The Formula for Pricing and Q&A


Senior Portraits: Create the Ultimate Experience


Lesson Info

The Formula for Pricing and Q&A

There's a whole lot that goes into pricing, right? And none of it's really fun, but it's a necessity to running a business, so, like you mentioned earlier, it is more than just cost of goods. The cost of your time and talent is the cost of doing business on dh that should be what you charge. So you know, again and go back to what you should charge, which is what I charge versus what somebody in new york city charges all of these items are going to vary and cost, which is going to make you're charged a different thing, you know, you may have a studio. Well, then you're probably going to need charge a little bit more because you've got to pay for that studio, you've got to pay for the space, you've got to pay for the props you got to pay for the, you know, all the stuff that comes along with the electric and everything. So you're cost of doing a business is more than my cost of doing business, you know, your time and talent because you've just started maybe a little less than somebody th...

at's been doing it for ten years because maybe their time and talent is is more now because they have more experience and they have more education, and they have you know this that the other so all of this stuff should be considered when you're coming up with a price which is why it's hard to say to you multiply it times three there's no one size fits all so that's a hard thing to say because I don't know everything that goes into it and then I go back to the fact that we all are doing it for different reasons we all you know everything is relative to who we are ten dollars to me might be a lot of money and fifty dollars to you might be a lot of money I mean to me like it's all relative and you need to think about the why and you need to add up all your you know all your email times all your phone calls all your drive time all your editing time like does it take you five minutes for image it may take me tio two minutes for image it make take somebody else ten I mean our domain like so that is different on dso you need to consider that obviously the cost of photo shop on your website business cards and I mean why take it so let's just start yelling out things that cost for businesses and y'all you know, maybe writing down what are some things that I haven't even mentioned insurance insurance yup portland okay park so if you shoot in the park so if you shoot the part you have to have a past how much is it for me? Because I live in beaverton not portland it's two hundred and sixty dollars a year okay, so they're again your cost of doing business is different and whoever lives in portland right cause you just said it cost you different than them that's something to write down you've got to know that what are some other things? Obviously camera lens is your bag you're reflector those air easy things but even things that you don't think about gas mileage whether you do gas mileage in but in mine I have to put the cost of a baby sitter a baby sitter yeah, because you got a fun child care absolutely absolutely because you cannot do your your business without childcare, right? Yeah, absolutely. Does your accountant let you write it off for now? It's my dad who happens to also be the baby ah that's good. But hey, there is a difference in you than somebody else has got to go pay an accountant because your dad's an accountant yeah, you know, maybe your calls to doing things a little bit different than what else is right but I have found that I did try to do shoes with my children oh my gosh, yes on my son he's really good at the reflector but if it's tired oh man is terrible they'll start flashing the reflector in the client's eyes on blinding them yeah that I'll say like weird things like did they pay yet or how much did they pay so I have to get a baby sitter right yeah ok yeah exactly does anybody have a studio ugo ugo okay so those air calls for you guys what? I don't have a studio mac and kind of imagine what the cost of but maybe say some of those my rent is six fifty and then I pay electricity and then internet right? You know things like that you have fallen in there or you just use yourself I just used my self for it then that's an added cost monthly just for myself yeah yeah and then do you constantly feel like because you have a studio you have to buy new props I stopped doing that but I do feel like I have to constantly like keep my wall collections and stuff updated and changing it out more often than keeping it fresh and then just the sheer cost of of setting the studio was I was a lot of money like we bought furniture right repainted everything and you have a computer at your seo won at home no, I separated my home in my work life. Well I did too just recently because my home one crashed on my husband unplugged my hard drive honey don't mad about it anyway, yes, oh, yes, oh there's all different expenses that I don't I don't have because I don't have furniture, I know I didn't do did for my ordering session room by a piece of furniture that was a display piece that I could put the television on and it's a cabinet, so I've got all my packaging and stuff in there, and that is the only thing I use it force it makes your tax purposes you're not co mingling or whatever they call it don't ask me because I'm not an accountant, my husband is an accountant, I mean, not he's, not an accountant, his financial guy that he knows numbers like he is just, like spreadsheet genius and I don't know how we ever got together because I don't want to talk about don't talk to me about numbers don't tell mei don't giving him out, I don't want no, you just do your spreadsheet stuff, I'll do my creative stuff, right? But yeah, so it's things like that. So I mean, you know, there's so much involved in running a busy this I think ken and I talked about this earlier, I think a lot of people your clients probably think all you do is click in your miraculously providing all this stuff, but there's a lot that goes into running a bit and when it becomes a business and not a hobby, then you've got to consider all these things. You're accounted your insurance, you're you know, you're a graphic designer. If you're rebranding that's a cost of doing business, all your packaging is a cost of doing business. Yeah, education, education, travel in the workshops, absolutely, and I'm a big fans education no matter where you are in this business, I think you can always learn, so I think you should have the education budget every year and go somewhere or do something online or watch creating live or whatever you need to dio to continually educate yourself, and that is a cost of doing business. That is what sets you apart from somebody else because maybe they haven't gone too, you know, I had the training that you've had or whatever, so yeah, absolutely on dh then just don't forget your time and your talent, which is an easy thing to forget because it's not tangible, you didn't have to write a check for it and then get paid back forward or whatever, but you did spend time you've spent time, you know, with your graphic artist trying to come up with why you wanted this branding you. Spent time talking to clients you know it doesn't always have to be specific clients stuff there's a lot of stuff you spent time with your education wherever you win you get that time away from your home here s o the travel the you know your gas to get here your hotel or your food or whatever why you were here doing something for your business is a business expense and needs to be considered when it comes to pricing so yeah absolutely do we have any we have so many questions this's a tough one but how do you go about figuring out what your time is worth? Yeah like if you're crunching all these numbers right what's the time one well, I mean you definitely needed right member no, I mean the first thing you do is need to write down how much time you know, watch yourself and see okay, it takes me five minutes per image or it takes me thirty minutes to get to the post office or whatever you know I mean like you can't really set a number for your time. I think until you know exactly how much time you're spending on things so you know it's probably a good idea to make a list of all the things that you do that take time and figure out you can measure a number off of that so that is probably the first step because just blatantly saying what I think I may be spent ten minutes of this that the other is, you know, social media time I mean that's a job in and of itself so it takes time and that is time and you're more I mean, that is marketing so you know s so that would be the first thing is try to figure it out and then you know from there you've got it, consider all your other aspects as well and then come up with a number so like I say, I think it is a process of where you are in the business on dh and what you're willing to work for you no, I mean, are you willing to work for twenty dollars an hour? Ask yourself that I'm not are you? I mean, you know, you might be and that's fine ask yourself if fifty dollars an hour might seem a little bit more worth your time, maybe then you go up to one hundred dollars an hour, you know? But no, it helps to pick that number based on the actual number of time, so I think that's your first step that's great, thank you. All right, this is a question from andre brown photography in terms of we didn't we didn't talk yet about your actual pricing of those colors, right, right, right but the question is also do you think having a huge jump in pricing between packages is a problem so whatever the number is how do you gauge how tow put the how many? Yeah with price differentials shitty is three hundred dollars between each package a good number right what do you how would you go about that? Well again I wouldn't say a set number because you know it's it's it's hard to say yep every package should be three hundred dollars apart you know that's not it's not a one size fits all thing you know, mind go from the bottom in the middle or maybe a little closer and then there is a bigger jump to the top but it's not an astronomical jump because you know it's just I don't want to scare anybody often nobody ever about that so you know that would be my that would probably be my suggestion is maybe you know, not as big of a jump between the bottom two maybe a little bit bigger jump there but as faras I can't tell him or her two hundred dollars is your golden answer because it's not a name you need to make sure that each of the packages those fit the value perceived so that the client can understand why it jumped in price I think that's an important thing to consider yeah people to talk to that exactly if yeah yeah I mean exactly do you have a lot of people ask you why it's priced at that number? You know, the only time I really ever have people asked me was when I sold just the cd and why's the cd so much, wait, talk about the brady bunch well, right? Yeah, exactly. And that's how our explained it that that would be the only time I could say I have ever really had someone say we'll live that much the collections they don't really ask because I guess I'm guessing psychologically there's enough things in there that it that it makes sense, whereas I think customers think of when they think of a cd, I think they truly are thinking of that two dollars cd and so it's a little harder for them to understand why you're charging thousand dollars or whatever you're charging for it because they're just getting this look. Two dollars cto in their mind. That's what they're thinking. So I think that's where questions come in about well, why is it that much? And then you start to say, well, you know what, there's fifty images on there, you know, that works out to be don't make me do math, but it works out to be whatever it works out there you get and that's why? And then you start explaining that you can print on five hundred times or whatever on dh so they start to understand that it's not that two dollars cd but it's the everything that's on that cd and all your work and all your editing and all your talent and copyright, if you will I mean you you're the photographer you on those images, they're yours and you're giving them the cd so that they can print them and share them but not truly, you know you still own the copyright of that so there's some monetary value in that, you know, remain so that's probably the only time I've ever had somebody a question of price on dh some people just you know, no, not going to do it and I'm like, okay, fine, I mean, you know you're not going to force you exactly, but you're also not going to get you out of it. Do you include some kind of copyright letter before the people who do purchase digital images is part of what yes earlier I mentioned in the middle package they just get that cardboard thing and it's I wish I'd brought one that is re binder dot com in the name of the company actually changed I think the new name is guided products but I think if you google re binder it's still going to come up anyway it's just this little square five by five looking square thing that opens up on one side is a folder for the kind of like the folder already showed all but in a tiny little form so the cd is stuck in one side and a five by five card that you could get printed in any lab has the print release on one side that I sign and date and say so and so has permission to print so that if they go to j m d which is in my hometown and for some reason they asked not always do they but if they do they could say yep got permission to print it and then on the other side it gives him a tip it's about you know what they can use it for my suggestion to go to jan di if they want somewhere local how I suggest they store um on the other side desist of a card that says that and so I would put that in that that folder but then I would also give it to them if they're ordering that top package that comes with that image bach yeah and and having that printed up and ordering those and just having them that's just like your packaging having bags and and ribbon and cards and yeah, all of that stuff is cost of business number one but also having it on file, you know, in your home like I say I had that cabinet all of that stuff is in there, so when I get an order ready I go and pick and put in package and it's all done and I have that so I'm not like ordering constantly packaging and cards and things like that can you go through that just again or a little bit more in terms of that process? Do you have all the products shipped to your home and then do people come and pick them up? What what do you do from a branding perspective in terms of how you put it all together? Yeah. So yes, they do come to my home and package them at that point personally, just because I mean, I know there's there's there's labs out there that do boutique packaging and I think that's great, but it just never really wasn't my colors or whatever and I kind of wanted the personal touch I love all that stuff stickers and and bags and tissue paper and oh my gosh, my I told you has this yesterday but I have custom wrapping paper that I absolutely love with malaga of that I got from spoon flower dot com in case anybody wants custom wrapping favor they also make custom wallpaper which I think is fabulous and I'm going to order some with my logo to go right behind the desk which would be super cool anyway but so yes I package all up put the ribbon on their put the sticker on there and then typically I will say I mean I'm out and about today I'm just gonna drop it off or if you're out about and you want to pick it up come on by s so it's kind of a combination I like for them tio either pick it up for me take it to him because again I can see them and I'm handing them their product and I will typically take that box right out and start opening it and it looks you know so I like that personal touch it goes along with that relationship so you know again whether I'm actually delivering it or they're picking it up from my house I am seeing them and that's what I don't I don't like to ship it it's impersonal right exactly it's part of your experience right part of who you are you're exactly a cz my husband would say I drive everywhere in my car hasn't ton of miles on it so why not go to drive and deliver a product exactly exactly so okay so we've talked about the packages that you have then what are some of the best selling all of carte items that you carry and just teo just to clarify for everybody out there would you sell do you sell more images on a disk at all a cart theun what is in those custom pack right yet and that's an important question I would say the biggest ala carte item that somebody might we get on top of a collection is graduation announcements hands down I don't have those and you know that's not a choice that is hands down the thing that they may out our own and I'm okay with that sometimes in the in the middle or the top package because the devil side of wallets don't come in those packages they would add that on s o those air there's two things that that get it at it on and then yes and inevitably sometimes you will have somebody say, well, what if I just want one digital image? Well, you know what that's kind of a pain for me to have to go and burn a cd of one image, so I'm going to price it a little bit more it's more value for you I'm not going to tell them that just talking to you about that but to them I say well, it's more valuable for you to buy the entire cd they're cheaper if you were to divide it out they're cheaper per image when I do the entire digital collection if you want about one it's going to be a lot mauritz going to be one hundred dollars so there's like oh I'm not paying one hundred dollars from one and then that will get them to say well then maybe I'll get the middle collection at least I can get ten because I'm not going to spend a hundred dollars per imager whatever you were number maybe man used to be fifty and then I kind of got tired of people buying just one fifty dollars that didn't seem like a big deal for them so they would die one and I was just like okay, I need up it now if they want to order the middle collection that they want twelve images because they bought the collection I'm not going to charge him one hundred for those two I might just count it a little bit and usually that's not the case that doesn't happen but I would personally said okay, well for two extra ones you I can have that for one hundred extra dollars because you did about that collection another reward I could give them instead of making them pay two hundred dollars for it so but if they are going to buy one image they're going to pay for that one image so usually if you explain it to them that it's a myth that are valued about more then they usually really gets them to go towards a different route absolutely any more questions you got for the graduation announcement kind of part of your in person sales like do you create it there yeah usually I will ask the girl's own the chute or I don't know through their question air graduation announcements or something because I will tell you they there they are becoming more popular the traditional way of doing it in my area is just order the ones with school krist and it just says whatever so I ask so hey you have you have you thought about it and we talk about this on the session and have you thought about graduation announcements like are you going to do something like a traditional route or you're going to want some the photos on it oh I think I want some photos on it and I'm like okay well do you have any colors that you like do you have any patterns? Are you a geometric person? In fact I asked kendra earlier because I wanted to know what she wanted on the back of her box is she a geometric person? Is she uh cute see polka dot a stripe person like what kinds of kinds of things patterns do you like what kinds of colors do you like and then I look I also have an invitation backgrounds you have to understand that I go home and then designed something for them and then stick it in that slide show if it's something they have expressed interest in and I usually do about three different designs which seems to be enough and they picked one from that so sometimes I ordered templates oh, snap boutique has amazing template so maybe you talk to the girl and figure out like what she likes and then you think ok, I've got a no snap boutique template that has florals on it she mentioned she liked floral so I'm going to do that and then you can change out the colors depending on what she had on put sample photos in there because it makes a bigger impact but then say to them when they're looking at ok, so which invitation do you like best? And they say, you know one say okay let's talk about the pictures you like do you like these colors? I can always change the colors but I picked these colors based on your outfit so just so you know and that oh yeah that's a good idea okay, yeah so yeah, that usually will really get them to go that route and like I say more and more I'm starting to see that people do you want the graduation announcements that I offer as opposed to those school ones and then it goes back to educate educating them there's a page in the welcome guy that shows that graduation I mean you know products are in there and there's a patient talks about graduation announcements so if they're booking me and then they're going into that yearbook photo and maybe that company offers those plane or whatever then they know I remember in the welcome guy I don't need that and so because I have in the past had people that had already spent money on the traditional ones and they're like darn it I wish I had known did it also again educating them but given them if it's not too much time on your part it makes a bigger impact of you if you go ahead and talk to him about it let him know it's possibility and then give them that extra customer service and making them feel like you pick those specifically for them can you tell us again the name of the wrapping paper website which is a lot of folks are asking about you know like when you eat with a spoon flower dot com awesome and it's amazing I think I think the wallpapers removable I don't think it's permanent so you know that's fun to say it could even be something used for backdrop if you have a studio because then you could change it out really quick you could get you ah piece of plywood or something and just put one on one side one on the other side and use it as a backdrop that's the amazing thing teo so I'd love to just summarize for people how you kind of that whole experience of the pricing. So you have a session fee and you have three different options. We have three different session options. Yes, right. And then s o that's the first thing that people pay for and they pay for that before they when they book, when they book it, they pay for it. Yep used to do it where they would bring a cheque to the session. It was just too much, you know, I don't want concentrate again. It goes back to the relationship I want concentrate on money. One concentrate on you and you having a good time and I want you to have to worry about did you bring your mom's check or or whatever I don't ever like to ask for money or hate it the worst we all do. Oh, my god. Oh, yeah, I remember you owe me money, right? And you feel like you know, you feel like cowering down like, oh, you remember that? You gotta pay me for that, right? Anyway, I hated it so booking they pay for it. Yeah, and so then they come in for the ordering session fee I'm sorry for the ordering session and you've already provided them with their prices because of you given that to them previously and then you have three different collections. And then you have allah cart as well that people can add on top of that. Exactly. Awesome. Yep.

Class Description

High school seniors are energized, creative, and fun – and the best photographers know how to take portraits that capture that spark. Join Leslie Kerrigan for a guide to designing, marketing, shooting and sustaining a senior portrait business.

In this course, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create senior portrait sessions that aren’t just a photo shoot, but are memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Leslie will share her unique approach to creating a style closet, providing wardrobe consultations and keeping up with the of-the-moment social networking tools teens use. You’ll learn about connecting with seniors’ personalities, interests, and sense of style to ensure their portraits are every bit as unique as they are. You’ll hear from the teens, themselves as Leslie hosts a roundtable discussion with a group of teenagers who will talk honestly about what they want out of their senior portraits and how to reach them. You will also explore ways to leverage that personal connection into more sessions, sales, and referrals.

Don’t miss this opportunity to become the dynamic, must-have senior photographer for every teen in your area!


Lynn Powell Roberts

I learned a lot from this course. I watched all day when CL replayed Sal Cincotta's senior course and I wanted a second perspective, so I bought Leslie's course. I'm really glad I purchased Leslie's course because it was a great complement to Sal's course. Leslie covered different things like using a style closet that I especially found useful. She also did a beach shoot with a male and female model, which I found very useful and different from Sal's style. Leslie is so excited about "her girls" that she photographs - it's very engaging. I highly recommend this course.