Professionally pricing your photography will be the difference between just taking photos on the side to a full-time profitable business. It’s all about attracting the ideal clients, finding balance, strategic wording, and a polished presentation, ideally, using modern tools like Honeybook, Dubsado, or Bloom.
Most potential clients don’t know the difference between good photos and bad photos, they will read the quality of your work on your price tag. —Sean Tucker.
Full disclosure: This article was brought to you by Bloom.
The Ideal Client
You will never turn a $500 client into a $5,000 client… the best thing you can do is move on and find a new, $5,000 client. —Chase Jarvis
Don’t fear losing clients by charging what you’re worth, it’s not a loss. You will disqualify the negotiating clients that are not willing to pay you what you’re worth.
The best clients aren’t the ones that have the most money; the best clients respect, value, and want to invest in the lifelong keepsakes you are providing. The most important question to answer here is: how much are clients you’re targeting willing to pay for the work you’re offering? In that, there is a delicate balance.
Finding Your Balance
Self-awareness of your skill level will determine a fair pricing model that will please your bank account and your clients. You don’t want to overcharge and not get booked, and you certainly do not want to undercharge your clients, leaving you with too much to edit and no profit.
Fair photography pricing should consider your skill level, location, and photography type. Join a local creative community that can help polish your prices and identify what your ideal clients are willing to invest.
Pro tip: Do not copy and paste another photographer’s pricing. Observe what those photographers are lacking in their packages and fill that void with a unique service like a faster turnaround for photo delivery.
Wording is Key
The words “paying a price” sound more like a punishment than a pleasurable, exciting investment. Ah, there’s the word to use “investment.” Look at examples of two very different photography pricing descriptions on websites.
1. By investing in me, I invest in your story! Photos are lifelong keepsakes that transport you back in time and preserve memories. I am honored to capture the most special moments in your life and be part of your story.
2. I have three pricing packages for your special day. The cost starts at $2000 for the basic package and goes up to $5000 for the exclusive package. I will make sure to capture every part of the day.
As you can see the difference, the first pricing description doesn’t focus on a dollar amount, but how the photographer can best serve the client. The second description focuses on what the client will need to sacrifice to get a good experience. Which photographer would you shoot with? My bets are on description #1!
Presenting photography pricing in a direct yet subtle way will save you from most negotiators.
When you have a starting price on your services, you will automatically set the tone for your work. The good news is that you will attract clients willing to pay what you want!
Add short, strategically worded descriptions on each package. As we discussed, strategic wording is key to selling your services at a desired price! Potential clients should feel confident that they’re investing in lifelong keepsakes, not just “paying a price for photos.”
Pro Tip: when the client decides to reserve or book, you can take them to an instant booking page where they can actually schedule, sign contracts, and pay the retainer within a few minutes. Talk about a professional flow – once again confirming that your clients are investing in a photographer that knows what they’re doing.
Polished Invoices and Payment
Think of sending a polished invoice to your clients as building trust with them right away. They will see that you care about the details. A good invoice for photographers will have a clear breakdown of each service, price, and total amount due so the client has a visual of exactly what they’re investing in and why. If a client goes past due, you’ll have the invoice handy to remind them.
You already know what comes after the invoice–getting paid! The payment process speaks volumes to your professionalism and reputation as a photographer. Venmo and Cash App do not have protection guaranteed, and that’s sketchy. Sure, you can take cash or check payments, but why slow down the process of getting paid?
Your best bet may be using a management software for photographers that makes booking, sending contracts, creating invoices, and integrating payment (Square, Stripe, or ACH payments) easy and seamless.
Remember, you deserve to get paid for the work you are doing, and not everyone is your ideal client. You can attract higher-paying clients by setting the tone early on. With these five ways to attract higher-paying clients, you’ll be on your way to a more profitable business.
About the author: Bloom is a company that is on a mission to help photographers grow their businesses through software, education, and community. Join Bloom now, and become a part of the movement to build better photography businesses around the world.