It’s confession time: I think that the majority of pricing guides for photographers are lame.
That’s not to say that they don’t work, or that they aren’t worth the money that people sell them for. It’s just that most of them have some major flaw that makes them not nearly as effective as I think they could be. It’s for this reason that I decided to create an easy and straight-forward photography pricing guide for photographers that shows you how to price photography.
Most pricing guides rely upon a multiplier that you have to come up with on your own to price your products. That multiplier is one of the major flaws that I see. While this works very well once you’ve established your business and have a strong foundation in where your prices should be, it can be frustrating to determine what you need to set it at in order to make the profit you desire when you are still establishing your business in the market.
Not only that, but no pricing guide did an decent job of determining business prices when your business offers both weddings and portraits or any other types of shoots. While some guides discussed this issue briefly, they simply lacked the depth and flexibility to take a business model with many types of shoots into account and weren’t always appropriate for people just starting out in their business.
So I set off to create my own method of pricing that took various types of shoots into account and didn’t involve some random multiplier that I had to come up with. I’ve got a degree in mathematics, have worked a full-time job helping to set insurance base rates, and I am a master at Excel so I felt comfortable attacking this project. This pricing guide is what I use to help determine my own prices in order to make the amount of profit I desire at the end of the year.
How the The Photographer’s Pricing Guide Works
The main idea behind the guide is to figure out how much money you’d like to make at the end of the year. We’ll look at your expenses, the amount of time you want to work, the number of shoots you do, and your tax rate in order to determine how much you’ll need to charge per shoot (for all different types of shoots combined) to make you that much money. We’ll also discuss packages and a few other things to take into consideration when setting your prices.
Let’s be honest. This is going to take a lot of work – accurate pricing always does. But my goal is to walk you through each step of the process in detail so that you can feel confident in the prices you charge. If you want to save yourself a ton of time or if you’re not good with numbers and would like to buy the Photographer’s Pricing Guide Workbook that I use to do my own calculations, you can purchase it here, but all the information about my method will be available here on the blog for free.
So let’s get this show on the road! The next few posts will look at each of the following topics in more detail:
Part 1. An Overview (you’re here right now)
Part 2. Pricing for Profit
Part 3. Business Expenses
Part 4. Business Plans and Calculations
Part 5. Product Pricing
Part 6. Creating Packages
Part 7. Pricing and your Market
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