So, a topic that always seems to be an issue is figuring out how to effectively price to meet the market, and your client's needs. I am always trying to figure out how to set my rates without feeling like I am losing business.
I know that this is something that most photographers struggle with. So I thought I would add a little on how approach the topic and add any useful information on how others do.
Currently, I assess an event based on an hourly rate. A wedding for instance, I have figured out that for ever hour of photography, I typically have 2 - 4 of post processing, this includes printing and album work. So I base my rates on 6-8 hours of service, and include post processing in that equation. In the days of film, wedding photographers had it easy, they could just drop off their film at the nearest pro-lab, and ask for doubles. Easy enough, but now with digital, and the quantity you can acheive with digital, that would be over tedious. How many images should you allow to have printed, or more, should you even offer printed proofs. I don't, there is no need to have that kind of waste. If most people use their images on facebook, myspace, flickr, or any one of the many photo sharing sites out there, what is the need for printed matter, when only 10 or so images will get framed and placed on display. Let's price and assess our packages based on our modern typical use. Most of us no longer carry boxes of prints in our attics, but have folders upon folders of images on our hard drives. So, let's placate to the modern bride. Maybe an option we should consider is a digital photo frame, or a special wedding gallery site.
With all of my weddings, I offer free of charge a wedding gallery, but this also allows me to increase my income, when guests purchase photos from the wedding. This is helpful to pay for the fees associated with the online gallery, and to help purchase new equipment. Hmmm...
With the options of online self publishing out there, what do we look for within the companies? I look for quality of the printing, and cost. I want to offer a high quality album, but with the cost being $500 for the album, and the quality not that much better than LULU, MyPublisher, or Blurb, why should I go for the gold? Are my customers going to know the difference? How much is a wedding album worth to a client, $100, $200, $500 or $1000? If my cost is $500, then my price has to cover time and intellectual property. However, doesn't $1000 for a 50 page album seem a little ridiculous? Would it be worth it to the client? Maybe.
Anyway, these are all serious thoughts, and we all must consider what we are worth when working in any of the professional services fields. So, consider what your competetors charge, what the "people that think they are professionals, because they bought a consumer grade DSLR and downloaded photoshop or lightroom illegally" charge, and where you feel comfortable starting.
Anyway, I hope someone finds this interesting. An article worth the read is;