Many photographers have mulled over the age-old question, "What should I charge for my work?" This question is tricky and can cause anxiety because at the heart of this fundamental query is the fact that "what should I charge?" is really tackling two questions in one.
Let's take a closer look. The underlying issues are: 1) how do you price your work to be sustainable, and 2) what are your potential clients willing to pay for it? One question is about your business' cost/profit ratios, and the other is about the value you offer to others.
If you try to answer the second without answering first, you'll most likely base it on these common pricing myths:
Now that we’ve identified – and jettisoned – these common pricing myths, let’s move on to what really works.
Pricing for Sustainability
The first step includes an in-depth and brutally honest look at what it costs you to produce a final product for your client. The primary factor of a healthy business is that it makes more money than it spends.
Under PPA’s Benchmark research, the average photographer's salary is 20% of his or her gross income. In very simplistic terms, this means if you charge the client $100 an hour, you only make $20.
That other $80 enables your business to sustainably function by covering the raising costs of products, albums, computer upgrades, equipment, maintenance, education, healthcare, etc. If you don't have these costs built in, guess where they come from? That's right; they come out of your 20% slice.
Once you honestly and thoroughly crunch the numbers, you'll know without a doubt where you need to set your prices. You'll have a bare minimum you'll need to charge for your business to survive without stealing from other areas of your life.
It can be an overwhelming process to go down this road, and so we understand why most people never start. But it's like someone saying they may be worried about being seriously sick, so they don't want to go into the doctor. The truth might confirm your worries, but it can also offer you an opportunity for a real and exciting solution. You can get the help you need.
Pricing for Clients
The second question concerned pricing for what your potential clients are willing to pay, and this is a completely different area, since it’s based on the value that your work brings to clients. To answer this question, let’s hear what two amazing PhotoVision instructors have to say, Sue Bryce and Beth Forester:
PPA has myriad resources to help you price for success. We’ve got your back as you create a photography business that is profitable and brings you happiness. If you’re not already a member of PPA, join today! If you are a member, log in and begin using these comprehensive resources, including the vast Online Learning Center, to help you Be More!
Written by guest blogger, Kameron Bayne of Fotoseeds