Pricing Strategies – Cost Based

There comes a point in every photographers life when you dream the dream and think of selling your work. Because, hey, you’ve got some shots that are just as good as the pros. And once you get there, you have to figure out how much to charge for your pictures. Oh great! How the heck am I supposed to come up with a price? Well, I can’t tell you what to price your work at but I can give you some ways to think about it and that should help you narrow in on that elusive number.

There are a few different approaches you can take to arriving at a price point and which one you choose really depends on what goals you have set for yourself. The three most common pricing methods are:

  • Cost based
  • Competitive
  • Value

In this article, I’ll cover cost based pricing. It basically is as it sounds. You determine the cost of your product, in this case printing your photograph, any mounting, framing, delivery or other associated costs, and you add on a predetermined margin to that cost. So why don’t we take a look at an example of an online sale with a frame:

Cost of Print___________ $ 10
Cost of Framing________ $ 40
Delivery_______________ $ 0 (Billed directly to buyer)
Commission (10%) ______$ 5
Total Cost ____________$ 55

Desired Margin __________30%
Total Profit ___________$16.50

Total Price to Buyer___ $71.50

As you can see, you determine your profit margin ahead of time (30%). This is both easy and it ensures you can always get money out of a sale. The downside is that you are pricing in a vacuum. By this I mean you don’t really know what your competition is doing and your costs may be higher than your competitors and as a result, you are priced too high to compete. Or the opposite may be true and you are priced too low and are leaving money on the table.

The above example would change if you were selling and fulfilling your orders yourself. For instance you wouldn’t have any commission to pay but you may end up with other costs associated with running your photography business.

Regardless of how you sell your work, there are other costs, such as your time and technology expenses as well. But I wouldn’t get too caught up trying to nail down all of these at the moment. Keep it simple and focus on the costs directly associated with the print.

I’ll touch on the other two pricing methods in upcoming posts. Hopefully this helps you think about this confusing subject a little more logically.

Related Articles:
Competitive Based Pricing
Value Based Pricing

About Dov Plawsky

I am an aspiring freelance photographer and writer. I’ve always enjoyed the story around the picture and now want to expand upon that. I founded Beyond Your Bag to help share knowledge across like minded people and to hopefully connect those people to one another.

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