A reader today asked me this:
I’ve been keeping up with your blog from time to time and have really found some great tips and information. I was wondering if you have any advice on pricing for a photo session. A friend of a friend is interested in having a few headshots of him taken for his business to put on his website, and I am a little unsure as to how to go about pricing it. I figure that as a student who is still learning I should offer a lower price, and since the nature of the session is of shorter length and for one image on a website to make it not too pricey as well. Is $50 reasonable for a one or so hour shoot and a couple of digital shots? I do not want to underprice myself but I also do not want to overprice.
I would say that you should be careful before you underprice, and I believe $50 is seriously underpricing, since:
- When you actually add the hours you’ll spend on it, there’s rather a lot of them.
- The work is the work. If your work is good, it is worth the price.
Here’s what I suggest:
- Check mvwphoto.com for commercial prices.
- Discount as much as you like but I’d suggest no less than $100. It’s a company web site and when you look at commercial prices, these are much higher to reflect all the actual work and expertise you put into a shoot.
- Always quote full price, eg $400, and THEN subtract the discount. So your customer can see the full value of your work.
- You are learning. But in the end, it’s the result that counts. So as a new Photog, you give a guarantee: he pays only if he likes. After all if your work is good for him, it’s as good as anyone else’s!
Does this make sense? Photography is a great combination of business, art and craft, and if you do it sustainably it will not make you rich, but it will certainly make you and your clients happy!