You can’t sell $10 8 x 10’s and have a real photography business. All businesses have costs and common goals to make a profit. If your photography business makes no profit, or you earn less than minimum wage, what is the point of all the stress, worry and time investment? Life would be much easier to get a job at the local convenience store, work your shift, make more money and go home. Money isn’t the end-all be-all of a business, but it is important to pay the bills and make a living. Price your services appropriately to maintain your business.
This website offers a useful cost calculator to find out what a photography business costs to run and pay you a salary; it is a worthwhile exercise. When you have finished, go one more step, and plan the number of photo sessions you’d like to do a day. Divide the amount of money you need to make daily, by the number of photo sessions you would like to do per day, and that is the average amount of money you need to make every session.
Generally, I either hear:
- I’m not good enough to make that much money for each session, OR
- I want to serve those who can’t afford those costs.
The answer to question 1) is: Postpone your business until you have the necessary education and experience to charge appropriate prices to make your business profitable, worthwhile and supported.
And the answer to question 2) is: The budgets of others are not your concern; you have to cover your costs. Only until you establish a profitable photo business, can you can set aside time and money to projects you believe in. Until then, your job is to build a sustainable business, with a valuable service. People who find value in your work will find a way to pay for it; the ones that don’t are not your clients.
I understand there is sometimes a psychological dilemma, when it come to charging the right prices for your work, to keep your business healthy. These dilemmas need to be resolved, or you need pursue photography as a hobby. Tough Love? Maybe, but the advice from is someone with experience.