I decided to maintain the photography business as-is, but I am raising prices dramatically. I just cannot keep being the bargain photographer.
It is not an easy decision, as I like to be gracious and giving to people. I consider my photography to be part of myself, not just a job, and thus giving part of myself to my clients. It is hard to put a price tag on that at all, as I’d like to just be able to give it away to everybody.
I also know this is not the price point most of my previous clients are used to or looking for. It is also not just about the money, but the reality is photography is a luxury product and should be priced as such. I am also baking into my pricing a second photographer, and that second photographer being present at all future booked weddings will be non-negotiable. I just cannot continue to take on solo weddings.
Weddings will now be $2,800 for 8 hours of coverage, with coverage less than 8 hours being $350 an hour. Family and senior sessions will now be $275 per hour with a two hour, immediate family only limit, for 15-20 images digital delivery. I am not taking on newborn sessions at all anymore. I will not take on wedding coverage anymore for over 8 hours of coverage– my body just cannot handle it.
On one hand, part of me is afraid I will never book a photography client again, but also– I look at so many of my photography friends and they charge twice what I have just raised my prices to, starting, and are very successful doing so.
On the other hand, I am severely burned out. Photography is a big part of my personal identity and my self-care, and I cannot afford to start hating on photography– that hurts my mental health. And I was considering shutting the whole thing down, so if nobody wants to hire me at my new rates, so be it.
I have been on a downward spiral because of my SSDI status and my inability to work full-time, but the thought occurred to me this morning…..I could have sat around until too much time had passed, when I applied in 2011, and could have waited until I was not eligible for SSDI at all anymore due to too much time having passed since I worked full-time, and thus been ineligible for benefits. I did not do that and it has benefitted my family tremendously. So it really is nonsense, this negative self-talk that I tell myself, that voice which says that I do not do anything financially to contribute to my family’s well-being. At the very least, I have arranged for finances to be such that I can cover the spendaholic condition I have allowed myself to be in for so very long.
I was considering selling part of my gear, but I have backed off that idea entirely now. Even were I to sell the whole getup, it would be barely enough to buy a used GFX 50S medium format camera from KEH, and I know myself well enough to know that I would probably want three lenses to go along with it. Not to mention the fact that the 50S is a first-generation of its kind, and it would be wise to wait it out. Plus, my X-H1 does exactly what I need it to, and does it well– I love the second generation processor of the X series and I have zero desire to “upgrade” to an X-T3 or X-T4, with their shallower hand grips.
I won’t probably use the zooms for personal work and I may do my best to not use them for the upcoming weddings, either, but I change my mind on a lark. It would positively suck to have to go out and buy those zooms again– I already bought the 16-55mm f2.8 twice already, when I sold it the first time along with my old X-T1. I am trying to escape my scarcity mindset and think smarter about our money decisions.
That’s all for now.