How Much Should I Charge for Photography Services?

In Marketing/Business by Jim Harmer21 Comments

Tips for how much photographers should charge.

Charging money for photography sounds fun, but how much?

I received a phone call a few months ago from a photographer who had moved out of town and wanted to pass a reference to me.  FANTASTIC!  The client was a business who wanted a photographer to shoot their black tie event.  The photographer who called me had shot the event for many years.  I asked the photographer how much the client paid to shoot the 2-hour event, and he said it was a $500 job.

Next, I called the client.  I could have immediately told them that I was willing to accept the same $500 price that they had paid the photographer in years past, but I wanted to make sure I got as much out of the deal as they were willing to give.

I remembered something from a Dale Carnegie book (How to Win Friends and Influence People).  He said something to the effect of, “The first person to mention the price in a business transaction is ultimately the loser.”  I thought I'd put that to the test, so rather than quoting the business a price of $500, I asked them a question.

The question I asked was, “What is your budget for this shoot?”  The representative from the company said, “$1,300 for the 2-hour event.”  I shot the event and received almost three times as much money from the gig as I would have if I had been the first one to mention the price.

If you're going to be successful in your photography business, you need to be business minded.  The price of photography services is quite subjective, and many clients simply have no idea what hiring a photographer costs.

I am not suggesting that photographers should never quote a price.  It's nice for clients to know exactly what you'll charge just by looking at your website; however, you can also lose a lot of money in potential business by being too forthcoming with your prices.  This was the lesson I learned.

About the Author

Jim Harmer

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Jim Harmer is the founder of Improve Photography, and host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast. More than a million photographers follow him on social media, and he has been listed at #35 in rankings of the most popular photographers in the world. Jim travels the world to shoot with readers of Improve Photography in his series of free photography workshops. See his portfolio here.


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  2. It is good post, but I do not see everything completely clear, specifically for someone not involved in that topic. Anyway quite interesting if you ask me.

  3. Any tips for a new photographer regarding prices? Everyone quickly asks for prices and I give them. However, I have not been able to book anyone.

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  5. Hello,

    I am a college student who recently started a freelance photography service. What all should I offer when doing graduation photos? Simply a CD with the clients’ photos or more?

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