Its really hard to ask yourself how much you should charge. It seems like a really loose question without many guidelines but below are a few helpful tips.
A good thing for all professional photographers to know: once you enter the world of professionalism, part of your job will include doing things that are not exactly related to your job title such as figuring out your rates! Although boring, its a very important decision to make. Because of this, its good to have some small understanding of the duties of a professional photographer.
Firstly, you should always expect reimbursement when performing a service. Professional photography is a service that people seek out and request. Respect yourself as an artist and professionl in knowing and acknowledging your worth. Therefore, your work, your service, and your time is worth getting paid for.
Establishing monetary compensation says that you are good enough to get paid. While we certainly do not always agree that this is the case for everyone, make sure you keep that in mind when brainstorming ideas for yourself! Stay realistic and know that everyone has to start somewhere.
However, being a good photographer means you are constantly willing to evolve and learn, so most likely the very first paid shoot you do will not resemble the 89th shoot. As your skill level goes up, so should your rates.
But now comes the question of how high do I go? That is certainly a difficult question and varies for everyone. Personally, I want to charge enough to sustain myself but also maintain accessibility so a wide range of people can hire me. Because as your price range goes up, your clientele changes.
If you know anyone in the business, consult them! You can learn from their experience/
For example; weddings. A low budget wedding versus a higher budget wedding will be different in the areas of venue, dress,flowers, etc. and we all have our preferences of what styles we like best.
Be mindful of this as higher rates cater to those who can afford you which does impact who you work with and where.
Get to know the other photographers in your area as their rates determine the range you should be in. With this in mind, you want to start low but enough so that you could still enter the market and create competition. Careful not to price too low as that can make you seem cheap and turn you off from clients.
Our association with low cost and inexpensive services are not very good. Often time we think of cheap services synonymous with inexperienced or not good. When it comes to photography, your rates reflect your level almost.
Now comes the waiting part. This is the part where you wait until you reach a level of consistency and satisfaction that raising your rates seems like the logical next step. This can take months or maybe a year or two. Do this by assigning a percentage that you would like to see your income rise by every year!
I say this as someone who used this techniques which is by no means the only way or even right way. Shooting primarily weddings, I decided to start rising their increasing my wedding rates by 15% each year.
If you feel like the process is becoming arduous or that you’re just not getting it, consult a business adviser. They’ll be able to answer your questions and help you come up with strategies.
Its hard to start a business. Do not get discouraged. Remember how many people around you probably had to do the same thing and take comfort in it! There is zero shame in asking for help
Hope this helps. Happy shooting, y’all!