Skip to main content

photo & video

Start and Grow Your Photography Business

Lesson 18 of 27

Student Hot Seat: Critique on Pricing

Kevin Kubota

Start and Grow Your Photography Business

Kevin Kubota

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

18. Student Hot Seat: Critique on Pricing

Lesson Info

Student Hot Seat: Critique on Pricing

All right, so Michelle was kind enough to share with us two of her wedding packages. Yes, mm-hm. Is that correct? My question would be, is this what you offer in completion for your wedding packages? Yes, those are, yeah, initial. Those are your two wedding packages, okay? All right, so let's take a peek. So here's the first one we have, and Qthis is laid out like on a full sheet. And I've kind of cropped it just a little bit so you can see more, but it has her studio address and everything on the bottom. We're not gonna talk about design so much, we talked about that yesterday, one thing that I feel is sorely missing is some sort of brand identity, a logo. You know, I don't know if you have that yet, or you're still working on it, fine, but I would definitely incorporate that some way. Tt looks very generic as it is. Then we have her price list, 31,000 bucks, six hours of coverage, two photographers, complimentary mini engagement session book marker favors. Explain that to m...

e real quick. At the day of the wedding, from the engagement session, you get these little book markers where it actually tells them where they could see their images, too, yes. Okay. So I'm assuming the engagement session is included then? It is. All right, so it'll be the engagement session plus the book marker favors, an Italian album, 8x12 album, 30 pages, designed by our album designer, each image retouched and enhanced, 75 4x6 or 6x4, you must be from Europe. (laughter) 6x4 first edition prints. (laughs) It's something different. Yeah, it is, somewhat. (laughs) I'm not complaining. You gotta be different, that's good, you know. I'd maybe just put it in millimeters to go for it all the way, you know? (audience, Michelle, and Kevin laugh) Be really weird. Okay, digital negatives CD of your wedding images, posting of images online, and the internet's pass protect. But you add here, "We offer couples a beautiful experience that creates amazing images, capturing true and meaningful moments between them. We specialize in 24 weddings per year. This allows us to give personal detailed attention to each couple. Big, bold 10% off this collection if you set up a consultation at this bridal show only. So I'm assuming this is, For a bridal show, yeah for a bridal show, right? Not the one that you normally use in the studio? Or do you use the same one? Uh, no, I have Just take the bridal show thing off? Exactly, yeah, mm-hmm. Okay. All right, so from what we talked about earlier, what can we glean, what kind of improvements could we make on here? Um, I would change the price, being the very first thing they read, because their mind sort of shuts down once they see, "3100." It's either like, I can afford it, or I can't. So if they can't afford it, they're kind of just skimming the rest of it, they're not really considering it anymore, 'cause they're already somewhat decided that I can't afford 3100, okay? So I would sell it first. You know, make 'em drool first, maybe start with your statement, I would work that statement, I think it's not wordsmithed as perfectly as it could be. Rework it to be a little more emotional, but I like that you're doing that, and you're on the right track, but maybe work it a little bit, you might even, you might even work with a professional writer to come up with something really tasty for you for that one paragraph. Put that first, so that's what they're going to read first, they're already, you want to make them drool first. All right, the digital negatives, we have two packages, there's another one that's above this, later, I'll still talk about that one, too. Now we might want to consider whether you really want to give the negatives with this package, or you want to put it on, or maybe it's a bonus, or signing bonus, maybe you know you're gonna give it to them, but it's that incentive, like when you're sitting with them, and they're like, "Hm, I'm not sure if I want, I can afford to book this," and you say, "I tell you what I'm gonna do. (laughter) "Shh, you book today, I'm gonna give you your digital negatives, now, right now, let's do a deal." Something like that, okay? So that could be an add-on thing. The next, uh, let's see, everything else I think is pretty good. You might, again, wordsmith it a little bit so it sounds, so it flows a little bit. But the engagements, I would separate out the complimentary mini engagement session book marker favors, it's kinda like one long thing, but it doesn't really separate. Because the engagement is a valuable add-on, whether, if you're just gonna include it, fine, or you want to use that as another incentive, but to maybe put engagement session, complimentary engagement session, you know? And put it in there, that it's complimentary, so they're not thinking, like, they're having to pay for it. It's always nice, you know, when you see packages of something that's free, or includes free complimentary, and we always think, "Wow, this is a better deal." When, it'd make no difference if they didn't say complimentary, it's still in the price, they built it in there somewhere, right? But it, we like to see that. Or, people buying things like to see that. So you might consider doing that. All right, so let's take a look, and my other thought on this immediately is how much money you're actually making, when you're giving that much stuff away for 3100 bucks. Right, so let's look at your next one up. Their next option, instead of 31, they can go to 39, and now they get, what do we get? Eight hours of coverage, with two photographers, big album, 10x13 with 30 pages, all retouched, 150 first edition prints, the beloved engagement session, including a 16x20 framed portrait, and a book marker card favor, digital negative CDs, same thing, same thing as below, same thing here. So, same as far as the design, we won't talk about the design so much, I think the design could be stepped up a little bit, you know, with a professional designer, layout, switching around those things we talked about, but the pricing kind of makes me wonder, right? So, I also want to show you this. This is something you also included, as far as breaking down, this is really cool, she did this whole breakdown. And I'm gonna come back to that pricing thing, I don't want to leave you guys hanging on that. I want to actually plug her numbers into my pricing calculator, to see what she was actually making off that, you know. We're gonna find out. But this is something that she also submitted, which I think is great that she did this breakdown, sort of like what she needs to make down at the bottom, "Needs to average per wedding," and I thought this is interesting, cause you said you need to average per wedding $4000, but your top package is 38. How's that gonna pan out? Um, I don't really. Okay. (laughter) I'm not teasing you, I, you are so brave for being up here and letting me pick on you. And you've done a lot of things right. This is really good, most of us did not take the time to do this, so this is awesome, that she did this breakdown, all right? So let's take a look at, you can stay up here with me. I'm gonna hold your hand, so you don't feel... (sighs) We're gonna switch back to our spreadsheet and if we can flick over to my computer. All right, so here is the package builder spreadsheet that I'm giving you guys, as well, this is included in the download on a spreadsheet. So I've plugged in some prices, based on just some guesses from what her last package was, it was priced at what, 39? Yeah, 3950. 3950. So I plugged in all the things, your album, do you know, can you tell me, what does your album actually cost you? The 10x13, 30 page, printed, delivered. You're not including, like, my time to No, just the album cost. No, just the album. And I'm assuming that includes the prints, right? It does, yes. Is it a slide-in print or print on? No, it's printed on. Okay, so what do you pay for a 10x13, 30 page album? I don't know. Okay. But it's not more than 500. I would assume it's close to 500, but Yeah, it's probably close to that. That's good. Your proofs, I'm gonna guess you're getting them pretty cheap, 20 cents each, maybe? Yeah, that's up 25 cents, I haven't, uh. 25 cents? Mm-hm. Okay. All right, the 16x20, I priced out, the cheapest 16x20 framed from my lab, was about 92 bucks, the cheapest, okay, so I'm putting that in there. Okay. Packaging, I'm assuming you do some sort of a nice packaging, thank you card, five bucks, maybe that. Book mark, I have no idea what those things, I haven't used those, do you know what those cost you, the book mark party favor offers? Um, they're probably about $25. Okay, 25 bones on that one. All right, so this is, the top part are all your goods that are going with this package, with your 30% cost of goods, so just the materials that come with this wedding package should sell for about 2198, all right? So now we're gonna go down below and start popping in her time, so I assumed a creation time to shoot an engagement session and a wedding for you, if you're doing an eight hour wedding, if you're conserving and shoot a one hour engagement, about nine hours, right? Second shooter, 'cause your offering a second shooter, I'm assuming you're gonna hire a cheap second shooter at 50 bucks an hour, maybe it could be more or less, I don't know. Your admin time, because weddings have a lot of admin, at least four hours, before and after, sales, preparation, da da da, at a minimum of 25 an hour, just pretty minimum. Your album design, I'm not sure if you do your design yourself, or use software, I put in about four hours of album design. That sound about right, to design an album? Mm-hm. 30 page? An assistant, I don't know if you use an assistant or not. I'm assuming, if this was me, I would have an assistant at least on the engagement session, because my second shooter would kind of be my assistant on the wedding, but if I did an engagement, I would always have an assistant, so for me, I would have to have at least one hour of an assistant. Editing time, now how long does it take you to edit, completely edit a full wedding, prepare the images, days? (laughter) Hours? It depends on your work flow, if your work flow's not very good, by the way, I have a work flow seminar on Creative Live. And that's where I learned. Okay, good, so you're probably like, one hour? Uh, (laughs) anywhere, probably when it's all said and done, downloading them, arranging them, renumbering them, probably four to six hours. And that includes retouching and preparing them for the album, everything? Uh, no, no. That's just preparing them to go online. Okay, so what about, like, editing, color correcting, retouching, boom, whole wedding finished. You're probably right at at least eight hours. Okay, you see how smart I am? I knew these things, right? Okay, travel time, we've gotta figure that. You're driving to and from wedding and engagement session, so I put minimum, if it's a half hour drive either way, you're gonna have two hours of driving time in there. So your total time on this is gonna be 2500 bucks, total from above, 2198, your package total should be 47. And you're 39? Okay, so you should probably bump it up a little bit. All right, and this is basically how you'd figure it out. And you can decide, you know, I'm not paying myself quite as much, and this, when you look at this now, this payment of your time and your assistant's time and all that, that's not profit, that's just your salary. So if you were an LLC, you would cut yourself a check every month for your salary, right? But the business itself needs to have some profit, and that profit is coming from this number. 1538, that's with the profit and overhead, and that's gonna cover her profit and also the cost of sales, remember that? Insurance, studio rent, da da da, and all that kind of advertises into that. So this number needs to be a pretty decent number because that's actually where the money's being made. This is just keeping her alive. This is where it's growing the business. So if we bring that down very much, that's, then she's just shooting weddings, she's like a hired gun, it's like you're shooting for somebody else, you're not really making money, you're surviving. Which is sometimes the best we can do, I'm not saying don't, we want to look towards the better situation.

Class Description

It’s important to plant the seeds to grow your photography business the right way. Whether you are transitioning from a hobbyist to a professional, or have already launched your new business and don’t know what to do next, Kevin Kubota will show you the key and essential steps to getting your business growing in the right direction. You’ll learn who you are as a photographer and how to position, brand, and market yourself to the perfect clientele. 

Kevin will show you:
  • How best to brand yourself to attract clientele that hire you for you 
  • Pricing and packaging strategies to maximize your sales 
  • How to perfect your sales techniques without being pushy 
It’s time to start or build up a photography business that will allow you to be creative and make money at the same time. Kevin will help you achieve that goal.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Branding Statement

Contract Do's & Dont's

Evaluate your Business

Keyword Exercise

Points of Contact

Sample Portrait Session Contract

Startup Checklist

Photography Pricing Calculator

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Lauren Scott

Super great class. I've been in business full-time for 5 years, and I'm just now starting to get my "act together" I have spent so much time shooting, it has taken away from the business aspect and actually identifying myself as a brand, this was a good way to get the basics, learn, lots of good info. NOT boring at all, he is super funny and super personable, not pretentious and speaks to you in a way thats easy to understand... sometimes I feel like entrepreneurs come off a bit "nose-in-the-air" with all these terms myself as a creative cannot understand... but not with Kevin, down to earth funny guy! I also emailed him with a few questions and he was so kind to email be back right away! Thanks Kevin and thanks creative live! Bring him back!

KIS Photography

This was an amazing class to be a part of! I knew it would be good, from watching Kevin Kubota's previous Creative Live classes, and this course far exceeded my expectations! Kevin is a fantastic teacher, giving sound advice, presented clearly, with a down to earth, caring & humorous touch! I've watched it over on the replay, picking up on more things each time. This class will help me to get my photography business off on the right start, and I am looking forward to implementing all of his fantastic advice! Thank you Kevin & Creative Live!