Pricing your sessions should reflect the quality and service you are providing to your client. Decide what you want your profit to be and consider all the involved costs before determining your overall session fee.
Here are some key factors you should consider when coming up with your pricing: If you are shooting in a studio, what is your overhead cost to maintain your establishment? If you are shooting on location, are you including the location fee, or will you have the client pay the location fee? Your equipment and insurance should be factored in.
One of the biggest things is your time—not only for the session but for keeping your business running (advertising, accounting, office supplies) and all the post-production afterward. You need to price yourself for profit. You need to research your numbers and know what the cost of each shoot is for you. Add 35 percent to that for your taxes—yes, you have to pay taxes if you are a professional photographer. Add in your expenses, and this means for everything— gas, props, locations—and don’t forget the cost of goods sold such as albums, reprints, folios, and calendars. How much is your marketing? How much is your post-production costing? If you are not outsourcing, how much time do you spend per job retouching? If you spend three hours, how much is your time worth? Do you want to make $10 or $50 an hour? All of these things need to be factored in when determining your pricing.
Sure, everyone has to start somewhere, but if you start low it will take you a long time to crawl up the ladder to make more. When it comes down to it, so many photographers are only making minimum wage, and most do not even realise because they never look at the actual costs. They do a shoot for $200 and think, ‘Wow, I just made $200 for two hours of shooting!’ Well, what about all the other work and expenses? I can even imagine some people are not making any money at all, and shooting boudoir is actually costing them money. The key to success in the photography business is knowing your bottom line. Don’t start out to fail—be smart and price yourself to make a profit.
A sample pricing sheet
The most common mistake new photographers make is underpricing their services. This worksheet will help you understand your cost to do business and help you to create pricing that will make your business profitable. It’s so common: photographers think what they just got paid for a shoot is the money they make. In reality they might have lost some money.
- Studio rent (Even if you are working from your home of ce you are still paying to work there—include these costs even if it is just a fraction of your monthly bills.)
- Memberships (such as WPPI DWF, PPA—see web links in reference)
- Fixed Fees Total
Non Standard Fees:
- Training, literature
- Office Supplies
- Equipment costs (camera gear, computer hard and software)
- Non Standard Fees Total
Per Session Fees
- Location Fee
- Production of goods (albums, prints, CDs, and so on)
- Per Session Fees Total
Do not sell yourself short. Always charge for your work. Once you have a portfolio, there will be no reason why you should not charge your regular rates for what you offer. Know your bottom line and multiply it by three to at least make a fair profit. There is a saying: ‘Shoot free or full price—never shoot cheap.’ It is certainly something to think about.
Boudoir Photography is Critsey Rowe’s guide to a genre of photography more sophisticated and collaborative than old-fashioned “glamour” shooting that has snowballed as more and more women commission intimate portraits of themselves. With advice on pre-production, wardrobe and makeup, a dedicated posing guide, and post-production techniques covered in detail, Boudoir Photography will help the shooter work closely with the client to come up with a portfolio that is technically perfect, beautiful, and completely unique.