Setting your prices

Alan Carmichael


An old boss of mine once told me that every job must stand up on its own and make a profit. I didn’t realise it at the time but he was right, and it wasn’t until I set up my own business Capricorn Photography, that I understood the importance of having a solid pricing structure in place for my services.

Setting Prices

While graduating from University with a degree in Photography for Digital Media allowed me to push my creative boundaries and become a more accomplished Photographer, it didn’t delve into the commercial aspect of photography.

I would have certainly benefitted from some sound business advice before going it alone and with this in mind, I’d like to share with you how I overcame the hurdle of setting my prices. Although the focus here is on photography as a business, these basic principles can also be applied to other types of businesses.


Do your Sums

First things first. What are your monthly living expenses? What income do you need to generate each month to cover these costs? This at least gives you an idea of what financial targets you need to achieve. Of course, there are other things to consider...


Consider the Bigger Picture

...what type of photography work will you do? How many hours will you work? When will you get paid for each type of job? How will you get paid? What is the cost of purchasing and maintaining equipment? How much will transport cost? What are your overheads? What is your cost of doing business?


Don’t Stop Learning

If you’re new to business, research relevant courses in your area. They’re not only valuable for broadening your knowledge but they are a great way of meeting like-minded people in a similar situation. I found the courses run by Bradford Chamber of Commerce helped me to set my prices against business costs and expenses.


Find the Right Balance

Set your prices too low and you could come across as amateurish and find it difficult to increase them in the future. Set your prices too high and you risk outpricing yourself. It really is a balancing act but implement a pricing structure that fairly reflects your target market and skill set and take note of where your product or service stands compared with your competition.


Communicate Effectively

Don’t be afraid to communicate that you’re just starting out and set your prices accordingly. Be honest with people but ensure that you still have a quality service to promote. In time, you can introduce a new pricing structure to reflect where you are as a business.  If your clients don’t like your new pricing, effectively communicate to them your reasons for increasing your prices.


Use Information at Your Fingertips

It’s easy to fire up your laptop and see what the internet can offer in terms of help. Yes, there’s a lot of conflicting information, but I recommend these sites:

Alan Carmichael, owner of Capricorn Photography, specialises in corporate photography for small and medium enterprises. For more information visit Alternatively, contact Alan on 07828 834731 or email

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