How To Price Photography Packages To Book More Clients

February 23rd, 2021

We’ve all been there; the dreaded pricing process. No matter your genre, determining the right pricing can seem overwhelming. Even after being in business for a few years, you might be questioning whether your packages are still working for you. How do you know what’s right for you at this point in your journey, and how you should price your photography packages?

First, let’s be honest; as you’ve probably realized, there’s no magic one size fits all price. What you charge depends largely on the following 5 factors: location, experience, type of client, time invested, and expenses. If you haven’t taken time to break all that down yet for your business, there’s no time like the present! I go in-depth on all these in a previous post, How to Price Photography Services.

Before we get too far, you’ll also want to decide what business model is right for you, relative to your photography genre. Will your packages include only your actual services without any files or products? Will you be doing In Person Sales? Are you thinking of including digital files or products?

As a Family and Personal Brand Portrait photographer and filmmaker, I’ve tried combinations of all the above. As we dive into this, I want to remind you again; there’s no “wrong” way to do this. There are methods that work with your life and skill level right now, and there are some that don’t. Never forget that YOU are the owner of your business, and have the flexibility to change your pricing and selling workflow if they aren’t right for you anymore. Sometimes this means losing clients…with good planning and some risks, it can result in gaining more of your ideal clients.

The 7 Elements you should consider when pricing your packages

Let’s consider what might be included for services. The list below will help you clearly state to clients what items are included in their fee. Keep in mind, what will actually be included in your packages varies widely depending on your genre. For instance, hair and makeup artist services will make your headshot or family sessions feel very high end. However, they don’t make as much sense for sports photography!

  1. Number of hours realistically needed for the shoot type and the number of images you promise
  2. A clear minimum number of images that will be in their gallery, or length of video footage
  3. How many locations will be included, or the set location if it will only be in one place
  4. Number of outfit changes, if applicable to your genre
  5. Any special services, such as hair, makeup, outfits provided, second shooters, etc
  6. Amount and/or Size of any digital files, if included
  7. List and/or amount of any physical products included (for example: boxes of printed proofs, framed prints, canvas or metal wall art, or albums.)

How To Create A Portrait Package

The example below is a fairly standard basic session package for many established portrait (eg. family, senior, headshot) photographers in my local area: 

  • 1 to 1.5 hours session length
  • 35+ edited images in a private online photo gallery
  • digital files (sizes range from hi res to smaller “social media” files depending on the business model) 
  • 1-2 outfits
  • products such as albums or wall art (when appropriate for the genre)

When putting your packages together, think about your brand, ideal clients, and what you’d like clients to walk away with once the interaction is over. If there is a product that you feel is integral for your genre and brand, such as an heirloom photo album, you might include only web-sized digital files but add an album as part of your package. Some photographers will also offer In-Person sales, and gather for a consultation when the images are ready. This is a great way to boost sales if you don’t feel that including products in packages is the right fit for you right now. 

I can’t emphasize this enough – as the business owner, you are in control of what you want to include. With this in mind, I think it is important to remind you that most clients do expect some quantity of digital files as part of the package, so they can share them on social media. When starting out, I know many photographers today give all the digital images via a thumb drive or file sharing. This doesn’t have to mean every file at original size; it can be smaller files with a release to share on social media instead. Decide what feels right for you and adjust as your business grows and changes.

When including products or digital files in your packages, in addition to all the factors that go into your regular session pricing, it’s necessary to calculate the costs of the products you include. Look at what you charge individually for the products, then combine the two figures. Often the product price will be discounted slightly, so the clients save by purchasing the session and products together. Hence calling it a “Package” instead of a simply a “session”! 

I like to use my google drive to easily access all my pricing information at once; spreadsheets show the base cost, shipping, and selling price of my most popular product, in addition to my other base business costs. This way, I can quickly add in whatever I need when I decide to make adjustments to my packages.

Maybe you have more time – or less time – for your photography business than you expected when you started this creative journey. Either way, consider these suggestions as a way to add value to your sessions, for the benefit of both your clients and your bottom line!

Amanda is a member of Zenfolio’s Support Team and the Owner/Photographer of Wild Orchard Studios photography in Southern Maine. A professional Lifestyle Family and Branding photographer for over 10 years, she’s also been a contributing writer and photographer for Maine Women Magazine since 2018. Amanda lives in the wilds of Maine with her husband, two daughters, and grumpy cat. If there’s such a thing as too much dark chocolate, she hasn’t heard about it.