As an entrepreneur, a marketer and a mom who needs to feed my kids I did what any branding expert would do on a project - an audit of the marketplace. AND I want to share my observations with this community because I truly believe if we support each other we will all thrive in the end.
One of my biggest observations is that in general our market value is too low!!! Yes, I said it!
Has anyone ever written down step by step what goes into running a photoshoot and added a price per hour? I did and here is a very brief summary:
12 total hours of your time - between client meetings, texting, setup, driving, actual photoshoot, post processing/editing & retouching, uploading digitals - all of it for one single shoot. This did not include any investment or overhead costs. (Basic portrait session)
If you’re doing 10 shoots a month (which is a high volume) at $250 a shoot you’re bringing in $2500 a month. That’s not much! It barely covers rent or mortgage for the average family. And you are churning and burning!
By now you’re probably saying - “tell me something I don’t know!!!”
I distilled by research into a few critical photography pricing strategies to consider in 2023:
THE RULE OF THREES
Many books and pricing strategies have been written about the psychology of 3 when it comes to pricing. This is what is called a good/better/best strategy.
It psychologically allows a buyer to anchor pricing within a set of offerings so they better understand the value they are receiving. Studies show that 80% of the time the buyer will purchase the mid-grade offering. By doing this it has been proven that revenue increases by 10-20%.
This is what I like to call the "Goldilocks effect" - enabling the client to find the just right offering for them. But there’s a catch - you have to keep it simple and the value between the 3 needs to be very clear.
ACTION: in 2023 offer 3 photography packages at a good/better/best pricing ladder.
CHARGE FOR DIGITAL DOWNLOADS
Our world has become so digital these days that it is hard to wrap our heads around what to charge for. Most of us think it’s easy to charge for tangibles - prints, photobooks, canvases, but when it comes to the actual digital file of the photo we took we are scared to charge for it. Well, that has to change!!!
The world today is full of digital collateral. Just look at the phone in your hand and think about all the digital things you pay for on a daily, weekly, monthly basis - Disney+ anyone??? Audible???
In my audit I noticed MOST photographers in the area are not charging for the high resolution digital downloads. On average photographers are giving away 35+ photos and digital downloads! This might be controversial but I think this has to change! As photographers we should be the first to put value on our work. AND most of that work is in digital form these days. So if you're not charging for your digital downloads you're out of a lot of moolah.
ACTION: Charge for those high res digital downloads!
$15-$25 is a good starting range. Take into consideration how much time you are spending retouching and post-processing when deciding how much to charge per digital download.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SEO, DEFINE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Social Media is great…until it’s not! After talking to many fellow photographers MOST have started focusing less on social media and more on SEO. Why?
Social Media has become the wild wild west. Does anyone else ever feel like they’re on an episode of Westworld? With the ever-changing landscape, algorithms and new platforms - thanks TikTok - this can be a very hard nut to crack. Only about 6% of your followers on Instagram will see your post and even then it most likely isn’t clients. As a photographer I get a TON of other photographers’ ads pushed to me - most from Utah - what? I don’t even live in Utah! I’m not hiring this person. Although I LOVE the inspiration it most likely isn’t going to lead to a purchase.
Net - Know the role you want Social Media to play for you and use it wisely. For me I use it to drive awareness - HELLO I exist! And to keep my community informed of my latest offerings and happenings. On occasion I get a client or two. More on this topic in the future!
I got distracted by social media (imagine that)- NOW BACK TO SEO!
Disclaimer, SEO is a complex and heavy topic. But don’t worry here are a few simple things you can do…
Make sure key words are on your homepage. Think about what your clients might search for - Wedding Photographer Cincinnati for example - and add that text in your description on your homepage.
Add alternate text to your photos on your website. This allows Google to search that text so you pop up in more searches.
Start and maintain a blog that’s imbedded in your website! This may feel very 2010 but trust me it popped up in ALL my research. This gets back to social media - this content goes away, it lasts two seconds on someone’s feed. Your blog will be there for the long haul, and is content that is searchable & shareable long term. It doesn’t have to be complicated, a few KEY words like “Fun Family Photoshoot” and a couple sentences about your shoot are fine. This also allows you to have new Google searchable content keeping your SEO relevant.
SO in 2023 how about we all make more money!!! Bring on the New Year!
A little bit about me:
- I worked in marketing and design for large fortune 500 companies my entire adult life.
- This is my second time owning and running my own photography business.
- I couldn't do it without my family!
- My goal is to have fun. live life on my terms, and give back to others!