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What Should You Charge for Portrait Photography?

Portraiture services can be tough to put a price on, but considering these few factors will help you find the answer to what to charge for portrait photography.

By Adrian ScottPublished 7 years ago 5 min read

Though the answer is not exactly straightforward, what to charge for portrait photography is not as hard to consider when you break it down. Depending on your path as a photographer as well as the expenses you have already put into your craft, the answer is simple.

Before going into portrait photography professionally, it is important to have a fixed pricing for each of your jobs or circumstances. This way, you will always be confident in your work, as well as having a profitable outcome.

Consider your skill set.

To start the process of finding the correct charge for portrait photography, you must first consider your skill set, and picture your ultimate goal. Getting into the professional world of portrait photography is competitive, and being honest with your abilities is always a safe place to begin this process.

Whether you have an unrealistic expectation of your skill set either being more experienced than you are, or less experienced as you are, it is important to be honest with your stance. Photography might begin as a fun hobby, but there are careers also in the business, and will be done so with these first few steps.

If you are starting out, begin with a lower pricing until you can get more experience with clientele and marking. If you are looking to reboot your pricing and already have experience, this is even more important to consider. Don't sell yourself short.

Consider your own cost per shoot.

The second thing to consider when finding the correct charge for portrait photography is to consider your cost per shoot. This varies depending on how long the shoot is, the type of equipment you use, and the extent of the job.

This is done in a few simple steps, to consider your cost of labor, cost of materials, and a few others factors.

What is your labor worth?

The first thing to consider is the cost of your own labor, and how much your time is valuable to your customers and to yourself. Finding the cost of labor might be the most complicated process of the steps, but it is the most worthwhile. Within any creative career, this should be considered, photographers just have the freedom to create their own pricing.

Just like you should be paid at an hourly job, your hours as worthy of being priced during your creative process as well. This can also include the time you spend commuting to your client, and how much the client uses you. What is your worth, but also what is your client comfortable in paying for your time, and is it considerate?

Charging per Print

Some portrait photographers may take the approach of charging per print. As a simple and easy way to charge for portrait photography, this might not be the best approach for a well-established photographer, because there are a lot of expenses and experience that is well worth costing a bit more.

However, if you plan to lay out a list of expenses, as well as charging per print, this is also a way you can go. If you are photographing a wedding, or other shoots that will include a lot of different shots, this is not the way to go, and you should consider having a fixed priced for these scenarios. But senior portraits, or family photos will work well with this format.

Discover your marketing and communication costs.

Many beginner photographers might not be aware of the necessity of marketing. In such a media-oriented world, it is important to take advantage of the internet while trying to expand your clientele. Consider hiring a marketing team, or expanding your reach through communication. This is a cost that many photographers might forget to consider, but it is all within the same umbrella of expenses.

Overhead Costs

Overhead costs are mostly something that beginner photographers will have to consider. However, when considering your charge for portrait photography, overhead costs can also apply to photographers who have recently amped up their equipment as well. Overhead costs mostly lie in your equipment prices to get started professionally.

There are a lot of tools that photographers will need to use to succeed, especially in portrait photography. This also goes for maintaining your equipment, and upgrading as well. Consider each of these when completing your list of costs: lighting, cameras, portrait photography lenses, editing software, tripods, flashes, accessories, and film.

Compare with Your Competitors

This is one of the most simple tips to consider when finding your portrait photography pricing. There is nothing wrong with comparing your own pricing with your competitors, for many reasons.

This can be to come to terms that you may be asking too much, and that is why they are receiving more clients, or that you should boost your prices up a bit. Just keep in mind your skill set and your experience when choosing other photographers to compare yourself to.

Expenses per year matter as well.

Like any job, you should keep track of the expenses you are making toward your career, even if is not off the ground yet.

This is easier to calculate after you have gained a bit of experience in the photography world, and will get simpler with time. When considering your charge for portrait photography, it is important to calculate the time, expense, and labor you have done throughout a year.

Stick to your final sale price.

Once you have considered all of these factors, cost of materials, overhead prices, cost of labor, the total cost per year, and comparisons of your competitors, you should have a number. The final sale price is something that you should be happy and confident in, and should be a fixed pricing, per scenario.

It is easy to give friends or family a discount, or simply fall to sympathy with other clients, but to be sure you are getting the desired outcome for the amount of work you put into your career. You should always remain stubborn with your final sale price.

However, you should also reconsider the price every year, or every couple of years, considering the economy, your time spent with clients, amount of clients, and costs for equipment.

The rest is up to you.

The last tip considers when finding your charge for portrait photography is to remember that you have to freedom to price your career and creativity. The process may seem daunting, but it is important to recognize that this process is rare, and will be very beneficial to your lifestyle when done correctly.


About the Creator

Adrian Scott

Horror-movie fan and wanna-be chef looking to travel the world.

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