Are you a professional photographer dealing with too much stress over how to price wedding photography?
Do you spend too much time reworking your price list because you’re not 100% confident in the pricing of your wedding photography packages and collections?
If so, I can totally sympathize with you, and all the other wedding photographers who are in the same boat. I’ve been there myself, having spent countless hours revising and tweaking my own price list in an effort to find the sweet spot clients would invest in.
Sadly, this isn’t only a tragic misuse of our valuable time, but it’s also unnecessary. I decided a long time ago to use a system as close to a formula as I could find to rid myself of the nagging headache that came with learning how to book weddings and price wedding photography…
Wedding Photography Pricing Headaches Are A Confidence Problem
Basically, the symptom of forever tweaking price lists is a result of a lack of confidence somewhere in your business, the cause of which could be any of the following:
- Lack of confidence in the value of our skills
- Poor sales techniques
- Inadequate understanding of the costs of doing business
- Inaccurate cost of sales information
- Attracting the wrong prospects with broken marketing
Whether the problem is caused by one or more of the above, or something else, identifying the source and eliminating it is critical to the survival of your business. You can then focus on creating price lists that you’re comfortable with.
Wedding Photography Pricing Is No Guessing Game
One of the problems with how to price wedding photography is a lot of professional photographers make up price lists based almost on guesswork.
Some look at the prices other photographers in the area are charging, but another photographer’s price list has little do with our own prices, since we have no idea what their overheads and cost of doing business might be.
To eliminate this unnecessary and inaccurate guesswork, I developed an Excel workbook to calculate wedding collection prices, which would allow me to focus more on the costs of doing business for each collection I wanted to create.
You Can’t Argue With The Numbers
While this photography pricing calculator is not intended to give you hard and fast numbers, and I make no warranty or claims on the results, it can act as a point of reference if you’re caught in the game of constantly second-guessing yourself.
If you face the facts of what you need to charge in order to maintain a healthy photography business, it becomes easier to eliminate the knee-jerk emotional tendencies to fiddle with your pricing. This leaves you in a better position to focus on becoming a better marketer and seller.
Download The Spreadsheet
I’ve created a spreadsheet for you that takes a lot of the hard work out of it, which you can download here:
Simply right-click (ctrl-click on a Mac) the button below to save the Excel file to your computer:
Disclaimer: I’m not an accountant and, while every effort has been made to ensure the spreadsheet is error-free, I’m not responsible for pricing problems encountered by using it.
It should be self-explanatory but let me know if you have questions about it.
How To Price Wedding Photography With The Pricing Tool
Once you’ve downloaded the spreadsheet, open it up in Excel and you’ll see it contains two worksheets:
- Wedding Books
In each worksheet, some fields are meant to be unchanged, or are automatically calculated for you, which are rendered in a light gray color, for ease of recognition.
The “Wedding Books” worksheet allows you to set up three different series of wedding books, each with 30, 40, 50, 60 or 70 page variants, where you can enter the printing costs, cost of covers, cases and shipping etc. The mark-up value is taken from the constants on the “Collections” worksheet for primary products.
The “Collections” worksheet is the one you’ll use to set up your actual wedding collections and calculate your final price list.
This spreadsheet uses the “cost of sales” methodology to calculate retail prices based upon the cost of materials, plus factoring in the cost of your own time spent on the project, with an appropriate mark-up factor applied.
You’ll see all the fields where you can enter your numbers are shown with a light green background. Again, any fields that are automatically calculated for you are rendered in light gray.
First, you should make sure you’re happy with the five main constants. These will be used to calculate many of the prices in the price list:
- Your in-studio hourly rate
- Your on-location hourly rate
- Mark-up factor for your time
- Mark-up factor for primary products (e.g. wedding books and print sets)
- Mark-up factor for secondary products (e.g. cards)
Next, you’ll need to enter all the costs and values for the various items with a light green background:
- Assistant on wedding day
- Second photographer
- Second assistant
- Design time per page or side for a book (e.g. 0.125 hrs = 10 mins.)
- Hi-resolution DVD (enter your cost and your price)
- Low-resolution DVD (enter your cost and your price)
- Slideshow DVD (enter your cost and your price)
- DVD Cases (enter your cost and your price)
- Pack of 25 cards
- Wedding website
- Print sets (up to 4)
To create a collection, you’ll see 6 columns labeled “A” to “F”, all of them with light green boxes in the places where you can enter data. You simply need to enter the quantity of each item to be included in the collection.
When you enter a quantity for a wedding book, the book design costs will be automatically calculated for you, and factored into the final totals at the bottom of the worksheet.
Understanding The Calculated Prices
The bottom area of the spreadsheet shows the results of the calculations, based on the data you entered.
The first 3 lines show the estimated production costs, time costs and a suggested retail price for each collection.
The next 4 lines show an analysis of your profit (absolute amount and as a percentage) , plus the overall cost of sales.
The next line allows you to specify your target cost of sale for each individual collection. As a reminder, cost of sale is what it costs you in materials to make the product, expressed as a percentage of the retail price. The cost of sales numbers are initially set to the industry-standard of 25%, but you can enter any value you like to see how it affects the suggested retail price of the collection. It’s highly recommended that your cost of sales don’t exceed 35-40% for a healthy business.
Finally, once you have your finished wedding price list, you simply need to know how to present your photography price list to your prospects.