Pricing Your Albums

Pricing Your Albums

Intro by Skip Cohen

There’s so much great content on the Internet and most of the marketing material is timeless in its potential to help you build a stronger business.

I recently ran across this short post by Nicole Begley about album pricing. It’s perfect for this time of year when many of you will be creating albums for your clients. In fact, an album is one of those perfect holiday gifts, but it’s up to you to plant the idea with past and future customers.

This is where a great blog can be so effective in building a business. Share a few posts on gift ideas using photographs. Albums, prints, novelty items, etc. are perfect for the holiday season.

And, as you work to get your clients thinking about photography and gift ideas, Nicole’s helping make sure you’re pricing things correctly. So many artists forget to look at their time and the years they’ve invested in the skills to capture and create each image! Then, when they meet with their accountant in April they’re shocked over how little money they really made.

Nothing can destroy a business faster than incorrect pricing!


By Nicole Begley

I see it daily. The price list that has albums with 30 images in them for $400 or less. Albums are very much like prints in the crazy world of photography product pricing. Photographers figure that if the album costs them $100, selling it for $400 is a 25% Cost of Goods Sold…so they must be priced profitably.  This is very similar to the photographer that prices their 8×10 at $12 because it is 4X the $3 cost of the print.

Unfortunately, both photographers are absolutely 100% wrong in their pricing…that is if they want to have a successful and profitable business.

The secret ingredient missing from these calculations is time. A print does not really cost $3. My print costs me $27

Albums offer a similar conundrum. There is the time for you to handle and edit EACH FILE in the book, there is the time for you to design the book, and there is the time for you to share and edit the book with your client, etc. You MUST include your time in order for you to have profitable album sales.

If you have just had a heart attack about your album prices, have no fear.  There are options…

I love to offer my clients albums in different price ranges as some clients love to splurge for the high-end album, while others prefer to keep their albums simple and small.   Find 2-3 different albums you love, in different price points, and offer those.

Another way to keep your costs down is to limit the number of images in the album. I start with 20 images in my album and clients can upgrade to include 10 additional pages and 15 additional images. Even if you don’t upgrade to additional pages you can still create an up-charge for your clients to include additional images. It takes you additional time to process and design those files so it’s ok to charge more for it!

The final check and balance in your album pricing is comparing the album price to the cost of your prints. If your album includes 40 images and has a retail price of 400 for your client, then each image in your album is costing your client $10.

$10!

I’m not saying that your albums should be priced the same as purchasing standalone prints, but there should be a correlation.

If you are completely overwhelmed by your pricing, you aren’t alone.  It is one of the most common challenges when building a photography business. I love helping photographers make sense of their numbers and help them create a profitable pricing strategy.

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This article was written by
Nicole Begley

Nicole Begley, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, is an animal trainer turned pet photographer based in Pittsburgh, PA who also travels the world teaching pet photographers from every corner of the globe. She is the creator of Hair of the Dog, a site dedicated to helping pet photographers run a profitable pet photography studio and has authored a book - Pet and Horse Photography for Everybody. A member of PPA since 2010, Nicole has earned her Master of Photography degree, Photographic Craftsman degree, as well as her Certified Professional Photographer designation. Her work has won several awards at local and district competition, as well as a four-time medalist in the International Print Competition.

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