Pricing For Wedding Photographers

April 11, 2011

There are two methods I’d recommend using to come up with a new wedding photography pricing structure:

1. Start low and gradually increase price.
A photographer just starting out in the wedding market may have relatively low expenses, and a good bit of time to dedicate to building their business. Do market research on what other wedding photographers in the area are charging, and come in around the low end of this market. Get a few clients, do a great job, get a few referrals and charge slightly higher rates with them, and continue this cycle. This helps to “ease” a photographer into the market, and helps to build your confidence.

2. Go middle of the road.
Again, this requires market research.  Look into other photographers in your geographic area and see what they are charging. Calculate an average price, and develop your price list based on that average. While you’re not going to make top dollar this way, you may find that more clients are willing to choose a photographer with similar prices to the others they have seen. Most of your average clients won’t have the discerning eye to see the difference in the photography of the average and the excellent photographer, so they aren’t going to recognize the value in paying the higher price. While you may not make as much per wedding, perhaps you’ll find yourself with a more steady flow of income. As your client list, your quality, and your confidence increase, gradually still raise prices, but you may find that remaining somewhat middle of the road will be a good long term strategy.

Factors to consider when pricing wedding photography:
You have to keep in mind your actual costs when calculating how much to charge. Often, photographers are self-employed and we tend to have the feeling that when a check comes in for a job well done, this is the amount of money that you have ‘earned’. Not so! Remember your costs – all of them. We will go into this more in depth next post, but think of all of the costs involved in this shoot and your photography business – from your camera to your wedding photography proofing, to your gas and mileage. Make sure at the end of the day, you are still making money!

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