You’re out here doing the damn thing and living the dream as an elopement photographer. But, are you priced to grow your business? Did you price your photography to cover the cost of the adventure, and then some? We’re here to uncover some of those sneaky items that end up costing you more than your billing out.
There are 6 things that are costing you money in your elopement photography biz!
Quoting too low on your travel costs.
Elopements are based on a package versus per hour so you need to load travel costs into your pricing. It’s like Amazon free shipping! People will pay more to have free shipping, then have the shipping broken out into a line item, so include this in your photography package price. You need to price your photography so that your clients see the value, without all the anxiety of “additional fees.”
Let’s take a look at some of the 2022 most popular elopement destinations to give you an idea of what you can expect.
|3 night stay||rental car||flight||Total|
|Los Angeles, CA||$358||$399||$506||$1263|
Do any of these surprise you? Probably!
That’s why it’s crucial to look up your travel costs BEFORE providing the client a quote.
While these costs will vary on factors such as time of year you are traveling, what kind of accommodations you prefer, where you are flying out of and if you have a partner joining you, it goes to show that research can’t be understated when pricing your photography for profit.
A travel hack for an elopement photographer is cluster elopements. Once you have an elopement booked, offer the same location out to your client base! Photography price is more advantageous for couples if the cost is split since you still only need one flight ticket no matter how long you are there.
Bottom line is, when building your travel expenses, you can’t go any lower than your rate and the travel cost and expect to be profitable. Also fun fact – we are big believers in not taking on weddings where clients are trying to discount your rates. Charge your worth. You did not work this hard to get where you are to fumble the ball now. You’re basically a gladiator with a camera! Get out there!
Business Expenses aren’t covered
You need to calculate all business related expenses you accumulate per year. Take that entire number over the average number of weddings you have a year and that will tell you how much to build into your photography package price.
- yearly website subscriptions
- editing software
- money you pay for contracts
- business insurance
- continuing education budget
- new equipment
- welcome gifts for clients
- 30% taxes (just to be safe)
- gas & car maintenance
- car payment (if purchased under your business)
- 401K or retirement planning
- paid advertising
- YOUR OWN SALARY
- accountant fees
- quickbooks online or other tax programs
- email marketing subscriptions (email chimp, flodesk)
- outsourced editing
- virtual assistants
WOW! That’s a mouthful. But had you thought of this list before? Are there things YOU thought of that we didn’t include? Write it down! The expression “Cost of Doing Business” is around for a reason. As elopement photographers know, it is so much more than the day of stuff. Another trick for making sure you think of EVERYTHING – go through your bank transactions for the last few months to see what you spend money on.
You forget about profit
WA WA WA… all that work to cover your expenses and you missed out on profit! Face Palm. As Mike Michalowicz says in Principles of Profit First – put 1% of everything you make into an account set up just for profit. You’ll never miss that 1%, but you will start proving the system to yourself and building up your confidence. You’re worth every penny you charge! The separate account ensures that the profit goes straight to you without even thinking about it. (Peep the whole book here we solemnly swear by it).
Another tip from Mike Michalowicz – instead of taking sales then subtracting expenses and using what’s left over as profit, take your sales then subtract your PROFIT and what you have remaining is money that can be utilized for expenses.This also helps keep your expenses in line and evaluate what on your list is worth it. What do you need, what can you do without, and what do you want that you think you need to start adding a budget in for? TAKE CONTROL! BE FINANCIALLY FREE! SNAP THOSE PHOTOS! TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Sorry… we get a little excited to think about you setting high standards for yourself. You’re worth it. Have we said that enough yet? Moreover, we want to be sure you’re pricing your photography for profit.
Your website is confusing and boring
Yep, confusing and boring like a bad date. You are saying a whole lot of nothing. If your couples are spending too much time figuring out what your offer is, you’ve already lost them. They should know your offer within 5 seconds of getting your website. Seriously 5. Do the large font test – scroll quickly down your homepage and note the text that you see. This is what is going to stand out to others. People will skim the headlines before they determine if they WANT to read the paragraphs.
Part two – the text that you see are the main titles that need to evoke emotion and sell why you do what you do! Your potential couples need to know WHY you do the thing you do. If people are on your site they already know WHAT you do. A hundred people do the same thing you do, cue booooring. But why, your why is special. Your why will resonate with people. The why opens the conversation which will lead to the what, how, when, but without the why, who cares? Simon Sinek has a great take, Start with Why. TLDR: Without catching potential clients’ interest, your website is costing you.
You’re not automating
You can’t do everything, and do it all well. Not gonna happen. So find the areas you like and the areas you are good at, and automate what you can! The easiest thing to automate are your emails. This can be such a black hole and time suck. The best way to really serve your couples is to create helpful emails with guides for them. You serve them along their elopement journey so you can spend more time creating, or building your business. Some of our favorite automations are the “you’re booked, what’s next!”, “choose your activities” where you spell out all the fun things they can do on their elopement day (peep our brain child 100 things to do on elopement day), or other staples you may have. A big one for us is our elopement gear guide.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
We get that not all things can be automated. There is a huge amount of creativity and man power that it takes. The answer to this is the question: what can be delegated? Having an associate team means that you could be in more places at once. Like a goddamn wizard, Harry. Maybe social media isn’t your thing. Having someone else as a content creator who amplifies your business can pay for themselves when it brings in the leads.
Delegating can also look like having an editor to send your photos off to while you are snapping away at the next event. Or even replacing something that takes time away from your business, such as doing laundry – send it out, cleaning the house – hire weekly help, driving your kids all over town – call an Uber! Kidding! Real talk though, time is money and your time is valuable. What you spend on outsourcing per hour tends to be less than the time you are taking away from your own business to do it. That being said, always add theses costs into your photography price. Guaranteed that there are three things you are doing that you could delegate away today.
These are just the tip of the iceberg on photography pricing for profit.
If you want to learn more about pricing, what you should charge and how to get there, our mentorship program is a must. Here we discuss everything from the business of photography, to day of experience, to post elopement review and coaching.
We hope this helps open your eyes to all the possibilities of profit. Additionally, when it comes to being an elopement photographer, you’re supposed to be the guide. Next, help couples on their journey to their perfect elopement day. Make sure they feel taken care of and build trust! You can do all this, and make sure you’re profitable in order to reach more couples, go on more adventures, and be part of more love stories that’ll last a lifetime.