profit margin or percentage lets you know how much profit your business has generated for each sale. This simple formula will help you understand profit margin. Revenue minus cost equals your profit margin. I don’t like Math. I failed this subject 4 times and so I can’t come up with anything complicated.

Revenue - Cost = Profit

Revenue is the total amount of money that is produced by selling the goods or services to the customers.

This should be a different article by itself. You should know this. You cannot earn a 100% profit margin. It’s impossible. It’s only possible if you’re able to sell something that cost you nothing. So basically, profit margin is what you take home. The money which is yours. Yes, you work for yourself, but not all what you earn is for you to spend.

Now, for beginners in the photo-field. Don’t price too low because you’re not known. Charging too low from the start will in fact decrease the perceived value of your services in the market. NEVER work for free. Always charge a fair price.

I’m going to have to end this article here today. I do not wish to write and write and write. I want to write and publish short so you grasp the value in the article. This means there shall be a part two.

Thank you for checking out this article. If you’re new here, I’m Clement Eastwood, a photographer and an author who has made it his mission to educate photographers. Tap on this link to have access to my books on photography. And here’s a link to my podcast.

See you in the part 2.

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