Navigating what to charge in your photography business can feel like muddy water. You want to make an income, but where do you even start with knowing what to charge? In the beginning, many photographers mistakenly base their pricing on what others are charging. But as time passes, they begin to see that it costs a lot to own a photography business and begin to realize the numbers they see others charging aren't quite bringing the income (if any) they thought. There are many factors involved when it comes to pricing your photography, so let's dive into 3 key factors that affect what you should charge to help you give some perspective on creating prices based on what's right for YOU and your business!
1. YOUR PERSONAL AND BUSINESS INCOME NEEDS The income you need to make from your photography business is dependent upon your cost of doing business, your taxes, and your personal/household income needs. This number differs from photographer to photographer which is why you can't base your prices on someone else's! If you're a photographer wanting to create full-time income to cover your $4500 a month household expenses, but you based your fees on a photographer that you didn't realize was a hobbyist just looking to make enough to pay for their equipment, you'll wind up with a negative in your bank account! You can't rely on the pricing of others. Your cost of doing business (CODB), the federal taxes you pay, and the income you need to pay your bills and important needs like health insurance and retirement are what determine your specific income needs from your photography business.
2. YOUR MARKET Two photographers in 2 different markets can have the same income goal and BOTH be profitable, but the prices they charge have to make sense for the market they want to serve. For example, if 2 photographers want to make 50K after their CODB: - The photographer that wants to serve the budget market will need to see 200 clients per year at $250 per session. - The photographer who wants to serve the mid to lower lux market will need to see approximately 72 clients a year at $700 per session. $250 per session would not make since to a higher end market (they'd want to know why you're so cheap!) where as $700 would not make sense to a budget-minded market. BUT, both photographers are earning the same and are profitable. You have to do your own math to charge the market you want to serve appropriately AND be profitable.
3. YOUR LOCATION Our cost of living varies from state to state. Prices that may be considered "luxury" in one area are considered "budget" in others. While you should never base your pricing solely on what other photographers in your area charge, your location and its cost of living does need to be considered when reviewing if your pricing makes sense for the market you want to serve.
You can be profitable in ANY market, but not without considering what I talked about today! I hope today's message has empowered you with the confidence to base your pricing on YOUR needs and not the guesswork of others!
Want to dive further into the finances of your photography business?
Check out my 5 Myths about Making More Money as a Photographer Guide! This guide was created to dispel the money myths photographers latch onto that can quickly hinder their ability to generate more money in their business.
By downloading this guide, you’ll access the keys to navigating those myths and how to release them from your business in order to trigger your ability to create a business that FEELS GOOD and turns you into a profitable photographer!