The first step to figuring out how to price photography is first figuring what your costs are. The photography business is odd in a business sense because customers value the tangible “the actual photo” but most of your costs are wrapped up in equipment, education and time.
Remember to factor all of the cost and time you put into the photo which includes both your direct and indirect costs. Many photo entrepreneurs tend to underestimate their time as it may not have a set price or they weren’t doing anything anyway. The bottom line is that if you don’t value your time, no one else will. Direct costs are costs that are directly related to the customer’s photo project and could include the initial consultation, travel, preparation, planning the shoot, equipment (both owned and rented), time to import and touch up the images, order processing and shipping, data storage and data backup costs. While some of these costs are shared it is important to know what they are so you can make a profit. Some indirect costs may be data storage and backup, rent, utilities, marketing, bookkeeping, legal, etc.
Only when you know what your true costs are is when you can start working on determining your pricing in order to make a profit.
Now compare the prices of local or nearby photographers/photography sites and see what they’re charging for the types of product you plan to sell. Take an average which should give you a pretty good sense of what the market will bear.Next compare the market price with your costs and see if you can make a profit. If you can great. If you can’t it’s time to refigure your strategy.
It can be tempting in the industry to essentially buying work by pricing so low.Unless you don’t have a portfolio to showcase (even then it’s a bad idea to shoot at cost) if you don’t charge what you are worth, why are you doing it? It’s better to stay at home and relax rather than work hard and not make a profit. Always charge what you would like to make and if you have to, support the business with something else until you build a client base. If you start with rates too low you are going to attract the wrong client who will run to the next competitor if there is a price increase. Sure you can build a client base this way but once the prices increase you are going to be essentially starting over to build a new client base. Also consider that shooting at bottom dollar will only lower the perceived value of your services.