Consultant’s Corner: Photography Pricing Strategies


Q: I’m a photographer and videographer in Atlanta. How do I determine how much I should charge?

There are several factors that potentially influence wedding photography prices, including hours of service, number of events, locations(s), photo format (album, digital file, video, etc.), and photographer experience and name recognition. Due to the variables, a form of package pricing is common in the industry and package prices can range from $500 to over $4,000. Competitive review and the value of your time (personal income goal) are two basic considerations; however, to help consider the industry practices and develop an effective pricing strategy and structure for your particular photography services, you can review the following industry and business information:

Photography pricing considerations

You can review industry pricing model information through resources like the following, which discuss these basic considerations:

  1. Begin with a Business Plan
  2. Consider Your Costs
  3. Consider the Market
  4. Consider Workflow Software
  5. Tiered Pricing:

Personal income goals

The value of your time and personal income goals are important factors in your pricing strategy. Professional service providers have discretion in setting their fees. Also, billing rates are often adjusted based on the total hours of the project, competitors’ fees, type of professional services, and other factors and certain projects may be quoted at a flat fee. The fee amount and structure (per hour, per day, per week, etc.) will vary based on the expertise provided, the size of the project, and other factors.

Your local competition, particular operating cost structure, how much profit or income you desire, and other factors will affect the particular fees for the services you provide. Ideally, your goal should be to establish your fees at levels that are acceptable to both buyer and seller – fees your target clients perceive as affordable for the services you provide and still allow you to meet your profit or income targets. Performing competitive research among your local competitors is often required to get some idea what others in your local market are charging and determine whether your target clients might consider your fees affordable. But setting your fees to attain your profit or income goals while keeping them affordable is a delicate balancing act.

Professional service providers basically trade “time for dollars,” so you need to be adequately compensated for the time you devote to every wedding project and carefully control how much non-billable time you devote in order to achieve your desired profit or income levels. As to general pricing guidelines, professional service businesses generally establish their prices based on a rate of 2.5 to 3.5 times the base compensation of the person doing the work. For example, if you want to make $60,000 a year, or $30 per hour, in your business, you may need to include a $90 rate per hour (3.0 x $30) in developing your packages or other price structure. However, sole owner and other small firms can be flexible on fees and adjust them for the particular engagement. Also, as a small firm, your overhead would typically be lower than a larger firm and you can adjust your personal earnings, which will allow you to charge less than 3.0x base compensation and be reasonably compensated. While your particular cost structure, profit or income goals and local competition will be considerations, for suggestions on setting your fee structure, you can review articles like the following:

Competitive research

To help conduct competitive price research in order to develop your price structure, you can utilize the following resources to locate nearby wedding photographer pricing information:

Bill Wortman

Bill Wortman

Bill Wortman is the Chief Business Consultant for, with over 40 years of business experience. In addition to 12 years consulting small business owners, Bill’s professional career includes a big-eight CPA accounting firm, national consumer finance, big-three automotive manufacturing, Arby’s fast food, marketing, and other industries. He’s held multiple executive-level positions and fulfilled the role of CFO at large, publicly held (NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX) corporations. In addition, he’s been an owner of private ventures involving residential real estate development and a General Motors new car dealership.