Creating Your Ideal Photography Business

Lesson 10/48 - Minimum Purchase And Incentives Pricing Strategy


Creating Your Ideal Photography Business


Lesson Info

Minimum Purchase And Incentives Pricing Strategy

Minimum purchase. So this is similar to a session fee. What a minimum purchase, it's a strategy similar to the session fee, in that it relieves some of the burden off of the final sale. So when you book a session with a minimum purchase, you usually pay at least a percentage of that minimum purchase up front. Sometimes you pay all of it up front. And it's telling your client you should plan on investing at least this much with me. So, you can use this as a tool in combination with a session fee or you can use it independently. So here's how it might work. You could say, I have a session fee of $ and a minimum purchase of $400. So what you're communicating to that client, is that they should plan on spending $500 with you. Very clear, up front, no mistake, right? So, then we know we still have to get to that $800 mark, so we're still gonna have to sell $300 of product on the back end, alright? That's one way to get over halfway there up front. Or, you could use this to your competitive ...

advantage and say, you know, I don't charge a session fee. Everybody in the area charges a session fee, I want you to see what you get before you invest with me. There is a minimum purchase of $ or whatever you want it to be. You should expect to invest that much, but I want you to see everything up front, okay? Take the session fee off the table, all of a sudden, you are more competitive, right? Or, you could just say, I have a $500 minimum purchase. I'm so busy, I don't know what I can do and it's $500 if you want your picture taken. You see how those have very different messages? Of course you probably wouldn't say it to your clients that way. But I know photographers that have $1,500 minimum purchases. They're experienced, they've been doing it a long time, and they have to use that to filter and make sure they get to the right clients for their business, okay? So basically, the minimum purchase is a strategy to say up front, this is the minimum amount that you should expect to invest. You can use it in combination with other tools for selling. Okay, incentives. So, this is like the, I compare it to training my dog. I give my dog a treat whenever he does a good job. That's not a nice way to talk about your clients, but it's the same concept. So whenever your clients do something that you want them to do, you reward them for it. And you reward them with something that they're really excited about. And so, the trick to incentives is, you can't give an incentive to your client, until they reach that target sales average. So, when we're talking about our happy math and our target sales average is $800, your first incentive happens at $800. You never give them a reward for doing anything less than what you need them to do to make this a sustainable livelihood, okay? And incentives are things that they want, that don't cost you a lot of money to make. So the obvious one is digital files. You don't have a cost of goods on those, unless you're delivering them on a jump drive or a disk or something like that. And so, that would be something easy that they all really, really want. You could use this in your business as an incredible tool, maybe the only way they get digital files is if they do X,Y,Z. That is a powerful tool. You only get the digital files if you invest $1,000 or $1,500 or whatever it is, $500. Whatever you want them to do. Remember, digital files, once they're in the hands of your customer, there's no opportunity for an additional sale. So use them with caution. There are lots of other things that you can use as incentives. One of the favorite things that we always do is we give away cards to our clients that do certain things. But we only give them ten cards and that's very intentional. Our cards actually come in packs of 25, so it's not a logical thing from a business standpoint. But, I know for certain, that if they send ten of their family members a card, somebody is gonna feel left out, right? They're gonna buy more cards, always. Every single time, okay? So be really intentional about how you use these incentives and use them to get your clients to do something that you want them to do. Okay, other incentives. So cards, digital files, you could give them a really cute little, inexpensive frame for some unique product that you make. Give them a Christmas ornament. These are happy, little things that make them feel incredible, it's a gift. Makeup companies use this all the time, they are the king of the incentive. Whenever you go into a department store, you'll see gift with purchase. Same thing, so if you spend $50 on makeup, you get this cute little pouch with all kinds of goodies in there that you probably don't really use anyway. But, it makes you feel good as a buyer, right?

Class Description

"If you're struggling to figure out the business process of photography, this class is one of the clearest and most concise I've ever seen. If you're experienced but the business side and pricing are eluding you, you will find clarity here. I own at least twenty CreativeLive courses and hands down, this one explains pricing and strategy better than any others I've purchased or watched live." - Julie, CreativeLive Student 
Join Kathy Holcombe as she shares techniques and strategies to develop the photography business you desire. Whether you’re making the leap from part-time to full-time or starting your very first business, the amount of work can be overwhelming. From what products to offer, how much to charge, how to pay yourself or the legal considerations - start ups often sink before clients are even booked. Kathy will show you the ways to grow your business from the start. This class will cover: 

  • Defining what product you are selling and how much you should charge to make a living 
  • Photography business basics and how to track your income compared to other businesses 
  • How to write and create your business plan 
Kathy Holcombe and her husband Peter built one of the top wedding portrait studios in Colorado, then jumped in an RV with the entire family and began traveling the country full-time, and added a successful commercial division. Together they have built multiple successful businesses and have honed in on the important factors that every photographer should consider when building a business. 


1Class Introduction 2How To Price Your Products 3Which Products Will You Offer 4Methods For Pricing 5Mark Up Factors On Products 6What Is Your Per Hour Figure 7What Is The Feasibility Of A Product 8Target Sales Average 9Session Fees Pricing Strategy 10Minimum Purchase And Incentives Pricing Strategy 11Bundling Pricing Strategy 12Pre-Design Pricing Strategy 13Album Pricing Strategies 14Example Pricing List 15Business Basics Overview 16Tracking Product Lines In Your Business 17Track Your Session Counts 18Know Your Sales Average 19Importance Of Data Analysis 20Overview Of Costs 21Professional Photographers Of America Benchmark Survey 22Creating A Vision For Your Business 23What Do You Want To Accomplish 24Take A Leap Of Faith 25Refine Your Vision 26Products That Sell 27Identify Pricing Strategies 28Portrait Pricing Strategy Example 29Album Pricing Strategy Example 30Online Pricing Strategy Example 31Fine Art Prints Pricing Strategy Example 32Packages Pricing Strategy Example 33Sales Strategies Overview 34Portrait Sales Session Overview 35Sales Strategy for Portrait Sales 36How to Present Images to Client 37Sales Strategy for Wedding Sales 38Album Pre-Design 39Marketing: Define Yourself 40Who is Your Ideal Client? 41Who is Your Ideal Partner? 42How to Start a Partner Business Relationship 43Marketing Strategies that Work 44Product Lines: Business Plan Part One 45Workload: Business Plan Part Two 46Sessions: Business Plan Part Three 47Expenses: Business Plan Part Four 48Clients: Business Plan Part Five



I started my business a year ago with little formal technical photography education. It's hard to admit but I've been winging it, figuring out each small task that goes with photographing a session, editing one, and working with clients as I go. I may be doing things backwards, but now that I feel like I'm more comfortable in those small, specific parts of business, I need to figure out how to make this business sustainable and profitable. Kathy's class felt perfect for this time in my business to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of what I want to focus on and where I want to go (and how much I want to pay myself!). She uses realistic, specific numbers: something that's SO helpful and I feel like I rarely see in the photography community. And she breaks everything down in an organized and easy to understand way. The classes were easy to follow along with and Kathy's positivity and patient manner is inspiring and motivating. The fact that she used to be a school teacher is clear. Thank you so much Kathy (and the rest of the Holcombes)!

Jenny Farrell

I am so glad I was able to attend this course in person and receive all the wonderful and practical information Kathy shared with us. I also really enjoyed the connections with other audience members and side conversations with Creative Live peeps as well as the Holcombe family. What an inspiration this family is--lots of practical info, but also a great pep talk to not sell yourself short and get out there and do what you love, but use sound business practice while doing it. Thanks so much for these incredible two days.


Fantastic course! Very helpful instruction and how-to guide for anyone considering starting up a photography business. Kathy was an excellent instructor, with a wealth of knowledge and experience. I gained a good understanding of the practical everyday aspects of running this kind of business, and how to create my own vision.