Today I am going to (hopefully) pull back the curtain and explain what goes into pricing for not just for wedding/engagement sessions, but also to generally shed some light on how misleading the perception that "taking pictures is easy". So, I am going to try and not ramble, rant, or complain about the current culture surrounding photography, but bear with me a little because what I am tackling is something that this industry deals with on a regular basis.
So, let's begin. When I first considered this as a career and not just an incredibly pricey passion I didn't know the first thing about what people charge, why they charge that, and how they overcome objections to price. I knew some basics as far as how to come up with pricing, and overcoming objections because I spent many years in commissioned sales, but part of the reason I wanted to get out of that field is because the folks running the company (think blue, globe, cellphones) kept moving towards more and more dishonest ways of closing the sale. Simply put; I HAVE A CONSCIOUS. I don't want to feel like someone is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to their interactions with me. I feel that way today (even more so now) with my photo services. I want you to get the best I can give every single time! Everyone says that, I know, but I truly take it to heart when it comes to something I produce for someone who entrusts me to capture a non-repeatable moment.
See, I was beginning to ramble a bit and I saw a soap box coming.... So how to come up with pricing?!?! Well it is not an arbitrary number picked out of the sky. I look at the cost of running a business with items like gear, training/education, monthly expenses like web hosting, insurance for the business/gear/myself (not health insurance), supplies, etc. and on top of all that I still have to factor in the value of what I bring to the table creatively with my style of shooting on top of the style of editing I do. After coming up with that figure I look at what others in the area are charging. This is where it gets tricky because there are tons of people saying they are photographers and charging hourly rates that are on par with minimum wage. This is the part where I have to really try not to rant, ramble, complain because yes they take some great "pics" but those are not the same as photos. Photos take skill beyond the automatic setting on your camera; when was the last time you saw a properly exposed (think light and dark of the photo), properly saturated (either colors being completely blown out or so dull that it looks like a picture from the 60's) and most of all properly focused (no explanation should be necessary for this one lol) come from this kind of approach. Yes they get some good shots you'd put on your fridge for a while, but I produce a keepsake you would have on your walls for years. That pretty well addresses the why I charge what I do, and the how I come up with the prices. It isn't all that complicated or mystical, but it seems that with the proliferation of cameras (phones, point and shoots, and cheap interchangeable lens) that the general consensus has overlooked the art and skill of taking a good photo versus a good "pic"
As an added bonus (and potential kick in my teeth) here are just three sites that give you averages of the cost of wedding photography. I am still amazed that I have had people say that I am way to expensive when looking at these figures....
** as a disclaimer I am not associated with these websites and merely found them on my own research. The views I express and the views they express are each our own **
I do hope I haven't bored you to tears or sounded like I'm complaining. I have always felt that informing someone of exactly what they are getting is paramount when it comes to providing a product or service.
Please feel free to comment or message me!