©D'Ann Boal

Lessons in Pricing

If there’s a universal no-no in selling your photography, it’s pricing your work based on what a competitor charges. Your sessions and products should be priced according to your cost of sales, your profit goals, the level of service you provide, and the products you deliver.

D’Ann Boal owns Smitten & Swoon studio in Boulder, Colorado, where she does portrait photography. She’ll deliver the educational session “Pricing & Profit for the Artistic Soul” at Imaging USA 2023 in January. She offers these tips on pricing for profit.

©D'Ann Boal
Value yourself, and your success will snowball.

“Creating a valuable experience for our clients starts when we value ourselves first,” Boal says. “When we build a business of value, we will attract clients who want a high-end experience and are willing to pay for it,” she explains, which snowballs into higher profits and more money to put into things like photography education and new equipment. With those added resources, your photography improves, past clients rebook, people refer you, and your calendar fills up, at which point you can raise prices. “The snowball just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

©D'Ann Boal
Sell products.

Clients are overwhelmed by digital images they have no idea what to do with. “We are the experts,” Boal says. “We know which image from their gallery is going to look amazing printed as a 40x60 on archival paper with a deckled edge and framed in matte black. We know how to get heirloom photo albums with gilded edges and velvet covers.” That knowledge is power, and when you use it to sell products, you become more profitable. 

“I have learned that being just outside my comfort zone with my prices is a good thing. Every year I raise my prices, feel a bit queasy, and then hit Save. And every year enough clients fill my calendar and say yes without batting an eye.”

D’Aann Boal
Offer in-person sales appointments.

“You don’t have to have a fancy studio,” Boal says. These appointments can be done via online chat where you share your screen or at your client’s kitchen table. “Just have samples to show, a beautiful catalog of your products and pricing, and your images will do all the selling you need.” 

In person sales tips: 

  • Use in-person sales software that allows clients toview their gallery, place orders, and see how artwork will look on their walls.
  • Communicate policies and pricing information clearly before the in-person sales appointment.
  • Have samples ready—framed art in extra-large sizes, printed albums, and holiday cards.

Amanda Arnold is a senior editor.