Starting a photography business is very exciting — we all want to spend our working hours doing what we love. At a certain point, we need to be making some significant money to really make a living at it. It’s important to know what to charge people, based on your skill level and the market you are working in, but it’s also important to know how to charge more. Getting more clients is great, but charging more per client is better because it means you can grow your business in a sustainable way.
Check out these top tips to make your photography business a success:
1. Know your worth
First things first: know what you are worth! You need a baseline, a certain rate that anything below you know will not be worthwhile. How skilled are you relative to others in your market? What is the average rate for your type of work? Spend some time looking at your competition and make an honest evaluation of how you stack up.
Once you know your worth, be ready to explain it to others. If the average rate for a headshot is $250 in your market and you want to charge $500, be prepared to explain why your work is worth more.
2. Calculate your cost of doing business
Know your numbers! Keep track of your business expenses and know how much you need to make just to cover costs. After your costs, find out how much you need to live on and break that down into an hourly rate. This number is different for everyone depending on age, living expenses, family size and region of the country, among other things.
Let’s say your hourly rate is $25 per hour just to cover your costs and pay basic living expenses. Knowing this means you won’t take any work for less than $25 per hour. If you are charging less than your time is worth, that is any easy way to justify raising your prices.
3. Add value
Adding value means that your clients are getting something from you that is worth more to them than anything your competitors offer. Perhaps you give all of your clients a free photo book with every session. The book may cost you $20, but the client finds it worth paying you an extra $100 over your competition.
Maybe you take a class or workshop every year and your skills improve. This is an easy way to justify raising your prices. You are more talented and your education brings you to the next level. You can also add value through the equipment you have. Maybe a new prime lens or a lighting kit makes your service more valuable than the next photographer.
These days, there are enough photographers that know how to add value to their offerings that specialization may be an easier way to charge more. If you only do baby portrait photography, and you do it well, you can justify to your clients a higher fee just because it appears you are a specialist. In wedding photography, some photographers have signature shots or techniques that set them apart.
If you have a very specific style that some people love, you can command a higher rate for your work. If you are the only person offering a shot or style that people want, you have some leverage in deciding what to charge.
5. Reframe the perceived value
Sometimes it just takes changing your branding or some wording to make your value appear to be higher. Investing in an interesting website is very helpful. Your Web presence is a huge way to change how people perceive your business. The gap in perceived value between someone who “takes pictures” and a “photojournalist” is huge. Look at how you word what you have to offer. There may be a way to make it more appealing and to increase the perceived value.
[box type=”shadow”] Discover marketing and operational best practices that will help you build a thriving business with your photography in Bluprint’s Breaking into the Business of Photography class!