Thursday, January 20, 2011

Price Yourself to Compete! Print Pricing Guide.

As an event photographers we are up against constant competition from new "photographers" entering the arena. Anyone with a camera can call themselves a photographer, no special education, certification, training or equipment is needed to have the tag "Professional Photographer".

A true Professional is one that sets himself (herself) apart from the professionals both in terms of service, performance and products offered.

To many good photographers have given up on offering any of the things listed above out of frustration and have given into the pressure of offering a commodity rather than a service and a product.

Commodities fluctuate in value while services and products maintain a more stable value.

That being said we as photographers must also adapt to the times in order to survive.

The days of charging $6.00 or more for a 4x6" print are over. Be realistic in your pricing, remember that your "client" can just as easily order a .19 cent 4x6" print off of aunt Betty's Flicker account as they can from you.

In addition to single prints I suggest offering an actual wedding or event album with real prints just like was done in the old days. Nothing beats the look and feel of a real album with high quality prints and pages. Have different options available at different price points. Price these to sell, figure your album cost, print cost and multiply by between 3 and 4 times to cover your labor for assembly.

Single prints are normally sold at 4 - 5 times cost.

For single prints I suggest charging as follows:

4x6" $ 1.29 - 1.99 each (cost .29)
5x7" $ 3.99 - 5.99 each (cost .99)
8x10/12" $ 8.99 - 12.99 each (cost 1.99)
11x14/17" $ 12.99 - 19.99 each (cost 3.99)
16x20/24" $ 34.99 - 49.99 each (cost 9.99)

When ordering prints use Fuji Crystal Archive Lustre Type PD paper for your clients prints. It is a rich, slightly textured paper with a "professional DO NOT COPY" watermark on the back of the print. The look and feel are not something that can be duplicated by consumer labs.

Know your costs on all associated products so you can negotiate packages with clients on the fly. If someone is waffling on buying in offer them a "special", throw in an enlargement, a framed print, anything to seal the deal.

I always stocked up on "wedding" style frames at frame sales, Big Lots, and the like, showing a bride her special day as a finished product rather than handing her a CD is giving her service and a tangible product rather than a commodity.