I know, it’s something you dread. We absolutely love what we do, but figuring out how to price our skill can leave us like SpongeBob when he forgot his name. I get, when I first started I was right there in your shoes. I didn’t want to work for free, but I fell into imposter syndrome. “How dare I charge someone when I am not even a pro yet?” Well let me tell you this, if you’re working for money, you’re a professional to some capacity. Not all “pro” are equal. That being said, today, we are going to discuss some of the main things you need to consider when pricing yourself as a photographer.
Your Market Price Value
The market you live in is a big factor when pricing yourself. What people are paying for photography in Manhattan, is not what people are paying for photography in Wichita, KS. So you want to make sure that first people are able to afford your product, and the only way to do this is to conduct a market analysis. Now don’t let the term scare you, for a lot of the leg work has been done for you. You see, your competitors have prices that are working for them, and all though these won’t work for you because you have a different Ideal Client, it does give you an excellent idea on what people are actually paying for photography in your area.
Your Ideal Client
With your market Analysis in hand, you can create an ideal client. Now how you do this will be discussed in a future post, so stay tuned. But for now, I will tell you how this impacts your pricing: when you define your ideal client, you will have an idea of their lifestyle and what they are able to afford for photography. This allows you to create the perfect price point that will attract them and help repel others who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford your services. You don’t want to serve everyone, even if that is the perfect world. However, your price point will resonate with others who might be interest in your services so it’s important to keep this in mind. You may not be at that level to charge for your ideal client yet, so keep that in mind, but you can work towards it.
This is the meat and potatoes in your pricing. Because part of the imposter syndrome is right. Off the bat you just can’t start charging $5000 for a wedding. So start reasonably. But here’s the catch: increase your prices after every shoot. You know why? Because you aren’t that photographer that you were your last session. You learned something. You became better. You’re an improved photographer: your prices should reflect that. So look at what you charged last session, and charge a little bit more for you next. If you haven’t had a session yet, then start small. Maybe do a mini session for $50 and the next for $75. This allows you to build your portfolio and slowly start heading the direction of your ideal client.
What You Bring To The Table
This is another factor you can add into your pricing. The same way car companies charge for frills, you can charge for your value. So this takes some self reflection and honesty with yourself. What do you feel your value is worth? And while these questions may be hard to answer they are essential. Ask a trusted friend what you bring to the table and what they think it’s worth if you are struggling.
At the end of the day, I can’t tell you what you should charge. That’s upon you. But I hope I helped guide you in a direction that sheds a little more clarity when it comes to pricing yourself.