Pricing poses a significant challenge for photographers, regardless of whether they are seasoned professionals or just beginning their journey in the field. Establishing the right pricing strategy is crucial, and various factors often influence photographers' decisions.
In the early stages, it's common for photographers to undervalue their work in an attempt to attract more clients. However, starting with low prices can establish a precedent that becomes difficult to break away from. Complicating matters is the fact that the photography industry lacks standardization, resulting in rates that vary significantly based on numerous factors. Factors such as project duration, equipment costs, unique skills, and experience are all considerations photographers make when setting their prices. Additionally, there are hidden costs of doing business, including equipment, software, insurance, and more, which clients may be unaware of. On top of that, when you factor in a skill that doesn’t come naturally to many people–negotiation skills–the result is a pricing framework that can be easily swayed by comparisons to other photographers’ websites, hastily given discounts, and the uncertainty of a sales pitch.
To navigate the complexities of pricing, we recommend exploring educational videos from PPA’s expert instructors, which offer valuable insights into pricing your photography services and products for a profit. Specifically, Arica Dorff, a successful pet photographer, and Mike Dawkins, an experienced photographer and filmmaker, provide invaluable guidance.
Arica Dorff offers a simple mathematical equation that helps photographers determine the ideal markup for their products to ensure profitability. By dividing their income (100% of sales) by the percentage of their Cost of Goods, photographers can arrive at this figure. Dorff's technical approach to pricing empowers photographers to move away from guesswork and establish a solid structure that guarantees profitability while also accounting for taxes, adequate compensation, and more.
Mike Dawkins demystifies pricing by presenting his ten pricing commandments, enabling photographers to optimize their marketing strategies. He also sheds light on the classification of photography consumers into three different levels: those who "have to hire a photographer," those who "need to hire a photographer," and those who "want to hire a photographer." Dawkins effectively explains the impact these distinctions have on consumers and how they relate to pricing.
As a member of PPA, you gain access to full-length videos on the Psychology of Sales curriculum and other valuable lessons. Additionally, the Square One Tool is a useful resource for calculating your desired net income based on standard cost of sales and overhead percentages. PPA also has Sales and Marketing tools which include pricing templates and brochures that can be customized to fit your needs.
By taking advantage of these resources, you can enhance your pricing knowledge and develop strategies that ensure both profitability and professional growth. Remember, pricing is not just about numbers; it is about valuing your work and the unique skills you bring to the table! By setting fair and profitable prices, you not only ensure the sustainability of your business but you are also contributing to the growth and recognition of the photography profession as a whole.