004: Pricing For Your Photography Business – Cost of Time

December 7, 2016


Pricing Your Photography Business Cost of Time

The Cost of Time

What is your time worth? Are you wanting to earn money to pay your bills, or is there something special you are saving up for? Also, how much experience do you have? If you are just starting out, it’s hard to justify charging top price for a photography job when you have no portfolio to show. 

Finishing the Pricing Series

We’ve already talked about determining the cost of your business’s fixed goods, your variable goods (per shoot or session) so now we’ll talk about the last part of figuring out your pricing.

In this final episode of the three part series, How to Price Yourself for Long term Success, we will be looking at the cost of your time, and how to factor that into your pricing.  Let’s review pricing your photography business and the cost of time.

Pricing Your Photography Business and the Cost of Time

  • How much profit do you want to make? After taking out a portion to go towards the annual cost of your business, and the specific costs of the job, how much is left for yourself? 
  • Does your profit (the money you get to take home) need to be a full time wage to pay your bills, or this a side job to save up for something?
  • How many hours are you spending on a specific job? Do you know how much time it take you to photograph, edit, design an album, and deliver the pictures? The more hours you work on a project, the less value you give and get per hour. When I first started out, it worked out to be around $9 per hour. In the photog industry, this kind of minimum wage is not sustainable. The cost of your time is important.
  • What is your experience? How long have you been doing this? 
  • I see people wanting to get experience and get paid at the same time. It might work, but I think it’ll help you be more humble and successful long term to do work for free when you are first starting. 

Action Items

  • Set expectations accordingly. If you are charging money for something you’ve never done, it could come back bad on you if you fail to deliver what the client was expecting. If you are working for free on something you’ve never done before you can be upfront, by setting the expectation that you are learning and wanting to try something new. 
  • Doing free work can also give you the freedom to experiment and create without the expectations of a paid job. 
  • Experience beats money every day. If it’s new and you’re open to it, shoot it. 
  • How many paid jobs do you need per year to cover your costs and give you your desired profit?  For wedding photogs, we will figure out how many weddings each year at our lowest package it takes to meet the financial goal. 
  • If you need to get more experience and learn, offer yourself as a free assistant to a professional. Even if you never touch a camera, being an free assistant is valuable, because people love people who are hungry to learn. They might be a source of referrals or paid jobs later down the road. 
  • Doing the work people for free, not only builds your portfolio, but it can also build trust, because they know you really love what you are doing. 
  • You can always start charging more. 


You’ve know learned the annual costs of your business, the costs of a specific job, and  the cost of your time. Putting all three together will help you in pricing yourself for long term success. 

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 of our series on pricing, you can listen to them here:  

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

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

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