Wedding Photography Prices: ON or OFF Your Website?

Nov 9, 2014

Matt Haines

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Wedding Photography Prices: ON or OFF Your Website?

Nov 9, 2014

Matt Haines

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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It’s the age-old question, should a wedding photographer put his/her prices on the website, or leave them off? I’ve asked myself this, and seen many photographers ask the same thing. Lots of opinions, some of them very strong opinions, but no one seems to back it up with actual data.

An argument I’ve heard for putting prices online is that the potential client wants to know if you’re within her price range. If you make it too difficult to find that information, she won’t bother to contact you because there are plenty of other photographers to look at. Would you go look at a new car if they wouldn’t tell you the price until you got to the dealership?

The counter-argument is that wedding photography can be expensive, clients don’t always have an understanding of how much they should expect to spend, and placing too much emphasis on price means that the client misses out on less-tangible benefits that the photographer has to offer. If you make the client ask for pricing, you can then strike up a dialog with the client and build a relationship before getting icky with numbers.

Both arguments seem reasonable. And those photographers who can’t make up their minds usually wimp out and put a “starting at $xxxxx” on their site! (That’s what I do currently. :) )

But I’ve got some Actual Data!

For the last two years, I’ve gone back and forth with putting my prices on or off my website. Usually it’s because I’ve read something that convinces me it should be one way or the other, or I feel like I’m not getting enough inquiries etc. It hasn’t been methodical. However I have been keeping track of all my booking data. Number of inquiries, number of meetings and bookings that resulted etc. Actually I’ve been keeping track for longer than two years, but too many things have changed about my business from before then, so I can only rely on the last two years.

Over the last two years, I’ve had my prices on the site in some form* more than I’ve had them off. And since bookings are seasonal to some extent, I need to eliminate from the data the months where I’ve had my prices online for that month both years in a row. Jan-April and June, as it so happens. With the exception of June, those also happen to be my most successful months for booking.

So my results are for the months May, July, August, September, October, November and December. For those months in the last two years, my prices have been off one year and on the other year (but which year was on or off is pretty much random).

I book five times as many weddings with my prices ON as I do with my prices OFF.

5to1

This is by no means a definitive result, but that’s a huge difference. What would have happened if I’d alternated during the other months too? I can’t imagine that ratio changing too much. Yes it would also be nice if I had more years of data, perhaps additional photographers’ results, and had also tested whether the style of pricing makes a difference. Since this is my income on the line, I have to be conservative in my approach.

So…take this with a grain of salt, but most importantly keep track of your data!

* “ON” means either the exact pricing on my site (or available to download without interaction with the lead), “starting at $$$$$” or “typically between $$$$$ and $$$$”.

About The Author

Matt Haines is a professional photographer shooting mostly weddings and family portraits. His website is here, and you can follow his blog and Facebook. This article was first published here.

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3 responses to “Wedding Photography Prices: ON or OFF Your Website?”

  1. Pascal Avatar
    Pascal

    That’s pretty much interessting. I do not have any prices on my homepage, but maybe I have to think about that one.
    Thanks for sharing

  2. fauxshizzl Avatar
    fauxshizzl

    I find listing each of my individual services and their respective prices to be a good fit. That way customers know everything I offer and can build a “package” of sorts for the services they want and can afford before ever contacting me about it. Puts them more in control of price and they get exactly what they want and nothing more or less.

  3. Laurence Brown Avatar
    Laurence Brown

    If i were looking for a photographer and they didn’t have prices on the website I’d presume “if you have to ask you can’t afford it” or “the photographer wants a chance to try and justify their absurdly expensive prices”

    At the time when people are planning there wedding (and pricing it up) they’ll go and have a look at a few photographers websites for ones they like and what they can afford and get a general idea of cost.

    If you miss out on this stage it’s unlikely they’ll come back to you when it comes to finalising a photographer choice.

    The other major factor that affects in my experience is*:
    Whether they will give up the digitals…. The practice of keeping hold of the originals and allowing one book of photos and any further prints cost more is very old fashioned. (or charging extortionate amounts for individual files) People want to put their wedding (or any Other shoot) on facebook, their ipad, their phone etc. Nobody takes a big book of photo to show their aunty anymore, they take the ipad. I’m prepared to pay a little more to get all the originals but £40 ($60) each is a bit rich… I’ve personally been put off hiring a photographer on that basis.

    * = Other than having a portfolio they like