How to Price Your Photography and Your Products

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

Shoot Fee
(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)!

Michael has been working as a photographer for the last ten years. In that time he has shot over 100,000 peoples’ portraits and worked in four different continents. In 2001 Michael graduated with a degree in photography from Manchester Metropolitan University.

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  1. Thank you for some great information, it is not often you read people discussing this, what seems to be a sore point. I was hoping myself hoping to make the transition from an old career into being self employed and therefore having to put a price on what i do, it is not really something people i find talk about.
    I have sold prints to friends at little over cost because of not knowing how to value myself and also people thinking that the price is open to barter. Then after not really covering even the cost of the energy to charge the camera battery.
    Looking back i realised that i was a fool, if i wanted to not only value my work and not cheapen others skills a fare price is what is justified.

    I suppose we all have to learn the hard way sometimes.

  2. “Product Price = Material costs x 5. This basically keeps your material costs to 20%”

    It doesn’t, unless you either buy in finished prints etc., or remember to factor in your ‘wasted’ material costs too – test prints, samples, the time your printer spattered ink on a 16×20 canvas print …

  3. Im in the same boat as Darren, thanks for both posts. For me doing a calculation based on some hard numbers will make it easier for me to justify my fees. I never want to over charge but I want to get paid what I am worth. I am just starting my freelance business so now I know where I can put my hourly rate and how to change it as my skills grow.

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