The Ultimate How to: Figuring Out How to Price Yourself as a Boudoir Photographer
Feel like you’re constantly second-guessing yourself when it comes to figuring out how to price yourself as a boudoir photographer? You probably hear a ton of different ideas from a ton of different experts about how to make your experience luxurious enough to charge high-dollar for it.
Or that you need to have a certain session fee price, regardless of what you’re providing the client or the experience you have as a photographer.
It’s a lot — and all the conflicting advice out there doesn’t help.
But what if I told you that pricing your boudoir photography doesn’t have to be as complicated as you probably feel like it is?
In this video, I’m sharing a breakdown of how much to charge your clients, so both you AND them walk away happy. Plus, I’m giving you my formula for finding a price that works for YOU to help clear up some of the confusion.
P.S. — This post is geared more towards in-person sales, but it CAN work for shoot and burn sessions too.
But First…How Do You Know What Pricing is Right For You?
Before we dig in and talk about pricing, it’s important to get a feel for what’s right for YOU. There are three tiers we can break pricing down into — your happy place, your higher range, and your absolute minimum.
Obviously, if you’re a boudoir photographer with 10+ years of experience, you aren’t going to price yourself on the lower end. And if you’re just looking at taking your business full-time, you probably aren’t going to be charging top dollar.
But beyond your years of experience, there is SO MUCH MORE that goes into figuring out what model works for you. Things like:
- What volume of shoots are you looking to do? If you are okay with having more sessions on your schedule, minimums might work fine. But if you want to have a lighter load, you may want to look at higher-range pricing.
- What kind of people do you want to work with? Higher prices tend to attract luxury clients. Lower prices may not always attract the best clients. Middle ground usually gives you pretty chill, down-to-earth people. There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s all about YOUR brand and who you want to spend your time with.
- What are your overhead costs? I’ll explain this a bit further down, but, if you have a lot of overhead, you need to make more. It’s just simple math. Figure out how much your shoots cost you, and how much you need to keep the lights on in your biz. THEN you can assess a pricing model.
Again, NO right or wrong answer here. It’s all about your boudoir photography biz, your goals, and how you want to serve your clients.
Now with that said, let’s dig into those pricing models!
Find Your Happy Place
Something that has worked really well for me over the years is finding my “happy place session fee,” which is just a more fun way to say a mid-range session fee. It’s the perfect spot in between. Not so expensive that you have a harder time finding clients, but not so low that you are pretty much working minimum wage.
Mid-range session fees typically go for anywhere from $200-$500, but I like to keep it on the lower end at $299. I truly think that this is just one reason my schedule stays full of really great clients who love what I offer and are happy to pay for it.
They aren’t the ones who expect everything for cheap. And they aren’t the super bougie clients either. This price range seems to draw in my kind of people who I can talk to all day and enjoy being around.
That’s why pricing appropriately is so important — because yes, money matters, but so does actually enjoying the sessions you do have. So figure out your ideal client, and that will help you SO MUCH when trying to determine some middle ground.
Figuring Out Your Higher-Range Fee
Now, you need to figure out what you want to charge for higher-end, elevated sessions. What you’re wanting to do with this strategy is attract the client who is already prepared to spend money on their session.
Since my middle ground is $299, my higher-range usually runs my clients about $400-$500.
I’ve found though that this higher-priced session fee is a barrier to entry and is sometimes what holds your ideal clients back from booking. The ones who jump in at this price, though, will be very qualified — most of the time — which makes them excellent folks to work with!
Figuring Out Your Minimum Fee
The last one you want to figure out is your minimum. I personally believe this is anything below the $100 mark. Though, some might even consider anything below $200 to be the lower session fee.
The thing with minimums though is that it’s a common belief that they tend to bring in cheaper clients. But that’s not always the case. This is where having great marketing and a really solid grasp on your ideal client can be SO helpful. If you’re attracting the right people for your business, you’re less likely to get clients that burn you out.
However, if you do decide to offer a minimum session fee, I would suggest doing all of your sales sessions in person. Otherwise, you’re not really going to make any money (we’re talking minimum wage here!)
And don’t forget to educate your clients on what they’re getting (as in…there IS a sales session that follows the shoot).
This happens more so with the minimum-priced shoots, but shouldn’t be a problem if you’re actively taking the steps to educate your audience on your process long before they book. Just remember to take the extra step to ALWAYS make sure a client knows what they’re getting.
Figuring Out YOUR Prices
Now, let’s talk about my formula for finding your own session prices (because, yes, it will be different for each person). Here’s the typical formula that creates a session fee…
Studio Rent + Utilities + Hair & Makeup(if you include it, but you don’t have to) = SESSION FEE
Now, you need to figure out how many clients your schedule can handle. For the sake of this example, let’s go with 50 per year. Let’s say your studio rent is $750 per month. And your utilities run about $50 per month. And you want to charge $100 per client for hair and makeup. Those are your expenses.
HERE’S HOW YOU FIGURE OUT YOUR FEE WITH THESE NUMBERS
- 50 clients per year/12 months in one year = 4 clients per month
- Rent at $750 per month/4 clients per month = $187 per client
- Utilities at $50 per month/4 clients per month = $12 per client
- $187 (rent) + $12 (utilities) + $100 (hair and makeup) = $299 per client, each session
Now, we know what you HAVE to charge, you also need to take into consideration who your ideal client is. Should you raise the price to attract her? Keep it mid-range? Or is it good where it is?
If it’s on the lower end, is your product price list built to hit your sales average goal? And make up for what you might be losing money.
All these things matter, so make sure you take everything into consideration when deciding on your session fees!
How to Sell Your Sessions Like a Pro
Photographing your boudoir clients is the easy (and fun!) part. Knowing how to price yourself as a boudoir photographer is the (now, not so) confusing part. Selling? That’s the intimidating stuff!
I know how scary it can be to put yourself out there and sell your work. But when you know how to attract the right clients and price your work, it all becomes SO MUCH easier.
And if what’s keeping you up at night is the fear of sounding too salesy, take a listen to Episode 60 of the Sustainable Freedom with Boudoir Photography Podcast! I give you some of my best tips for nailing those sales sessions with confidence while keeping your clients comfortable, and of course, making the sale.