How Do I Price My Photography Services?
Confused on where to start? Looking at other photographers trying to get an idea of what you should charge? Well STOP THAT right now. That is now how a business figures out how much money they are going to make in a year. They do not care what someone else charges, they need to care about how much it costs them to do business and what they need to make to make a profit.
What kind of profit do you want to make? $30,000 a year? $40,000? $50,000 or more? How are you going to do that if you don't know what your costs or expenses are? You need to know how much you have going out and how much is coming in.
Start off with figuring out your COST OF DOING BUSINESS. What is cost of doing business, these are business expenses you will incur running your business whether you have two customers or fifty. Cost of doing business includes:
Studio Rent (if any)
Lightroom and Photoshop subscription
Credit card bill (did you purchased your camera with your credit card?)
Online gallery hosting if you pay for it separately
Depreciation (yes this is important! Read more about depreciation here.)
And any other monthly or yearly payment you make to run your business.
Total these up for the year. Say for example this comes up to $10,000
Then figure our your COST OF LIVING. What? Yes, this is important, do you want to be able to put food on your table and pay your water bill? You need to know what it costs for you to live. How else are you going to make a living with your photography business if you do not add this to your calculation?
Rent or Mortgage payment
Insurance (car, house, health. etc.)
Gas for your car
Personal credit card bills
Cell phone bill
Child Care (college savings)
And any other monthly payments you personally make,
Add all these up for the year. (if your electric bill is different every month, make an estimated guess)
Say for example this comes up to $30,000 a year
Total Cost of living and cost of doing business is $40,000.
So you defiantly need to make more than $40,000 a year.
LETS NOT FORGET ABOUT TAXES! Nope, we're still not ready to price that family portrait you wanted to know about.
Whatever you make, your going to have to give a percentage of it to your State and Federal government. For the sake of the example we're going to say our taxes are going to be 30% of what we make.
Now tell me, how much money do you want to make a year? $60,000?
$60,000 - 30% income tax = $18,000. $60,000 - $18,000 = $42,000
Okay, that's not doable is it? Only paying yourself $2000 a year after your business and living expenses? Or is it? Do you have a spouse contributing? Any other income?
For this example i'm going to say I need at least $10,000 a year in profits. Because I'm continuously investing in my business and myself. Besides, I'm planning on going on a huge vacation next year.
Say I want to make $75,000.
$75,000 x 30% income tax = $22,500 $75,000 - $22,500 = $52,500
Okay, I can manage making $52,500. My cost of living and doing business is $40,000. This leaves me with a profit of $12,500 a year. In this example, I will accept that.
So, how do I price myself to make that? What do I need to make from each session or client to make $75,000 a year?
How many sessions are you going to do a month?
How much do you need from each session to make $75,000?
For example, I'm only going to do 6 sessions a month. That's 72 sessions a year.
$75,000/72 sessions = $1041.67
You need to make $1041.67 a client to make what you need to live the life style you have calculated above.
Now, I can not tell you how to price everything, this will involve you doing your own math and applying your business model. Do you sell only digital images? Do you sell prints, canvas, albums? Do you do session fees and sell a la carte? Do you sell all inclusive packages?
In this example, I'm a wedding photographer selling all inclusive packages. I know i need to make $1050 after the cost of my products in the package. Simple. My costs of album and second shooter are $600, I'll be charging $1650
Here's something else to consider: Labor. My time spent photographing and editing. I said i wanted to make over $10,000 profit, but I didn't say I wanted to work 80 hours a week to do it.
Cost of Doing Business
Cost of Living
We already calculated this to be $40,000
We decided we needed to make $75,000 a year
Lets consider labor costs so we can get a better idea of how to price those 8x10s
How many hours a week are you going to work? 40 How many days a week are you going to work? 5
How many weeks are you going to work in a year?
52 weeks in a year (I want spring break, summer break, fall break, and a two week winter break.)
52 weeks - 5 weeks = 47 weeks a year
$75,000 a year / 47 weeks / 40 hours a week = $39.89 an hour.
Need a per minute wage? It don't take an hour do crop, order, and package an 8x10
$75,000 a year / 47 weeks / 40 hours a week / 60 minutes in an hour = $0.66 a minute
Lets calculate a price for an 8x10.
Lab cost: $2.10
Labor cost: 10 minutes x $0.66 = $6.60
Total cost is $8.70
x2 is whole sale $17.40
x3 is retail $26.10
There I said it.. Actually I showed you why professional photographers charge so much for something that cost so little. (Referring to the 8x10) Because, they are selling more than a printed piece of paper.
This may have not given you the exact number you need to charge for a senior portrait session, but hopefully you have read carefully and have a good idea of how to calculate it yourself. If you would like assistance on calculating your pricing please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to BOOK ONLINE to have me do it for you!
WV Photographer | Kayla Marcum | Photographer Pricing | How Do I Price My Photography