I’m sure you’ve seen those threads in Facebook groups by other photographers. “How much should I charge for senior photography?” “How much should I charge for prints?” These groups are made up of thousands of members, from all over the US and the world. Due to that diversity, you’re going to find these threads fill up with all different kinds of answers. HEre’s what I know. Nobody else can tell you what you’re worth. You have to figure that part out on your own. We can help, but here are the four factors I find are the most crucial to figuring out your pricing anytime for anything.

1. Your experience level. What prices may work for one photographer who has been doing this for ten years may not work for you. It’s really important to take an honest look at your work and ensure your pricing reflects the level of experience you have. If you’re newer to photography and business, then your prices aren’t going to be high right away That’s okay. Sometimes I think we make the mistake of encouraging each other to up our prices before we’re worth the price we’re asking. It takes time and practice to build your experience. You will get better over time, but it’s important for your price to reflect that experience level accurately. If you price too high, clients are more likely to look at your work and decide you aren’t worth booking if they feel your experience level doesn’t match your price.

2. Your local economy. The economy is a big one. Photographer A might be from a place where the cost of living is insanely high, and Photographer B may come from an area where the cost of living is relatively low. Therefore pricing is going to look very different. When deciding how to price any part of your business do some research on your local economy first to see what other photographers’ pricing looks like in your area, and what their experience level is. This insight will help you decide where your pricing should be and what your local economy can afford at the highest price point.

3. Your personal finances. While your personal finances don’t play a huge role in your price, it’s a factor for some photographers. Maybe they have a steady income elsewhere so having high-end pricing isn’t as important to them. Maybe you’re a single parent, and there’s a lot more childcare and bills that you’re responsible for paying. You’ll have to take a look at what your personal finances are and factor that into your pricing. Consider that a portion of what you make will go back to the government as taxes, you will want to set some aside for retirement. Maybe you have student loans you’d like to pay off, or maybe you’re saving up for an extra awesome vacation. These should all be part of your decision-making process.

4. Your business expenses. The cost of doing business always needs to be factored into your pricing as well. You can’t just arbitrarily price your work based on some recommendation of a stranger on the internet, and then feel like you’re not making enough when it comes to taking out business expenses, taxes, etc. The way I like to figure out my expenses is by breaking everything down into a monthly amount. I look at the total expenses for a year and divide by 12; then I know how much I need to make to break even every month and how much I need to make to cover some personal finances, pay my bills, do extra things like vacations and more.

We could go into different pricing methods here like in-person sales, affiliate marketing, digitals, prints, etc., but I will keep this short and sweet so you can focus on the most important stuff and then decide on a pricing method that works for you after. There are all different ways to set up your pricing and make a great profit. There’s no wrong way, just a right way for you!

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Carrie Swails

I'm a serial entrepreneur. Owner at Photography Awesomesauce, Rock Your Weird and Made in the Lab and I photograph offbeat weddings. In other words, I'm crazy. I have a birthmark in my armpit, and am a terrible mathematician. What I lack in understanding of complex theories such as Pi (clearly a food item - apple is my favorite) and invisible numbers (if I can't see them, why should I care?) I make up for in awesomesauce. I believe there is no right way to put the toilet paper on - I'm just happy it's available. I believe there's no such thing as a bad fortune in a fortune cookie. I believe we only live life once so we should wear costumes as often as possible. I believe wine is like the force - it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together. I howl with my basset hound every morning, call my brother to beat video game bosses for me, and love eating fried cheese.

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