Figuring out how to price your photography work can be a confusing process, especially if you’re new to the business. You might find yourself asking, “Am I charging too much? Or not enough?” You want to attract clients, but you also need to make sure you’re paid fairly for your efforts. Thankfully, it’s not all guesswork — there’s a simple formula. Here are some things to consider.
Cost of materials
First, you should consider any materials that go into running your photography business. There’s a saying that you have to spend money to make money — that’s true, but you don’t have to spend everything out of pocket. You can factor in the cost of new lenses, tripods, lighting, or other equipment as you grow your business. The cost of materials also includes anything needed to store and give the photos to clients, whether it’s digitally or physically. That can include things like hard drives and photo books. Basically, materials include anything you need to produce your work.
Cost of labor
Then, you should think about labor — how much time and effort it takes to produce your work. This can be a bit trickier to determine because there are no set costs for time like there would be for a new hard drive. Ask yourself how much your time is worth. Even if you’re passionate about photography and enjoy all the work that goes into it, it’s still a job that you deserve to be paid for.
You should factor in the time spent preparing for the gig (including travel time if it’s a far trek), the time spent at the gig, and the time spent working after the gig — editing, building a photo book, etc. Count up all of these hours and multiply them by your hourly rate.
Now, how do you choose an hourly rate? That depends on your experience level. As Fash notes, an amateur photographer might charge anywhere between $25 to $100 per hour, while a professional might charge $100 to $300 per hour. Keep it fair and honest, and remember what your time is worth.
Total overhead costs
The third component of your total cost is overhead. That includes anything it costs to run the business that isn’t directly associated with producing your work. Some examples of overhead include the rent for a studio, utilities, taxes, or insurance. If you hire an accountant for your business, that payment can also be considered overhead.
Factor in how much money you want to have left
Add up the cost of materials, the cost of labor, and the overhead to find your total cost. Then, there’s one final step: determining your profit. This is typically a percentage of your revenue; for example, you might want a 20% profit. According to Professional Photographers of America, the industry average is 50%, but you may want a lower desired profit if you’re new to an area of the business, like wedding photography.
Photography pricing tips
Before you get out the calculator and start crunching numbers, consider these tips. Clients will be willing to pay for your services if the cost makes sense, so don’t just pick any random numbers. Take the time to get those calculations right, and even if the numbers seem high, you will find clients who are willing to spend that much. You don’t want to overcharge, but you also shouldn’t be afraid to raise prices as you become more experienced and skilled. Above all else, make sure you’re transparent with clients about how much you’re charging and what will go into the services.
Contact October Dreams Photography for more photography business tips!