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    How to Price Your Mini-Sessions

    Pricing is one of those things that people constantly ask me about. They expect me to throw out some arbitrary numbers for how much they should charge based on the other photographers in their area.

    It's time for a wake-up call!

    If you're basing your pricing on what other people are charging, you're doing it wrong.

    Introducing…your Cost of Doing Business (or CODB for short)!

    If you don't know how much it costs you to run your business, then there's no way to know if you're actually making money on your current pricing.

    For my fellow math nerds out there, this one will be fun for you. If math isn't your strong-suit, no worries!  I'll break things down so it's easy for you to understand.


    Running Your CODB


    Step 1: Figure out your revenue

    For the sake of this exercise, we're going to first see if your current pricing is high enough. Let's assume we're doing 2 dates of minis in a month…2 hours of mini-sessions each date, 15 minutes each back-to-back. For this example, let's say you're charging $50.

    8 minis x 2 dates = 16 minis

    16 minis x $50 = 800

    That doesn't seem bad for 4 hours of work, right? Well we aren't finished yet…


    Step 2: Add up your expenses

    In this step, we're going to look at what you actually spend to run your business each month. Here are some common expenses you are (or probably should be) spending on:


    Bare Minimum

    • Lightroom – $10
    • Gallery Delivery System (I use Shootproof) – $10
    • Website – $13 (Wix pricing)
    • Rentals or set-up – $100
    • TAXES – 30% of total income*

    = $133 + 30% taxes


    *If you're taking paying clients, you ABSOLUTELY have to be paying taxes. The 30% comes from 15% self-employment tax and about 15% regular income tax. DO NOT skip this expense.


    Additional Helpful Expenses

    • Client Management System (I use Dubsado) – $35
    • G-Suite (custom domain email address) – $6.30
    • Email System (I use Flodesk) – $19

    = $193.30 (Includes Bare Minimum expenses) + 30% taxes

    Step 3: Calculate your profit

    Next, we're going to calculate how much profit you're making right now. Use this equation:

    Revenue – Expenses = Profit


    Our revenue in this example was $800. Taxes on that is $240. We'll add that into our expenses.


    $800 – $373 (bare minimum expenses) = $427

    $800 – $433.30 (with additional expenses) = $366.70


    Set those numbers aside.


    Step 4: Add up your hours

    It's no secret that when we say we're shooting 4 hours of minis that there are LOTS more hours we will work for those minis. Here's a typical breakdown of time spent on 4 hours of shooting:

    • Shooting – 4 hours
    • Driving there and back – 30 minutes total
    • Communicating with the Client (sending contract and invoice, answering their questions, reminders, etc.) – 3 hour
    • Marketing to fill all 16 spots – 3 hours
    • Editing – 12 hours

                        TOTAL: 22.5 hours


    Step 5: Calculate your hourly wage

    The real question for all of this is, “How much are you actually making hourly?”

    Let's take our profit we calculated from before:

    $427 (bare minimum)

    $366.70 (with additional expenses)


    We'll use this equation: Profit/hours = hourly wage


    $427/22.5 = $19 (bare minimum)

    $366.70/22.5 = $16 (with additional expenses)


    Remember, this assumes you fill all 16 spots. It also doesn't include additional expenses like education, new gear, props, studio rentals, purchasing templates, or ANYTHING else…

    Now ask yourself: Is all of that time you're spending away from your family worth that? I know teenagers working at a grocery store making more than that. For me, the answer is a big N-O.


    So Now What?

    If you're finding that you aren't charging enough for your minis, it's time to raise that price! A good rule of thumb is that minis shouldn't be below $100. So start there!

    I know it can be scary, but YOU ARE WORTH IT! Tell yourself that.

    Your time is worth more than what a teenager can make at their job.

    Everyone needing to raise their price believes they can't because then they won't book. That's just a huge lie that you can't allow yourself to believe. If you create an excellent product and client experience, I'm telling you…people will absolutely pay for it!

    Remember that photography is a luxury. Not everyone will be able to afford you, and that's ok. (But also remember how many of those families who “can't afford” you are walking around with iPhones.)

    Those who truly value YOU and YOUR ART will pay for it without question. It's all about learning to market to your ideal client.

    Friend, YOU'VE GOT THIS!



    To learn more about marketing your minis so they'll book out every time, check out my Free 1-Hour Mini-Sessions Class!

    You may also like…

    “How to Book Mini-Sessions (With No Client Base)”

    “3 Tips for Advertising Your Mini-Sessions”

    “5 Ways to Use an Assistant During Mini-Sessions”


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