A Wedding Photographer's Pricing Structure

 

Structuring your prices as a wedding photographer or any business in the creative industry can be a difficult task, especially if you’re self employed/running your own business. Not only is the creative industry a competitive one, it’s also a very saturated market with some very interesting pricing structures. With so many businesses charging less and less for their services, it’s easy to price your own services too low, but go in too high and there’s the potential you might loose custom. Pricing your services is a huge task in itself, but once you reach that point you then have questions to ask yourself regarding deposits, payment plans, where will you advertise your prices and will you offer discounts.  

The answer to all of the above, well, there isn't one answer that fits all. There’s various things that you will have to factor in when deciding on your price structure. It all depends on the lifestyle you want to live, whether your business is your sole income, how much of your savings you’re willing to spend on the business and much much more!

So this blog post won’t tell YOU how much you should be charging but it will give you an insight into how I approached my pricing, how I felt confident to raise those prices, who and how I approached my ideal clients and didn't get strung up on what the ‘market leaders’ were charging. 

What do I offer and for how much? 

If you follow my work regularly you’ll be more than aware that I only promote one package in my wedding photography. This isn't because I’m too lazy to offer more packages, it’s because I try and keep my business as open and straightforward as it can possibly be. Again, there’s no right or wrong method when it comes to packages and deals, and there’s plenty (if not the bigger percentage) offering bespoke packages that give their clients different options. For me, capturing a wedding from start to finish and documenting those stories is what keeps me interested in the genre of wedding photography and it’s important you keep doing what makes you tick/ brings enjoyment in your business. Make sure your own pricing and packages reflect what you love doing and how long you want to work on those projects / weddings.

Once you have your ideal ‘package’ that you would be more than happy to do day in day out, you’ve then got to begin pricing your services. There’s no doubt you will probably have a look at some other businesses / creatives who work in your industry and see what they charge, and whilst I think it’s important you decide your prices on your own rules, there’s no harm in seeing what others charge. 

It’s very easy in your first few years of business to assume you won’t be making any profits and unless you’ve come up with the best new entrepreneurial product then it’s most probably true. You still should have a forecast in place that will predict your earnings / losses in the coming years and it’s important you keep checking back on your forecasts. The more you are conscious about the profits/loss your business is making the more you will feel motivated to progress and grow. 

So how much do I charge on average and how did I land on that figure? Well that is probably one of the tricky questions that each individual will probably give you a different answer for. When I raised my price, which you can read more about below, I took a long hard look at the business and wrote down a few factors that I needed to be conscious about when pricing my services. Firstly how much costs are, everything from Camera Gear, Insurance, Transport, Office Space and of course how much I wanted to earn each year. Secondly how much my own experience and education was worth, I spent a good 5 years in education studying photography followed by 2 years working for other photographers. Thirdly the demand for my services and how many people were booking me and actually how many of those brides & grooms said ‘Luke, your work is worth so much more than you’re charging!’. 

I won’t spend too much time talking about clients on this blog post, but it’s worth considering your clients for a minute. Usually you have two types of clients, in most creative industries. Firstly the ones who come to you because they love and value your work. They’re usually the ones who will have suggested you could charge more for your services and are more interested in the work you produce rather than the price you charge. These type of clients will make up 99% of your clients and they’re the type of people you want to be producing awesome work for. The other type of clients are usually the ones who come to you because they need a ‘wedding photographer’, ‘graphic designer’, ‘web designer’ etc. More likely than not they probably found you on Google rather than coming through a recommendation or just a keen follower of your work. They will usually ask for a discount and suggest another business that is only charging X amount and see if you will drop your prices. When I first started Luke Holroyd Photography there were too many times I catered for these people because I didn't want to loose clients, but if I can suggest one thing for you to take away from today's blog post it’s to kindly decline most discounts. It’s not only a high risk for your business, just imagine if another client who you are providing the same services for found out someone else had paid more than someone else, it also devalues your work. You want to be hired because clients love your work and like you as a person and not because booking a wedding photographer is just something you do. 

The more you are confident with your prices and your business, the more people will take you seriously. Obviously you price yourself in accordance with the audience you want to attract but make sure you don’t devalue your services and always consider the lifestyle you want to lead - your business SHOULD make a profit!

Raise Your Price

In 2014 I raised my Wedding Photography prices from £500 to over £1000, back then the thought terrified me and I genuinely thought it could destroy my business. You must remember that running a business needs to be profitable and that isn't just the cost of your overheads vs your incoming invoices, you also need to consider your own hourly rate and look at the prices out there in the market. 

I decided to raise my prices as each wedding, including the administration before, pre wedding shoots, the wedding day, editing, and more administration takes me 1-2 working weeks in full, not to mention my expenses such as camera gear, editing software, printing costs, packaging and much much more.

Finally, don't be scared about losing business if you raise your prices. In most cases as long as your photography is of a high standard, that price reflects your own value you see in your work and customers will see that. If you're like me you will want people to book you as they want you to photograph their Wedding, a reasonable price will reflect your professionalism and the business.

Promote Your Prices

There’s a strange business practice out there that some photographers and creatives do and that’s not sharing their prices openly. Wedding photographers especially can be very secretive when it comes to posting their prices online, whether that’s to stop competition from viewing them or they’re not confident in the prices they’re charging (whether that’s too little or too much). 

There’s two simple reasons why you should always share your prices online, firstly it saves you a shed load of time replying to emails. If you’re like me you will probably receive 10-20 emails per week enquiring about your prices and packages, having those available online means you can direct them straight to that page or brochure and not spend 10 mintues typing out an email. Secondly you know that every potential client who then contacts you after viewing your prices are genuinely interested in your services and share a passion or love for your work. Don’t be afraid of other businesses looking at your price list, take it as a compliment and don’t spend anytime worrying about it, I can guranteee you have more productive things to be doing in the business! 

30 Tips to Build Excitement Around Your Business

Today I'm sharing 30 simple steps you can take to build excitement around your business. I constantly find myself telling other creatives and beginners to generate excitement and buzz around their work and it's something we should all be conscious of. Your audience is one of the most important aspects of a creative business, they use your services, recommended your business to friends and family and take an interest in what you do. That's why it's important that your audience keep engaged with your business and they are encouraged to return on a regular basis. 

Remember these ideas can be adapted, used together and built upon to generate excitement around your services and website. It's also important that you're at a stage in your business which you are comfortable at before you build upon that, I would encourage you to read my 'How I went from Freelance to a Full Time Photographer' before you tackle adding excitement to your business.

1. Make Goals: Make one of these 30 ideas a goal for your photography business. If you read my recent blog 'Your 2016 Goal' you will know that setting goals is always important when you're running a business, be it Daily, Weekly, Monthly or even Yearly. Set yourself a goal and share it with your audience, vistors will be intrigued to see your progression and your end result. 

2. Seek Free Advertising: Advertising is highly regarded in the creative industry and there are plenty of ways to maximise a budget to really drive traffic to your website. Although for most creatives and photographers there may be only a small or non existing budget for advertising.  You can still advertise without a budget; social media is largely free to advertise and when maximised to its full potential with some effective marketing can be a brilliant source of driving traffic. Also consider local advertising: notice boards, local newspapers and online directories.  

3. Enter Competitions: Many competitions online require your audience to vote for your images, people who follow your work will generate excitement around it. Any features or succesfull competitions will drive more traffic to your photography site.

4. Get yourself Featured on Blogs: There’s hundreds of bloggers out there that are always looking to feature new photographers' and work. Features on your work can lead to audience growth, new traffic to your website and can make you look like an expert or professional in your industry. 

5. Create Video Video is fast becoming the dominant force on social media, it's a great to way to engage with your audience and drive that traffic back to your website. Use a video to showcase your work, introduce yourself to your audience or show new visitors around your site.  If you're interested in getting to know me and how I used video: Meet Luke - Creative Wedding Photographer in Yorkshire

6. Network If you read my latest post 'Start Networking Face to Face, it works!' you will know how highly I regard networking. Networking was one of the biggest tools I maximised when starting my business and I still continue to network now, it's not only a fantastic way to reach new audiences in your community and gain trust but also a brilliant way to build relationships and create a database of talented businesses and creatives in your area. 

7. Teach a class: A few weeks ago I was invited to share my knowledge at a local high school, you can see my results here School Creatives: Year 9. If you have a wealth of knowledge, sharing your expertise with others is not only rewarding for them but also a great way to add creditability to your name.  

8. Always showcase your work: Audiences can easily loose interest so always make sure you share your new work and little facts about yourself. Keeping yourself current and fresh is mega important in the creative industry. 

9. Generate Endorsements: My own wedding photography business works both on advertising and word of mouth, both HUGE tools you should be maximising in your business, generating reviews, edosrosments and positive feedback about your business is not only free advertising but also great feedback for your own professional development. 

10. Start a Blog: Blogs are a fantastic tool and usually a free service you can add onto your website. I highly recommend writing a blog and there’s plenty of reasons why. It not only makes your website more ‘attractive’ to Google, pushing your content further up the pecking order, it also gives your viewers another platform to get to know you or your business more. Lastly, it helps you keep motivated and document your progression, consider challenging yourself to write 2 blog posts a month, you can always change that figure over time.

11. Host Events: Hosting events such as training courses, seminars and workshops not only helps your audience gain trust in you and your skills but attracts new followers and creatives in your industry. The more people appreciate your skills and work the more likely they are to visit your website. 

12. Feedback is crucial: Asking for feedback from your family, friends, business associates and your audience is a great way to build your business. Consider how you will collate those results, either an online survey, a twitter poll or via email. 

13. Make Changes To Your Site: Rebranding is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website and will certainly bring you results. If you haven't got the time or finances to rebrand, making subtle changes to your website is still a brilliant tool. Consider updating the arrangement of images on your homepage each month, audiences will be more likely to stick around on your site if they see it has changed and more likely to re visit to be the first to see the changes. Remember to generate hype around the changes to generate excitement.

14. Go Live\Host a Webinar: With the boom of Facebook Live and webinars ever so popular at the moment, it's important your business is seen to maximise them. Use a webinar or Facebook Live to offer some of your knowledge or to give an insight into your daily routine. 

15. Give Something Away For Free: Everybody loves free stuff. Giving something away that is relevant to your work, it doesn't have to be physical, giving away your knowledge and advice is a great way to attract new audiences. This will not only drive your current audience to you website but also non-followers. 

16. Guest Blog: Sharing your work, skills and knowledge on other websites gives you the platform to connect with a brand new audience. Ensure that any guest posts link back to your own website. If you want to read who has guest Blogged on my site, head over to: Guest Blog Posts

17. Partner With Another Creative: The creative industry is generally full of people who are more than willing to help others, whether you're working with others, outsourcing work, employing staff or just meeting up for a beer with someone, use their business knowledge to grow your own. 

18. Utilise Twitter Hashtags: The Networking opportunities on social media, especially Twitter, are something you should grab by the horns. You may consider starting your own hashtag, but alternatively there are plenty of existing hashtags you can jump onboard with. 'Twitter Hours' happen each day every week and are great for networking and sharing your work. Some of my personal favourites are #Yorkshirehour & #Weddinghour - and there's plenty more: List of Twitter Hours

19. Keep Active: Keeping fit and healthy in life can add positive energy and motivation to your business. Be conscious about how much time you spend in the office and working on projects. Don’t let work rule your life, find time to spend on your own and with family and friends and that positive energy will transfer back to your business.    

20. Use Sales and Promotions: Another old school method of building your business that can still be used today is to offer discounts, sales and promotions to generate interest. If you have excess stock or want to push a new product then use offers to push it out there. 

21. Share Your Knowledge: Using your website to share your experience and knowledge of the industry provides useful information to creatives and is more likely to be shared on social media, giving away free advice is a one way ticket to you gaining a larger audience.

22. Challenge Yourself: There are plenty of challenges out there, from 365 projects to writing a blog post each week, challenging yourself with creating new goals that can help your business grow. 

23. Give Back to Charity: Whilst giving to charity isn’t going to grow your sales, it not only shows you’re doing your bit for charity but it adds more credibility to your business. 

24. Take a Holiday: Similar to keeping active, sometimes we need to take a break from our work and businesses. Vacations, with your partner, family & friends or even on your own, is a perfect time to sit back and reflect on your work, on your return you will feel revitalised and more than likely approach things with a fresh perspective. 

25. Create a day-to-day Schedule: The ‘daily grind’ can often become very repetitive and unproductive, bad habits and time management are downfalls of many creative businesses out there. Take a read of my ‘A day in the life of’ to see how I schedule may day and consider creating your own. Remember to limit your time spent on distractions such as social media and ensure you take plenty of breaks throughout the day. 

26. Hire People: Hiring staff or virtual assistants is a big step up for some businesses but can also be very beneficial. Having an extra pair of hands means you can delegate jobs that may take up a considerable amount of time in the business, leaving you to focus your energy on building your business/creating awesome work/growing your audience. An employee/virtual assistant can take on tasks such as emailing, social media posting and general administration duties. 

27. Share your personal work: Whilst it’s important not to confuse your audience, sharing your own creativity and personal work from time to time can really help grow your business further. Be conscious the work is still in keeping with your brand or alternatively you could create a separate website or Instagram to showcase the work.  

28. Generate Hype Around A New Offering If you plan to add something new to your photography, be it wedding albums, a new package, or a new feature, it will no doubt attract your audience back to your photography site. If you want to drive even more traffic, start to generate hype before you release the new product / service. Use social media to your advantage by sharing behind the scenes and sneak previews.

29. Work For Others: You might find it crazy that experienced creatives would work for someone else but you as a creative are always learning and adding to your proffesional development. You don't have to assume you're working under someone, you might be lending a hand or working on par with them, who knows what you will learn that you can then add to your own business. 

30. Showcase Your Tools: Audiences love to see what you get up to behind the scenes, what equipment you're using, what software you have or even just what coffee you drink on a morning. Consider writing reviews or small blog posts that excite your audience and also let them into a part of the business they wouldn't otherwise see. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

 

Why your marketing hasn’t worked By Stewart Leahy

Super excited to be featuring another great guest blog post from The Design Mechanics & Stewart Leahy who have 20 years of website design, branding, growth and digital marketing – they're not just the experts, they're the industry-leaders in experience too. I've attended many of the Growth & Marketing bootcamps run by Stewart and the Design Mechanics and I would highly recommended to any creative business or any business owner for that matter! Let's get straight into Stewart's expert blog post: 

"Because I’m a blunt kind of guy I’m going to tell you up-front why your marketing isn’t working. It’s because you are not doing it.

Now, before you say to me ‘well done Stewart, but that’s blindingly obvious’ let me expand: the problem is that you THINK you are doing it. You’ve made a plan, you’ve identified who you want to target, you have a brochure and you might be even be sending some emails out – but the devil is not in the detail, it is in the doing.

Most businesses do not fail because they lack a plan, they fail because of poor implementation of that plan. Grand ideas become watered-down token actions as motivation evaporates… the real threat to your business is not your competition, it is the status quo.

Your sales and marketing strategy should never be set in stone. It should be flexible enough to take advantage of new opportunities that come along; it’s far too easy to get distracted by new ideas instead of seeing through the fundamental actions you have already committed to – and by ‘fundamental’ I mean implementing the ideas and strategies that will fundamentally change your business.

‘Commitment’ is doing the thing you said you would do long after the mood you said it in has passed and it may be that your role as a business owner or manager is not to try and implement these strategies yourself. The success of many businesses has come about not by a one-man army but a motivated team working towards a focused goal where everyone is accountable.

Often, our role as an agency is to make sure fundamental strategies are implemented ‘long after the mood the client said them in has passed’ – to create a drumbeat that we know the client would likely not keep to if we were not holding them accountable. After all, the success and growth of my company depends on the success and growth of our clients.

So take a look at all the unfulfilled ideas and strategies you’ve had over the past twelve months. Did they fail because they were ‘poor’ ideas, or just because you didn’t have the motivation, expertise or courage to properly see them through?"

More about Stewart Leahy and The Design Mechanics:

Stewart Leahy is the Design Mechanics sales and marketing guru, having worked his way up from the ground floor in the sales and marketing industry he is now the go-to man if you want to generate more sales enquiries for your company.

Stewart is a regular presenter on sales, marketing and business growth for a number of organisations including the Chamber of Commerce, national trade bodies, blue chip organisations and is an appointed business mentor for the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme.

Stewart’s presentation style of “telling it like it is” makes for both an entertaining and valuable lesson in marketing – if you would like Stewart to talk at your event or business group call him on 01484 841 088.

For more information visit The Design Mechanics Website

Work with people who share the same ethos as you

So you probably all know me by now and you are all probably well aware of the type of people who book me to capture their awesome wedding days. Something I hear mentioned to me all the time is ‘your clients must be in the best of moods’  and they’re right, I’m lucky enough that I only capture ‘happy’ people. Obviously 99% of people who are organising their wedding day are going to be fairly happy and in good spirits, but there is more to it than that, you want your clients to be excited that they chose YOU to capture their big day. The starting block for this is your portfolio. Your portfolio should scream what you love capturing, from there your own approach and personality should reinforce your love and creativity. Those clients who book you should value your photography and you as a creative and not think of you just as ‘the photographer’. It may appear like a strange approach from a wedding photographer but it’s a decision that made me fall in love with my job even more. 

As humans we often struggle to express ourselves to the outside world, well at least until we’re comfortable with them. When we meet a complete stranger there’s something inside us that makes us hold back parts of our personality until we’re sure about the other person, or more commonly, until that other person starts to show signs of their own personality. There’s an easy way to avoid this as a creative or wedding photographer and it’s to make ‘you’ the person behind the lens, the most important part of the business. This is where my dislike of company names in the creative industry comes in, especially within wedding photography, calling yourself JB Ltd Photography looses all that personality and makes the clients feel like their talking to a company rather than an individual. Instead, if you go with Joe Blogs Photography, you’re instantly inviting those potential clients to get to know you a little bit more, even if it is just your name. Your online presence provides the perfect platform to share your own character to your audience and you instantly step over that hurdle of holding back part of your personality in your first meeting with clients. 

We often, not only in business but in our everyday lives, mask parts of ourselves to either hide our blemishes or enhance parts of our personality/skills etc. Unfortunately, this only makes your task harder, I’ve said it a million times before, honesty and trust is mega important when it comes to the creative industry, and keeping something back and over exaggerating things about us/the business that make us look more ‘normal’ in society will only eat away at your insides…and that’s a promise! 

When I started assisting wedding photographers I would do strange things like always wear the blandest of clothes to shoot weddings in, that way people wouldn't notice me, yes notice the guy running around with two large cameras and telling people where to stand…really!? I’d always take the easy route, usually because I was instructed to by the photographers I was working for, but things like, well if it’s raining the bride won’t be happy if we go outside so let’s just shoot in this dark reception room instead of grabbing the umbrellas and wellies and literally dancing in the rain.  Truth be told, this was killing my creativity inside but I just held back because I was the normal run of the mill photographer and that’s apparently what we think we should do…

As soon as I took the leap to start my own photography business I knew I couldn't hide my creativity and my need to be a little bit crazy just had to be unleashed. One of my first steps was to implement ‘me’ into the business, I wanted to focus my intentions of building a wedding business around me and my creativity rather than me work around the normal photography business. Yes a few people may not have booked due to my work not fitting the norm or my personality wasn't a good match for theirs. I was always taught by the photographers that I worked for that you must take on all work because that pays the bills. Ok ,so yes, work does pay the bills but if you’re not enjoying work, especially when you’re doing something you love, then how much money is that actually worth? 

When I began adding my own personality into Luke Holroyd Photography I quickly, very quickly, realised it was a huge asset. I’m not just talking about adding an ‘about me’ page to your website, it’s much more than that, it’s adding your personality into the social media posts you write, talking to people as YOU, rather than the business and sharing all your highs/lows & achievements/failures with everyone. What happens from there is couples/clients start hiring you not only for your awesome portfolio but because they want YOU and your PERSONALITY to capture their wedding day. I’m very often reminded that my personality and outlook on life matches the work I produce in my portfolio, and whilst it may not be a perfect match for everyone, I’m guaranteed that everyone who enquires for me to capture their big day are expecting me to be creative and try things out of the ordinary. 

There’s not an easy step to implement personality into a business and instant happiness won’t happen overnight, it takes time. But eventually it will pay off and you won’t be afraid to be yourself and share all your experiences with your audience, because they will be waiting to hear it and book you. 

If you enjoyed this blog post, I would highly recommend my recent post ‘The Importance of Risks’, it supports what I talked about above regarding implementing your creativity into the business, which will always come with an element of risk. 


I’d love to see how you have added your own personality into the business, feel free to share your stories in the comments below!