Pricing – the Bottom Line Price for Professional Photographers

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Your Bottom Line Price

Your first decision about pricing is your bottom line price. You want to decide, what is the lowest price you will charge, no matter what the usage?

Generally, my bottom line price for a single usage is currently $250. On very special usages I might go less, but it’s just not worth the time it takes for me gather and submit the files for less than that amount.

Then, there’s the billing and effort in getting paid. Every sale is time consuming and I need to be paid for that time as well as my shooting time. I know other photographers that have set their bottom line price as high as $500, and some as low as $125.

You decide what your bottom line price is, it’s a matter of your overhead and the value of your time.

My $250 minimum helps in situations where the usage goes for less than $250. I simply tell the client, ‘I understand this usage usually goes for less, but my minimum is $250.’ If the client wants your picture, they will pay the couple of extra dollars to buy it.

Pricing a usage after you’ve decided your bottom line price

As a professional photographer, when you determine your price, you have to make a number of subjective decisions about your picture and the client’s level of commitment to using your image.

Here are the decisions you have to make:

1. Uniqueness of your photo

Read about the importance of understanding how unique your image is in the Image Uniqueness section of the Stock Coach.

2. Importance of photo to project

Before deciding on your price, you should determine the importance of your picture to the project.

The easiest way to do this is to get a comp sent to your office. If a comp is not available, then ask the client specifics about how your picture will be used. Is it the only picture on the page, or one of many? Is it being used on the cover, or inside? If you determine your picture is an important element to the project, then your price will be a little higher.

3. Importance of the project to the client

If the job is important to the client, then the client will be more willing to spend the extra money to buy the right pictures.

Ask, ‘Is this is the only project the client will do this year to promote his product?’ Ask, ‘Do you do a similar project often or is this a one of a kind?’ You’re trying to find out how much the client has riding on this project.

4. Commitment of client

The level of commitment of your client to your picture is also important when determining your price.

Ask the art director ‘Has the client approved this picture?’ If the answer is yes, then you are in a better bargaining position because the art director doesn’t want to go back for another client approval.

Setting your price

Once you have made these decisions about your picture, you’re ready to determine your price.

Find and the category, print run and picture size for the usage in fotoQuote. This will give you a usage price for a picture with average competition. The price range is also displayed for you to see.

The price will change each time you change your selection. This gives you an idea of the price range you have to work in. Don’t take these ranges as absolutes, especially the upper end. Sometimes a special usage will bring a much higher price than even the top range of fotoQuote’s price categories.

Determine your price within the range based on what you have decided. If you feel your picture is unique, and it is important to the project and the project is important to the client, then your price should be at, or close to, the top of the price range.

On the other hand, if you have determined you have an average or common picture, that isn’t that important to the project, you might want to quote a price that is below average.

By using the above information and asking your client the right questions, you can determine not only the price you want for your image, you can determine your bottom line price – the lowest you will go in your negotiations.

Would you like to know more about our fotoQuote Pro 7 program? Or, perhaps you are interested in a business management tool that includes invoicing. Check out our blog for more great articles for professional freelance photographers.

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