8 Tips For Pricing Your Wedding Photography
All photographers (even the pros!) struggle with pricing their services.
It’s a fine line between wanting to charge enough to cover your costs (including your time!) and not wanting to seem too expensive.
The hard thing is, photography is an industry where perceived value is incredibly subjective. One photographer might be able to charge 5 times that of another purely because they’ve built a name for themselves and positioned their brand in a way that their clients expect to pay more.
While there’s no pricing standards based on industry experience or quality of photography we’ve put together a list of 8 tips to help you make better decisions on how to price your services.
#1 Determine Your Business Goals
Depending on where you’re at in your business, you’ll have different financial goals for your what you want to achieve. If you’re just starting out, your goal might be to book as many weddings as possible to build up your portfolio, however if you’re already established you might set your prices higher so you don’t have to work as often.
#2 Get Clear On Your Expenses
Before you can decide on your pricing, you need to know how much shooting a wedding is going to cost you. Are you going to hire an assistant or second photographer? Will you need to travel? Are you using film (and developing that film!) then posting albums out to your clients? Are you outsourcing the editing? Not to mention, how much is your time worth? Write everything down and estimate how much each item will cost, then give yourself a fair hourly rate for your time shooting, editing and coordinating with the couple.
#3 Determine Your Desired Workload
Before getting started on pricing, get clear on how many jobs you want to do a year then divide your goal income by this number, less expenses. Think of it this way, most weddings are held between Spring and Fall so that allows you a possible 30 to 40 weekends per year. Consider, are you comfortable shooting weddings back to back on a Saturday and Sunday or do you need a break? Also think about whether you want to have some time off for holidays or family time.
#4 Know Your Ideal Client
Like any business, knowing exactly who you’re targeting with your services is key. By putting yourself in your client’s shoes, you’ll be able to better understand the type of photography they’re looking for, their budget and the little extras they’d value. Crafting an offer that’s the perfect fit for your ideal customer (not for every couple!) will make choosing you a no brainer. Make it easy for them to say yes!
#5 Understand The Area
Photographers in the big cities will likely charge a lot more than those working in smaller towns. Research what other photographers in your area are currently charging. If they don’t publish their price lists on their websites, they might give an indication of “from” price you can work off of. You might also like to check out the Cost of Wedding website which calculates average wedding costs based on your zip code.
#6 Offer Tiered Pricing
While your dream client might be able to afford the Rolls Royce service from you, that doesn’t mean saying a big fat no to clients’ that have more of a Toyota budget. You can offer tiered packages based on different inclusions (think bronze, silver and gold). The key here is to still offer the same exceptional service and level of care even if they’re opting for a lower priced package. You might even find the cheaper jobs more enjoyable as the workload is less and simpler to fulfil.
#7 Create An “Add Ons” List
You’d be surprised how many additional services and products your client’s will book when they know what’s possible. If you have a great relationship with a videographer or another photographer you could on-sell their services as part of your package. You might also like to organise a printed photo album or thank you cards (adding a margin to the cost of course!) to your packages.
#8 Think About The Experience
If you’re a photographer that thrives off building a connection with your clients, then focusing on the experience should be a big part of your pricing strategy. Whether you include a complimentary engagement shoot to get to know the couple a little better or turn up on the day with the bride’s Starbucks order, bonuses like these go a long way towards whether your clients’ refer you onto their friends and family. You can easily build the cost of any “complimentary” services into your package price, but you need to ensure the focus is on providing value.
As you grow your portfolio and get more experience as a photographer, your pricing is likely to change and evolve. With more clients you’ll be able to get a better understanding for what’s working, what packages most of your clients choose and whether it’s time to increase your prices!