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A La Carte Pricing or Collections for Professional Photographers

There are several ways to structure the sales of what you offer. Two of the most common methods for professional photographers are a la carte pricing or collection/package pricing. Which one is right for professional photographers? Let’s explore.

Capturing those magic moments from behind the lens is what professional photographers do best. Making time stand still and preserving memories is the name of the game. However, when it comes to selling those images, other superpowers may be needed. There are several ways to structure the sales of what you offer. Two of the most common methods are a la carte pricing or collections for professional photographers to sell photography products. Which one is right for your photography studio? Let’s explore.



A La Carte Pricing

This method of selling goods and services allows the customer to pick and choose what they would like to purchase. A la carte translates from French to “by the bill of fare, ” or “add it to the check”.  It’s a restaurant term referring to ordering individual items off the menu rather than a fixed-price menu or plate. It’s a way to customize a purchase.


Grouping of products and services in a collection for a fixed price can simplify decision-making. Packages create perceived value. Think about “All Inclusive Vacations” as a great example.


The Price

 Aside from deciding what to offer; photography services, flush mount wedding albums, digital files, canvases, and more; COGS, CODB, and profit margins need to be calculated to determine how much you will charge clients to make a profit.

There are several ways to set profit margins on what you provide. When it comes to products like professional lay-flat wedding albums, or framed wall art, some are inclined to multiply the item’s cost by 3 or 300% to set the sale price.  However, it’s important to consider ALL of the labor and supplies that go into making that unique wedding album. That’s why a thorough look at business costs is essential for professional photographers to nail down what’s best.

Other factors in determining your pricing include the market you are targeting, your business goals, and the demographic of your ideal client.

Are you a high-volume photographer in a small town? 

Are you looking for destination weddings? 

Are you and your partner full-time wedding photographers looking to retire in 10 years?

Zookbinders has a “Magical Pricing Calculator” located in the login portal of ZookiePro. Use this tool to take a deep dive into what it costs you to run your business and how this affects your pricing and profits.


Which One Works?

So is it better to go with an a la carte pricing menu or create collections for your clients? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

A La Carte Pricing


    • A la carte options let customers pick and choose what they like and leave behind what they don’t. The client can choose 12 hours of wedding coverage rather than 8, skip the engagement session, add parent albums, and choose a canvas print.
    • Savvy clients feel less restricted as they can create an invoice that fits their budget. A client with a smaller event budget might want a mini-engagement session, ceremony-only coverage, and no albums or prints.
    • Customers can feel more satisfied with the overall experience, being less restricted in the transaction. They don’t feel forced into lots of add-ons.


    • Customers may miss out on things they don’t know they need when things aren’t included. A couple may overlook the wedding album on the pricing menu because they are focused on how much time they need for their engagement session. Later when they don’t have a custom wedding album, they feel like they missed out, and that’s a bad experience. 
    • Managing multiple items and prices may be overwhelming. We’ve all been to the restaurant with a seven-page menu that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Too much of a good thing!

A la carte pricing sales can be freeing for the customer but unpredictable for the business owner. Allowing the client to determine the sale might mean they shop until the credit card says no more, or they squeak by with the bare minimum. While all your services have profits built-in, higher sales mean higher earnings.


Collection Pricing


    • Pre-designed collections bring popular services and products together creating clarity about what’s best for the occasion. Your professional photography expertise helps clients get what they really need. 
    • Collections offer a slight discount off of the a la carte pricing when all the items are selected together. Collections have a greater perceived value and service.
    • Starting with a fixed set of items doesn’t mean you can add on. Collections can be customized with upgrades. 


    • Collections may seem less flexible and if couples don’t see what they really want, they might get turned off. Say, they want parent albums, but they are not listed in a collection, that may be a deterrent to booking. 
    • Collections can vary from business to business and when clients are comparing price lists they may lose sight of the value. 

Collection pricing is a more strategic way to establish consistent income. Predictable income is a huge plus and setting sales goals for upselling can grow your bottom line. 


Win-Win for Professional Photographers and Clients

A la carte pricing or collections? What is best for photographers?  Many find success with a hybrid approach, offering both collections and a la carte options to cater to different client preferences. Clients benefit from being able to see the value in the collections as they can also see the a la carte pricing. 

Having a la carte pricing available means you don’t have to say no to customization or special requests. Plus you will have the cost of those requests and products available to share.  

It’s essential to regularly assess your pricing strategy and adjust it based on costs and market trends. If you are looking for help with album sales, reach out to us HERE. 

At Zookbinder we go beyond albums with our products and services created especially for the professional photographer. Learn more HERE

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