Post 12: How I determine prices
It seems like the majority of photographers offer their clients a limited number of options for photo packages when it comes to pricing. Anyone who has worked with photographers are probably familiar with the x amount of photos for y amount of dollars, or z amount of photos for maybe twice as many photos. This type of packaging makes it easier for the client, because they can simply pick a package that fits their budget. However, I think the biggest drawback to this type of pricing is what happens if the photographer only offers a package that consists of either five photos or 10 photos, but the client wants seven? This means that client either ends up with less photos than they want, or they pay more for more photos than they want. Certain photographers might adjust their packages to reflect what their client is looking for, but "might" is the key word.
Another drawback to this system is these packages often consist of a predetermined number of prints. Often times, these packages include a number of different prints that are popular, but might not necessarily reflect what the client actually wants. The photographer might offer a package that consists of a certain number of 4x6, 5x7, and 8x10 prints, but the client might only want an 8x10 print. Again, the photographer might be willing to make adjustments for the client, but it depends on the photographer.
Ever since I began taking photos professionally, I've been somewhat opposed to offering packages when I give my clients estimates. When I first started, I remember charging my clients based off of how much time they were looking for, and then I'd just give them all of the photos. The two things wrong with this that caused me to change the way I charge my clients is that the client usually has no idea how long they need me for, or how long the session will take, and handing over all of the photos undervalues my work.
After I got some more experience and did some tweaking, I now charge my clients based off of how much they're looking to spend and how many photos they're looking for. After I find out these details, I take into consideration how long the session will take, how long it will take to edit the photos, how much time I've spent contacting the client, the wear and tear on my equipment, and how much gas is required to get to the location and how long it will take me to get to the location.* I then give the client an estimate based on this information and how much I want to make an hour. On a good day, this estimate will be less than the client is looking to spend. On a typical day, either the amount of photos or the cost won't match what the client is looking for. If this happens, either the client is willing to pay more, or I offer the client less photos. I also take this information into consideration when I determine prices for my prints. I put a lot of time and effort into my photos, so the prices reflect that. The prints are also printed on higher quality paper than drugstores or other places usually use. This means the photos will last longer and the colors will be better.
I kind of have a price list/package system typed up that I usually refer to to base my prices off, but the price list is extremely flexible. Since it's so flexible, I don't really count it as a package and it's really only there so I can remain consistent with my estimates and quotes. The way I figure out pricing takes a little more time and requires a little more contact with the client. If I were the client though, I wouldn't want to receive less than I was looking for, or pay a higher price for more than I want or need.
*The time spent contacting the client, wear and tear on my equipment, and travel costs aren't really "figured" into the price, but I take them into consideration when I decide how much I'd like to make an hour.
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Dan Pomykalski (PAWM-I-KALS-kee) is a portrait photographer based in Madison, WI. Dan works with both individual clients and larger organizations, such as the Wisconsin Alumni Foundation, the Janesville Jets, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and the University of Wisconsin-Rock County. Dan was also the photo editor for the student-run newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the Royal Purple, for the 2013 Spring and 2013 Fall semesters. Although Dan's clients are mostly from the Dane County area, he is more than happy to travel wherever necessary.
Although Dan is primarily a portrait photographer, he has ample amounts of experience in other types of photography such as weddings, events, product photography, real estate, and sport photography.
In 2016, expertise.com ranked Dan Pomykalski Photography the 2nd best portrait photographer in Madison, WI out of 204 others in the area.
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