How do you determine the price of your Photography Services?

How do you determine the price of your Photography Services?

Unveiling the True Value of Professional Photography

(Approximately a 5-minute read)


When putting our hard-earned money towards something, we all want to "feel" it's "worth it." 

It's easy to think that what you're paying for is that 1-hour spent together when, in reality, it's so much more.

Think about the experience. When you're in front of the camera, you're the focal point. You're the star in that moment. 

How does that make you feel? Is it uplifting? A boost of confidence? Does it bring you joy?

What if we could encapsulate that in a way that enables you to travel back in time and relive that moment forever?

That's photography. 

I don't sell photos. I create nostalgia.

*Mic drop*

In my porky pig voice, "That, that, that, that's all folks."

Alright, now that I had my Neil DeGrasse Tyson moment...

A Method to the Madness

Unfortunately, we can't quantify feelings. So, we're going to use something a little more straight-forward, a CMA - Comparative Market Analysis.

Using 25 professional photographers near Carrboro/Chapel Hill, NC, unveils the cost of a 60-minute portrait session with 6 digital images, is, on average, $300 (296.67 to be exact).

According to my handy dandy spreadsheet, that breaks down to $25 per hour considering the unseen 11 hours behind the scenes.

That might seem like a stretch but let me break it down for you. 

The Three Phases: Before, During, and After

Phase 1: Before the Session

  • ** Communication: ** Exchange of messages, texts, emails, and calls.
  • ** Consultation: ** A crucial 30-minute session to understand your needs, set expectations, and customize solutions.
  • ** Administration: ** Preparation and execution of a detailed agreement to avoid miscommunication.
  • ** Invoice Generation: ** Create and collect the required deposit.
  • ** Idea Board: ** Collaborating on a vision for the shoot aligned with your personality and style.
  • ** Equipment Preparation: ** Ensuring all equipment is ready for any scenario, from rain to shine.
  • ** Travel and Setup: ** Time spent commuting to the agreed-upon location and setting up equipment.

That's already 4 hours before the shutter clicks.

Phase 2: The 60-Minute Session

Phase 3: After the Session

  • ** Equipment Breakdown: ** Post-session, dismantling and packing up.
  • ** Travel Back Home: ** Returning from the location to my studio.
  • ** File Management: ** Downloading, organizing, and backing up all the captured files.
  • ** Culling: ** Sorting through at least 100 photos, selecting the best, and deleting the rest.
  • ** Uploading to Site: ** Making the curated photos accessible to you for selection.
  • ** Communication and Selection: ** Awaiting your favorites and addressing any differences in preference.

That's a solid 8

  • ** Meticulous Editing: ** The time-consuming process of enhancing each selected image.
  • ** Final Communication: ** Re-upload images for your approval, communicate, and make any necessary adjustments.
  • ** Payment and Release: ** Collect the final payment and release the high-quality files.
  • ** Feedback: ** Requesting your valuable feedback and reviews.

Ladies and gents, that brings us to 12 hours

And another 12 writing this article... 😩

It may take a little more, it may take a little less. 

"An artist's work is never done" and I'm super OCD. My focus is producing imagery of the highest quality. Average is what your phone's for. 

Other considerations

Half of the photographers in my analysis operate out of a studio and charge additional fees to pack up their gear and take in on the road. 

Running an official photography business incurs additional costs – 25.8% off the top for taxes, credit card fees, and operating expenses.

  • 4.75% NC state taxes
  • 2.25% Orange County 
  • 0.5% OC Sales and use 
  • 3% Credit card processing fees 
  • 15.3%, Self-employment tax 

I might get nauseous if I start listing out gear, subscriptions, insurance, and etc... 🤮 It's an expensive art form. 

To my patrons:

I hope this insight helps you better understand what goes into creating everlasting imagery for you.

To my fellow photographers:

I hope this information provides a better framework for determining your pricing strategy. Keep in mind the CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) is just one factor of many. 

Refrain from devaluing your time and effort; avoid participating in the race to the bottom, which undermines the integrity of the business and the livelihoods of those dedicated to their craft.

Have any other lingering questions? Feel free to ask.

I would love to hear from you if you found this useful.

Your feedback helps me determine this was also "worth it."

Follow me on "the gram" for updates: 

Until next time ✌🏾

J. Le Hardy



Carrboro/Chapel Hill, NC

Revised 2024 01-14

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