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Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers. by Zack Arias

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Setting prices. The primer.

Q: HOW DO I SET PRICES THAT CAN BOTH COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING MY PORTRAIT BUSINESS AND MAKE PEOPLE WANT TO INVEST, ALL THE WHILE MAINTAINING SOME KIND OF INTEGRITY? ON ONE HAND, I’VE GOT THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING, AND I’M PAYING TAXES/INSURANCE/BUYING LEGIT SOFTWARE. YAY ME! BUT I’VE GOT TO CLEAR AT LEAST $800 PER SESSION JUST TO COVER ALL COSTS AND FEED THE KIDS. IT SEEMS THAT EVERYONE IS DOING THIS FOR CHEAP AND HANDING OVER A DISK OF WAY TOO MANY IMAGES. HOW DO I SET MYSELF APART?

A: It’s good that you know your base price. Let’s talk about getting to that point first. Then I’ll get directly to your question.

The basic pricing guideline goes like this: How much money do you need to make every month just to survive? ...

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