When I first began on this journey of photography I had no idea what or how to price myself.
And let’s be honest…in the beginning I shouldn’t have charged anything! And really I didn’t charge much, I think my first paying shoot I charged $25!
And let me tell you, I did not know what I was doing. I was learning and it was a GREAT way to get myself behind the camera and have willing subjects.
I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to those sweet souls that trusted me! I would not be where I am today without them.
But I digress.
PRICING. Gosh that’s a bugger of a word in the photography industry, isn’t it?
Common Questions I hear are:
What should I charge for a session/wedding etc
What am I really worth?
I have inquiries and when I tell them my price they “ghost” me…what am I doing wrong?
I have friends that tell me I charge way too much! But if I don’t charge this I can’t work! What do I do?!
Guys! I get it!! Every. Single. Complaint.
So today I am going to break down just one of the most important tasks you should do to understand your business and how to get you on the path to making it successful!
*** I am writing this for the photographer that is becoming established. Has good quality work, and works with quality equipment. The photographer who is set up legally (ie pays taxes both federal and sales, and has all licenses needed to run your business in your state)***
Today I am not going to hit on every single one of the above complaints. But I do want to talk about one defining subject that will help you along the way.
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Do you know your Cost of Doing Business? Do you know what you need to make to not only allow you to pay yourself, but to allow your business to flourish?
These are extremely important numbers to know! And gosh the last question can be a TOUGH one! I definitely don’t have that one completely figured out!
What is your Cost of Doing Business you ask?
Before you can really understand what your pricing should be, you should sit down and write out exactly what it costs you to run your business monthly and yearly. And what are your fixed costs (ie subscriptions) and your variable costs (ie new equipment)
Write down every mundane little thing you spend business funds on like:
Both equipment and liability, ie if you are a photographer you SHOULD have liability insurance! You are leaving yourself open to lawsuits if you do not! I subscribe to the Professional Photographers of America or PPA and have equipment insurance thru that subscription, and then I also have liability insurance thru their recommended carrier. It costs around $250 a year and could save you thousands!!
This could be anything from your external hard drive(s), to your online backup subscription, and hopefully you have both if you are a wedding photographer!! You can never be too careful with those precious memories!!
*Client Management Systems
There are so many great ones out there, I highly recommend using one for your own sanity! It was the best move I made! I personally use ShootFlow, but I have also used 17hats and I hear amazing things about Honeybook!
*Client Gallery Delivery
I’m talking about Pixieset, Pass or even Dropbox, altho I don’t recommend dropbox for delivery anymore, I had way too many issues with clients not understanding how to download and its just not as pretty as Pixieset, my preferred system, is!
Yep! We need those, it’s how people find us and see us! There are so many great ones for minimal fees, but it all adds up! I personally use Showit and LOVE it!
Sometimes your site comes with one, like mine, and sometimes you have to do it separately. I personally prefer an all in one! Mine actually has a wordpress site that comes with my subscription and is set into my site seamlessly!
It costs money honey! I get mine at Godaddy.com
Usually your domain name comes with it but if you have more than one, you may have to pay for it
Do you subscribe to The Knot? Do you have ads in magazines, are you a member of a local organization?
Anything from purchasing new, to upkeep like cleaning, repairs and maintenance. Our equipment does get old and needs to be replaced, as well as maintained. This would be a variable cost since it isn’t something that you need to do on a regular basis.
There are more I could list, but this will get you started! If you haven’t already take a look at these things! I also recommend a Cost of Doing Business Calculator like this one: https://nppa.org/calculator
I hope this helps you get a grasp on what it takes to even run your business, it is the first step in knowing how to price yourself!