Your story is probably similar to mine.
A hobby of photography turned career while I figured things out as I went from editing flows to learning what to charge. It was a trial and error process that has led me to where I am now. Like most, I started photographing clients and handing over galleries so they could pick their favorite images and get them printed at their local print shop or big box printer. The idea of offering limited galleries and prints was foreign to me and it was only as I kept growing my knowledge in this industry that I explored this different pricing options and have found what works best for me.
If this is perhaps the first time you are even hearing of products, let me say welcome to this wonderful world! Selling products is a fun model that can really help you profit from the work you are doing.
For today’s post, I want to share a little bit about pricing your packages and products so you can make an informed decision on what would be better for you and your business.
Let’s start with Digital Packages.
Perhaps the most common pricing option and where many photographers start out, digital packages are when you offer a set price for your work and that includes a digital gallery. Your client pays say $400 for a session and then you deliver a gallery of images the client. The client has the images to download and they can do whatever they’d like with them. More often than not, these images end up living on a computer and, if they are printed, it’s perhaps done poorly at a chain pharmacy or box store.
The digital packages option is especially popular for wedding photographers who tend to vary their price points by the length of time they will be present at the wedding or if a second shooter will be available for extra coverage. For weddings or large events, packages with the option to add on products like a photo album or prints is a great option. Your clients want photos of all the little details, yet will want an album or prints of some of the more special moments for in their home.
However, digital packages for family or couples sessions could possibly be preventing you from giving the clients what they really want– images to have in their home to show their story. Most clients come to you with the intention of having their favorite photos printed to hang on their walls but most will never get around to it. Maybe a gift from one partner to the other will be an Ikea framed WalMart printed photo that doesn’t do justice the stunning image you captured the day of their session. Setting a package price for an entire gallery for one of these smaller sessions can actually prevent you from bringing in the largest income and can actually prevent the client from receiving what it is they want most.
Now, let’s look at products.
When you work from a product-forward model, the entire conversation around your session is centered around the products a client is looking to have. If your client is looking for a large image for a feature wall in their home, you know that you will want to shoot a feature photo of their entire family that would fit that space beautifully. If your client is looking for images of each of their children and a few family shots of a gallery wall and to hand out in place of school portraits, you’ll know right away that your session will need to focus on individual portraits of each child in the family.
As you can see, a product-focused pricing model can work beautifully as you can shoot the images that will work best for what they need, then be able to provide them with the final product that will meet their needs.
This kind of pricing model generally charges a session fee. You’ll need to make it clear that this session fee is just for the session and doesn’t include any images. Images (even digital files) are all extra and that you’d love to help them select the best images for their needs and even have them printed by a trusted source.
When working with this option, it’s a nice idea for your session fee to also include a print credit. Say your session fee is $200, then you include a $200 print credit, you can actually charge $400 for the session. When the time comes around for a client to pick their products, they already spent $200 earlier to put towards items! This can be a great incentive for them to purchase even more products once they begin looking at the images you took.
Somewhere in between
There is a pricing option that meshes the best of both worlds. In this model, you have packages based on the product-focused model. Basically, your client pays a session fee + they select their package of products on top of that. The packages include a variety of regular sized prints, a large print and digital files of a few of their favorite images. The higher the cost of the package, the more is included. Clients may often select the smallest package, but there are ways you will be able to encourage them to increase their package once they see the images.
Personally, I find my best option to be ‘somewhere in between’. I love offering my clients a package that can fit their price point while giving them the prints and products they actually want so their images don’t end up in a file folder somewhere on a computer. I want my clients to love their images and have them in their home to remind them of the moments that matter– the reasons they live and love and wake up each and every single day.
I’d like to encourage you to explore what these pricing options could look like for your business and to try out something new to see if there is a way to make your business more profitable while still providing your clients with what they are really hoping to get from their session with you.
Do you use packages with digital images, products or do you find yourself somewhere in between?
If you’re interested in more information on all things marketing you’ll love my newest course Navigate The Wild: A Marketing and Pricing Guide for Family Photographers. Click here to join the list to be the first to learn more.