Blog - Jamie Delaine Watson



How to Price Photography

5 Pricing Mistakes to Avoid in Your Photography Business: Plus Free Bonus E-Book and Income/Expenses Calculator!

Determining what to charge for your services and products as a wedding and portrait photographer isn’t easy… actually, it can be down-right overwhelming. When I started my photography business almost nine years ago, I wish another photographer had sat me down and taught me how to price my photography. Although I can’t sit beside you and be that photographer for you… I want to do what I can and share 5 Pricing Mistakes to Avoid in Your Photography Business.

1. Undervaluing Your Work

When you’re starting out as a photographer, it’s easy to charge a lot less than you’re worth. Making $1000 for “one Saturday shooting a wedding” sounds like a lot of money to somebody with a hourly-wage mindset. What we fail to understand is the costs involved in shooting and delivering a wedding. A large portion of your $1000 fee needs to go towards covering overhead expenses and your work before and after the actual wedding day.

2. Having an Hourly Mindset

Which brings us to Mistake #2, having an hourly mindset. You’re a business owner – not an hourly employee at a company and until we have a firm grasp on the difference, we won’t succeed with our pricing. There are hours of time involved in running a photography business. Here are just a few tasks that are not related to a specific job but need to be completed for a successful business:

  • writing blog posts
  • updating your website portfolio
  • designing a welcome magazine for your brides
  • meeting with potential brides and grooms
  • location scouting
  • cleaning and maintaining gear
  • dropping welcome packages to your brides off at the post office
  • designing documents for your pricing and products
  • answering emails and new inquiries
  • brainstorming new creative ways to package
  • bookkeeping and accounting
  • writing newsletter updates
  • scheduling/writing social media updates
  • researching the best album or print companies
  • attending conferences to up-level your skills
  • reading business books to improve understanding

It is impossible to calculate an hourly rate for all of these tasks. Instead, we need to price our products and services in a way that we can make a ‘full time income’ from our workload – and spend some of our days on the above tasks.

3. Comparing Yourself to the Competition

Observing the photography market in your city isn’t always a negative thing but it’s important to realize not everyone else is doing it correctly. If you see a photographer charging $2000 for weddings and including an engagement session, album and 3 canvas prints in the price… I guarantee she’ll be out of business in a couple years. (Unless she’s superwoman and shooting 65-80 weddings a year. Then maybe you could make a living doing this.)

Set yourself up for success, even five years down the road. Set profitable prices that work for you and your market. If you’re in a small town where the average photographer charges $2000 – $6000 may be out of reach for the market. However, by providing ridiculously gorgeous images and an amazing customer experience alongside, you could charge $3500-$4500.

4. Not Understanding What Each Job or Product Costs You

I have good news – pricing isn’t magic. It’s math. You don’t have to choose numbers out of the air and hope for the best. For your average wedding collection booked, make a list of every item included: second shooter, online gallery, client gifts, wedding album, engagement guestbook.

Next to each item, list your cost. Add the total cost of items to find your Cost of Goods Sold for your wedding collection. By subtracting this from your retail price, you’ll find your Net Profit for each wedding. You can apply this same way of thinking to your products! You can’t set accurate prices until you understand your costs.

5. Being Ignorant to Your Business Expenses

Every business has a break-even number: a specific amount of income you must generate every year to cover expenses.

There are fixed costs (Mortgage/Rent, Internet, Business Insurance, Software Subscriptions, Cell Phone, Car Insurance, Canon Professional Membership, Domain and Blog Hosting) and variable costs (Advertising, Packaging Supplies, Coffee/Restaurant Meetings, Independent Contractors/Office Assistants, Education/Conferences, Branding/Design, Car Maintenance, Gasoline.)

I recommend having a written list of your fixed expenses (which won’t change) and a list of your estimated variable expenses (over-estimate your costs, as these could change!) By adding the two numbers together for the year, you’ll determine what you need to generate in income to break even in your photography business for the year.

Did you know 1 in 2 entrepreneurs who start small businesses fail within the first five years? I want continued success to be the story of your photography business. You may have a passion for your work and incredible talent to go alongside… but unless you are confident in the area ofknowing your numbers you won’t succeed.

I want to share an incredible resources for photographers called Knowing Your Numbers! KYN is a step-by-step workbook to help you set profitable prices for your photography products and services. Read more Knowing Your Numbers right here.

FeaturedSocial Media

How to Use Instagram for Business

Instagram is an awesome platform for sharing your brand and business with the world. It’s simple, it’s clean, based around great photography and easy to use. Best of all, unlike Facebook and Pinterest, every single one of your followers will see your posts in their feed. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Instagram and the power it has for your business.

Curious about the proper way to use Instagram for business? Read on!

How to Use Instagram for Business: A List of DO'S and DON'TS for Instagram success! PLUS: Watch a FREE video tutorial on editing iPhone photos!

But where’s a business owner looking to dominate on Instagramm to start? Let my list of ideas for How to Use Instagram for Business guide you below!

[Update] Due to the overwhelming popularity of this post in the Pinterest and Google world, I’ve developed a Grow Your Biz with Instagram Course! It’s currently closed for enrolment, however, you can join my wait list for my free 3-part training by clicking here.

I’ve been on Instagram for years but it wasn’t until one year ago that I started ‘analyzing’ my online presence. What was I sharing and why was I sharing it? Did I take notice of how certain images looked in my feed or did I simply post whatever I wanted? I’m not saying we should “perfect” our lives by any means, however, it’s important to understand how our feeds represent our business and what we share (photos and content) does matters.

Social Media

Using Pinterest for Business

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media platforms lately, with estimates of almost 100 million active users monthly. Since the launch of Pinterest, the majority of users have been female but we are seeing a shift in the demographics of new sign ups. One third of users signing up for Pinterest now are male, a huge increase, which means new opportunities for many small businesses that aren’t solely female-focused.

If you’re ready to start using Pinterest for your business, let’s get started!

Using Pinterest for Small Business: a complete how-to guide! BONUS DOWNLOAD: The 10 Pinterest Boards Ever Pinner Should Have!

Regardless of your industry, there is an opportunity for your small business to be on Pinterest. If you’re not on Pinterest (or you are, but don’t have a Pinterest strategy) you’re missing out.

But don’t fret. It’s okay! I used to be one of those people. I had a Pinterest account, I used it to pin inspiring words or photos but I didn’t really know what I was doing and certainly not how to use it for my business or my blog. I pinned a handful of times a month and that was that.

Since making a few key changes to my pinterest strategy, 25% of my blog visitors find me on Pinterest. The best part? 86% of visitors from Pinterest were new, meaning they had never been to my blog before. WOW. That’s some crazy results.


Learning Fixed and Variable Small Business Costs

Most creatives start their own service-based business because they love what we do and hope to make a living doing more of what they love. Very quickly, they discover 90% of owning a successful business is working on the business and only 10% is working in the business. One of the major parts of the “90%” is dealing with your company financials.

Learning Fixed and Variable Small Business Costs in Your Small Business! Plus a bonus download to help you figure out your costs!


How to Write a “Start Here” Page

When new readers first arrive on your blog, do they know where to start reading? Sure, you might have an about page, maybe you have a bio image in your sidebar and a little blurb about who you are and what you do… but I don’t think that’s good enough anymore. Readers have short attention spans. Don’t blame them – you do, too. Are you grabbing your readers’ attention from the get-go? And if not, how do we solve this? A Start Here page.

How to Write a Captivating

Start Here vs. About

An About page is a more personal look into the author behind the blog, written more as a mini-biography. You can include: how you became a blogger, why you love blogging along with personal facts about your life and family. On the other hand, a Start Here page must be no-nonsense, no-fluff, straight to the point. It’s all about your reader – not about you.


How To Start a Blog with WordPress

I’ve been blogging for almost a decade now and it’s no secret I think blogging is the coolest invention since the printing press. (Well, maybe that’s still cooler, I really like books a lot. And there would be no books without the printing press. But you get the point. Blogs are cool.)

How to Start a Blog with WordPress in Under 5 Minutes: PLUS a free bonus download of some amazing inexpensive wordpress themes to get you started!

Starting your own blog doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s simpler than ever before thanks to a few awesome companies: BlueHost and WordPress. If you have 5 minutes to set aside right now, we can get an awesome blog up and running for you in less time than it will take to make dinner tonight.

(On that note, you’re starting a blog today! Don’t make dinner. Order in!)