Pricing Portrait & Wedding Photography, part 3

We price a typical wedding package through manual calculations as well as through the use of time-saving computer software.

By Ann K. Monteith, M.Photog.Cr., Hon.M.Photog., A-AS
First published February 2001

In the first installment of this three part series, you learned how to identify the various costs that go into manufacturing your photographic products. In Part II, we reviewed the mechanics of pricing a portrait.

Pricing an Economy Wedding Package:

The elements:

• Six hours of coverage

• One bridal album with 24 8x10-inch prints

• Two parent albums, each with 20 4x5-inch prints

In this exercise, we’ll price each of these three elements separately, then combine them to arrive at the cost of the Economy Wedding Package. There’s a practical reason for pricing the elements separately: You can easily add products to the price or price different packages.

For example, you might wish to offer 50 images in the bridal albums instead of 24, with the same six hours of coverage.

Costs for each element: Six hours of coverage includes

Processing & proofing 10 rolls of color print film @ $6.50/roll...$65.00

Proof shipping ..............................$2.00

Proof book ( @ $50, but used 3 times)* .................................$16.50

Proof book shipping .................$2.00

Six hours contract labor @ $25/hour...........................$150.00

10 rolls of color print film @ $3.50..................................$35.00

Total $270.50

* Divide the cost of the proof book—or any reusable element—by the number times you expect to use it before it wears out and is discarded.

24-Page 8x10-inch Bridal Album

8x10 album cover ......................$50.00

8x10 album cover imprint............$5.00

Studio imprint...............................$2.00

8x10 album inserts, 12 @ $3 ea....$36.00

8x10 album mats, 24@$1 ea......$24.00

Album shipping ............................$5.00

8x10 deluxe color candid prints, 24 @ $4.10 per print ..............$98.40

Print order shipping charge ..........$2.00

Total $222.40

20-Page 4x5 Parent Album

4x5 album cover ........................$40.00

4x5 album cover imprint..............$3.00

Studio imprint...............................$2.00

4x5 album inserts, 10 @ $2 ea. ..$20.00

4x5 album mats 20 @ $0.50 ea. $10.00

Album shipping ............................$5.00

4x5 deluxe color candid prints,

20 @ $1......................................$20.00

Print order shipping charge ..........$2.00

Total $102.00

For the Economy Wedding Package, add:

Six-hour coverage ....................$270.50

24-Page 8x10 Bridal Album .......$222.40

20-Page, 4x5 Parent Albums 2 @ $102 ea.........................$204.00 

Economy Wedding Package Costs $696.90

To calculate the price at a 30 percent Cost of Sales mark-up, multiply $696.90 by a factor of 3.3: $696.90 X 3.3 = ....................$2,323.00 (The 3.3 figure, as applied by SuccessWare software, represents a calculation of three-and-one-third to an extensive decimal factor, thus a higher total than your own calculation might yield.)

What’s critical here is going through these mechanics for each of your  products, being certain to include the costs of each element. The resulting figures are the minimum price you can charge to make the sale profitable. In the exercise above, to achieve a profitable sale at 30 percent times Cost of Sales, you must charge at least $2,323 for the Economy Wedding Package. (Generally, you will round off the total to arrive at $2,350.) If you believe a higher price will still be competitive, raise it accordingly.

It can be tedious keeping track of the various costs in creating each of your photographic products, and then calculating your prices using the correct Cost of Sales mark-up factor, and there’s plenty of room for error. Automating the task with a computer lessens both the monotony of the process and the opportunity for error.

Given the ease of entry and the automation software offers, photographers no longer have an excuse for not pricing their products for profit, a building block of financial success.

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