How To Price The Sessions You Offer!

There are many different strategies that photographers use when pricing the sessions they offer.  Most often photographers structure the sessions and prices based on the way other photographers have structured their prices and sessions.  The structure of sessions and your prices should be based on the type of business you have and on your sales strengths.

There are three basic ideas of sessions fees or session structure pricing.  The first idea is to set a lower basic setting fee to help cover the costs involved in taking the portraits or to help offset the time if the client doesn’t show up.  The idea with a lower setting fee is to create a higher volume of business.  With this type of session structure your sales strength needs to be in the sales room when the client is viewing.  A lower setting fee requires your sales person to up-sell clients with products, services and larger portraits and/or portrait packages.  Lower setting fees also require a qualification process to make sure that clients understands what the minimum investment is at your studio/photography business.  In today’s world, you will be surprised how many potential clients will call about a discounted session under $50 and think they are going to receive a portrait package for that price, as well as the session.  This is good, because they have gone through the qualification process and failed!

The second method of pricing is to have a very high sitting fee, which works well for lower volume studios that wants to pre-qualify each client.  The thinking is if you pay $300 for a sitting fee, you will have no problem with paying a $1500 for an order.  This method requires a master sales person who is skilled in phone sales.  This type of person can paint pictures in the minds of callers with their words.  The phone person has to excite the caller with her explanation of the session and your photography to a point that they are willing to pay a higher sitting.

The third type of session pricing is really not have a sitting fee at all, but working with a minimum print order.  This method works well for lower volume studios and works the best for qualifying clients.  This type of session structure require the highest level of phone sales skill, because you are dealing with the highest upfront dollar amount.  Boutique studios often use this approach and it works best with return clients who know what you charge and the quality of your work.

One type of session pricing structure is better than another, it simply depends on where your sales strengths lye.  It also helps your studio run properly for the type of business you have.  Some people love low volume, they want to only have a few clients a week and they profit enough from those few clients to sustain themselves and their studio.  The majority of photographers are always concerned about volume, meaning they are constantly wanting more clients.  For these photographers a lower sitting fee is the only way to increase volume, however you must qualify potential clients religiously.  In all types of session pricing structures you need to have clients pre-pay for their session to avoid no-shows and the hassles of rescheduling sessions.

In today’s economy lower sessions tend to work better, because people do have money to spend, but they are much more cautious about spending it.  Logically, clients will be more likely to open their wallets when looking at a loved ones portraits from their session then talking about the session on the phone.  If you are using a session structure that is working, keep using it and if you are thinking about changing test other types of session structures slowly to see if they work with Your Photography Business.

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on April 20, 2010.

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