Why Photographers Shouldn’t Charge HS Seniors a Session Fee


Bringing your high school senior photography business to the next level will always involve increasing your workload. It’s a simple concept: the more people who book shoots with your company, the more money you can make. But there’s a trick to putting together high volume price packages. Whether you’re just starting a photography business or you’re already a vet, portrait photographer Matthew “The Body” Kemmetmueller has some great tips on pricing for profitability.


Matthew’s Minnetonka-based photography business makes a killing on high school senior portraits, partially thanks to its unique business model. Unlike the competition, Kemmetmueller Photography doesn’t have session fees. Instead, photo shoots are priced around minimum orders, which makes it harder for clients to turn Matthew into a commodity. Think about it this way: if Kemmetmueller Photography gave clients an hourly quote, they could easily compare that quote to other photographers in the area. By offering them a minimum order instead, Matthew can tell clients that he doesn’t charge a fee to take pictures — he only charges for the product itself! Talk about a positive spin.

So, what minimum pricing orders does Kemmetmueller Photography offer? Check out Matthew’s 2013 pricing list for inspiration:

Minimum order: $199
Client gets: 10 images (throw in a few extra so they get extra bang for their buck!)
Client wears: 2 outfits
Location: the studio (either inside or outside)

Minimum order: $299
Client gets: 20 images
Client wears: 4 outfits
Location: the studio (both inside and outside)


“GET ME OUTTA HERE”Minimum order: $399Client gets: 30 images
Client wears: 6 outfits
Location: on location of studio’s choosing (both inside and outside)

Minimum order: $499
Client gets: 40 images
Client wears: unlimited outfits
Location: inside the studio and outside downtown

Most budget-conscious clients will opt for the smallest minimum order, but you might be happily surprised. As a client’s enthusiasm for your shoot grows, they’ll be more likely to spend beyond the minimum price –– which means they’ll get more of your quality work, and you’ll get a bigger check! Of course, the client’s propensity towards buying beyond their minimum order all depends on how you market their images. Matthew stays away from online galleries and instead offers clients a spiral-bound proof book of 5×7 images. This not only ups the client’s excitement factor, it gives them an opportunity to show their photos to friends –– essentially marketing your business for free!

For more of Matthew’s valuable tips, check out his Build a High Volume Senior Photography Business course on CreativeLive, where he takes the audience through marketing methods, shooting techniques, and sale strategies that will take your business to the next level of success.

Mehera Bonner FOLLOW >

Mehera Bonner is a freelance lifestyle and entertainment writer. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and two children.