In our last two blogs, we discussed simple solutions for offering professional wedding albums to all your couples. So now that we have the logistics worked out, let’s tackle the next big question, “How much should I charge?”
Setting pricing can be a stumbling block for many professional photographers, especially when just starting out. You certainly don’t want to price your wedding albums too low or too high.
You’re running your photography business to make a profit, and figuring out what percentage or margin to add to wholesale pricing impacts your annual income. Many things affect pricing. Your skills, the quality of the products that you sell, and the experience you provide, all impact the perceived value of your services.
In our Professional Wedding Albums Intro to Pricing are three concepts for determining pricing for professional wedding albums à la carte. The best practice for selling albums to every client would be to include an album in every wedding collection. We’ll talk about that in just a bit.
Do market research.
Couples will shop around for a wedding photographer evaluating their websites, imagery, and price. Doing a little research in your local market can help you determine where you might fit in pricewise. However, don’t think that being competitive means price matching. Price isn’t everything though. If your albums are $50 less but your imagery isn’t as good, potential customers will spend the extra money for something they feel is a better investment.
Product quality is also something to compare. For example, if “Happy Brides Photography Company” offers a 12×12 wedding album for $350, you might need to take a look at what they’re selling. If HBPC is buying from a manufacturer that offers a $99 album you can probably assume that the price is reflective of the quality. In contrast, if you are offering high quality professional wedding albums your cost could be $350.
Flat rate margins.
After you do research you’ll need to determine what’s best for your business and profitability. A very simple way to know exactly what your profit will be each time you sell a custom wedding album is to add on a flat dollar amount to your cost.
For instance, if a 10×10 album with 12 spreads and a full leather cover costs you $300, add $300 and sell the album for $600. Let’s say a 12×12 premium wedding album with 12 spreads and a cameo cover costs you $450, add $300. You will make $300 on every album you sell.
It’s easy to set sales goals this way. If you photograph 30 weddings a year and 50% of your clients purchase an album, you will make an additional $4500. Challenge yourself a little and get 75% of your clients by an album and that would be an additional $6750. Change your flat rate to $350 and get all 30 weddings to include an album and that’s $10,500. Isn’t this fun?
Playing with percentages.
This is similar to adding on the flat rate. This time you are adding on a percentage of your total cost to the price of your professional wedding album. Determining what that percentage is takes a little thought and market comparison.
At Zookbinders, we find that most photographers choose to add between 200% – 250% to their album cost. This means that higher ticket items have a higher percentage added and higher profit. Be careful with this method though. You might find yourself only selling mid-level products and never a premium wedding album because pricing doesn’t make much sense. The high-end is too out of reach. If your wedding collection for eight hours is $1800 and your premium album is $1000 it’s going to be a tough sell after the wedding.
This is where including an album in the wedding collection or package will benefit you.
Including professional wedding albums in all your collections is really the easiest way to guarantee success in selling albums to all your clients. Of course, including the album doesn’t mean missing out on the profit margin. If your 10-hour package is $2100 and your album costs you $300, your collection is NOT $2400. Whether you’re doing a flat rate, percentages, or copying your neighbor’s price sheet, don’t forget to add your cut.
Having a pricing menu that includes à la carte as well as collection prices helps to create value in your collections. It’s also a helpful exercise to be sure you’re charging what you’re worth.
For the à la carte menu, list the cost of individual service items like an hourly rate, engagement sessions, canvases, albums, etc. Make collections by creating groupings of items. Total them up and take off 10%, or whatever discount feels comfortable and stays competitive. Show your couples that a Photography Collection is a better value.
- A la carte your hourly rate for weddings is $200, an engagement session is $450 and your classic 10×10 album is $650.
- Your Sweetheart Collection is $2750 and includes an engagement session, 10 hours of wedding day coverage, and a classic 10×10 album. It is valued at $3100 saving your client $350.
Now, don’t worry that you’re missing out on $350 because we will talk about up-selling in the next blog.
We know the value of printed tangible products and how they elevate your customer’s experience. Not all photographers offer professional wedding albums and many don’t know how to price for profit. Providing high-quality wedding albums is good for your clients and for you!