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It is not uncommon for entry level photographers to feel uncertain about what to charge for their work. Many feel as though price structures are the most complicated area of their business. As a result, these photographers under cut themselves and unknowingly undervalue their work.
Don’t be overwhelmed. Take the guess work out of pricing your work by thinking through the following aspects:
1. Know your market: What is the average value of photographers work in your area? Compare and contrast and decide where your work can fit in. Don’t forget to evaluate your service, quality of imagery, and professionalism.
2. Know your client: Some people would rather pay more for a service if it means higher quality. Some people cannot afford anything but the basics. Determine what clients you want to reach and begin arranging your price structure from here. Take note: Unless you are in similar circles and arena’s as your potential clients, you may find it difficult to keep to a higher price bracket.
3. Evaluate your investment: How much time to you put into a senior shoot? A wedding? Evaluate hours of prep, driving, shooting, editing, development, service, quality, and interaction. When you have an idea of your hours of investment per shoot, divide your price by this number. How much are you really making by the hour? What is your return on investment?
4. Determine your expenses: Every photographer has expenses above and beyond the time spent in a shoot. This is where many photographers fall short of “making it” in the business; they have not learned to identify the additional expenses of running this business outside jobs. Equipment costs. Time spent. Services. Presentation and packaging. Insurance. Unless your jobs can cover this overhead, you will be hurting for a way to increase your income. Add up this number to get a ball park figure of additional coverage from your jobs.
5. Establish your jobs: Total your hourly rate, and your expenses. This is the number you need to shoot for when pricing your work. After you have totaled this number, divide it by how many jobs you would like per year. This final number is what you ought to charge for your sessions and shoots. Of course, you may need to adjust your pricing more or less, or increase the number of jobs you aim for. At this rate, you will be able to target the pricing of your work to maximize your overall profitability.