It’s no secret by now that I’m a BIG fan of mini-sessions. In my opinion, they’re WAY better and more profitable than full sessions. (Read more about that HERE.) I’ve already taught how to price your mini-sessions, but photographers often ask me what their full session pricing should be once their minis are at a profitable price.
This is a GREAT question! Because pricing is going to vary from person to person, I can’t just come out and say, “Your full sessions should be $XXX.” (Wouldn’t that be nice?) But there are some questions you can ask yourself to help formulate your full session pricing. I’ll talk about those questions in a second. But first…
I go against the grain with this one. Most experienced photographers in the industry will tell you that the goal of mini-sessions is to push clients to your full sessions. I try and do the OPPOSITE. I already know my minis are way more profitable and are a much bigger bang for my buck when it comes to my time. So OF COURSE I want to push people to my minis!
The first thing I’ll mention about full session pricing is the higher it is, the better your minis will book. This all comes down to perceived value. If your clients see that a full session with you is worth $500, they’ll be way more likely to book your $250 mini-session.
This is an interesting line to balance on. You want to price yourself in a way that pushes people to your minis, but is still in a bookable range so you hit your revenue goals for your full sessions.
I’m going to walk you through a series of questions to ask yourself. These questions will help you find your baseline for what you need to be charging. I suggest taking that pricing and then raising it slowly until you reach the point where clients stop booking, then go back down a bit. This will help you get to the place where you’re pricing for perceived value and not just to get all the bookings you can get. (I hope that wasn’t confusing! If it was, DM me on Instagram and I’ll explain it better!)
Here’s a great place to start! In any given month, how many full sessions are you wanting to shoot? Think about the time commitment to not only shoot those sessions, but to edit and deliver them as well. Keep in mind that your current phase of life will play a huge role in this. If you’ve got a full-time job outside of photography, you naturally won’t be able to take as many sessions on. If you’ve got young kids at home like I do, that may also limit the number of sessions you shoot.
Notice the question asks how many full sessions you WANT to shoot. YOU have control over this! If you want to shoot 5 sessions every week, go for it! If you only want to shoot one or two, you do you! The important thing here is to know your capacity and stay within it.
My dear friend Kat Schmoyer says, “Take a 360 degree look.” How much revenue do you want to bring in for the entire year? You already know how much you’re charging for minis, so then you can subtract your minis revenue and see how much you need to bring in from full sessions.
For some easy math, let’s say you’re wanting to bring in $50,000 this year before taxes and expenses. If you’re going to make $20,000 from mini-sessions, then you’ll need to make $30,000 from full sessions.
In this example, we’ll assume you want to shoot 2 full session a week for 45 weeks of the year.
45 weeks X 2 sessions per week = 90 full sessions
Now we’ll take our Full Sessions revenue goal and divide it by our total number of full sessions to get how much we need to charge per full session.
$30,000 / 90 full sessions = $333 per session
And there you have it! You’ll need to charge $333 per session to hit your revenue goal! Now remember, this is BEFORE taking expenses and taxes into account. After you set aside 20-30% for taxes and another 30%-ish for expenses, your profit is much lower. So keep that in mind when setting your full session pricing and revenue goals!
Want a list of my 12 best, proven mini-session themes that are sure to book out? Snag it for free HERE!
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