Regardless if you are a beginner photographer or seasoned professional you need to stand up for yourself and charge your services appropriately. It is not uncommon for new photographers to get stuck with this pricing question. They usually stress themselves unnecessarily as they are not sure how much should a beginner photographer charge.
Now back to the value of your time as a photographer. Let’s be straight, by lowering your prices you probably won’t attract more customers. People who are looking for photographer services usually have the money and they will pay an extra to get high-quality service. The issue is usually how to find qualified leads, or even better, how do they find you.
As for the pricing, there are no hard and fast rules. One thing does apply: know who your customers are, and you will understand how much you should (can) charge them.
If you are just getting started and you have no idea how much to charge for your services below are some guidelines.
Different Photography Styles Are Priced Differently
My suggestion is to avoid it until you have some experience under your belt. If you fail your gig on the wedding service, that can mean an instant end to your photography career. The impact would not be limited to the bride and groom alone but also to everyone who attended their wedding. They will all be interested to see pictures so they can share with those that couldn’t attend. Can you imagine how many people will hear the news of “not so great” photography work of yours?
Assuming you are ready, wedding photography prices for beginners can be up to $300. This is the first time a wedding photographer price for the whole event. I wouldn’t recommend going beyond that amount until you become an established photographer. Later, when you have a strong portfolio and your work is recognized then you can earn anywhere between $1500 up to $3500.
In order to get to that higher paycheck, you absolutely need to create your own photography brand.
Remember, every photography gig is a learning experience. Your goal is to learn. People that hired you are the mentors that are paying you to learn. How cool is that? This attitude will make it easy to work with you as you will not be focused on “what is in it for me”. The more you do it, the better you will be. This is a secret sauce to every skill and business venture.
Is there life outside of wedding photography? Well, for other photography styles, you can experiment with the pricing. But again, it all depends on the quality of your work.
Usually, some students will recommend his friend (beginner photographer) so that the students can have their photographs for “less” money.
This is a niche type of photography but as a beginner, it might mean a world to you. When starting this is one of the better photography types for a beginner. Consider this as lead generation exercise. Few years down the road when some of them decide to marry, who they will remember to invite for wedding photography? What about when they get their first child?
This photography is usually charged around $15 dollars per student. Take a few pictures and let them choose which one they will have printed.
Most of your earnings are going to go into marketing.
Don’t strive to be a jack of all trades but having mastery of 3 photography types is recommended when moving up the ladder.
Photography Prices for Semi-professional
You are not at the top yet, but you are slowly getting there, this is how I would describe a semi-professional photographer.
The usual rate for the semi-professional photographer: hourly rate $50 to 140 and per image is around $25 to 100.
Notice that per picture the charging rate hasn’t changed that much. It won’t change because this model is profitable for a photographer even at the beginning stages. It rewards your effort as a photographer, and it allows you to put more effort into every picture.
Your goal as a semi-professional won’t change that much. You will still be all about developing and building a brand of photography.
This means you have too much work on your plate. To correct this, you need to charge more for your service. By charging more you will lose a few of them, but you will still get the same amount of money because you increased your service costs.
Everyone will benefit from this because you won’t get burned out during the week and also you can increase the quality of your pictures by investing more time in them. Remaining customers will be happy.
Repeat this process until you can start having more time for yourself.
Getting to an elite photographer is harder than getting from a beginner to a professional one.
Let’s see why.
Photography Prices for Elite Photographer
Top of the chain photographer. You can’t go above this. Like in most industries there is an elite group. They are 2% in the world of photography and getting to this position these days is almost impossible. You will need to create a world-famous brand in order to become an elite.
I mean that goal is not unreachable, but it requires your life devotion or a lucky opportunity.
You can’t charge the same amount of money for service in every country or city. The price is not even the same in the USA, Europe or Asia. These prices are mostly for the USA, but they also differ in different cities.
You need to investigate what is standard pricing in your city. Explore and research how much other photographers in your country, and especially your city, charge for their services.
See how people will react to your prices if you lack customers as a beginner then maybe your prices are too high. If you have too much work then your prices are really low.
The bigger the population of the city the higher the prices are for the photography services.
If you are having trouble finding work in your city you will need to move to the bigger one.
Remember, depending on the type of gigs you are willing to take, this job might require travel. Your chances of becoming a professional photographer are slimmer if you don’t travel to other countries and don’t work every day on improving your photography brand.
Nermin Grahovic is a photography enthusiast and photography blogger based in Europe. His images are fun, creative and exciting and his love for travel makes its way into most of his images. Some of his favorite photography genres are portraits, street, landscape, and industrial photography.
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