Navigating Pricing As A Photographer

Brandon & I often get the question from photographers, “how do you set your pricing?“. And to be honest there is no wrong or right way to do your pricing. However, there are a few fundamental precepts to keep in mind.

Horn Photography + Design pricing

  1. Cover Your Cost
    In order to have a successful business you must always cover the cost of all your expenses. Take time first to figure out what your fixed costs are (or expenses you’ll have whether you have 0 or 1000 shoots during the year) for example, equipment, insurance, the charge to host your website monthly, rent for your studio, paying for an online photo gallery, these are all fixed costs.You will also need to determine what your variable costs are (or expenses that vary based on how many and what kind of shoots you do) for example, travel, rental gear, a second or third shooter, postage, packaging, these are cost that may very depending on the service your client is requesting.  When creating a pricing structure, be sure to list what your variable and fixed costs are to ensure your fees cover everything…and you’re not stuck working for free (a very common problem for new photographers)
  2. Supply, Demand and Experience 
    When we first started out we had no idea how to set pricing so we started looking at what everyone else was charging, HUGE MISTAKE! We quickly learned that we needed to set our pricing based on how much work we wanted to pull in, the demand there was for us to shoot weddings and the experience we had. Since we wanted to really get our name out there plus we were both working full time with little real world experience in shooting weddings we set our pricing pretty low. But now 6 years later our pricing is much higher since we both work on the business full time, we have several years of experience and the demand is much grater.
  3. Adjusting Pricing As Your Business Grows
    Over the years we have adjusted our pricing yearly to reflect our growing education in our field, investments in our business, more demand for our services and over all more experience in our craft.  As a growing business we had to continually raise the package prices because we were becoming better photographers, and, therefore, were worth more. A friend once told us to raise our prices $500 for every ten weddings we booked. By 2012 our business beautifully bloomed and we booked over 25 weddings that year. Since then our prices have changed tremendously and so have our packages.

All in all pricing is difficult, I totally get it, so don’t let your stomach get into nots over it. Seriously, there is no pressure to get things spot on at the beginning, test the waters and see how people respond. And this is HUGE – don’t be afraid or embarrassed to change your prices if they are too high…running a business is a learning process. Take a deep breath and put your self out there, run your own business and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, YOU GOT THIS!

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