How much should I, as a new photographer, charge?

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Question:  "Ok... Just starting out... I'm still learning:) I've been getting a lot of emails regarding prices!! I have no clue!!!!! I'm now charging $50 for shoot and edited CD... Am I being unreasonable?!? Should I offer packages?!? I'm lost & confused... Please help!!! :) SN: I have your business guide but I don't think I can get $125 for a package here in my area :("

Jennifer:Yes I need ideas for pricing as welll

Julie: do a 50 session fee and price your prints low. Call it portfolio building pricing and move up from there. You can even offer low priced collections on prints. Please, please take it from me, you will hurt your business in the long run if you give it all away early and decide you want to make money in this business.

Christian: I would worry more about what your time (shooting & editing) is worth rather than market rates. I provide packages because each type of job requires different resources. Good luck!

Kendall:  Keep in mind that your prices reflect the value of your work- if you're saying all your time you spend on shooting, editing, cost of running your business etc is only worth $50 they're not going to value your time and what you do. You'll be surprised what people who value what you do will pay for your services- $50 is nothing! My basic 1-2 hour session is $225, a CD of images isn't included with that nor are prints. Look around at what other photogs in your area are charging and take an honest look at what it costs you to run your business and how much you'd like to pay yourself (per hour or salary) and charge what you're worth!

Becky: totally agree with Julie - If you start out really low and give away the discs of all the images it will be VERY hard to get away from doing that. If you need to build your portfolio then charge a lower rate to start, but make sure those clients know that they are getting a deal and that those rates are not doing to be the standard. Where are you located?

Tammy: Yes, you can get $125 for a package in your area.... a common theme with photographers is that you should not price yourself so low, you hurt the other photogs in your area. Maybe start @$75 for 45 min (a very wise woman taught me that LOL) Brooke is a great resource for this, but thought I would add my 2 cents. Remember you are not competing with the big box stores that offer sessions and prints for $9.99 - you are an artist, you think of each client as a close friend and want to help create a lasting memory. Big box doesn't care. There will be trial and error for sure, but don't forget you need to actually make $ too :) Good Luck!

Debra: I'm in the same situation! {minus the guide} I feel like I'm too new to charge more.

Rebecca: if you charge that, advertise it as a special!!! then go up once you feel confident enough. that is my plan... I do family and close friends for free and hope for referrals

Becky: Also, if you don't think that you are worth $125 a package than you will never get anyone else to believe it either! I haven't seen your work, but like Tammy said you're not the big box stores. You're providing custom photography and that costs more than photos that you get at Wal-Mart that look the same as everyone else. I know that if I walk into a boutique store I can expect to pay more for an article of clothing than I would if I walked in to Target because it's more custom and not everyone and their brother are going to have the same look... Sometimes it's just about educating clients on the value of your work

Amy: People take forever sometimes to order & they sometimes book you BECAUSE you don't have a sitting fee. But we don't wanna work for free... So I have started out charging a $30 "sitting fee" that goes towards your print order ONLY IF they order within a month of the proofs being posted. Solves both problems ;)

Kate: The Modern Tog has a fabulous pricing guide! Remember you price what you think you're worth, and $50 is cheap. Do you do cheap work? I bet the answer's no :)

Mel:  A professional photographer earns a professional fee. Clients cannot get the art that a professional creates for $9.99 @ Walmart or Sears.

Amy:  I'm having a VERY hard time trying to come up with a price for a newborn-1 year package or maternity-1 year package!!! Any suggestions? I just had someone email me an hour ago asking specifically for this and I have been sitting on this for a while trying to figure it out and now I really need to since someone has asked me for it! Please help!

Jennifer: I did this and big mistake. I put a lot of time in each session and even gave out a lot of free ones just to build my portfolio. Now not only did I loose out on a lot of time it takes to edit and the session time. But props and equipment costs a lot of money and if you have a $50 session fee your never going to make enough to cover upgrades, props or workshops so you will basically sitting in the same spot.

Becky: There is no magic # for what your price should be. You need to figure out your Cost of Doing Business. What do you want to make in a year? How many sessions do you want to do? Do you have a studio that you pay rent for? Taxes, insurance, equipment etc. Are you full time? Are you part time? All that factors into what you need to charge to make a profit and be successful - any everyone is different.

Becky: Here a good link to a a CODB calculator :) oh the joys of running your own business haha...

BP4U:  HOLY COWWWWWWW Becky Brown - that is a nifty little calculator

Becky: :) I'm full of random information haha

Stephanie:  Thanks Becky!!! Like I said, I'm new to this... Still learning... Doing shoots maybe 1-2 days a month!!! I work full time as an xray tech, but want to devote more time to photography! I love it so much!!! :) I just received an email asking fir pricing and was rejected for saying $50!!!! :( Bummer!!! 
Thanks for ALL the responses, I really appreciate it!! I do think I'm worth more, but again don't think lil ole town in VA has more!! 
All these young people want is a CD to post to Facebook!!! LOL!!! And that's my market!!! :)

Kendall: I include a CD of web sized images with watermark for people to post to Facebook (without cropping or altering in any way) and they're not print quality so people still order prints or high-res images so that I don't lose money :)

Becky: exactly what kendall said - so many ppl want the disc just for FB so I give them images with my logo to post but they can't print from them.... and it's free advertising for you that your name is on all the images

Kelli:  Someone once told me this (unfortunately it was too late), to charge nothing while you are learning. Soak up everything. Take everyone you can and learn,learn,learn! Figure out what you love the best and begin your business. Then charge. It's very difficult to charge $50 for a Cd and session, then try to increase your prices. It will take you SO long to get where you want to be. You can't have a profitable business off of $50 a session, it's impossible. 

I wish I had heard that when I was 'starting out'.

Sarah:  Pricing is very hard for me too. When I set my prices I think of what I would be happy with if I were the customer and what others in my area are charging. Then I look at what the prints will cost me and about how much time I would spend on an average session including editing time - placing in a gallery - etc. Then I set my prices. You also want to set your prices and stick to them (by that I mean not changing them 5 times a year). Good luck!!


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