I talk about pricing with my clients often. Some are happy with their prices, but a large number are undercharging to the point of not making any money at all. Which is a weird way to run a business, right?
What I'm going to say next can apply to lots of businesses, but this post is especially for photographers.
Your $50, all edited images included package is not sustainable.
Please, please, please look at your actual time investment in these sessions - travel time, editing time, communication time with the client - how many hours of your life is that $50 session costing you?
Let's be super conservative and say you don't have to pay to rent studio space and your drive to and from the location is only 10 minutes each way (lucky you!)
And, again, being conservative, let's say you only spend ten minutes (total!) in communication with your client.
Finally, let's say your session is exactly thirty minutes, no more, no less. No one is late, the kids are photogenic angels, the weather and light cooperate.
Congratulations, you're making $50 per hour!
But before you break out the bubbly, remember that 20% or so needs to go to taxes. So you made $40 per hour.
That's not bad, right?
But what about getting the photos from your camera to editing?
How much time does that take? Just a few minutes? (I guess? I'm not a photographer)
Great! But watch out, those minutes add up.
How much time do you spend selecting the best photos?
Doing some light editing?
Maybe an hour total? (I suspect it is more - photographers, educate me!)
Now you've made $20 hour. Still better than minimum wage, right?
Not so fast.
Do you pay for editing software?
Do you pay for a website?
Do you pay for insurance?
Do you pay fees for a business license?
Do you run ads?
Do you seek ongoing training?
Do you pay to belong to networking groups or attend functions?
What about your camera? How much did it cost?
How frequently will you need to service it? (or replace if it is damaged?)
Camera-related equipment? Bags, stands, flash, all of those things.
All of the above are part of your cost of doing business and you MUST understand that and factor that
into your pricing.
Let's go back to that $20/hour you are taking home at the end of the day.
You aren't making $20 every traditional working hour of the week, right? You don't have 40 hours paid at $20/hour.
Sure, there may be some times when you are able to book 2-3 people back to back, but that is the exception, not the rule.
You aren't booking four hours of photography work 5 days a week, every month.
And more importantly, that $20/hour doesn't come close to touching on the value of your unique skill, client connection, or producing great photos - it just addresses (poorly) your base time.
I just called a national chain store that offers photography services.
Their sitting fee is $10 PER PERSON.
No photos included.
No thirty minute session in a beautiful spot.
Most importantly, none of that special something YOU bring to your art as a photographer.
Look at your pricing.
Look at how much it costs you do to business.
Respect your skill and talent so others will, too.
Musings about marketing, social media, and small business.