This is really a dilemma for any photographer whether you’ve been in business for 30 years or 30 minutes.
Firstly, don’t look at other photographers. There is always going to be someone really cheap and someone really expensive. If you go for ‘something in the middle’ then that’s all you’re going to be….. middle of the road! If you believe anything you read then wedding photography should only cost £400 ($615)!
Another pitfall that many of us make is offering products (which might be really cool) but are simply too expensive to make a decent profit. If you are going for a large volume of clients, selling an inexpensive product, then don’t waste money on expensive materials. Know your clients and what they’ll be willing to pay! I’m sure an event photographer wouldn’t do very well if they stopped offering £15 ($20) prints and moved to £500 ($775) wall art!
I guess this is why we have so many ‘shoot to burn’ photographers. Unfortunately these chaps don’t seem to value their product, and are only willing to present it is in the form of little digital images that are only viewed on a laptop or smart phone….. or even worse, printed out at in 4×6 in a local Wallmart/Asda.
£800 ($1,230) for a DVD of 800 images……….. what’s your company name…… iStock Weddings?
On the flip side £800 for a couple of days work doesn’t sound that bad does it? The problem is that £800 is really all you’re going to make. You might introduce other options such as wall art or Storybooks but why would anyone want those when you’ve given them everything they (think) they want?
So price yourself sensible people! How much do you think you’re worth?
Here’s a little formula you might want to try out
(axb) + (c/d) – e + f = Shoot Fee
a = Time spent with each client – shooting, editing, travel, viewing etc., etc.
b = Desired hourly rate.
c = All annual costs including equipment, rent, travel, advertising.
d = Number of job per year.
e = Average profit for sale of products.
f = Additional costs specific to job – hotel, additional travel etc
Product Price = Material costs x 5. This basically keeps your material costs to 20%
Does that sound about right? Or does it sound a bit high?
If you’re answer is the latter them maybe, just maybe, you’re selling yourself a bit short (especially if you put your desired hourly wage at the national minimum)!
I divide my time between being a photographer, retoucher, photography blogger and podcaster. Deep down I like to consider myself a portrait photographer and in my short 10 ten years in the business I’ve taken over 100,000 people’s studio portraits. When I’m not taking pictures I’m writing about it, most of my rambles can be found daily at http://photocreative365.com.
Photo Credit: © 2010 Michael Shilling
Here’s how you can share your tips, techniques and tutorials on CurrentPhotographer.com