Pricing your wedding photography can be difficult. There really is no exact methodology to assign monetary value to your work. However, with a little market research you can determine what newlyweds are willing to pay in your area. It’s prudent to critically consider your portfolio when factoring your pricing. Do you have an expansive portfolio? If you don’t already, you need one. If you meet with potential clients and plan to charge top dollar for your market, you need a collection of weddings to display that reflect that quality. You never want perspective client’s thinking you are inexperienced and with only a couple weddings in your portfolio it’ll be obvious to them.
If you are just getting started in weddings it’s possible to gain experience as a second shooter. This is an excellent avenue to improving your portfolio and will help to obtain the skills to eventually charge top dollar. If you already have a portfolio. Great! While potential wedding client’s are generally not photography experts, they do know what they like. The imagery you display to them must be something that’s in high demand. Are your images comparable to others in town? What are these competitors charging? Can you fetch the same? Study popular trends and other’s imagery to recreate these looks in your work and you will be in higher demand.
Once your calendar starts filling up our recommendation is that you incrementally increase your rates until you find your point of resistance. You can identify this point of resistance as your bookings will began to slow, at which point you will have determined the top dollar for your photography in your market. If you have put in the work to achieve this popularity you should be proud of yourself! Change gears and stop increases in order to focus on additional services or products that can further improve your bottom line. Ultimately you must find a pricing model that best balances the amount of work the studio intakes, while creating the best possible profit for your effort.
Now that you know what weddings in your area are worth you need to seriously asses your work against others. Research the wedding venues around town that you’ve shot at frequently in the past. The venues often have preferred vendors listed (typically available on the venue’s website). You can then investigate these photographers on their list. What do they charge? Is your work comparable? Perhaps you could start in this range with success. It’s important to not overprice yourself at the start or you will have difficulty booking jobs. If you are just starting out it makes sense to book smaller weddings and work your way up. This will allow you to make money while building your portfolio.
Packages -This is the probably the most common pricing model that most studios rely on it. Packages can maximizes profits while making decisions more simplified for the couple. This works exceedingly well because your clients have literally a million things on their minds while planning their wedding day and simplification is often welcomed. Wedding packages can also maximizes profits by allowing your studio to bundle other products that client’s may not have initially thought they wanted. Albums and/or canvases are often bundled into packages to increase the overall price you can fetch while incurring minimal additional overhead costs.
A La Carte – Many customers love the a la carte system as well. These customers either really like to customize their wedding day photography, or don’t want specific products or services bundled into their package. Either way, you can appeal to certain customers with this pricing structure. However ,you could be leaving money on the table. If you do choose this method exclusively, we recommend having a reasonable number of additional products and services for clients to draw from.
Hybrid – This is our preferred pricing structure and we have been refining it to best fit our market. For the hybrid pricing structure, we have base packages that include the time we will be onsite at their event, the number of photos they will receive for the amount of time they booked and a print credit for our full packages (C & D). Here is an example of our current offerings: