Pricing guides for Photographers

Pricing Tips For Photographers

Pricing. It’s the albatross photographers must accept. Customers want to know what things cost. As a consumer, they have an idea about what they want to do; what things will be like. And at some level, they have a budget in mind, even if they are unaware of industry pricing standards. If you are a seasoned photographer, you have attended Keynote Lectures and TED Talks over and over, each telling you to do this or that. It’s intimidating and confusing. Here are a few of ways to approach pricing and the pros and cons of each.

Pricing: It’s Your Sandbox

First, it is important that you take this quip to heart. Seriously, how you run your business is up to you. Whether you want to earn $250 or $10 an image, or whether you do IPS (In Person Sales) or provide only digitals (Shoot and Burn), each are legitimate. Each style can work and earn money. There is enough photography work out there for all of us. Be confident in your choices. These will change as your business grows and that’s OK.

Listing Pricing On Your Website

PROS

  • Consumers love it. They want to know what’s up.
  • Being transparent builds consumer confidence. Makes you look up front and honest.
  • When leads call, they already know the price. No barriers to entry. You can start talking about their session, customizing etc.

CONS

  • May cause some people to never contact you. Thus, you lose a chance to talk, build connections and educate a lead.
  • Some argue listing pricing publically demeans your brand. Better brands don’t need to list prices.
  • Goes against a long-standing tradition in the photography industry. For decades, many successful studios have never listed pricing on their sites.

TAKE AWAY:

A lot will depend on your business model, your level of experience, quality of work and how connected you are. If you already get a lot of word-of -mouth referrals, that is a different situation than photographers who have no network to work with and are starting from literally nothing. You may find you need to start with one approach and change as needed. But, everyone wants to know what something costs. Don’t you? So having some kind of pricing public seems to be a good start.

Using Groupon

PROS

  • Groupon does all the advertising for you. If you have a good deal, chances are thousands will come across your brand.
  • Your website is listed on your Groupon deal, yielding more traffic to your site.
  • You will make sales. It may take time, but people will buy your Deal.

CONS

  • Groupon takes all the risk, so they take all the 50%. Yes, Groupon takes half of the purchase price of your deal. That’s a lot. And it can make it hard to make any profit on sales. Deals must be thought out carefully.
  • Bargain Hunter Central! Be ready for the phones to ring with people looking for a deal. Even though the deal is clearly set forth, people will call and want to know what is included. They will even ask for further price reduction. Be ready for a barrage of calls and be ready to haggle.
  • Refunds: A small percentage of Groupon holders will come for the service, then call Groupon and say the deal was not what it stated. They will request a refund and Groupon will give it.

TAKE AWAY:

For some photographers, Groupon is a great way to get going. Yes, it is expensive in time spent fielding calls and cost. But, income is a good thing. In the long run, Groupon is probably not sustainable unless your business can handle high volume photography.

Selling Print Products

PROS

  • Allows for more profit from one session. Certain products are easier to earn a profit on than others, but the right ones can help you make more money from the same time and effort spent on a session.
  • Can attract a higher end client. Generally, more affluent people are willing to invest in high quality portraits for their home or office.
  • Offers a way to make your business different from others. If you sell something not available with your competitors, it can drive more work to your business.

CONS:

  • Consumer Labs make “decent” products: Today, consumer labs make albums and canvases for a very low price. And for most consumers, the quality is good enough. Professional photographers cringe at color and paper quality, but your average person does not care. You may find that few of your clients buy your higher end products.
  • You may have to NOT provide digital images to your clients. If you want people to buy products from you, then you must have exclusive access to the digital file. This is a dealbreaker for many customers. Today, it is common for photographers to provide digital files with print a release. It can be a blow against you if you don’t offer digital files.
  • Bulks up your to-do list: Selling print products requires that your clients select what they want, that you prepare it for the medium it will be printed on, you order it, perform quality control, then ship, deliver or arrange a pick up. This adds a lot of processes to keep track of. And it makes it easier for a glitch to happen along the way.

TAKE AWAY:

Selling display items can increase profits enormously. You have to pick 2 or 3 things you sell, then find clients who want those things. It does add time to your workload, but if you price properly, you can be handsomely compensated.

Those are some pricing tips for photographers. In the end, each photographer has to decide for themselves what pricing strategy works for their goals, personality, years in business and other considerations. Do what you see is best for you. It can be hard to listen to critics, but only you really understand your business’ needs. Keep in mind your start-up costs and your dreams. Then make a decision and go with it.

Written by

Lens Cap Staff

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