Understanding how to properly set prices for your wedding photography business is an important part of your role as an owner. Often times, it can be challenging to know exactly what will work for your products and services. How can you set prices for your packages that will help you increase your profit?
ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Vanessa Joy, is back with her next guest post to share her 3 favorite pricing rules that every photographer needs. Take a look below and see what adjustments you can make to your current structure to ensure you are set for the rest of the year.
Having your cake and eating it too.
Pricing and packaging is where I see a huge majority of photographers stumble. Typically, they fumble around guessing what they should charge and usually end up charging something they think is a lot, only to discover later that it’s not even enough to pay the bills. You are going to read this article. You’re going to apply it to your business. You will not be a starving artist.
To top it off, most newbie photographers likely upset other established photographers in the area because they’re undercutting the industry. They are, sort of. Probably not intentionally and realistically. When you first start out, the work isn’t good enough to be worth much more than where you likely started. You do have to provide a service, product, and experience that is worth what you’re charging.
Just so we’re clear on my expertise in pricing, last year my clients invested $6,821 – $18,482 with me, with an average spending of $11,379.15 in an area where the average price paid for a photographer is $4,000-$5,500.
Don’t mistake my rattling off my prices as saying that you should be charging that much. I’m not. When you’re creating pricing and packaging, how high the number is doesn’t actually matter. That’s like saying money solves financial problems. It doesn’t. Mismanaging money can happen with $10 or $1,000,000.
Here are my 3 Favorite Pricing Rules that I’ve used to create my packages. They’ll help you structure your packages so they make sense and make you money. Photography and profit, my favorite kind of cake.
1. Do Your Research
I could tell you what I charge, and you could ask somebody else what they charge, but a lot of it comes down to your demographic. You should know what the average price for a photographer, wedding, or portrait, or otherwise is in your area so that you have a standard to go by. Depending on your level of expertise, and especially if you’re starting out, you probably won’t land way above the average, but you also don’t want to be way below it either for the reasons that I mentioned earlier in the chapter.
Now, don’t be a creep about this. Don’t pretend to be a bride and start emailing wedding photographers in your area, asking for pricing information just so that you can stalk them. Back when I started photography, this was a much more common practice because photographers did not want to share their pricing and packaging. It was some sort of top-secret information. Mostly because they felt that if they shared their pricing and packaging, somebody would just copy it and then charge a couple hundred dollars less, and then go steal clients away from them.
Personally, I believe sharing your pricing information has the opposite effect. I know that when I walk around and I tell people how much I charge, most people are thinking to themselves, “Hey, why am I not making that much money?” They start to realize their value as a photographer. I think that’s a little bit more of a natural reaction rather than, “Hey, can I find a way to royally screw you over?” Sharing information, which is more common practice now, has helped raise the bar.
Once you’ve discovered your demographic, and taking into account where your photography skill lies, find where your pricing should be. It probably won’t be on the bottom end, but likely not on the top either. Somewhere in the middle will probably be your happy place.
2. Be Firm
Being comfortable with what we charge doesn’t often come naturally. Especially when we have to say it aloud to our clients. It’s okay if it’s not comfortable at first to tell people how much you charge. You will get accustomed to it, and it is important that you learn how to say your pricing without hesitating.
But what I’m really talking about here is discounting. Sure, you’ll have bride after bride, client after client, asking you for a discount, and there’s really no harm in that. After all, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. You really can’t blame them.
The problem lies when you’re not firm in your pricing. When you say, “Yes,” to a discount, you’re pretty much telling your prospective client that, “Yeah, you know what? You’re right. I’m really not worth that much.” Aren’t you though? And if you don’t think you are, what about your friends and family? Aren’t they worth you at least making money in exchange for being away from them?
If you really want to work with a client, I absolutely understand wanting to sweeten the pot. Do that, sweeten the pot, but don’t cheapen it. If you want to throw in a little incentive for the client to book with you, then give them a gift instead. Maybe gift them a 16×24 canvas that perhaps you charge $450 for normally, but it’s only costing you $100 to produce. It has a big value, plus it’s a gift, not a discount. Friends give gifts. Used car salesman gives discounts.
3. Keep It Simple
How many times have you ever gone to a website and then immediately clicked off because it was too busy? Or perhaps there was really no direction into where you should be clicking so it became confusing trying to figure out where to go next. It happens a lot. It happens more so in the generations now because everything is so fast paced that we become very impatient. Attention spans used to be 30, 40 seconds on average. Now if you place an ad on Facebook and it’s a video ad, they tell your video should be 15 seconds or less if you want your viewers to watch it until the end.
Pricing catalogs need to show an understanding of this. Three or five packages are enough. It should be easy to read and draw easy mathematical conclusions about (i.e. the more I buy the more I save). Everything from the font that you choose to the layout and colors affect this. Avoid lengthiness as well. Nobody likes to read anymore and will likely not read 80% of the text you worked for hours on.
Check out this episode of Breathe Your Passion for some more quick tips on creating pricing and packaging.
Spending time on proper pricing and packaging for your wedding photography business can help you work toward your goals and meet clients who are perfect for you. How can you take more time to work on these for your business? When you outsource your wedding photography editing needs, you can spend that time toward setting prices that will help you grow.
Do you know if you will make a profit in your business by the end of the year? Our Pricing Calculator for Wedding Photographers can tell you. Fill it out today!