3 Signs You’re Undercharging in your Photo Biz

What should I charge for my mini-sessions?

What do photographers normally charge for photo shoots?

What’s the average cost of a newborn shoot?

These questions are important to research when you’re trying to figure out your own pricing, but the truth is, you’ll find a HUGE range in what people charge for their work!  

While there’s a lot to consider when you’re determining your pricing, the most common mistake I see photographers making at EVERY stage of their career is undercharging for their work. In fact, there are 3 main signs that it’s time for you to raise your prices – check them out and you’ll know if it’s time to change things up!


1. You’re giving away digitals in your session fee.

This first sign is a biggie – and it’s not just for new photographers! When you’re first starting out, it can be tempting to give away ALL of your images to your clients while keeping your session fee low…too low! “It only takes me a little while longer to edit all of them,” you might say. After years of doing business this way, however, your clients will come to expect 100-image galleries… and when you’re editing that many images for a full client book, suddenly you’re out of time and wishing you had a better way to handle your workload.

Consider this:  Keep your session fee separate from your images. That’s right: your time and energy during sessions are VALUABLE, and your clients should pay for that service and experience while ALSO paying for your time and energy when it comes to their images after the session. If you’re still giving away your digitals in your session fee, it’s time to keep each stage of the session separate.  I’d recommend having different options for digitals – like packages of 15 or 30 images they can purchase for a certain cost. Customize your strategy and offerings for you and your business (remember, no two photo businesses are the same!), but you MUST include the value of your session time, prep, editing, and retouching time in your fees.

2. You’re over-booked and  OH SO BUSY. 

When your business is booming, it’s a sure sign that it can handle a service price bump. Think of it this way: if you’re working at your full capacity and it’s starting to feel overwhelming, you might wonder, how can I continue to grow my business when I’m already slammed and out of energyBy raising your prices! Sure, some of your clients will fall off, but if you’re overbooked, that can actually be a GOOD thing. You’ll always attract new clients who value you and your work at your new price point, and the extra space in your schedule will allow you to work more sustainably while still bringing in great profits. I know it can be scary to change things up like this but TRUST me, it’s so worth it! And if your clients value your unique eye and services, they’ll stick around; if not, it just wasn’t meant to be.

3. You’ve been charging the same amount for your work for over 4 years and haven’t reevaluated your session fees or offerings.

Your business is constantly growing and changing (just like you!) and as time goes on, I guarantee you’re getting better and better at your craft. Shouldn’t your prices reflect your increased awesomeness? Consider this: in almost any other job, you’d be evaluated for a raise every year. Your boss would consider your performance, the budget of the company, and your goals in assessing how much more money to give you. When you’re a business owner, you’ve got to do the same for yourself and your company. 

Take a look at your session fee. Does it feel like it accurately represents the amount of time and effort you’re putting in, your expertise, and your number of years in business? Once you’ve figured that part out, assess if the market can handle a price increase. Are there others in your area who are charging more? Are your clients coming back? Can your business sustain a few lost clients in exchange for new ones who can pay your new fees? Will your clients even notice the cost difference?  These are all considerations in raising your session fee. In general, I like to keep an eye on my session fees and offering prices and tweak them a bit every 2-4 years – so if it’s been longer than that for you, it’s definitely time for a little refresh!

While there’s no magic formula for raising your prices, it’s important to consider your options and make sure you’re not chronically undercharging. Giving away too much in your sessions is not only bad for your own business, it’s flat-out unsustainable for your time and energy! Build your business intentionally with prices that work for you – and if you’re undercharging, I challenge you to up your prices TODAY!

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