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Should I adjust my photography pricing to keep up with inflation?

As the world continues to work through record levels of inflation, this is the perfect time for wedding and portrait photographers to reconsider their pricing practices to make sure they can still come out on top. 

Photographers should absolutely adjust their pricing to account for inflation. But more than this – your pricing should always be designed in a way that will ensure you will remain profitable. With high enough profit margins, some extra costs due to rising prices of things you’re already paying for will not make much of an impact on your business. 

In this post, we’re going to share some strategies for getting your pricing right the first time, selling your wedding packages, and how to go about increasing your prices to maintain a high level of profit. 

Identify your Cost of Doing Business

Your cost of doing business (CODB) is a number that you need to know to run a successful business in any industry. It is the amount of money you need to make to support your business and personal lifestyle. 

It’s particularly important for wedding and portrait photographers as these are businesses that can be run very lean (with low expenses) or with a wild amount of spending (some photographers just need that new piece of camera gear every year). 

To find your cost of doing business, follow this simple formula:

  • Add up all of your non-reimbursable business expenses. This would be all the things you spend money on in a given year towards your business such as photography equipment, web hosting, marketing, etc. 
  • Add in the gross salary you would like to make. This is the amount of money you want to make before taxes are taken out. 
  • Estimate your tax liability. Taxes can vary significantly from place to place, but a good rule of thumb is to expect to spend around 30% of the money you make on taxes (to cover federal, state, local, and self-employment tax obligations). 
  • Determine how many weddings you want to photograph per year. This will help you set your actual wedding photography prices as what you need to charge (at a minimum) will be determined by how many weddings you are willing and able to take on in a given year. 

CODB calculations can also take into consideration other things like additional work you may do (such as smaller photo sessions) and figuring out how much you want to make per hour, but let’s leave these things for our expanded article about finding your cost of doing business and keep it simple here. 

Putting this formula into practice we can find the following things to be true:

  • You want to make $60,000/yr gross salary
  • You have $20,000/yr in non-reimbursable business expenses
  • You need to make $80,000/yr in gross revenue to afford your salary and business expenses
  • You will pay ~$18,000 in taxes
  • You will walk away with $42,000/yr as your net profits

In order to make $80,000 dollars a year with your business, your pricing will need to make sense with the volume of work you want to take on. 


  • If you want to shoot 30 weddings and make $80,000 – you need to charge $2,666 per wedding. 
  • If you want to shoot 20 weddings and make $80,000 – you need to charge $4,000 per wedding
  • If you want to shoot 10 wedding sand make $80,000 – you need to charge $8,000 per wedding

Putting together photography packages that help you meet your financial goals

If you find that you need to make $3,000 per wedding package sold, we recommend putting together packages that ensure this will happen each and every time you make a sale

Many wedding photographers figure out their cost of doing business, and still end up undercharging for their services. 

The simplest solution is to ensure that your base package is at least the minimum you need to make. 

Example pricing with your CODB in mind:

Low package: $3,000

  • 6 hours of coverage
  • 1 photographer
  • Online gallery with edited digitals

Middle package: $3,600

  • 8 hours of coverage
  • 1 photographer
  • Engagement session
  • Online gallery with edited digitals

High package: $4,400

  • 10 hours of coverage
  • 1 photographer
  • Engagement session
  • 10×10 album
  • Online gallery with edited digitals

With pricing like this, you make sure you’re making what you need to make to meet your financial goals, and set yourself up to do even better! 

Want to learn more about getting your wedding photography pricing right? Check out our post…Wedding Photography Prices for Beginners – Where Should I Start?

How to Account for Inflation in Wedding Photography Pricing

Now that you understand how to determine your cost of doing business and create pricing that makes you the money you need, we can dig into accounting for inflation. 

Inflation is the expected rise in price of goods and services. 

On average, the increase of prices in the United States is around 3.26%.

In 2022, the topic of inflation became a serious one as inflation rates spiraled out of control to over 8% – with some products swelling in price even more. 

The topic of inflation is a very complex one, with even the best economists struggling to predict it’s causes and how to control it. 

Fortunately, in the context of our photography businesses, accounting for it is not too bad. 

Things we do to make sure inflation doesn’t burn out photography businesses:

Assess how inflation is actually impacting you

Just because the world is seeing an increase in costs, doesn’t mean it will impact your budget. 

Start by looking at your business expenses – are the products and services you pay for increasing in cost? If so, how much? 

In 2022, we saw only a few things rise in price, adding only a couple hundred dollars in additional expenses. 

Next, look at your personal expenses – how are things for you? In our world, rising gas and grocery prices are noticeable (an extra $100+ a month), but we are not impacted in many other ways. In fact, we were able to refinance our home to a lower rate, savings hundreds of dollars per month on our mortgage, so in practice inflation is not really hurting us…at all. 

Everyone’s situation is going to be different, and it’s important to understand your own. 

Assess your spending and pricing regularly.

You should put together a good budget, and regularly update it to reflect changes. In your business spending, you should document everything you are buying, and adjust things if they take on a new price point. 

If you’re CRM costs $400/yr, then you go to subscribe again for another year and find it costs $450/yr – that is inflation at work. In this situation, you’re now making $50 less than you were in the past year. 

Increase your pricing by the average inflation rate every year. 

If you want the simplest, fool-proof method for countering inflation in your business – simply raise your prices by the rate of inflation. 

Take your package prices and multiply by 3.6% (the average rate of inflation). 

For a $3,000 package, you’d end up charging $3,108 for the same service (though – we’d adjust this to $3,200 to make sense with consumer pricing psychology). 

If you charged $3,108 per wedding instead of $3,000 – after 30 bookings you’d have made an additional $3,240. 

Bringing it to a conclusion

Inflation is an ever present part of life – like it or not. Most of the time, we don’t really recognize it in our normal lives as the price of things slowly and gradually rise. 

With the rapid increase of prices in recent years, many are feeling pain in their bank accounts as they’re now having to spend a lot more than they would have anticipated. We admit – it’s hard to fully prepare for extreme circumstances like these. But, with some careful planning and preparation, you can create a wedding photography business that can weather any storm. 

One way to stay profitable in your photography business is by having a good marketing strategy that helps you get new inquiries consistently. If you’re struggling to get these inquiries, now is a great time to reach out to speak with us about how SEO and blogging can benefit your photography business.

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