One of the most asked questions when hiring a photographer is why there is a variance in pricing in what appears to be similar sessions. The answer can vary by photographer. Trying to properly price packages in relation to the work can often times be challenging; especially when trying to stay competitive in a market that is highly saturated with photographers from absolute beginner to full time professional. Every photographers’ pricing philosophy is different, and this article is simply my view.
My pricing theory is fairly simple. I take a look at the overall package and evaluate how much work is going into each individual session. For example; My mini sessions are priced extremely competitive. The truth is mini session require next to nothing in terms of work. Time wise the session is very short and the final product as far as the amount of images you have to work with is much lower. The post-processing involved is often times very simple. As far as themed mini-sessions go; nearly all conditions are controlled, therefore minimizing work. Mini-sessions pretty much explain themselves, but what about other packages that appear to be more similar?
Using my Portrait Sessions and Engagement session for comparison. Comparing the packages they seem very similar. The actual truth is very different; there are many parts of the package that determine overall value. Every photographer is different, but I evaluate overall value as what the customer gets and how much work is required to get there. A regular portrait session often times includes multiple people, sometimes entire families. Children are far harder to pose than a couple that is not only grown but typically share an intimate connection with each other that is easily captured on camera. Behind the scenes editing processes can be very different as well. So when you see a $25-50 difference between sessions that look very similar, this is why.
At the end of the day. I try to keep my packages as all-inclusive as possible with the option to purchase prints. I do not charge additional fees for additional people in portrait sessions, nor do I keep the clock ticking as we travel to another location or change outfits (many others do). Having spent significant time looking at how the competition is pricing their sessions; the value I offer is very competitive. I put my heart into my work and while this is a business; I still care greatly about the quality of work I put out.