Sometimes, pricing your photography could get complex. But it’s an essential part of your business and therefore, not something that you can just avoid. There are many factors, including your market, demography, skill set, etc., that directly or indirectly affect your rates. So how to price your wedding photography? Many wedding photographers struggle to come up with an answer. But whether you are thinking of modifying your prices or just getting started, this pricing guide could help make the process a little easier for you. So let’s begin!
The Process of Pricing Your Photography
1. Analyzing All Your Costs
Whatever service you are pricing – whether it is part of a package or not – you need to know the exact total cost of providing and delivering that service. So, it is important to have a complete breakdown of everything that costs you. These costs could include paying your assistant or second shooter, venue parking fee, or printing charges. Having this detailed information can help you calculate everything else while pricing your photography, including the additional services you sell to your clients.
2. Packages or À La Carte Pricing
The next step in the process of pricing your photography is to understand the difference between packages and à la carte pricing. Just as the name suggests, a wedding photography package is a bundle of services clubbed together for a total price. The benefit of pitching packages is that you can make different packages for varied prices to reach out to clients with different budgets and needs.
On the other hand, an à la carte pricing system requires you to price your services individually. For example, it could mean setting hourly rates, i.e., pricing for ‘x’ hours of photography coverage for ‘x’ amount. One of the perks of using this type of pricing can be more freedom of customization (especially when it comes to add-ons), which doesn’t exist in the former pricing system.
Before deciding on which system to use, ask yourself – what does your market prefer? Dig deep and analyze. However, sometimes, it takes time to thoroughly understand what works for your market. So finding a middle ground can often work out well. This could mean marketing packages along with an option of a customized package as well. And in this customized package, you can allow add-ons as per à la carte pricing.
3. Create a Spreadsheet
For a clear bifurcation of every package’s price, start by creating a spreadsheet. Divide your sheet into two columns – expense and cost. In the expense column, list down every task that will cost you – from production and post-production to shipping and printing. If you outsource your editing, include that cost as well. Then, in the cost column, enter the price for each task. Once you have your total cost, multiply your ‘total cost number’ to your ‘base markup’ (which could be anything you decide – x3, x4, x5). And you will get your base makeup price. Now, if you are adding any other additional services/items to it, you can simply apply the same math and add the markup.
4. Pricing for Profitability
You can’t always guarantee profit, but there is a way to structure your pricing for profitability. Decide on a realistic number of weddings you want to shoot per year and then note down your calculated annual salary and put down the number of individual profits from your top or best selling package (repeat this step for all of your packages). Then, simply divide the salary number by package profit. In doing so, you will get the number of weddings you need to shoot at that profit in a year. This simple math is a great way to get an idea of what packages might be more profitable, which ones you need to reconfigure, and whether they will help you reach that annual number.
Suggested Read: 5 Amazing Ways To Get More Wedding Inquiries
What to Do When the Math Doesn’t Add Up?
Pricing your photography is hardly a one size fits all process. Different things work for different markets, locations, and expertise levels. So what if you find that after adding it all together, the number is not profitable or profitable but unrealistic? Well, here’s a solution! Bring attention to selling services/items on your add-on list. See what more you can add to this list to increase your average booking per wedding. These add-ons could be anything – parent albums, photo booths, engagement sessions, etc.
Focus on your pre-wedding and post-wedding sales. In addition to that, another way to meet that number is to diversify your business. Several other things can make you a profit, and not all of it needs to be through weddings. You can opt to diversify your business services around and out of weddings too. For example, you can introduce newborn photography, boudoir, elopements, portrait sessions, anniversary sessions, high school seniors, family photo shoots, etc.
Suggested Read: 5 Ways To Respond When Your Couple Says “Your Price Is Too High”
Pricing Evolution: Raise or Reconfigure?
When you have set up pricing for your photography, it is also important to understand that your pricing will change over time. If you do happen to increase your prices as you gain more experience, use that experience to explain the price change. There can also be times when you have to reconfigure your price list.
After you have raised or reconfigured your prices, we’d suggest you take some time to analyze whether or not the change is working for you. Check if you can book more or a targeted number of weddings for the new prices/packages while also keeping in mind other factors such as seasonal dip, any recent/sudden change in the market, etc.
Further Read: Should Wedding Photographers Negotiate Their Prices?
Be the Judge of Your Skill Set
Be honest with yourself about your skill set. If you can, go through the work and pricing of other wedding photographers and then do a comparative analysis and price your photography accordingly. After all, you can be your best judge. And as your skill proficiency increases with time, you can accordingly revise your pricing. We hope you found this article resourceful! To go through more blogs on how to grow as a wedding photographer, you can follow the series here.