Photographer’s Pricing Guide: Creating Packages

by Jamie M Swanson

boxThis post is Part 6 of The Modern Tog’s Photographer’s Pricing Guide series. Here’s the link to Part 1 of the Pricing Guide in case you missed it.

It’s finally time to pull together all the pieces you’ve been working on so far and decide what kind of packages you are going to offer. Before you do this, I highly suggest taking some time to think about your business model. Will you have multiple packages for each type of shoot or do everything a la carte? Or maybe you’ll have one package with several add-on options. Determining how you want to structure your shoots is probably the most difficult part of this step.

Thankfully there are resources to help you determine what works best for getting people to book you. The best resource I’ve seen is an ebook called Creative Pricing and Packaging for Photographers from Lawrence of Tofurious. I just read this a few weeks ago and found it to be one of the best books about how to get people to select what you want them to buy simply through how you present your services. In fact, I went back and revised all of my pricing after reading it.

It does downplay the value of finding an hourly rate to charge similar to what we’ve done here, but I think there’s a lot of value in using it to make sure you’re making the profit you want. By knowing how much you need to make, you can use the strategy it suggests to guide people to the package you want them to choose and know that it’s priced wisely. It’s great. I wish I had written it myself, but since Lawrence has already done it I’ll just point you to his site. Buy it – you won’t regret it (and it’s cheap compared to similar guides that I’ve seen!) If you use one of the links from this site to buy it, you also help support this site, so thanks.

Creating Packages

Let’s say that the average amount needed for a portrait shoot is $750. There are several ways that we can get to this number. You can simply charge a session fee and hand over the digital files or you can create a package that includes enough products you offer to get you to the price you need. When you do this, you need to be adding up the Retail Less Costs of Goods. If you use the selected retail amount, you’ll fail to account for the cost of goods and will make less than you should to reach your needed average.

For this example I’m going to create a package completely out of products I offer and not charge an additional session fee. I’ll use the following products as an example.

    Fine Art Album (Retail Less Cost of Goods: $550, Selected Retail Price: $750)
    Print Collection (Retail Less Cost of Goods: $200, Selected Retail Price: $250)

So if we want a package to be $750 after cost of goods, we can select both the Fine Art Album ($550 Retail Less Cost of Goods) and the Print Collection ($200 Retail Less Cost of Goods) to get us to exactly $750. We’d then have to add up the Selected Retail Price of the items to know what to charge our customers for this package. In this case, we’d have to add $750 and $250 to get $1000, which is what we’d charge our customers to ensure that we’re making $750 after we pay for the album and prints.

Making it easy with the Photographer’s Pricing Guide Workbook

If you’re using the Photographer’s Pricing Guide Workbook, go to the Packages tab at the bottom of the screen. Then enter the name of your package in row 6. Click the cell right below that in row 7 and select the type of shoot from the drop-down menu.

Photographer's Pricing Guide Workbook Screenshot

Next, enter a session fee in row 8 if you wish to use one. If not, leave this blank. To add a product to your package, click on a cell and select the desired product from the drop-down list. To add another product to the list, go back to the “Product Pricing” tab (click on it at the bottom of the worksheet) and add it there.

Photographer's Pricing Guide Workbook Screenshot

You’ll automatically see the amount needed in row 24, as well as the amount in the package based on what you’ve added so far (row 25). What you’ll want to do is watch the number in row 26, which tells you if you’re under or over the amount you need (a parenthesis around the number means you’re under where you need to be at). My smallest packages are usually slightly below the amount needed, whereas the rest of my packages are about equal or greater than where I need them to be. Your business model should help dictate exactly where you want the packages to be priced in comparison to your average amount needed.

Finally, once your package includes what you want it to include, you’ll see your retail price (what you need to charge your customers) in row 27.

Photographer's Pricing Guide Workbook Screenshot

In our next post, we’ll wrap up this series with a discussion about how to take the numbers you’ve just computed and make them work in your market.

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Jamie M Swanson is a Madison Wedding Photographer with her husband Brandon. She enjoys photography, loves the business side of things, but truly comes alive by helping others grow their own businesses. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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Xanthe Roxburgh March 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Jamie this is fantastic! Working out packages can be so frustrating.

Jamie M Swanson March 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I know! Packages are one of the hardest things, but this coupled with the book from Tofurious was super-helpful to me.

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