How To Price Your Photography

This is NOT going to be an exact answer, I don’t have an exact answer. I will try and list out some factors I account for while pricing my services, and recommendations I have for anyone trying to find out their pricing.

Droppin' dimes, droppin' dimes. Or bills.

Droppin' dimes, droppin' dimes.
Or bills.

#1. Equipment
I believe equipment isn’t as big of a pricing factor as people may think, but it is a factor. If you are using a $1000 body and a $1000 lens, you have to consider that in your price. I have no surefire equation on how to calculate how to integrate it into your pricing, but I do give it some note especially if I am planning on buying something new, if I’m using something fairly new, or if there is a chance that it can be damaged on the job and I will need to purchase a new one.

#2. Cost
This is similar to equipment, but I categorize it on its own because I typically don’t factor in equipment as a direct cost. If I have an assistant, I make sure I include that in my total price. Sometimes it’s $10/hr, $12/hr, sometimes it’s a fixed rate of $50 if I’m not sure what they’ll have to do, but I know it’s not going to take all day. Then I account for if I needed a designer for say a photo booth, and also the supplies for the photo booth: how much paper I’ll approximately use, ink, any other hidden costs like tape, C-47’s, custom backdrops. Another is how much gas I’ll use, if anyone is traveling on their own I’ll take that into consideration, or if I need to pick someone up, that’ll be included. Though it seems fairly obvious, sometimes cost slips some people’s minds, especially when starting out.

#3. Determine your hourly rate
Only you know what you’re worth, and only you know how much time, effort, and knowledge you put into what you do. Determine how much you know, your equipment, and then you can ball park how much you can charge for how many hours. If you’re just starting out, may start at minimum wage in your state (if you already have done some free work). Once you determine how much you are worth hourly (include how long they book you for as well as how long you think it will take you to edit), add it all together and include that in your cost. Typically, clients aren’t interested in hearing how much you are worth hourly or why you’re worth that much, they want to hear one flat price.

#4. Add it all up
Once you have gotten the three above factors down, add them together and there is your starting price! It’s rudimentary method, but if you are just getting into it, it’s good to keep these things in mind as a baseline to finding out your prices. For services that can add hours, you can calculate costs for each hour and give a client an hourly rate if necessary, but typically one price is best for a client because they also have other obligations and things to think about, it’s best to keep it simple.