I have had a few photographers and aspiring photographers message me lately wondering what they should be charging for their portraits. It is difficult in the beginning to figure out where pricing should be to operate a sustainable business. I started the way many photographers started. I would sit up and look at pricing for other photographers in my area and figure out where I was in the mix. I think at the time I decided I didn't want to be the cheapest and wasn't "good" enough to charge the most. I would try to come up with a pricing somewhere in the middle of it all. If this is what you are doing stop now!
Go to this link: https://nppa.org/calculator
The best thing I ever did for my business and sanity is quit looking at what anyone else was doing. I figured out where my pricing needed to be to cover my overhead and expenses and set everything up to meet my calculations. No more late night stalking of other photographers and no more fumbling when trying to explain why my pricing is what it is.
For new photographers, I also recommended figuring out what you pricing needs to be and setting it there. When you start out offer discounts and make it very clear what you regular pricing will be once you reach the level you are trying to achieve. Take it from me, it is hard to start cheap and work your way up. I have lost clients and even friends in the process who couldn't understand why a $25 session and $50 print sale ordered from Costco isn't going to keep my business going. (I found a receipt recently from a session in that amount and remember thinking at the time it was a good sale.)
I read a statistic somewhere when I first started that was something like 80% of photographers who start a business will fail in the first 18 months and 90% of them won't make it 5 years. I am super happy to say I have made it past both of those and hope to be around for many more!
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