Pricing {Business Tip Tuesday}

pricing

Every photographer wants to know this.. Am I charging the right amount?

Most worry they are not charging enough and some worry they are charging too much. This is a question I get asked a lot though by clients and friends. Why can someone charge $5000+ and the lady down the street a couple of hundred dollars. There a couple things that need to be relative when it comes to your pricing. Before I go on let me explain it in a way we ALL understand.. When you go to McDonalds and then you go to a gourmet burger restaurant.. what is the difference? Most times you are not getting PHYSICALLY more but you are getting BETTER QUALITY, experience, and SERVICE. It is the same with photography. We have McDonalds and we have gourmet restaurants. Ok.. so on we go…

1. EXPERIENCE AND SKILL

This is not the BE ALL factor here. Some would argue that we have not been in the business long enough to charge what WE do but TIME doesn’t always equal experience. Every photographer knows what their skill level is whether they want to admit it or not. When I was first starting out.. I had no knowledge in lighting outside of natural light. There were situations that I could get myself in that I would not know how to manipulate the light. Now over three years later I feel I can manipulate almost any lighting scenario. So how much experience do you have? What does your portfolio look like? How much have you shot? But most importantly.. what is your skill level? What are you comfortable with shooting and what are you not so comfortable shooting?

2. DEMAND

Pricing goes up FIRST as your experience and skill goes up and then second usually because of demand. If your calendar is filling up and your having a hard time balancing your life.. then that is a good sign to go ahead and raise your prices.

3. EXPERIENCE

This is my personal opinion but if you are a photographer who just sends the digital files and it ends there.. your prices aren’t going to be as high. Andrew and I do deliver our high res digitals but we also create an experience from consult to even after their delivery. We gift give like crazy and constantly GIVE and serve. That is all a part of the experience. I would say the biggest underlying factor why we charge what we do is because we want to bless the heck out of people. So what kind of experience will you provide? Will you give a McDonalds experience or will you give a five star restaurant expereince? How much money will you spend per couple on that experience? That all factors into your cost as well.

4. IDEAL CLIENT

Wow is this just mind blowing to me. With each bracket we have been in for pricing we have noticed a totally different client. Over the last year we have really nailed down what our ideal client looks like.. where they would shop, where they would eat, what they like to do.. and we found that PRICING is the quickest way to reach them. If you are TOO cheap.. they probably wont find you and vice versa. It is so important to us that our pricing draws in the client we want.

Outside of all of the above we also have to be practical. Is this your full time job, part time, or are you trying to make it full time? What are your goals over the next year? Every year I make a sheet up that has TWO sets of goals. Each category has the following:

WEDDING CLIENT GOAL:

SENIOR CLEINT GOAL:

 

Then, because I have TWO.. I have a DREAM GOAL and I have a REALISTIC GOAL. So my dream goal might look like…

WEDDING CLIENT GOAL: 25

SENIOR CLEINT GOAL: 20

 

And my realistic goal might look like…

WEDDING CLIENT GOAL: 15

SENIOR CLEINT GOAL: 15

 

SO THEN… I figure out what our cost of living is. This is our PERSONAL budget sheet. I see what income I need to provide with my husbands to round things off!

THEN I create a business budget sheet! OH MY! So much! So literally every service, cost, EVERY dollar we spend on the business is written out. I do a yearly business budget and then I also do PER WEDDING and PER SENIOR so I know how much is going out the window with each client.

Once I know how much everything COSTS and what the BARE MINIMUM is to pay all of that.. then I write what I would like to PROFIT in my DREAM GOAL and REALISTIC GOAL.

 

This sounds so confusing and I have sheets that I will share eventually but I just typing as I go for now. haha! So basically it might look like this

20k PERSONAL EXPENSE (This is a half estimate since my husband currently has a full time job but as you know that will all change shortly}

30k BUSINESS EXPENSE

20k DREAM PROFIT

70k INCOME NEEDED

 

and it might realistically look like this…

20k PERSONAL EXPENSE (This is a half estimate since my husband currently has a full time job but as you know that will all change shortly}

30k BUSINESS EXPENSE

10k REALISTIC PROFIT

60k INCOME NEEDED

 

So next I simply take those numbers above (25 weddings, 20 seniors, etc.) and divide them into the income needed in both categories. I play with numbers a lot here because weddings and seniors are such a different price. But I find out those realistic numbers and dream numbers. Usually I take it just a step above the realistic prices. I find it is much easier for me to sit with pencil and paper and type things out so that is why I don’t have a sheet at this time. If you want help figuring this stuff out then I would be happy to help!

Let me tell you the honest truth. You are only worth whatever you say you are. If you are too cheap.. you are telling your clients what your value is. Remember that not everyone has the same financial situation as you and their are people out there that work hard and want to pay for nice pictures.. but they may not be able to find you because you are not in their range. Know your value and be realistic and even dream a little bit.

Sharing, serving, and celebrating,

Andrew + Chrissy