For todays article I want to try something a little different and talk about the way photographers should try and price their images. I am by no means an expert, but I have seen countless students pass through the doors of RMSP, so I do know how a lot of photographers have chosen to price for their own businesses.
Before we begin, I would like to say that, obviously, the way you price your own images is completely up to you. I’m simply trying to address some common themes and patterns that I have noticed over the years and share them with you. Instead of me telling you what to charge for your artistic expertise and experience, I’m going to talk about the factors that are good to consider when pricing your images.
Probably the most important factor to consider is location. A portrait and wedding photographer based out of Los Angeles is most likely going to charge a whole lot more than a photographer in Havre, MT (a very small town). This is simply in response to what clients expect to pay in the area around where they live, and more importantly what they are willing to pay.
This is another major factor to consider when pricing your images. You need to be competitive with your pricing while still remaining fair to the other photographers in the area. Underselling your images is one of the biggest problems that we face these days because so many people are willing to practically give their images away, which steals business from other, potentially more qualified and experienced photographers. Especially in small communities this can be even more essential, as there may only be a couple of photographers in the area, each of which has their own individual style or specialty. I’m not telling you that you should charge extremely high prices for your services, simply that you charge a fair price that makes you money and doesn’t hurt other photographers.
Think About “What” You’re Selling:
Remember, as photographers we are never selling the actual “rights” to a photograph (or shouldn’t be). We are charging people to use (license) our photographs, and whether they end up in a photo album or on a billboard, we need to price them accordingly. The best way to figure out how much to charge is to talk to other photographers and see what they have been charging for similar jobs. By doing this you can get an idea how the market in your area works and what people are looking for. Of course, not all photographers will be willing to share this information, so use your best judgment when deciding who to ask. A good thing to consider on your own is how the client plans on using your images? Are they planning on using them for an advertising campaign, or are they simply looking for engagement pictures or family portraits? Every job is going to call for a different pricing strategy, so finding out exactly what the client wants is very important.
Know Your Clients:
Obviously this is pretty important, and you may be wondering “why is Forest telling us this?” I think that one thing many people neglect to do in business is make friends and meet new people. Inevitably you will meet people that are interested in working with you but find your prices way too high, but what’s more important is that you find a group of people that know you offer a quality product, at a fair price.
This is one of the best ways to identify whether you’re on track with your pricing. People will pay a higher price for photographs if they know they will actually get something much better out of it. Many people think that anyone with a good camera will take about the same quality images, so why pay twice as much for the same thing? The good news is that word travels fast. If you provide a client with something they’re happy with, they will tell others and your name will begin to move through the community. Clients lead to more clients, it’s a pretty awesome deal!
Bottom line is that there is no “right way” to price your images, you simply need to try different things and see where things go. Look around and see what your competition is charging and create competitive prices that don’t undersell your work, but also don’t push too many potential clients away. Try to find that magic number.
Tags | ASMP, Forest Chaput de Saintonge, pricing