In the last post I started to answer a very complicated question that many serious photographers will end up facing someday. The question is this: How do I price my photography? Once you have a good grasp on your geographic market and how other photographers in your area are pricing, it’s time to start thinking in other creative ways to get the most opportunity for sales. Pricing your photography doesn’t have to be a headache. As usual, I’d like to offer a few creative ideas that have helped me in my experience.
In my previous post I blatantly suggested that when you are first pricing your photography, you should price it cheaper than anyone else. I have to admit this isn’t always the best idea. Perhaps you have been a fantastic photographer for many years and you have just decided to start selling recently. This could mean that you have already built up a demand for your work, and people will jump at the opportunity to buy it. But if we’re honest, this is very rarely the case. Instead, let me offer some reasoning why I think that early cheap pricing is a smart business move for most of us.
Making money with photography is an incredibly competitive business. In my experience within the wedding industry, this is especially the case. If you are able to maintain a high quality product while keeping a really affordable, market-setting price, you will have a much higher chance at booking jobs. It’s not rocket science, but it is absolutely worth mentioning. Getting jobs is the most important goal, even if the profit margins in the early years aren’t very big. You will kick yourself if you come in priced too high and have to lower it later…I’ll probably end up discussing this specifically in another post.
When it comes down to it, it’s all about getting the jobs. If I have a day open on my calendar that I’m trying to fill and someone isn’t in my price range, I’m going to make it work. We get way too caught up in the… “my time is worth more than that” game. When you become a nationally recognized, magazine published, multimillionaire photographer…sure, then talk to me about how you have to turn down low bidding job opportunities. Even though price is essential in any business, we cannot get caught up in it…the experience, resume building, and hard work is far, far more valuable in the photography industry.
With all that being said, don’t become a slave to your work either. It’s easy to get burnt out on $250 weddings. Being the rock-bottom price photographer isn’t designed to last a long time, its designed to get you rolling. Don’t be afraid to take risks, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just when you think you’ve got your system figured out, you’ll have a hiccup…it’s almost guaranteed. Keep attaining jobs, keep improving your skills, keep a smile on your face…it’ll pay off in the end.