Album Pricing – Figuring the Figure

October 30, 2014


Michelle + Brandon Horn

As I poured my creativity, love + passion into tangable pages that incapsulated the love a couple shares on their wedding day I took a deep breath looked up at Brandon and said, “we need to take a long look at our album pricing”. At that time we were not including an album in every wedding collection we offered, but I knew we needed to be. We had tons of album options and they were all over the place, not only did it overwhelm us, it overwhelmed our clients too. We also needed to be charging accordingly for the time, creativity and love we put into each album. For us, an album is visual word of mouth marketing, but, even more than that- it's a couple's love story documented to last for lifetimes to come.

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There are a few things to take into consideration when developing your pricing:

1.) What type of album/albums will you be offering + what sizes?
Keeping this simple and straight forward will help both you and your clients feel empowered instead of overwhelmed. For example, a black leather album with name/names + the wedding date engraved on the front in 8×8, 10×10, and 12×12

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2.) How many pages will come with each album?
We recommend albums that hold 10 -15 spreads (20-30 pages).

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3.) How many photos look best in each album? (what if the client wants to add more photos?)
An album with 10 spreads looks amazing with 60 images max. An album with 15 spreads looks awesome with 80 images max. You want your images to be eye-catching, beautifully spaced and well laid out – too many images can cause clutter rather than a beautiful story line. If a client wants to add more images they need to purchase additional spreads.

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4.) What is the wholesale value (your cost) of the album?
You will need to answer questions 1, 2, and 3 before you can get the answer for this questions. This will of course differ depending on what company you use, but most albums range between $140 – $400 depending on size and materials.

5.) How long does it take to design the album?
Time yourself, its so important to know how long you are investing in the design… time is money. Personally, my time is invaluable to me so the more efficient and time saving the better. Check out “6 Tips That Will Save You Time With Album Design”, to help you speed up the process. It takes me about an hour (two at max) to complete an album design and layout.

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6.) Where do you value your creativity, up front or after market?
The photography industry has two models of Marketing + Pricing.

The First Model — Upfront Pricing (this is what Brandon and I do). We state right upfront what it costs for us to shoot for X amount of hours + the price for all the photos. Our packages include prints and books, nothing is hidden or “after market”. The most expensive cost in our packages is our time, talent and creativity — not our prints and products.

The Second Model — Offer a low base price to get the client in, then sell all your prints, books, and digital files at higher prices. A $50 “sitting fee” turns into a $500-600 shoot. Or a $1000 wedding package turns into a $4000 final product. (Please be careful with this business model, we have found that today's clients really value upfront pricing. Hidden and “after market” fees can unintentionally cause clients to feel as if they were taken advantage of.)

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Once all these questions are answered you can evaluate your pricing equation. For us, it boils down to approximately 3x mark up value when an album is sold with a package. If the client doesn't want the album up front and decides to take it off the package, then returns after the wedding deciding to buy an album there is a higher mark up: approximately 5x mark up value. And yes we explain this up front with our clients so they are in the know. This gives them incentive to purchase the album in the package up front rather than wait.

As mentioned earlier, we place more value on our time, talent and creativity upfront — not our prints and products. We want our clients to hold, experience and share their images in a very tangible way. We have found that there is no better marketing than to have a beautiful album sitting on a coffee table + a huge canvas hanging in a home. It speaks volumes of your work to all that see it and brings referrals flooding in.

We hope this sheds a little light on the subject of figuring your figure for album pricing. If you have any questions or feedback please comment below:)

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