Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to price your photography

I recently had a young woman ask me the tough question, how do I price my photography?

Here's my reply. Let me know if I missed anything:

No problem. The first thing you should do is look around at what others in the area are doing and decide where you fit in. A big problem lots of people cause for themselves when they're starting out is that they are so cheap that they're essentially working for free. What you should do is go ahead and do a practice session for someone, then do all the downloading, processing from RAW, selecting, the processing and retouching, print the proofs, package the proofs, prepare the print order for printing, and send out the print order. Make sure you keep track of all the time spent on all of those steps and all the costs of proof books, administrative costs, shipping, etc. Then decide how much you've spent on your equipment, rent, gas, maintenance, lighting equipment, , insurance, association fees, backgrounds, computers, software, printers, ink, training, etc. Then decide how much you'll spend on a web site, how much time you'll spend on marketing, accounting, advertising, credit card fees, etc. Decide how much time it takes to produce price lists, brochures, the web site, etc. You'll also have to go to the county Auditor's office and get a Vendor's License, because you'll have to collect sales tax on the sessions and print sales and file those twice a year. When you've got all those hours and dollars estimated per session and per year, then decide how much you'll have to make per year to break even. Then, take into consideration that, because you're self employed, close to 40% of your net income will go to the government in taxes. So, take that break even figure, factor in the taxes, and add in how much profit you want to make each year and divide that by how many sessions you want to do. Then you'll know how to price your sessions.

I'm not joking. You really do have to think about all this stuff. I'm consumed with it every day.

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