002: Pricing Your Photography Business for Long Term Success

December 6, 2016

Adam Mason talks about pricing yourself as a photographer for longterm success

Pricing Your Photography Business

When I first started in the photography business, I found that pricing your photography business was the hardest part.

As creative professionals, especially those in the photography industry, we are  prone to just price ourselves like the people around us. We look at what our peers in the market are charging, and price ourselves the same. Then, we wonder why we aren’t getting any clients. If we’re just beginning, our competition is probably worth what they’re charging and thus will get the job.  

Another piece of the pricing puzzle is something a lot of us are out of touch on: the true cost of running a business for the long term. People tend to think in the now: “If I have x amount of dollars, then I have x amount of dollars. It’s all profit, right? “ I remember my first wedding, charging $500! I got that $500 check so I had $500 right? Well no, I had rented $800 worth of gear, traveled 7 hours each way and paid a second shooter. I did not have $500. 

My number one goal here at the Bearded Tog is to help you run a successful business, and achieve work/life balance. To get you started on this journey, I want to give you practical tips and the process of knowing how to price your services, and how to have long term success in your business. 

In the first episode of this special three-part series on Pricing Yourself for Long Term Success, we’ll take a look at the yearly costs of running your business. 

How To Price Your Photography Business through Your Cost of Doing Business

Three things to factor in pricing your photography business:

  1. Your Fixed Costs. 

These are things that DO NOT CHANGE whether you have one job, or one hundred. 

These are things like the costs of software subscriptions, such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Dropbox, your website, or client management services, business licenses, and saving up for new gear or equipment. 

How much do these fixed items actually cost you each much? (That app subscription might only be an annual $25, but that’s $2 a month you’ll have to budget for over the year. )

  1. Costs of a Single Specific Job 

Did you have to pay gas to drive to a specific location for a single job? Did you have to rent equipment or hire an employee? These costs must be accounted into the price, but can vary from job to job. We go more into these costs in Part Two of this Pricing series.  

  1. The Cost of Your Time.

What is your time worth to you? What value do you place on your time? Is your level of experience and where are you located? We go more into this in Part Three of this pricing Series. 

Other things to consider: 

How much will you owe in Taxes?

In the United States, if you make over the IRS minimum income, you’ll have to file and pay taxes. Do you know how much they are for your industry?

How will you Track these costs?

A way to track all these costs is to Make a Spreadsheet. When pricing your photography business, don’t forget to include costs of equipment repair or rental, purchases of new equipment, health insurance, business insurance, and an accountant (Because even if you can do all the financial work yourself, wouldn’t you rather be out creating photos or spending time with other people?

If you need help or a good start, you can download my FREE Guide on Pricing Yourself here.  

Now that you know your fixed costs, you can start to get a picture of the cost of your business over time. 

How do you know if you are making profit on each job and if you are going to last over time? 

Listen to the Next two episodes in the Pricing Series to find out how to put it all together! 

PART 2: EP 003: Pricing Yourself for Long Term Success (2 of 3) – Job

PART 3: 004: Pricing Yourself for Long Term Success (3 of 3) – Time

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