Pricing Portraits for Profit
I don’t know about you, but I became a professional portrait photographer because I love capturing gorgeous images of people and creating long term relationships with clients. But let’s face it, I also wanted to pay my bills.
In a sea of Orange County photographers (my market) who charged anywhere from $50 to $5,000 for a portrait session and prints, how was I going to price my photography so I could have a thriving business and have thrilled clients?
Blue Sky's Formula for Determining Photography Portrait products pricing:
1) First, I researched best business practices for portrait photographers and found out that PPA say professional photographers should price their products at the minimum a 25% cost of goods.
What does that mean? Well first let's calculate the true cost of an 8x10 print:
So in order to be profitable, I would have to make $17.99 my cost of goods, which would be 25% of the price I would need to charge my clients. That meant I would need to charge my clients at least $71.96 for an 8x10.
2) I determined What type of Photography studio I wanted to create.
Because I wanted to offer my clients a unique portrait experience, and really stand out in my crowded market, I found that in order to be profitable, I would have to use a 20% cost of goods. So I started developing my price list, offering wall art, albums and folio images boxes with pricing based on that variable.
In order to attracted my idea client, who would pay the prices I was charging, I had to invest a lot of time into building relationships in my market, attending charity events, creating compelling email marketing, creating advertising campaigns on social media, creating a referral incentive program and putting marketing campaigns together. Not to mention shooting beautiful images, sitting down for an In Person Sales consultation (IPS) after the session and delivering beautifully retouched finished products.
These business tasks all took a lot of my time, but it was time well spent (my business has done over a quarter of a million dollars in sales annually over the last 5 years).
All of this made it a really easy decision to start outsourcing my retouching and editing. By using the 10 hours a week I had been spending on retouching, to focus on developing and growing my business, I have remained a healthy, thriving business for over fifteen years. By targeting a 20% cost of goods, I have easily been able to absorb the cost of outsourcing my retouching into my cost of goods.
As Sue Bryce says, “It is so important to ask yourself if you want to be in business or if you want to just get paid for doing something you love. They are not the same thing! You need to be ready for the business part of being a photographer if you are going to have a sustainable and successful portrait studio.”
I hope you found this helpful and it takes some of the stress out of creating a price list. If you would like to see if outsourcing your retouching is right for your business, click bellow to create a personal photographic retouching profile and have us retouch 10 images for your business free of charge:
AFTER THE PORTRAIT SESSION WORKFLOW:
Portrait photography post-shoot workflow is something that most photographers don’t focus on when first starting their business. With all the hustle of just going out and getting your first clients, let alone someone who is actually paying you, setting up a good workflow system is overlooked. But setting up a good system from the very beginning can actually save you time and help you stay organized. Which in the end will help you be a happier, more creative photographer.
Why should great workflow be a concern to you as a Portrait Photographer?
A PHOTOGRAPHERS STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO POST PORTRAIT WORKFLOW
The first step is to actually book and shoot a portrait session. From there, follow these detailed steps to ensure a successful workflow for every portrait session:
ORGANIZING YOUR IMAGES ON AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
USING PHOTO MECHANIC SOFTWARE TO CULL YOUR IMAGES
CREATING AN EXPORTABLE CATALOG IN LIGHTROOM
EXPORTING THE LIGHTROOM CATALOG AND EDITING THE LIGHTROOM CATALOG OFF SITE.
SORTING AN EXPORTING IMAGES FROM A LIGHTROOM CATALOG
USING SMUGMUG TO BACK UP YOUR IMAGES INTO THE CLOUD
UPLOADING IMAGES TO BLUE SKYS RETOUCHING FROM YOUR COMPUTER
CREATING A PROSELECT CLIENT FILE FOR IN PERSON REVIEWS (IPS)
AN ANIMOTO SLIDESHOW WITH THE FAVORITES AND VIDEO CLIPS
I know this list can feel a little overwhelming, but take it from me, having a great workflow provides you with peace of mind and makes running a portrait business fun!
Links to all of the software and products mentioned in this article