Pricing your work is tricky. Whether you’re a commercial photographer, portrait shooter, or selling prints of your artwork, your career depends on your ability to price yourself well. Does your rate sheet have any of these mistakes?

First, what is good pricing? A great pricing system is a win-win scenario for photographer and client where both sides end up pleased with the value they’ve received in exchange for the value they’ve given. In an inequitable exchange, either the client or photographer walks away feeling taken advantage of, and neither scenario promotes longevity for the photographer. This leads me to pitfall number one.

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Knowing your numbers is essential to knowing how to price your work. As I’ve met with photographers over the past 10 years, I’m shocked at how many low-volume shooters are happy to sell their work (session and digital images included) for $100. In my win-win scenario, they’re leaving that exchange happy because they haven’t sat down and crunched the numbers for what it takes to be successful in business.

The oft-quoted adage, “a confused mind says ‘no,'” is resoundingly accurate in our profession.

— Adam Smith

Conventional wisdom tells us that consumers want choices, and if you’ve walked down the snack aisle in a grocery store, it would seem to confirm that idea. In photography, however, presenting someone with 31 flavors can be daunting and confusing. The oft-quoted adage, “a confused mind says ‘no,'” is resoundingly accurate in our profession. As the creative professional, clients come to you because you know best, and that extends into your product offerings.

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