The Investment

 

So, you like what you are seeing (yay!), and now, you want to know, “…ok…how much is it?”

We offer a few different pricing models, depending on the type of project and type of client, including some package-based options, as well as custom quotes.

Whether you fit within our typical packages, or your project is unique and you’d like a custom quote, prices for one-off shoots/events for solo-entrepreneurs and small or regional businesses can range from $350 to $5,000, or more, depending on the scope of work and deliverables/value.

For most small-business or solo-entrepreneur branding shoots, you should plan to spend a minimum range between $700 and $1,500. (Pricing would include planning/logistics, image selections, usage rights and some level of editing/post-production and customer service/coaching through the process.)

Consulting, coaching and instruction packages and custom options are available. Standard packages start at $465 for multiple sessions.

Memberships and long-term plans begin in the $200/month range and may include multiple shoots, consulting sessions or other projects.

We do occasionally offer special promotional pricing for mini-session style events or partnered/sponsored events.

We also offer payment plans and accept credit cards. We work within many different budgets to help you get the work that you need.

We do sincerely appreciate your interest and look forward to hearing more about what you’re looking for. Once we do that, we can determine what model fits your needs the best.

Feel free to skim through this page to get some more general information about what to expect in the pricing process and how to plan your budget for working together.

And, when you’re ready to move forward, we welcome you to schedule a free consultation to get information about your specific project.

Why does the price always “depend”? What is “scope”?

We offer many different services, at various levels of production and scope, so we are able to serve a variety of project types and budgets.

To give you an idea, projects can range from a couple hundred dollars to a few or several thousand dollars.

We know, that doesn’t help you very much, but the price really does vary quite a lot based on the needs of a given project/client.

So, for example, here are some of the many factors that define the word “scope” and which may influence the price:

  • type of project (photography, graphic design, consulting)
  • subject matter (custom portrait session, event photography, branding session, brand consulting, digital design, ad layout, etc)
  • number of deliverables
  • production time
  • lighting and styling
  • production team
  • editing and post production requirements
  • location
  • rentals (equipment, studio or locations, props, etc)
  • materials
  • various types of stylists, such as food, prop, wardrobe, hair and makeup
  • other miscellaneous services
  • planning and pre-production
  • complexity of the project
  • licensing and usage
  • delivery time
  • etc.

 

How the pricing process works

This is how the typical estimate process works:

  1. You have an idea for a creative project, and research possible providers.
  2. Upon finding and liking our work, you think, “gee… how much will this cost?” or “I wonder if I can afford this.”
  3. You then approach us with some general ideas about what you want, with or without a particular budget in mind, and possibly some pre-conceived notions about pricing, or what you should “expect” to pay for a photographer/designer.
  4. Once we receive your initial request, we share our new project questionnaire, which helps you to clarify your needs and put all of your details in one place, in an organized way, which helps to frame the conversation.
  5. From there, we schedule a consult to discuss what it will take to fulfill the desired scope and/or what is possible given your needs and budget (if it’s limited).
  6. Once we come to a consensus about the scope and available budget, we either offer our standard packages – if they fit the situation – or create a customized proposal.
  7. If we are on the same page, the creative process can begin!

 

5 Simple rules for how to plan a budget for a creative project

We understand that this might seem like a complicated pursuit, and we try to keep it as simple and easy to follow as possible.

In fact, for many of our clients, it’s their first time using a professional creative service for their business/brand, and it can be overwhelming or intimidating. We understand that, it it’s why we take a very collaborative approach.

But, still, the truth is, all custom creative projects have many variables – no matter how “simple” or “basic” it might seem – which can make it tough to give a price for something on the spot. So, here are some simple rules to help you prepare.

 

Rule 1. Assume whatever you want is really complicated to make.

The first rule for budgeting a creative project is to assume that what you want is way more complicated to achieve than you initially assume. This rule is especially true if you’ve never worked with a professional before.

Why assume it’s more complicated than you might expect? Because when you start to get to a certain level in any creative domain, there are a lot of considerations that go into the final product, whether it’s a photo, a logo, a website, a post card, or something else.

Even what you might think of as a “simple studio headshot” has many factors involved in the creation, from multiple lights with modifiers to background color, posing, expression, outfit and more.

A true professional really knows their stuff, and charges for it, regardless of how “simple” it may seem to the lay person. That’s the job of a professional in any field – to make what they do seem easy.

 

Rule 2. Remember that there is a reason that you decided to hire a professional in the first place.

What got you started on this path of searching for a professional photographer? Perhaps you’ve been doing photography yourself, but you’ve become frustrated with how much time you’re wasting trying to get a “good enough” shot to use. Or, maybe you were putting together a marketing piece or ad layout and became irritated that you didn’t have any viable images? Maybe you got a request for photos from a publication, and were embarrassed to find out that you didn’t have anything that was up to snuff… Or, maybe you are launching a new business or website and decided it’s finally time to take it and yourself seriously and make this look professional.

Whatever the reason, it’s real and valid. Don’t lose sight of this reason in the face of possible sticker shock. When you see pricing for a professional service, remember what you stand to gain after the project is complete…

  • more time to do your actual work
  • confidence that you have high quality images for your website and marketing materials
  • the knowledge that you have a leg up over your competitors who are still wasting their time trying to do it themselves
  • an awesome looking set of pictures to choose from every time you need to fill a PR request
  • amazing design and branding work that sets you apart from your competitors and impresses/connects prospects
  • and more!!

Just imagine how that will feel compared to how it is now!

 

Rule 3. If you expect a high quality service and deliverable, don’t expect fast food prices for a fine dining experience.

We’ve all been there… we see something we absolutely love… or must have, and when we look at the price sticker, our heart sinks as we draw in a short breath. We think, “but… it’s sooo expensive!” What we do next is actually what matters – do we put it back on the shelf and say “no way!” or grit our teeth and buy it anyway?

What’s really happening there? Hint: it’s not really about the price.

Here’s the thing, some people will happily, or perhaps somewhat begrudgingly, spend their hard-earned dollars on something seemingly “expensive” if they perceive value in what they are purchasing, but others value savings or cheap prices over things like quality, consistency, or reliability. And that’s totally fine, it’s their right.

But, when you are evaluating creative professionals, if you’re feeling a sense of sticker shock, what’s really going on is either a misaligned expectation, or, a lack of understanding of what “quality” means in the context of creativity, or simply of the true value being offered/provided.

If you’re still feeling this sticker shock:

  1. take a moment to re-evaluate Rule #2
  2. then identify whether you value quality, uniqueness, creativity, collaboration/customer service, consistency, reliability (etc) more or if saving money, spending less or getting “an amazing deal” is more important to you.
    • If you identify with the former, but you still feel uncomfortable about the pricing, ask yourself the following questions:
      • “what might I not understand about the offering?”;
      • “what does it truly it take to make what I am asking for?”; and
      • “what might this creative do that I wouldn’t do, don’t know how to do or wouldn’t think to ask for?”

       

    • If you identify with the latter, you will probably want to consider other routes, such as high volume providers (like JC Penney Portrait Studio), students/interns, or continuing the DIY route – all of which will mean a sacrifice in the quality, reliability, customer service and custom/creativity departments.

 

Rule 4. Look at what you think you have available, and double it, or triple it.

Perhaps you have a budget available for some creative project. Whether you think it’s more than acceptable, simply decent or modest, it is likely a good approach to simply expect the actual price for what you want to be double or triple what you think you have. This is particularly true if this is your first time engaging a professional creative.

Why?

Well, while it might not end up actually costing double or triple what you start out with as your budget, it’s good practice to go in with an expectation that is higher for 2 main reasons:

  • it might actually cost more than you had thought initially, and it will be less of a shock to the system
  • it might actually cost in the neighborhood of what you had initially planned, meaning that you can actually get what you want, afford more and get more, or at the very least you are actually getting a good deal.

If, on the other hand, you go into it with a budget you think is sufficient, you might not be happy with what you find out…. that it’s not enough for the idea you had. And, no one wants to be in that situation.

 

Rule 5. If you don’t have a sufficient budget for your initial ask, take a breath, pause, and be ready to negotiate – don’t just ask for a discount.

“This is all well and good, but I still only have $x to spend,” you might be thinking.

We get it. But, unfortunately we can’t just lower our rates because of your budget, give you a discount for fun or barter for every project. Let’s be real. We all have bills to pay, and as much as we can discuss value, have fun shoots and create awesome work for you, we still have to cover our expenses, just like everyone else. This is more than just business… This is real life.

But… that doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t work together.

We always enter every conversation ready to be flexible and ready to find creative solutions, because at the end of the day, we’re here to help you and get you the creative assets you need.

So, what that means is, while we can’t just slash the price in half for no reason, we can:

  • have a discussion about lessening “the scope”
    • have a shorter shoot
    • simplify the design
    • provide fewer deliverables
    • re-negotiate the usage rights
    • etc
  • search for ways to minimize costs
  • offer flexible payment plans
  • take payment by credit card

Think about it, if you went to a fine dining restaurant, and you wanted the most expensive item on the menu, with all the upgrades, but it was out of your budget, what would you do?

You probably wouldn’t ask them if you could trade your dishwashing services for the menu item, or if they would just give it to you for 50% off because you’re a nice guy. You would negotiate, either by ordering something you could afford, getting the item without the extras, or choosing a different restaurant.

 

Ready to get started?

You’ve read all of this, and it makes sense. You get it and you’re ready to move forward.

Great! We’re excited to learn about your goals and ideas.

Take a few minutes to set up an exploratory or project development session using our online booking system, and we’ll talk soon!