HOW TO MAKE MORE AND WORK LESS - price comparison chart

4 comments / Posted by Elena Ringeisen

"Photographers in the United States pull down an average of $15.06 per hour. In the world of Photographers, overall cash earnings stretch from $21K near the bottom to $90K near the top" (source: payscale.com)

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I recently asked photographers how many sessions per month they were shooting and got a long list of answers. The reason I asked was because I was creating the brand new Photography Business Planner and wanted to get a rough estimate on how many session checklist I needed to include for photographers. 

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Reading through the answers got me thinking about some of the responses, and I wanted to put together something that I wish I would have seen when I was charging very little for my time. Back then photography was something new and had to shoot for little because I was still in the learning stage. I was still building my portfolio and learning who I was as an artist. 
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There came a time where I could have easily raised my prices but was scared to. Scared of not booking enough clients. Scared of others not seeing my own value. It was enough to keep me charging very little for what I was giving my clients. 
With the above snippet we know that photographers make anywhere from 21K a year, to 90K so I will write out three different salaries (20K, 55K, 90K) and a rough estimate on the sessions a photographer has to shoot to acquire this income. 
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PHOTOGRAPHERS HAVE TO CHARGE
$50 $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $600 $700 $800 $900 $1,000
PER SESSION & SHOOT
33 17 8 6 4 3 3 2.5 2 1.5 1
A MONTH TO MAKE
$20,000
A YEAR
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The amount you shoot has little to do with how much you make. Often photographers think that high volume clients = big paycheck. When in reality, it's often photographers who shoot a lot and end up charging less. A photographer who charges $50 per session has to work A LOT harder to achieve the same paycheck as someone who charges $500 per session. 

I wanted to draw up three different yearly incomes to show you how many sessions someone would need to charge to get to that income. You can quickly see that for someone who charges $50 per session would need to shoot 33 sessions every single month to make $20,000. (Just reading that sentence exhausted me) While shooting 33+ sessions a month is amazing; I know it's also a quick way to get very burnt out. Long term it's not a good business strategy. While someone who charges $800 per session only has to shoot two sessions per month to make the exact same amount. 

Side Note: If pricing gives you a total headache and you need help figuring out how much you should be charging for a session, event and even get custom pricing on products and collections you can use our Photography Pricing Calculator. All you have to do is enter a few numbers and it does the rest for you! 

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PHOTOGRAPHERS HAVE TO CHARGE
$50 $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $600 $700 $800 $900 $1,000
PER SESSION & SHOOT
92 46 23 15 11 9 8 7 6 5 4
A MONTH TO MAKE
$55,000
A YEAR
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Aside from figuring out how much you should be charging you should also focus on finding your personal sweet spot; how much you'd like to shoot. There are photographers who only want to shoot 1-4 sessions a month and put a great deal of focus on each of their clients. They have the time to devote to each client that hires them, and that's what they enjoy doing. 
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There are plenty of photographers who have to shoot more, not because they charge little but because that's what they enjoy. They love working on multiple sessions per week and shoot more sessions inspires them. There are plenty of photographers who want to shoot a lot and can do this without getting burnt out. Shooting a high volume is what's right for them, and there is nothing wrong with it. 
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PHOTOGRAPHERS HAVE TO CHARGE
$50 $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $600 $700 $800 $900 $1,000
PER SESSION & SHOOT
150 75 38 25 19 15 13 11 9 8 7
A MONTH TO MAKE
$90,000
A YEAR
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Now looking at these charts, many of you might think that upping prices is going to leave you booking less clients; that might end up being the case. However keep in mind that you will be able to make the same income or MORE by charging more, even if this means you'll book less clients overall. (remember: someone who charges $50 per session would need to shoot 33 sessions every single month in order to make $20,000. While someone who charges $800 per session only has to shoot two sessions per month to make the exact same amount.)
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This post is here to inspire some of you to take a second look at what you're currently doing. Always know that there is no right or wrong when it comes to how you want to run your business. This little lesson was something I had to learn over a long time, and I wish someone would have sat down with me and explained it to me like this. 

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Turning dreams into reality is my specialty! This online business success class covers all my business secrets and I'll show you how I went from making 10K in a year to one that made me over $105,000 during 90 days! This class is for photographers who are truly ready to build the business of their dreams and learn the important steps in developing a strong business, brand, and client base. When I first start my photography business I had to learn a lot of important things by trial and error. After years of building a business of my own I'm excited to share all my business knowledge with those of you that are ready to build something you are truly proud of. Something that will make you independently strong as a person and as a business owner. If you have a dream and are willing to work hard at it then you'll absolutely love this class -- It will completely change your life.

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    Comments

    • Posted On September 05, 2016 by Becky

      I want to charge more and think I’ve improved enough to do so, but hate the thought of informing all of my previous clients that my prices have raised. I wish now that I would’ve started higher.

    • Posted On September 02, 2016 by Danea Burleson

      Great info! A key element to point out, and maybe I missed it, is that this is what the business makes, not what you will actually bring home. Sadly, the cost of running a business, taxes on top of that, can be a huge chunk out of these numbers.

    • Posted On August 25, 2016 by christine

      This was great! Thank you!

    • Posted On August 24, 2016 by Meredith

      This is just wonderful and so accurate. Here in Kentucky, however it can be challenging for someone who does not do studio work to have steady business in the slower winter months so it can be challenging to have a steady amount of sessions each and every month as those who maybe are in a steady warm climate. I also shoots weddings so if I come up short with my portrait sessions it helps hold me over.

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