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Not everyone gets to do what they love and get paid for it. Photographers belong to that small group of professionals who enjoy working with their passion while earning at the same time! Nothing beats the fulfilment of capturing gorgeous images. These are the product of your creative juices and hard work! Having said that, you need to know how to properly compensate yourself for all the time and effort you put into your craft. Here are some things you need to keep in mind when pricing your photography packages.
Just like in any business you need to know how much a shoot costs you. You need to calculate how many hours you devote from the initial meeting with your client to your travel time to the actual shoot then onto the editing and printing. Now that’s a lot of hours and you need to get paid for that. Not to mention the customer service you render by accommodating your client’s calls and emails at any given time. You also need to factor in the equipment you use along with the upgrades you make along the way. It’s up to you if you want to have a fixed rate per hour regardless of the type of photography service you render may it weddings, birthdays, or simple portraits. Wedding photography services generally cost more in terms of time and effort as it involves a lot of details and coordination even when the wedding is over. If family and friends come knocking at your door, make sure you have a preset discount package for them and stick to it. There’s no reason that you should lose money because you did a shoot for a friend or family member. At the end of the day, business is still business.
Knowing your target market will help you charge your clients better. It will also guide you on the preferences of your clients. If you cater to the discerning “A” market, they’re ability to pay comes with high output expectations. Thus, you will most likely put more hours into the brainstorming, the shoot itself and the editing. You can also compare your planned rates to other photographers who cater to the same market. You can charge roughly the same rates but you can also go a bit higher if you have something more to offer. Clients on a budget are another story. If you have low photography packages, you need to be clear on what are included and excluded in that rate. Bottom line, regardless of who your target market is your client needs to be satisfied with the photos you took. Your output is your walking advertisement that is passed on by word of mouth. If your name is equated to quality photography then how much you charge will not even be an issue to your clients.
This is what differentiates the rates of a professional photographer and a newbie or intermediate photographer. You need to put value on your years of experience and portfolio when calculating your photography package. Professional photographers charge higher for a number of reasons. First off, their years in the industry have already proven their reliability as a photographer. It also showcases the number of clients they already had. Seasoned photographers also know the best suppliers in the industry that will complement their service. For wedding photography services, a professional photographer will be able to recommend great venues, stylists, make-up artists, and the like. They are also experienced to work under pressure and can handle all sorts of clients given their years of experience. On the flip side, beginner photographers have time on their side as an ally but in a different way. Most of them improve as they build their portfolio. They also have a lot of references to learn from. Since they are still in the process of making a name in the industry, you can get them at a cheaper rate but the output may not be at par with that of a professional photographer’s work. If you’re a newbie, always remember the basic costs and number of hours you put in when you charge for your service. Canvass the rates of other photographers, too, so that you don’t over or under charge.
As the person behind the lens, you have the unique ability to capture special moments that will forever be etched in the memory of your clients. It takes skill, artistry, and dedication to produce a range of stunning photos that depict emotions that could not be duplicated otherwise. You need to be compensated well for your talent and ingenuity because that is after all, what you are known for.
Author Bio: Danielle Santiago is a freelance photographer with a marketing diploma, who enjoys reading and meeting up with friends over coffee. Aside from pictures, she thrives on intense conversations and likes to talk about anything and everything under the sun. She is a strong advocate of killing television and tries to encourage as many people as she can to go to parks more. Follow her on Twitter and Google+
Article and photos by Danielle Santiago