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April 10, 2019
The most common question I get from fellow wedding photographers isn’t about gear or lighting. It’s, “How much should I charge for my work?” With wedding photography prices ranging from the low thousands to 10k and beyond, it can be challenging to find where you stand.
Pricing is a really tricky thing, and touches on all kinds of bigger questions about market value and self worth. There’s no easy answer, but here are a few things to think about when figuring out what to charge.
Every business has expenses and overhead costs, and wedding photographers are no different.
Overhead will vary depending on the size of your business, but all photographers who call themselves “professionals” will have a good deal of the following costs to consider:
Take a deep breath. Yep, it costs a lot to run a business, and knowing your overhead costs gives you a jumping off point to develop your pricing.
Where do you live and operate your business?
Different markets have different standards for wedding photography prices, and it’s usually tied to general wages and costs of living. A wedding photographer in Manhattan can charge a lot more than one in rural Saskatchewan.
It’s important to do a little research on your market, and figure out what the general parameters are.
The higher the wedding budget, the higher the pressure. When people invest in high end venues, florists, dress designers, etc. they expect to receive the best. You need to be on your A game.
When people pay you more, they expect more. As they should.
That kind of expectation can be more than a lot of wedding photographers sign up for. And if that’s the case with you, price yourself in the low to mid-range.
There’s no question that the more experience you have, the more you can charge.
With each passing wedding season, you get better, face more challenges, and learn how to not only take better photos, but learn how to go above and beyond to create an exceptional experience for your clients.
You also make more connections, both with other wedding vendors and couples, which will inevitably lead to more business.
You deserve to make a living, and to be adequately (if not exceptionally) compensated for the work that you do.
No, you do not just “show up and take photos.” You provide the most valuable and cherished photos of your clients’ lives.
You dedicate hours upon hours of your life to honing your craft and building your business. You sacrifice late nights with friends to work, and that winter vacation to buy a new camera.
If you have that nagging gross feeling (you know the one) that you’re working too hard and aren’t being valued and respected by your clients, you may want to consider raising your prices.
If you still feel like you have a long way to go, and so much to learn, start your prices on the lower end and build as time goes on.
But I will say this: Wedding photographers, and other creatives, tend to undervalue themselves. So chances are, wherever you are, you should raise your prices, even if it’s just a smidge.
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