Of the many tasks you have to work on for your business, knowing how to price wedding photography and your services may be one of your least favorite tasks. But, setting proper photography pricing for your business is a crucial part of your overall success. If you decide to use wedding photography packages in your pricing model, do you know how to set it up so your clients are satisfied and you stay profitable?
How to Price Wedding Photography
For most wedding photographers, pricing their services with packages is the easiest and clearest way to start. If you are just starting a photography business, utilizing a 3 or 5 package structure for your clients to book you is a great place to start. As you grow your wedding photography business, you will learn a lot more about the unique details that your target market expects, not only in terms of your services but also the products you offer. As the years go by, you will want to continually revisit your pricing packages for photography to make sure those are the best option.
When setting up your wedding photography packages, you have to ensure that they are both attractive to your target market, while simultaneously producing profit for you. It can be a bit of a puzzle, ensuring that both sides are met with every package. And, it can be really confusing! Taking the time to properly set up your packages will ensure that your clients aren’t pushed away by your pricing, while also keeping you profitable every year. Here are 4 must-have tips for how to price wedding photography.
Give yourself time back in your day to focus on important items, such as learning how to price for products and services and how to create wedding photography packages, by outsourcing wedding photography editing to a specialist.
1. Share a Reasonable Starting Price
Your wedding photography packages must start at a price that does not scare your target market away. Notice we said target market – it’s ok if your start price scares the wrong couples away! “Starting Price” refers to the price of your first package, which is your cheapest option. This says everything about who you are in your industry and even more about what the client should expect to spend. This is not the package you want to be booking a majority of the time, yet the price you put this package at is extremely influential in determining how often you book your higher packages. If you make this package too cheap, you risk attracting clients who may not be capable of spending money on your higher packages.
If you make this package too expensive, you risk pushing away clients who might have been able to afford your higher priced packages. It can be crucial to your success to ensure your starting package is priced to sell your higher priced packages.
2. Create Realistic Pricing Differentiations
This refers to the difference in pricing between your wedding photography packages. Ideally, you want your clients to be able to upgrade from one package to the next, and the difference in prices between the two packages is a huge factor in this. If you make your packages too close together in price, you will not create a clear distinction, and you may also confuse your clients. If you make your packages too far apart in price, your clients may not be able to afford or justify the price hike to go from one package to the next. In the photography industry, a good range to stay within is to raise your prices by 25%-50% from one package to the next.
3. Promote Must-Have Items
“Must-haves” is not a business term, but they do refer to a popular business concept. It is the concept that your clients come to you with a set of expectations for what they want to receive. Some “Must-Haves” are conscious and they can articulate – a great example of that in today’s photography industry is the High-Resolution Digital Files. Every client seems to know they need these.
Some “Must-Haves” are not conscious, though. For example, your clients may not ask for a canvas print they can hang as wall art in their house, but this does not mean they do not want one – they just might not know to ask for it! Knowing your client’s “Must-Haves”, both the ones they articulate and the ones they do not is essential to putting together packages that are simple and can easily sell.
“We’ve followed the concept of ‘Must-Haves’ in building our wedding photography packages. I’ve learned that clients don’t understand the differences in a lot of levels of one product (i.e. leather album vs. linen album). But, by including their must-haves and gradually increasing those in the collections, we make the decisions much simpler for them, which in turn leads to higher booking rates and sales. We also make sure that each of our packages is at least a 40% difference in price.” – Abbey Kyhl
4. Encourage the Middle Package
One of the most basic yet important concepts in Pricing Theory is the middle. Basically, people love the middle. Knowing that consumers love to buy what is in the middle, you would want to take these purchasing desires and combine them with the appropriate package. Use the middle package to your advantage, so you can book the package you really want to book a majority of the time.
In the competitive photography industry, one way to separate yourself from others is to create a consistent and unique style for your images. If your style is unclear, your clients will not know what to expect from you and their wedding images. Defining your style also allows you to create repeatable methods to achieve it, each and every time.
Remember that less is more when it comes to the number of options you give your clients. Confusion is the #1 reason they will not book you, so limit your options to keep it simple.
How do you know if you should use wedding photography packages in your business? Here are a few things to consider:
You are part-time
Packages allow you to see what you are obligated to fulfill right away for every client you book. You can set up a system to clearly dictate your due dates, and it will be easier for you to maintain deadlines. That way, you can spend your time on more profit-generating activities.
You have referral-based clients
Packages collect groupings of services and products in common offerings. Clients who come from referrals often know a little more about the services and products you offer, based on the friend or family member who referred them. An educated client is a little more likely to book a Package because they trust you more at the time of booking.
How to Personalize Your Pricing
When it comes to your wedding photography business, it’s no secret that you want to be unique, especially from other photographers in your area. There are a number of ways you can stand out through your website, social media, and the images you produce. Imagine if you could also personalize your pricing to center it around items and services that you knew your clients wanted? Here’s a little secret – you can!
When it comes to pricing, there is one important thing that will help improve it – determining the “must-haves” for your clients. Must-haves are items that your clients must have an order when they book you. These must-haves are different for every photographer since you all attract a different type of client. By taking the time to learn what is most important to your clients, you can personalize your pricing and increase your bookings exponentially!
Know What Your Clients Want
When you book a client, one of the first things you should note is WHAT they are interested in purchasing from you. Look for trends to see the one or two items that almost all of your clients order. As a rule of thumb, these services should be ones that 80% or more of your clients are booking. Are you constantly booking an engagement session with your wedding, adding a second shooter, or including an album? If so, this is a good indicator that these items are your must-haves!
Keep this in mind: the must-haves you offer are your clients’ must-haves, not yours! You may love some of the products that you offer, but that does not mean your clients feel the same way.
ShootDotEdit President Jared Bauman used to run a wedding photography studio, and shares this:
“I always kept in mind how important it was not to push your wants onto your clients. The story I always tell is about Canvas Prints. My wife and I love canvas prints. However, my clients did not care about Canvas Prints. If I assume Canvas Prints were a Must-Have because of how much I like them, then I would have been very wrong.”
Know what your clients Don’t Want
Just as important as knowing what your clients DO want, take the time to figure out the items that they don’t want. Are clients continuously asking if they can remove a service from a package? If so, take that opportunity to reevaluate and determine if it is bringing any value and profit to your business. Remember, the #1 reason for a client to not book you is confusion! Do not offer every service in hopes that you can please everyone – find your must-haves and stick to them! With all of the choices that a bride and groom have to make leading up to the wedding, they will appreciate you only giving them a few options and guiding them to what they really want.
Set up Proper Pricing
Once you determine the services that matter most to your clients, half of the battle is over! The next step is to get clients to order them, which can be easier said than done. There are several factors to take into consideration to actually get clients to order your must-haves:
Price: Even though you have determined that a certain service is a must-have if you price it too high or low, clients will not order it.
Placement: Ensure that your must-haves are easily visible on your pricing sheet. You want clients to order them, so don’t clutter this section with unnecessary info.
Simplicity: When it comes to describing what you offer, remember that less is more. On your pricing sheet, keep descriptions of services as short as possible – if clients have specific questions about all of the details of a product, they will ask!
Create an Emotional Connection
Let’s be honest – spending money, especially thousands of dollars on a wedding photographer, is not easy. So what can you do to make this process easier for potential clients? Create an emotional connection with them! Did you know that 70% of your clients will make their purchasing decisions based on how you treat them?
As you meet with your couple, strive to create a true emotional connection with them – not only will this set you apart from other photographers, but it can help seal the deal for you as their wedding photographer! By creating a strong connection with them and having your pricing properly set up with your must-haves, your pricing will speak for itself and clients will book you with ease.
When you are educated about your clients’ ideal services, you will have the confidence to continuously book dream clients. You can personalize your pricing to focus on these must-haves that draw clients in and make them excited to book you because you offer exactly what they want.
Learning how to price wedding photography packages for your business is a huge part of growing and reaching the next level. Learn more about how to price wedding photography with our free Guide: The Keys to Pricing for Wedding Photographers! We feature wedding photography pricing tips from Vanessa Joy, as well as how to know which pricing model is best for you. Click the banner below to download it now.
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