Pricing your Photography
How to Set Prices for Your Wedding Photography Services
Build yourself a portfolio.If you're brand new to the wedding world, you're going to have some problems relating to your portfolio; initially, you may not have one at all. This is a significant factor in the earliest days in putting out a price which works for you and potential clients. Part of your investment in the business in the first year is going to be about getting yourself a solid portfolio of various couples at various venues; however great your photography is, you need that to show your skills and depth of experience before you'll get close to a price deserving of a business situation.
- Assuming you don't have that portfolio yet, be prepared to make an arrangement with an experienced photographer to 'second shoot' with options to use the pictures in your portfolio, or to charge a low amount to attract jobs to get you started. One really good wedding in the bag is a great investment for your portfolio, even if you just cover your expenses to shoot it. Three is much better.
Find the right clients.OK, so if step one was you and your situation, you'll already find yourself in 'happy shopper territory'. At the budget end of the market are many unrealistic clients who probably don't value photography highly and suggest their 'Uncle Bob' or student friend with hipster Polaroid can cover the job just fine. Even if you're offered these jobs with a modest fee, you don't want them; it's the wrong client type now, and forever more.
- Keep an eye out for the client who values photography, but, quite honestly just doesn't have a budget to match your aspirations, or a budget at all. That's honest and understandable. This kind of client will value and appreciate your work, and you're more likely to enjoy the job. In this case, carefully work out your costs and expenses (no inflating the figures, be honest with yourself) and ask the client to cover these. If they can't, and it's a great client at a great venue, well maybe you'll need to suck up the costs to get your portfolio running.
- Continue at this step until you can look at your portfolio of weddings shot and believe its a clear indicator of your competence, and has enough pictures to prove to a prospective client that you really can do the job. The more that proves itself to be the case, the higher your next price hike, the less true it is, the longer you spend with the 'happy shoppers'.
Consider your price point.Portfolio in place? Well done! Now you need to consider a heap of factors. Is this a part time or full time ambition? - This shouldn't affect your price really, after all if you undercut all the other professionals who've established their work in your area, after a short while you'll be established and earning less than the market rate. Essentially devaluing a trade you want to practice!
- What is ok of course is to have a smaller profit margin if you are part time; your day job still pays the bills so the additional money is a benefit rather than buying your food.
Check the local market value for a wedding photographer of similar style and standard to your own work.It's no good aspiring to earn top dollar in your first year, chances are the established photographers in your area will get jobs based on trust and reviews, word of mouth, website presence etc etc. Do your research, find the pecking order and price yourself accordingly.
Calculate your cost of doing business.So your gear, replacements costs as gear wears out, insurance, travel, tax and national insurance, provision of services such as digital media (USB and DVD etc) online gallery services, printing costs, album design and manufacture, stationery, postage, website hosting.... the list goes on, so be really careful not to fool yourself into thinking this bit is easy or quick.
Factor in how many weddings you're likely to book in a year.Of course you won't have any idea initially so be conservative about it. Now you know the going rate/your costs/number of weddings you can expect to cover, which will give you a figure; if the figure looks really healthy and profitable in year one, you've probably underestimated costs and over estimated bookings achievable! Look again.
Decide what you want to earn.At some point, driven by your skill, marketing ability, activity in your local market and a pinch of good fortune, you'll become established, confident and competent. To become profitable and run a business that fulfills your needs you'll need to make a final judgement call. What do you wish to earn? This is balanced against costs and how many weddings you wish to shoot per year.
- If you shoot every Saturday, that's 52 a year, but you have no holiday time or flexibility. Let's say you want 6 weeks off per year to relax. Ok 46 weddings shot, and your costs amount to 55% of your price perhaps? That's about 25 weddings to cover your costs and 21 to provide enough money to pay the rent and buy food etc.
Make the figures realistic.It sounded good huh? 46 weddings a year? You're not going to get there in year one, probably not year two and possibly not year three either. It could happen and congratulations if you progress at that rate, but realistically you need to drag the figures down to 15 weddings year one, 25 year two, 35 year three. Respectively that means your 'profit' weddings in the first three years will be: Year one 8 weddings x your profit margin, Year two 14 weddings x your profit margin, Year three 19 weddings x your profit margin. Your mileage may vary in a better or worse manner of course.
Review as you develop feedback and figures about your actual experience and progress.Firstly, do you go full time or stay part time? In either case you still need to earn enough to make it worthwhile, and also to live a happy life.
- Make no mistake; shooting weddings and working with your clients, their family and friends to produce an end product that is truly beautiful is a real joy, but it's damned hard work too. On the day you may be working 16 hours, the following week you may be editing, making albums, uploading etc for 40 hours; you're always on call to answer inquiries, mail detailed responses to questions, telephone calls outside office hours and every 'free' day or weekend will be spent drinking coffee and consulting with new and current clients to ensure they receive an excellent customer service experience.
- It's fun; actually it's a real buzz when you get into the zone, but it's not to be taken lightly, and you shouldn't give all that for free! Wishing you happy shooting, and good luck!
Video: 3 Tips for Wedding Photography Pricing Strategies | Interview with Jeff and Lori
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Date: 19.12.2018, 13:35 / Views: 55575