I’ve blogged about why photography is expensive before, but the truth is I have no idea what I should be charging. Several months ago, I set January 31st as the end of my Folio Pricing— meaning, come January 31st, I would begin charging the actual rates I need to in order to keep myself in photography.
I’ve heard like thirty ways you can determine pricing, but the one that makes the most sense to me is by calculating my desired take-home salary + my cost of doing business (CODB) and dividing it by the number of shoots I’m doing a year.
I’ll start by figuring out my cost of doing business with NPPA’s CODB calculator.
Cost of my studio/office in a year? If I calculate an 8th of our rent and consider that my workspace, it’s $100 a month, or $1,200 a year.
Phone? Let’s say I don’t really use it for business purposes except $100 worth a year (phone calls and occasional data).
Photography equipment and accessories becomes a little scary…I’ve spent approximately $4,000 this year.
Equipment service and repairs, however? I’ll spend, ideally, less than $500 a year.
Computers? My laptop, which I use almost exclusively for work, was $1,400. Software? I have Adobe Creative Suite for $20 a month, or $240 a year.
Internet I would have regardless, so I put $0 there.
For my website & “portal hosting”, I’ll include my domain ($20 a year), my website ($20 a month), and my client management system ($380 a year). That’s a total of $640 a year.
Vehicle expenses related to work are minimal. Just gas here and there— maybe $200 a year.
Office supplies and furniture— minimal. $100 a year.
Postage and shipping, around $350 (albums are heavy!)
Professional development: about $1,000, if I’m taking courses or doing workshops, which I hope I’m doing.
Advertising & promotion: currently I spend nothing on this, but I’d like to hit $3500 in an ideal world. That’s about what it costs to make the front of your area’s Wedding Wire page. Wild, huh?
Subscriptions & dues should be tied in with the next one, insurance, as I get my insurance through my membership to PPA, which is $336 a year.
Health insurance: Luckily, I’m covered by my husband! But my copay for my medications is $1000 a year!
Legal and accounting services: $1500 at least. I’m not getting in trouble NOPE.
Taxes: I have no idea…this calculator suggested $6,000 so I’ll stick with that. I know I need to reserve at least a third of my income for it tho.
Office assistant: um nope
$600 for utilities a year, nothing for travel & entertainment (shouldn’t that be what the salary is for?)
OKAY! My annual expenses, or my cost of doing business, is $26,966. Not as bad as I was expecting, but this isn’t including ANYTHING for salary. And y’all, I don’t mind having a lower salary if it means I get to work with rad people who can afford me, but I have to make at least $35-40k a year.
My CODB + my salary come out to a very reasonable $66,966.00.
How many billable sessions do I divide this by? In an ideal world, I’d get to photograph 25 weddings year at an average of $2,000 a wedding. Which leaves me $16,966 to make up with portrait sessions. If I could do 60 portrait sessions in a year, they should each cost around $282.75!
I FIGURED OUT MY PRICING.
AND NOW YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHY IT IS WHAT IT IS. AND YOU DO, TOO.
GOODBYE, FOLIO PRICING!
HELLO, MAKE-A-LIVING PRICING!
LET’S DO THIS!