When you’re a photographer, your rates are a big part of the puzzle. They’re obviously how you get paid, but that’s not it — your rates and your pricing are what help you create true freedom in your life and business, what help you attract the right clients, and what help you build a business that is truly, truly sustainable.
But, let’s be real — a lot of the time, that means we have to raise our prices.
And raising your prices can feel hard.
See, raising your prices as a photographer involves a heck of a lot more than just tacking up a new price on your website, amIright?! It actually involves mindset fixes, strategy, and knowing it’s time.
I have you covered, of course.
First up — here’s the most important part of raising your prices.
While you might think that all that you really need to raise your prices is a number, that really just couldn’t be further from the truth. See, as a creative who has literally built a business on your passion, it can feel really overwhelming to actually raise your prices… and that’s the kicker, right there. Your mindset is exactly what makes it so difficult.
Whether it’s limiting beliefs around increasing your rates (think: thoughts like “no one will book me if I raise my rates” and “I don’t deserve to charge this much), or it’s simply fear of the unknown, tackling the mindset piece of rate increases is really the most important part.
So, when you start looking into raising your prices, I want you to get clear on and really think about a few things that I know are true:
- You deserve to charge a rate that feels good to you.
- The right clients will still come to you.
- When you believe in yourself (and see the value in your work), people start to believe in you.
Photographers — How Do You Know It’s Time to Raise Your Prices?
While I think that every single photographer eventually needs to raise their prices (and then raise them again), I’m also a big believer that you have to raise your prices at the right time. While I’ll never tell you not to raise your rates, making sure you’re being strategic about the increase can make all the difference.
Here’s how to know it’s time to raise your prices as a photographer:
- You haven’t raised your prices in over a year: If you haven’t raised your prices in a while, why not? Most businesses you’ll ever work with — from the air conditioning maintenance team you call all the way to your hairdresser — regularly raise rates, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Increasing your rates year-over-year is akin to giving yourself a raise, and is also a smart idea when thinking about things like inflation and rising costs of living. Plus, why should you charge less for more experience? Food for thought, friends.
- You want to book more high-ticket shoots and clients: If you want to book more high-ticket shoots and clients, you have to charge more high-ticket prices. It’s that simple. When you’re charging high-ticket rates, you’ll start to attract clients that will pay those rates… but when you’re charging low rates, you’ll attract clients that don’t want to pay higher ones. It can be a tricky adjustment to make, but one that truly does pay off.
- You feel like you’re selling yourself short: Trust your gut here — when you look at your pricing, do you feel like you’re selling yourself short? If so, there’s your answer. It’s time to raise your prices, and it’s that simple. You should always be able to feel confident in your pricing, and you should also feel like it represents your worth as a photographer as well. If it doesn’t, your work starts to suffer and you get resentful of your work, which is a no-go always.
- You want to take more time off: So many of us became photographers to chase our dreams and create our own schedules, right? Right — but a lot of us also end up packing our schedules so full that we have no time to live the dream lives we want to live, and a lot of this comes down to the fact that we’re simply not charging enough to craft the schedule and life we want to live.
Once you’ve decided to raise your rates, there are a few ways you can do it. First things first, update any pricing guides, email templates, or website pages that already include your pricing. This makes sure that all of your new clients will only see that new, improved pricing — no confusion needed!
Then, when it comes to your existing clients, you have a few options. My favorite, though? Implement a price increase for existing clients, but think about keeping it a little lower than your price increase for new clients. This helps soften the blow, while also showcasing your value and making existing clients feel appreciated and taken into consideration, too.
More than anything, though, I want you to own it when you raise your prices, okay?! You are in an in-demand field, you do incredible work, and you deserve to be paid what you want for it. I promise. I know firsthand that raising your prices can go hand in hand with anxiety and fear, especially when you want to make everyone around you happy — but I also know firsthand that raising your prices can go hand in hand with running a business that positions you to, truly, live your dream life.
I’m proud of you, friend — now go be proud of yourself, okay?