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​​How to Increase Your Rates and Confidence as a Photographer

What if you found out it’s not as complicated as you think to increase your rates and confidence as a photographer? This kind of growth doesn’t come easy, but it is simple. Once you understand your worth and how to communicate it, you can start charging based on what you actually bring to the table.

Plus, who doesn’t want increased self-assuredness and more money in the bank?

Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll learn in this post:

  1. How to increase your confidence as a professional photographer;

  2. Why photographers need to start charging more; and

  3. How to approach increasing your rates (without getting stressed about it).

Are you curious about the rates and services at Marika Creative? Get in touch with us to discuss how we can work together to meet your creative needs.

model poses for a shot as the photographer takes tons of photos in an effort to increase their confidence as a photographer

How to Increase Your Confidence as a Photographer

Increasing your confidence as a photographer can open a lot of doors and even help you see opportunities you didn’t think would be available to you before.

That said, increasing your confidence isn’t a light switch, and it won’t happen overnight. You have to be willing to engage in the process. So what can you do to start increasing your confidence today?

Get out of your comfort zone.

Your comfort zone may be a cozy place, but it’s not a place that will help you grow your confidence. The best way to become more sure of yourself is to deliberately place yourself in uncomfortable situations, and then show yourself that you can handle it with skill and professionalism.

If this idea feels foreign to you, it’s okay. Putting yourself into a difficult or unknown situation can be scary. The key is always to be as prepared as you can when going into a situation that’s out of your comfort zone. These situations don’t turn out perfectly one hundred percent of the time, so aim for improvement, not perfection.

Start acting “as if”.

Mindset is important in every business, especially if you want to see continual growth. Acting “as if” uses the same principles as the law of attraction. It means you want to be acting as if the opportunities and outcomes you want are already yours.

For instance, if you’re hoping to land your biggest contract yet with a dream client, you would imagine in your mind that it’s already happening, and feel the same sense of gratitude you would as if it actually was.

The key here is to do this with intention and sincerity, but there are a few ways you can actually practice it in your life. Some individuals go inward and practice only in their mind, while others prefer to journal “as if” and practice gratitude in a tangible space.

To take this a level further, you can start speaking as if. For example, if you wanted to work with Nike, you would start saying “my contract with Nike is just around the corner” or “When I work with Nike I’m going to do XYZ”.

Our language is powerful, and you might be surprised at how much faking it will help you be actually making it.

Over prepare for every photoshoot.

When you are prepared, you build self-trust, which helps cultivate confidence. You know you’ve put in all the background work, so you always have that to fall back on when a project starts going sideways.

No matter how much you prepare, you can’t totally prevent mishaps from happening. At one point or another, things will come up that are out of your control. However, you can be ready to deal with them in an equipped manner, and this will give you the boost you need when doubt starts to creep in.

model and photographer standing and laughing together as they discuss how practice makes perfect for photographers

Why Photographers Need to Start Charging More

Photographers everywhere are charging a rate that’s way under what they’re actually worth. This may be due to a lack of confidence, but sometimes it comes down to a lack of awareness.

Something to keep in mind is that when a person hires you, they are not just paying for your services by the hour. Your clients are also investing in your...

  • Hours of experience

  • Courses and education

  • Gear and equipment

  • Editing software

  • Administrative costs

  • Studio space or location fees

So in reality, your clients are getting a lot more than your hours of work shooting and editing. Plus, you have to take into account website and marketing costs, taxes, data storage and backup, and paying your assistant, if you have one.

Charging what you’re worth really comes down to knowing what you’re worth. You’ve put in a lot of time, effort, and investment to get where you are. Don’t be afraid to charge accordingly. If a client isn’t willing to pay your rate, perhaps they aren’t the best fit for what you’re offering, which simply leaves them with the opportunity to find someone who is.

model is photographed in an empty room wearing a white top and ripped blue jeans

How to Set Your Rate

Knowing that you need to increase your rate is only a part of the process. The other important part is knowing what you should increase it to and what you should be charging. The number is probably somewhere around 30% higher than you think.

It sounds like a lot, but when you really break down the numbers it’s not. A client who is willing to pay $500 will, more likely than not, pay $650. This increase will help you cover expenses and ensure you’re always compensated for additional fees.

Photography Hourly Rate Calculator

Here’s an equation I recommend using to calculate your hourly rate:

[The $$$ you want to make per year] ÷ 10.5 (because you need vacation time, and this gives you 6 weeks) ÷ 4 (for 4 weeks every month) ÷ 40 (for a 40 hour work week) x 2 (because you’re worth at least 2x more than you think you are) = [your true hourly rate]

For example, if you want to make $1,000,000 per year here is how you would figure out how much you should be charging per hour of your time:

$1,000,000 ÷ 10.5 ÷ 4 ÷ 40 x 2 = $1,190.46

Based on this equation, a project that takes you 25 hours to complete would come at a minimum charge of $29,761.90.

Increasing Your Rates Could Transform Your Business

If you’re still struggling with the idea of charging what you’re worth, step back and consider why you make the decision to do so. How could increasing your rate transform your life and your business?

It could mean…

  • Reducing your working hours and having more leisure time

  • Increasing your ability to invest in further tools, resources, and education

  • Taking an extra vacation week each year without financial repercussions

  • Upgrading your gear sooner or splurging on gear you want instead of only getting what you need

  • Increase your job satisfaction and motivation for your work

Increasing your rates might take confidence, but it also helps you grow your confidence too. Your photography career should pay you enough to support a high quality so you can feel excited to get out of bed every morning and do what you love.

model in burnt orange dress poses in front of the camera while photographer talks about recently increasing their rates

How to Approach Increasing Your Photography Rates

If you’ve been a professional photographer for a while and you haven’t ever increased your rates, it’s time. With every investment you make in gear upgrades, education, and simply time honing your craft, you need to incorporate that in your rate.

It’s not an easy conversation to have, but it is a conversation your clients will respect. If you want to approach this type of conversation with as much finesse and efficacy as you can, there are a few things you can do (and shouldn’t do).

Address increasing your rates in writing.

So many photographers are now connecting with clients over Zoom, which has so many benefits for fleshing out a vision and creating an open dialogue for upcoming projects. However, a virtual meeting space is not the best way to address an increase in rates.

It’s important to communicate these kinds of changes in writing, so there will always be a record of what was said and when. An email announcement going out simultaneously to all of your clients is highly recommended. That way you can make sure you reach all of your important people with the same streamlined message.

Be concise and clear in your communication.

When you’re crafting your message regarding increasing your rates, be as concise and as clear as you can so that there’s no room for misunderstanding or confusion. Remember that you don’t owe a lengthy explanation. On the contrary, a long explanation could serve to show that you aren’t confident in your decision. Be confident in what you’re asking for—the payoff will be worth it.

Don’t renegotiate your rate mid-contract.

There is no perfect time to raise your rates because it really depends on the personal growth of your business. However, the one time you don’t want to raise your rates is mid-contract with a client. If you’ve already agreed to a specific rate, you should stick to that until the project is seen through.

You can imagine how having price changes made mid-contract would leave a bad taste in the client’s mouth. Once the project is over and your rate increase has been clearly communicated, it’s up to them if they want to continue to work with you. If you’ve knocked the last project out of the park, chances are they will be back for more whether your rates have increased or not.

Don’t overthink your rate increase.

Like any change to your business, it can be easy to fall into overthinking about raising your rates. Remember that increasing your rates over time is completely normal if not expected in this industry.

The more you can work on increasing your confidence, the easier you’ll be able to approach the conversation of getting paid more. As photographers, we should make the effort to normalize raising rates in the industry overall.

model stands in an empty room in a long, burnt orange dress turned towards the wall but looking back over her shoulder at the camera

Continue Growing as a Professional Photographer

Increasing your rates and confidence as a photographer is a normal part of growth in this profession. It’s time for you to lean into your strengths, realize what you offer, and appreciate the values of your services.

From this place of increased trust in your own skills and abilities, you can increase your rates and communicate this change to your clients with the utmost confidence.

Looking for more tips on being a successful photographer? Read our Tips for Creating Product Photos that Stand Out.

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