Knowing when it’s time to start charging for your photography, versus offering free sessions to build your portfolio and gain experience, can be a tricky thing to pinpoint. After years of watching others begin from the ground up, mentoring other photographers, and of course dishing out plenty of work of my own I have noticed some stand out elements that are sure fire signs it’s time to start charging real dollars for your efforts.
If you’re reading this, then you’re likely ready to either:
- Raise your rates OR
- Start charging for your work for the first time.
It doesn’t have to be a scary process laced with guess work. In fact, creating your price list is VERY straight forward. Keep reading or skip straight to the freebie.
3 Signs it’s Time to Start Charging For Your Photography
- You have a camera.
- You understand how to use your camera. (No need to be a master yet!)
- Someone has offered to pay you or people are frequently asking you take pictures for them.
I can hear some of you now. “Woah woah woah. Wait a minute, Gabby. I’ve only been taking pictures for a few weeks or months.” or “How can I charge for a family session when I’ve never photographed one before?!” or “What if no one hires me at those rates?!” I can hear you thinking these things, because I thought them, too.
I have also thought: “I can’t keep giving away so much”, “Why didn’t I charge what this work is worth?”, and “I see others, producing the same quality of work and they manage to charge a premium rate. Why can’t I?”
4 Signs it’s Time to Raise Your Rates
- You’re constantly booked up at your current rate.
- Your images have a consistent style or look. (This doesn’t mean your style ceases to ever evolve!)
- Your camera knowledge goes beyond the beginner level and you feel comfortable in a variety of lighting situations.
- You want to. Yes. You can raise your rates just because you want to!
Fear + Hesitation
If you’re feeling held back or nervous, try writing down all the reasons you’re not charging more or at all. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself…
What are you afraid will happen if you raise your prices or begin to charge for your work?
What about your work isn’t worthy of a fee?
Are you feeling unsure of how to create your pricelist?
Once you pinpoint WHY you aren’t charging yet, you will find clarity and direction that gets you closer to making a profit from your photography.
Rest assured, Feeling hesitant is natural. But don’t let your nerves hold you back. Assuming you’ll loose clients or scare away potential new clients when you start to charge a premium (or charge at all) is a common fear for any entrepreneur. Here’s the thing. If you want to make a living from your photography, you have to make a profit that supports your lifestyle. If you want to make a profit, you have to set your rates accordingly.
As always, thanks for hanging in there until the end and reach out ANYTIME you have questions! email@example.com