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Gain confidence to charge well for your photography

The post Gaining confidence to charge properly for your photography first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Mat Coker.

Alexander Mils

So many of us are awkward about money – especially to ask for it. A few years ago I had just started as a "professional" photographer. I did a free session just for the experience. The family insisted on paying me something, even though I continued to decline. They gave me $ 20. I couldn't help thinking, "Is that all I am worth?" I was happy to do it for free, but $ 20 felt like an insult.

Many questions were entangled in that $ 20 session. Are my photos good enough to charge money? What is the correct price to charge? How do I tell my prize if I feel so dirty about money? Why don't they appreciate me anymore?

I knew I had to work through these questions or I just had to forget to ask for money.

Let me share with you how you:

  • Know what sell (a service, print or digital)
  • Set your prices (to finance your hobby or to go full time)
  • Get the dirty feeling you have when you talk about money
Prices for photo sessions

This was one of my first and cheapest photo sessions, but also one of my most memorable. It was raining all the time and we had to keep diving back in our vehicles to stay dry.

A riddle

When I first started and my prices were low, people said my prices were too high. And now that my prices are five times higher, people keep telling me that my prices are too low. Why is that? I'll tell you at the end.

First, the truth about prices

You set your prices based on assumptions you have. Many of those assumptions are wrong, leading to wrong prices.

I promise you that:

  • The market is not over-saturated with photographers.
  • Cheap photographers have not lowered prices for the rest of us.
  • People appreciate photography and spend a lot of money on it.
Family photo prices

I charged this family four times more for their next session and they liked paying because they loved their first series of photos. I even received a phone call from the father who said how much he liked the photos. And dad never wants to pay for photos!

What do you really want?

It makes little sense to talk about prices if you don't have a goal in mind. You must start by asking yourself what you really want.

Do you even want money? If so, do you want a little money to finance your photography hobby? Or do you want enough money to count as income?

Money is a tool to get other things. So the question is, what do you want?

Do not charge anything

Don't feel like you have to charge for your photography. You could get sucked into the idea of ​​making money with your photography just because so many other photographers do that.

If you like photography for your own sake, you don't necessarily have to make money with it.

Keep your life simple and pursue photography for self-interest. Go ahead and share your photography as a gift without worrying about money.

photography prizes

Find out what you are selling

If you want to earn money with your photography, you must decide what you sell and why.

You can sell sessions, digital files or prints (or a combination thereof).

Don't let anyone tell you what to offer. Make your own decision.

Here are some examples of what you could sell.

  • Photograph events and then sell digital files or prints.
  • Do photo sessions (newborns, family, etc.) and then sell digital files or prints.
  • Take photos of your own ideas and sell fine art print or digital stock photography.

Make a price list for everything you offer and then you are ready when people ask how much you charge.

How to set your prices

I prefer to keep everything as simple as possible, so here's my model for setting your prices.

  1. What do you want to make per month?
  2. How many sessions would you like to do per month? Or, how many prints or digital photos would you like to sell per month?

Suppose you want to earn $ 1000 a month and do four sessions a month. You must charge $ 250 per session (but also take your expenses into account).

You may want to earn $ 500 a month by photographing an event and selling digital images. If you praise your digital photos for $ 10 each, you must sell 50 of them.

What about a full-time income? Suppose you want to earn $ 4000 a month. You could do 8 photo sessions for $ 500. Or you can do a few weddings a month.

Play with the numbers based on how much you want to make and how much work you want to put out.

Make money on the side

I loved the boundary between amateur and professional and I thought it was great that I could take pictures and earn some money with it.

What should amateurs charge?

Do not assume that you have to charge less because you are an amateur. You can be as good a photographer as the pros – maybe better.

Just keep an eye on how much you want to make and how much work you want to spend.

Some amateurs like to photograph sports events and then sell digital files or print through an online gallery. Others like photo sessions for their friends. Some sell a few of their prints here and there. It is often just a way to earn a little extra money from new lenses and camera bags.

Consider how much money you want to earn and set your prices accordingly.

How do you get the dirty feeling you have when talking about money

There are many reasons why you may feel uncomfortable about money.

If you have not set your prices in advance, you will feel dismissed when someone asks you. You will hesitate or doubt yourself. So set your prices and be ready to tell people what they are.

Trust plays a role in determining your prices.

Are you ready to load?

Many people just need to know if they are ready to charge money for their photography.

If you take good photos ' s, you are ready. If you don't take good photos, you are not.

Get feedback from other photographers about whether your photos are good. Ask them how you can improve. When you get to the point where you feel secure, or almost self-assured, offer your services with a price tag.

Photograph an event and sell digital photos ' s. Or offer family photo sessions. Whatever it is, see if people are willing to pay. You know that you are ready if your photos are good and people start paying.

At this point you may know that you are a good photographer and how much money you would like to earn, but deep down you say that you are not worth it.

Are you worth it?

I often see that photographers charge low prices for their incredible photography because they do not find it worthy to charge more. They have many reasons for their low prices, but they are usually just excuses. Below that is a feeling of inferiority – a feeling that they themselves are not good. If this is you, then you have to get out of your head and prove you're wrong.

There are countless photographers who do the work they want and charge what they want. Why not you?

confident prices for photography

Get out of your comfort zone and try new things in your lifestyle. You will gain trust faster and overcome those voices that let you down.

But will people really pay?

Yes, people will pay. A lot of.

You will hear many people say that everyone is looking for cheap photographers and that the more expensive photographers go bankrupt. But it's not true.

Yes, many people go to cheap photographers. It is normal to look for lower prices if possible. But that doesn't mean people never spend a lot of money.

Have you ever noticed that people have two polar reactions to the money they spend? People like to boast that they have received a lot. But they also like to brag about how expensive something was. People are funny creatures and you will learn a lot about us by paying attention to what we do with our money.

photography prizes

My family is even willing to pay more for apples, just for the experience of picking ours.

Cheap product or something sensible?

Do you remember that strange thing I told you in the beginning? When I first started and my prices were low, people said my prices were too high. But now that my prices are five times higher, people keep telling me that my prices are too low. Why is that?

In the beginning I priced my photography as a cheap raw material. Nobody wants to pay a high price for a commodity. We all want the price of things like food, insurance and fuel to go down, not up! I have priced my photography as something that is cheap and can be found everywhere.

But later, when my prices were higher, my photography started to appeal to people who thought differently about photography. They appreciated it as something that was really meaningful to them – not as a cheap commodity like toothpaste. They appreciated it as a nice bottle of wine and were happy to pay more for it.

Some people don't appreciate photography and it's just a merchandise for them. But others appreciate it and are proud to visit a talented photographer and pay good money for their work.

The subject of my photography and the words I use to talk about my photos speak of meaning rather than cheap. My prizes have come to reflect the true value of my photography.

From a purely business point of view, my prices are probably still too low. Even some people who hire me say that I have to ask more than I do (and they prove that by giving me generous tips).

So why don't I ask more? Because, like many of you, I struggle with that voice in me that says, "Have you gone mad? Nobody will pay that price."

The post Gaining confidence to charge properly for your photography first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Mat Coker.

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