I see this question a zillion times a week. People email me asking it and its posted in photography Facebook groups constantly. What should I charge for my photography? How much should a shoot be? A print? A frame? I made this video to help you discover what you should be charging. You can watch it below . . .
I get it. I really and truly do. When I was first starting out in my photography business I asked these questions too. So I’m not judging you at all. I know all too well how overwhelming it all is and its natural to ask others in the industry what you should charge for this and that or to start looking around at what others are charging and just go with that.
But without a doubt this is one of the worst and most damaging questions a new photographer can ask.
The question shouldn’t be ‘how much should I charge for my photography?’. The question should be ‘how do I work out what to charge for my photography?’ Just a few slight wording differences make all the difference.
That first question screams out ‘I don’t know what I’m doing and I just want someone to give me a quick fix so I can get going.” But the second question says ‘I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m willing to put in some work to find out if someone can point me in the right direction.’
Personally I am much more likely to try and help someone who asks me that second question. Because I simply CAN’T answer the first one and it would be totally unprofessional of anyone to tell you what you should charge for your services or your products when they have no idea what your circumstances are.
Let’s say you ask in a Facebook group what you should charge for an 8 x 10 print. You have no idea really about the people who provide you with an answer. One of them might tell you to charge $10 for an 8 x 10. So you go with that. But what you don’t realise is that they have a day job which pays the bills and a partner who earns a great salary. They also work with very basic equipment and very little business overheads at all. They also target clients on a budget who want a quick shoot and a few jpegs. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that – what I’m saying is that this is all very relevant when it comes to what they charge.
Let’s say that you are actually in this for the win. You want it to be your full time job so you need a much higher income from your photography than they do AND you plan to invest in great gear and provide superb customer service meaning your overheads are going to be substantially higher too. You also want to target a much higher quality of client who wants a great experience and will invest in beautiful imagery for their home.
How can you possibly charge the same for prints as they do? Your circumstances and intentions and ideal clients are worlds apart. It would be like a supermarket and a high-end boutique charging the exact same for a plain white t-shirt. They can’t. Their business models are completely different.
But even if you think someone has a similar business model to you – is it ok to ask them what to charge and just do the same? Well, no! Because how on earth do you know if they’ve priced their photography properly? They could be working their fingers to the bone for minimum wage or less for all you know!
The correct path to take is the one that requires some work. As soon as you start your own business you become a business person. And a business person would never price anything without doing a very thorough ‘cost of doing business’ exercise. CODB for short.
A cost of doing business exercise involves you calculating every single cost you will have attached to doing business across the year. Your equipment, broadband, travel, packaging, insurance, training, everything!
You then add that to the salary you want to take from your photography business including tax. This is the amount of money you have to turn over in a year.
Then you work out how much time you can devote to your photography business in a year and you divide that by the time you will have to spend on average on each client to deliver the service you want to deliver. That will give you the number of client you can serve well in a year.
So you have two important numbers. You have the total turnover your business needs in a year and you have the number of clients you can serve well in a year. All you need to do now is divide those two numbers and you’ll discover the amount you NEED to make from each client to make this business of yours work. Only then can you even think about pricing your products and services. Otherwise you’re just stabbing in the dark and that often leads to disaster.
That was a whistle-stop tour of CODB. Pricing is something we go VERY deep into inside the Togs in Business membership. I walk you through every single step of your cost of doing business exercise and then teach you how to price each service and product and package them all together irresistibly. I know you want pricing that makes you a great profit whilst also delighting your ideal clients. I can show you exactly how to make that happen. So check out Togs in Business if you haven’t already.
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