The vast majority of photographers get into the business because they love the art and creativity that could be expressed through the images. However, they soon realize that unless they turn this interest into a way to make profits, it will remain nothing but a hobby that should not be considered as serious business.
Today, professional photographers and other artists are able to make a decent living by creating art but they surely should know how to set the right price for their work because this skill lay out the foundation for the successful career.
The Art of Setting Prices for Artists
The appropriate price for artwork is critically important for the future success of the business. Of course, any artwork deserves a fair amount of attention and a reasonable price, but if the price is set too high or too low, there will be some serious consequences. For example, setting the price that is too high will keep the potential customers away and the sales will be very slow and low. On the other hand, if the price is set too low, the work might be perceived in a way that devalues it and the customers won’t be interested in buying it. The price therefore should be set at a level that presents the artist and his or her artwork as professional and keeps them competitive on the current market.
“Today, many photographers, designers, and other artists set their prices without a real reason,” says Nick Rose, a marketing expert from Aussiewriter writing agency. In other words, they simply feel that the artwork is worth a particular amount of money and their decision is supported by nothing but their insufficient financial expertise. You should not use this strategy as well because an artist cannot really pick unrealistic prices that were “pulled from the air.” A better way to go here is to investigate the influential factors and calculate the price based on the expenses of time and effort.
Factors That Influence Price-Setting
According to Bryan Caporicci, one of the Canada’s most famous photographers, there are five main factors that impact the price for photos. They include:
- The perception of the photographer on the market
- The confidence you have in your art-creating skills
- The quality of the finished product
- The prices of the main competitors
- The Cost-of-Goods
When we consider these factors, we see that three of them, including quality, personal perception, and confidence, are highly subjective . An artist can be really confident in his or her skills, provide a beautiful presentation of the final product, and propose a good quality, but none of this will make an appreciable contribution to increasing the sales and moving your business forward. Essentially, these three factors give an artist a part of the pricing approach that involves subjective speculations.
The fourth factor has more significance to developing an appropriate pricing strategy because it increases your competitiveness . Naturally, an artist just cannot set the same prices that the competitors have but at least he or she will have an idea of what prices could work. The analysis of the competitors’ prices will ensure that you do not jump higher than the local market and keep the prices realistic and competitive.
So far, we have covered all non-measurable factors that influence the price, and the only one left is the one with cost-of-goods. This term is explained as all direct expenses associated with producing the final product, such as manual labor and resources. For example, if you are producing a 10×12 print, the cost-of-goods does not just involve the expenses related to actual printing of the piece, but all associated labor and materials. Let’s explain this example more in-depth.
How to calculate price for 10×12 print
Let us walk you through the process of making a 10×12 print from the beginning to the end to see what one needs to do to produce one such piece. The time and financial spending in this example are average and included only to give you the best illustration of the point.
- The raw photo should be worked on Photoshop to ensure it is good to be printed. This takes 15 minutes
- A minute is spent to crop the photo to be ready for 10×12 printing
- Five minutes are needed to order the print from a lab via the Internet.
- The cost of lab print of the photo is $4.00
- The delivery of the final printed image to your door charges $6.00
- When the photo arrives, five quick minutes are needed to ensure the appropriate quality
- The photo needs to be delivered to the customer in a beautiful package with bow and ribbon. Packaging costs $4.00
- A minute is required to let the client know that the photo is ready. Writing this letter takes three minutes.
- Client arrives to pick up the print and twenty minutes are spent on chatting with them.
Total time and financial expenses: 47 minutes and $14.
How to Set the Price for Your Work
Assuming that you want photography to become your full-time job, we will suggest the annual salary of $50,000, which is good for a beginner. To make it, you will have to work at least 50 weeks per year and 40 hours every week, which equals to $0.40 per minute (just divide the salary by weeks, hours, and minutes per hour). Given that you spent 47 minutes producing one print, its labor cost is $19.5, which, when added with $14 spent on resources, equals $33.50 . This is the final cost of 10×12 print.
The Bottom Line
Now you know how to set a reasonable price for your photography and the example above can be applied to any kind of artwork. The only thing left to do is decide on how much dollars will you add to the final cost as the time goes on and your reputation grows. If you need more help, here is an article about pricing a product from Entrepreneur to get you started.