1. Operational costs: From equipment costs to tax deductions, understanding what it costs to be a business will help you to understand what you need to charge for your time. Don’t forget insurance, software, web hosting and data storage in these calculations, including what you might need to pay an accountant. Will you need to hire a second photographer to help capture a larger wedding? Factor it in. Travel to and from the venue can add up, as well.
2. Delivery costs: If you’re offering physical products like photo albums or printed images, factor in those costs to your pricing.
3. Time costs: How much time are you spending at the wedding? What about consultation and preparation prior to the event? Make sure to also add in time spent processing and editing photos, plus time spent getting the final product or package to your client.
4. Opportunity costs: When considering your income over the course of a year, remember that wedding photography is a seasonal industry with most hiring opportunities hitting between late spring and early fall. You can only be in one place at a time — you can’t shoot two weddings on a single day — and most weddings fall on Saturdays, so booking a weekend means you’ll have to refuse other work on that date. Keep this in mind when building the pricing of your offerings. You may have to turn down a couple looking at a weekend you’ve already booked, so making sure you’re charging the right amount to meet your financial needs is incredibly important.
5. The cost of your expertise: Though it takes time to build the knowledge and skill of an experienced wedding photographer, seasoned pros can be invaluable in helping couples navigate day-of unknowns like bad weather, schedule shifts, challenging lighting and difficult guests. When the question of, “Why does this cost X amount?” comes up, experienced photographers can explain it’s about their ability to handle these challenges with confidence during a hectic event. As your confidence and experience build, make sure to adjust the rates of your offerings accordingly.
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