Let's talk about PRICING / Photography Pricing

Professional to Professional, let’s talk pricing.

How do you wager where your prices are? Where do you set your standards on “this is an appropriate price for my hourly or daily rate”? Often times as artists we underestimate our true abilities and reach for something well, reachable. If its what you love to do it’s really hard to put a price on it. Truly. We’ve all been here.

We all start from the beginning do jobs for free, or for minimal amounts to get our foot indoor and the work in our books. We do this because we have to. We don’t plan on being there forever, we need to survive, quit our daily jobs and make this really work! We need to gain speed and build the momentum, show that we are consistently working while alongside bringing in our vision of who we are as photographers.

So, let me ask, why do we as a community keep our pricing so low that it is extremely difficult to compete with what is being offered to clients? For example, I first started raising my prices to where I wanted to be, from what I saw in the community from other professionals on where they were. I wanted that life, I wanted to have those clients.

I didn’t keep my pricing so low so that I got every job, I raised my prices to a fair amount because I wanted those clients.

How its shaping the way clients book

Now, some of our clients LOVE our work so much it inspires them to the moon and they just can’t see anything else but YOU. Great! I love those clients, it actually eases up the pain on “what if” and releases this creative flow of “I can be ME!” on the day and everything is roses and bubbles.

However, out of ten clients I think we might be lucky to get 2 of them to understand your vision so much, they’d pay anything. They’d even walk into the burning flames if you told them to, that’s how much they love what your vision is.

When other clients book, some don’t know what they want, what they are looking at, who they think is good or frankly, “what is good?” That is why YOU, the PROFESSIONAL is being hired to do the task of documenting their day. They LOVE something about your work but its a gamble, I mean… pricing though? They want to have someone follow them around for hours to show the World their love. Low balling this to the lowest denominator KILLS the community of other professionals.

It CHOKES us to no end and who gains in this? Not the low baller professional working their ass off, the client does.

What the client starts gravitating towards is cheap labor with great work and then expecting it all over again. They tell their friends, “You can get an elopement photographed for $300!”

Yes, possibly (and apparently) you can. BUT when does that end? How does that even pay the bills for marketing, social media ads, email, your site, let alone the equipment it took you years to invest in? The gas to your vehicle to even get to the location. Batteries, your education, health insurance?

The average cost for wedding photos start at $2,500

Cool. Weddings are beautiful if that’s what you want and yes thats exactly where a typical 6 hour wedding should start. So let’s take that in half lets say for an ELOPEMENT.

The average cost for an elopement should be $1,200

Great! That just took the couples pricing in HALF. The point for the elopement is to save money (and the headache of a large wedding). Thats awesome! But why aren’t we there or at least even close enough to that pricing?

So, where have we lost our footing as a pro to a pro? We need to watch the gas pricing around the city and realize that everyone speaks the same tune. We are all in this together with our goals, visions and our own clients who love your work because it speaks to them.

BAM win-win! And the city doesn’t get swallowed by cheap labor and the pricing is consistent. I worked my ass off to get where I am, OF COURSE I worked for free and OF COURSE I worked for a “fraction of the price” but that’s when I knew it would be a one-two-three job I am OUT and on to making it for myself to gain that clientele and become a professional, making the money I deserve.

Photographer to Photographer to Client

We work more hours emailing, setting up our site, editing the photographs that took two hours to shoot but a full day (or more) to edit. We spend time out in the community talking to business owners, cold emailing brands, traveling around to have different looks in our books. Our equipment is not cheap, and somehow you always need something else. Film goes up but the price of our time doesn’t. Knowledge to the fact of the vision, having a vision, working your fingers through like little pianist when we get excited… and all the while loving it.

I want to feel a community here, supportive and open for strength. This city of Vegas is no longer as transient as it once was. People are here with families, people are actually buying homes! Pricing for apartments have gone nowhere but UP.

Things are growing tremendously in our city and I would really like to have it as a stronger hold in the professional community of photography.

Reach out to me on thoughts of this article I ranted about.

And if I offended anyone, that is not my intent at all... I think the low ball pricing did that for everyone.