How Much to Charge for a Professional Portrait

Professional portraits are used for so many different reasons and aspects. Families spend time and money many years in a row to capture memories and the growth of their family. Children portrait photography is a growing segment of this line of business. There are several things to consider when deciding what to charge for your professional portrait work.

Step 1- Decide on a Sitting or Session Fee

Many portrait studios charge per session, commonly referred to as a "sitting." These fees generally range from $50 all the way up to $1,000. The session fees are generally paid up-front by the photographer's subjects, before beginning a session in the portrait studio or outside. In order to decide what you should charge per session, take a look at your business plan. Have you defined your market niche? Who is your typical patron or client? Is your typical patron a high-end client willing to pay more for a better quality photo, or are you catering to middle-of-the-road clientele? Ask yourself these questions to determine your position in the marketplace.

Next, consider what you would pay yourself per hour. This can help you determine your hourly rate. You need to put a value on your time. A session usually ranges from one to three hours in length. Come up with different session types and packages. Once you have determined the value you place on your time, consider overhead.

A portion of your overhead, or monthly expense, should be allocated and included in your session pricing. It should not be much, but there should be some sort of allocation.

Step 2 - Determine Minimum Orders

Some photographers require that a patron spend a specific amount for their photography prints. So, when someone purchases a session, they also must commit to spending a certain amount of money buying the digital prints. This may or may not fit in with your business plan. A mall photographer would not have these types of requirements and constraints, but a photographer that caters to a more demanding clientele may include this in their client expectation list.

Step 3 - Printing Photos Prices

If you send your photographs out for print, decide whether you will add an administrative fee or a processing fee to the back end of these prices. This fee can be rolled up in the package or individual print prices. Usually, this additional sum of money helps to defray the costs of overhead and the equipment used during the individual sessions. Again, you need to know your target demographic and you need to understand how much individuals are willing to pay for your services.

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