003: Pricing Your Photography Business – Variable Costs

December 6, 2016

Pricing Your Business with Variable Costs

In our first episode of Pricing Yourself for Long Term Success, we talked about determining the cost of your business. Usually, that is your fixed costs so things like website hosting, software subscriptions, etc. These are costs that don’t change, no matter whether you have one gig or one hundred.  Next, you need to learn how to price your photography business with variable costs.

Do you know your variable costs? It’s easy to add up annual things in the costs of your business, but small things like, gas for travel, small supplies, client gifts, and even your meals and snacks can slip by us when we are figuring out what to charge the client.  Once you keep track of these items it will be easy to begin pricing your photography business with variable costs.

Pricing yourself for long term success can be super difficult at the start of your business. I want to help you get a pricing strategy down that will serve you for the long term. This includes figuring out the annual cost of  your business, the cost of each specific job, and the cost of your time.  

In this episode of The Bearded Tog Podcast, we will be taking at what your costs are for a single job. 

Pricing Your Photography Business With Variable Costs

Let’s dig into pricing your photography business with variable costs.

Travel – Did you drive to the location, take a train, or fly? Did you have tolls to pay? Did you have to rent a van or car to carry your equipment? The cost of travel is something you can charge and client, and the good news is, at can also get a tax deduction for how much you paid in travel costs. 

Equipment Rentals – Did you rent a camera or lens? If you are renting gear for a single job, you can charge the client for that rental. 

Products –  Are you creating prints or albums? How much did it cost you to make those products?  Doing this adds up, so don’t forget to include shipping if you are mailing to that client. 

Gifts –  Are you sending thank you cards, or gift cards or date night packs? If you were to  buy ten clients a ten dollar starbucks card, as a thank you gift, that’s $100. 

Food and Meals – Are you going out to eat after the shoot, or are you making snacks at home? Are you planning on taking your client out for coffee or lunch?

Supplies – Do you need to buy paper to print stuff for this particular client, or purchase gaff tape or batteries for the shoot? Factor in all consumable supplies for this job, 


Hopefully that helps you further determine your pricing when it comes to the cost of a single job, in addition to the cost of your business over a year, as we discussed in the first episode in this series. 

One word of note, for wedding photographers and those in luxury-style events, we typically won’t always nickel and dime our clients in an invoice, but usually use these costs to estimate and keep numbers round in the invoice, so to not make the client feel like we’re penny pinching. Because who wants to get an invoice for a coffee or parking right?

Next in Part 3 of our series, well be looking at the costs of your time. Check it out here: 

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

If you missed Part 1, where we look at the annual costs of your business, be sure to listen here: 

002: Pricing Yourself for Long Term Success (1 of 3) – Business

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