I’m Catie, and I’m a personal branding photographer for female business owners who are ready to stand out online and increase their impact and income.

I'm based in North Dallas, serving the greater Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Here at Catie Ronquillo Photography, I provide strategic marketing photos that will help you grow your business.

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How to Price Your Photography Business

Photographer Education

how to price your photography

Are you a photographer? And are you trying to figure out how to price your photography?

Pricing. It’s the topic that keeps photographers up at night, causing self-doubt, second-guessing, and even paralysis. We’ve all been there, questioning ourselves endlessly:

Am I charging too much? Am I not booking because I’m not charging enough? Should I even be in this business?

Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone!

Every photographer I’ve ever spoken to has played this mental game at some point. It’s completely normal.

But here’s the thing: seeking pricing advice from random people on the Internet or those who haven’t walked the walk can lead you astray. That’s why I’m here to help bust the most common pricing myths and provide you with real, practical solutions.

how to price your photography ; photo of a calculator and papers

How do Photographers Price Their Work?

When I first started my photography business over a decade ago, I had no idea what I was doing! And so when you’re first starting out, there’s always the big question:

How much should I charge? How to price your photography?

This is the burning question that plagues most new photographers. Many simply want a number, “the magic solution”. What is the “right” price?

But it’s really important to understand the why behind your pricing before you set it up.

What do I mean by the “why”? Well, if you’re wanting to price yourself profitably, you need to take into consideration a number of factors.

Factors to consider when pricing your photography

  • Business expenses: software, insurance, advertising, marketing
  • Shoot expenses: studio rentals, props
  • Rentals: camera equipment, flash equipment, lenses
  • Cost of Goods Sold: physical products like prints, albums, etc
  • Owner Pay: how much you want to make per project

All these factors will play a role in your pricing. Now, if you’re a new photographer, I hope this list doesn’t overwhelm you! But these are things that many newer photographers tend to overlook when pricing their work.

How do I Price Myself as a Photographer?

Here’s what you shouldn’t do: copy the pricing of the photographer down the street. You know all those things we went over above? All those things factor into their pricing…or at least that’s what we’re going to assume.

I know it’s tempting to just check out some other photographers offering what you want to offer – let’s say a family session or senior portrait shoot and just copy their pricing. They offer a family session for $300 and that “sounds good”.

How do I know this? It’s because that was what I did when I first started out because I didn’t understand the ins and outs of pricing my work. So I get it. It seems like a reasonable way to price your photographer. However, you DON’T know if that photographer’s pricing is profitable. They may be losing money! Or not making any money!

But I get it, you want to know how to price your photography.

How to Price Your Photography when Starting Out

So if you’re a new photographer and ready to hit the ground running, let’s talk about how to price your photography. If you’ve NEVER photographed a client for money before, keep reading.

Here are a few things to consider when pricing your photography

  • Is this a side hustle? Are you taking photos for extra money?
  • Do you want this to become a full time business?
  • Do you have an income goal or amount of money you’d like to make from photography?

People who are side hustling vs planning for a full time business will have different strategies. Generally speaking, if you’re side hustling, you’re likely willing to take whatever photography gig for whatever money. You’re not necessarily relying on this income. It’s really just extra.

If you’re planning for photography to become your full time business, that’s great! And if that’s the case then you need to treat it like a business. And that means charging profitable pricing. Start with creating an income goal for photography business. It can be any number you’d like. This will be the number you’re working towards.

photo of a calculator and cash ; how to price your photography business

How to Price Your Photography Offers

Let’s get to it. If you have no idea where to start pricing your photography pricing, think about what you want to offer. But first, let’s talk about your capacity and expenses and goals.

  • How many sessions can you do per month?
  • How much are your business expenses per month?
  • How much are your personal expenses per month (that you want photography to cover)?
  • How much do you want to make per month (from photography)?

Here’s an example: Family Photographer just starting out

  • Sessions per month: 4
  • Business expenses: $150
  • Personal expenses: $100
  • Income goal: $600

Okay, so if this photographer wants to make $600 per month and can take 4 sessions per month, you might assume that they should be charging $150/per shoot. 4 x $150 = $600

However, this photographer also has business and personal expenses that total to $250.

Take the income goal + expenses = $850

Take the total divided by number of sessions = $212.50

This means that at minimum, in order to hit the goals that have been set, this photographer should be charging AT LEAST $212.50 for a session.

So this becomes the baseline for pricing.

Family Photographer Session Offer:

  • 1 hour session
  • 30 digital images for download

Now, if you’re a newer photographer and thinking, “I can’t charge that! I’ve never charged anything ever!”

Don’t freak out. You don’t have to start here. But you should work UP to this price and plan to price beyond it.

How to Price Your Photography to Build Your Portfolio

If you’re new to photography, then I’m guessing you either need to build your portfolio or you are actively building a portfolio. Maybe you haven’t charged anyone for your photography services yet.

But, if you’ve photographed at least 3 portfolio subjects, then you can start charging.

Set a portfolio building price. If you’ve figured out the goal pricing you want to work towards, then take that number and discount it.

Maybe for the first 3 clients, you price your photography at 50% off. Then, with each new client or every 3 clients, you can incrementally raise your pricing until you hit your goal pricing.

So, for this example – the goal pricing is $212.50

  • First client: 50% off – $106.25 — and maybe for easy math you’ll want to round the number to $100
  • Second client: $100
  • Third client: $100
  • Fourth client: $125
  • Fifth client: $150
  • Sixth client: $175
  • Seventh client: $195
  • Eight client: $225

This is how you can work up to the pricing you want. And increase as needed from there. Because as you become a more experienced photographer, you’ll have more skills, you’ll have more knowledge, and you’ll have more proof that you know what you’re doing.

Want some help with how to price your photography?

Check out my free photography pricing calculator! You’ll enter the details of your personal expenses, business expenses, and goals and you can skip the math and get a baseline price.

Click here for the FREE photography pricing calculator.

Photography Business Resources

How to Choose a Niche in Your Photography Business

Manage Your Finances as a Photographer

How to Start a Photography Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

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I'm Catie! Brand photographer based in the North Dallas, Texas area. 

I work with busy women CEOs who crave more than generic stock photos to promote their business. You want an effortless strategy to connecting with your ideal clients through personal branding photography.

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