As someone who is just now trying to start their own photography business, and has about four years of photography experience, how do you know the right pricing your photos are worth?

example of my portrait photography


Can you cover your costs and be competetive in your market? As your reputation becomes known (assuming you are making good quality images) you will need to be less concerned with competetive pricing, but in the beginning, that is a paramount issue. Research prices in your market and set your prices accordingly. Don't be the cheapest photographer in your market, but be somewhere below the average. (Is your photography B2B or B2C? B2C clients will be more likely to correlate price and quality.) If you set a price and don't begin to get work, slowly adjust your prices downward. As you become more busy, slowly adjust your prices upward. (Read about c-moats [Customer Moats]. This concept is the best I know of that explains this issue and how to manage it.)


Pricing appears to be a touchy subject per some of the linked answers. But, there's some general good business practices that you can use to determine where you want to sit in the market.

1. Competitive Analysis - Who in your area is doing similar photography (such as wedding/senior/family, etc), in a similar style (studio, location only, etc) and what are they charging? Would you want to compete with them head on? Are you looking to go up or down market? This is also a good place to verbalize your competitive advantage, or why a client would specifically go with you over someone else.

2. Business Model - Let's assume you have a studio. You have rent. You may pay for assistants. You have a multitude of business costs. Be real about your expected number of sessions per month. Divide your costs by your number of sessions. Add to this equipment depreciation (Let's say you paid roughly $5,000 for a 5DmkIV and a 85mm f/1.2L. Over a 5 year lifecycle, that's 83.33 per month.) Add to this the cost of your time - this is completely up to you. Now add some profit margin. See the linked answer for more on the calculation because it's some darn good advice.

3. Circle Back - Once you've figured out your average session, multiply this by your sessions per year. Look specifically at what you have as income after all of your expenses are met. Take 10% of this and toss it to "unexpected expenses". Like a dropped lens or camera failure. Take roughly 30% (assuming you're in the US) and toss it to Uncle Sam. What you have left, that's how much you made this year. Are you happy with it?

If you're not - your only options are to increase your profit, figure out how to shoot more sessions (again, be pragmatic about this as finding business can be hard), and/or decrease your costs.

At the end of this exercise, you should have a good idea of what you need to charge to survive, and even thrive, and an idea of what the market will bear. Finding the right price point that allows you to thrive, and also that the market will bear, is the goal here - and it's relatively different for each individual photographer.

Good luck in your new business!


Doing research for prices in your area is important.

Finding out what the average photographer charges in your particular area,can give you alot of information as to how people value photography work, and what kind of state economy you live in.

It seems to me in most big cities, any advertised photographers are charging $125-175 per photoshoot. I think that a bit much, on the other hand, people in Southern California where I live have a lot more to spend, so $100 per session if "perceived value" is high is nothing. Perceived value is what drives the creative economy here in So Cal.

I think the key is knowing your social rank, and having competing pricing within it. Depending on how badly the service is needed in a particular area.

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