Business + Marketing

A Guide to Boudoir Photography Pricing and Packages

December 10, 2021

By Kendra Swalls

I have chosen to offer a studio credit that allows my clients to customize their collections by picking the products they would like to purchase. It also leaves plenty of room for add-ons and upgrades within each collection.

This article was originally published on Dec. 10, 2021. It’s since been fact checked and all prices are up to date as of 5/13/22.

Being a boudoir photographer brings me so much joy; I get to watch my clients go from nervous and anxious at the beginning of their session to confident and radiant as they walk out the door. While I might jokingly say, “I would do this for free,” I fully believe in getting paid for what you do. But what does boudoir photography pricing actually look like?

[Read: Money Management for Creative Minds—Susan Stripling’s Tips]

There are several schools of thought when it comes to pricing your sessions and products, which can feel a little overwhelming. One person might say your boudoir photography pricing is too high, while another thinks you aren’t charging enough.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you (that’s the beauty of running your own business). However, there are a few key factors to consider that can help you create a boudoir photography pricing strategy that makes both your clients and your bank account happy.

What is Your Cost of Doing Business?

First things first with boudoir photography pricing: You need to know your cost of doing business (or CODB). This is the minimum amount of money you need to make, per session, in order to cover your business expenses.

To help you determine your CODB, think about your client workflow from start to finish. Make a list of everything you offer that would be considered an expense to your business. A few typical boudoir costs might include hiring a hair and makeup artist and paying for wardrobe items, studio rental fees, client products, packaging, shipping fees and any client gifts you offer.

cost of doing business for a boudoir photographer
This shows a breakdown of the CODB for my boudoir studio. It helped me set my boudoir photography pricing so that every collection purchase resulted in a profit for my business.

Once you have the total, this is the base amount that you will work from when creating your boudoir photography pricing and packages. If your CODB varies based on factors such as studio fees or product costs, calculate your CODB off the highest amount to ensure you are always covering your base costs.

[Read: Photography Insurance—5 Ways to Protect Your Business]

How Much Will You Charge for Boudoir Photography Products?

Once you have your CODB figured out, the next step to nailing down your boudoir photography pricing is to determine how much you will charge your clients for the products they will purchase, either à la carte or as part of a package.

Start with a list of products you plan to offer along with the purchase price for each item. After years of offering boudoir sessions, I have found that the majority of my clients choose albums over any other products. For this reason, I have several sample albums available in studio for my clients to touch, feel and flip through. Clients are more likely to buy what they can see.

If you are new to offering products, I recommend choosing two or three companies to order samples from so you can compare the quality and boudoir photography pricing options of each.

[Read: Boudoir Photography Posing Guide—How to Flatter Every Client]

Once you have a solid list of products and you know how much each item will cost you, you can determine the mark-up value. I recommend a mark-up value of three to five times the product cost, however I have marked some items up as high as ten times the product cost, depending on the quality and value of the product. For the product list for my studio (shown below), I have chosen to mark up the products at an average of four times the cost of purchase.

product list for boudoir photography packages
boudoir photography pricing for prints and products
I choose to keep my product list simple in order to make the decision process easier for my clients. I also have samples of each product category so the client can see it in person before ordering.

Choosing your mark-up value will again be a personal choice for your boudoir photography pricing, however your target market can help you to determine the price point for your products. If you serve a budget-conscious market, then you will probably need to price your products at a lower mark-up. If you serve a more high-end market, then you have room for higher mark-ups on your products.

How Do You Price Your Photo Packages and Collections?

The final pricing decision we are going to look at involves a little sales psychology. When choosing how many packages or collections to include, you have to think like a client. Consider your own shopping experiences and the factors that led you to purchase one package or product over another, and apply those in your own business.

Here are a couple sales psychology rules to keep in mind:

1. Keep it simple!

A confused mind doesn’t buy, so if you have too many options, or your packages are too confusing, your clients might get overwhelmed and go somewhere else. If you aren’t sure if your packages are simple enough, ask someone who isn’t in the photography industry (and isn’t familiar with your business) to look at your packages and give their honest feedback.

2. Follow the rule of threes!

It worked for Goldilocks and The Three Bears, and it can work for your boudoir photography pricing too. Having three package options allows you to create a “too hot,” “too cold,” and “just right” option, ultimately guiding them towards the middle. Your lowest price package is the one that offers the least value and gives only the bare minimum in products. Your highest offers more than the average client would need. Your middle package would include the most in-demand products at a price point you are most happy with.

Using the example of the Collections for my boudoir studio, you can see that Collection One includes the bare minimum for a client to get in the door. However, the studio credit included is only enough to get a small framed print or piece of wall art. Collection Three includes multiple locations and a large enough studio credit for multiple products, which is more than most clients will need. This leads them to Collection Two, the “just right” option with everything you need for a great boudoir session and studio credit that enables clients to get an album or a combination of smaller products.

If you find that most of your clients are choosing your lowest or highest priced packages, this usually means that you are either offering too much value in your lowest package or not enough in your highest. It’s a good time to reassess and adjust your boudoir photography pricing accordingly.

What Flexible Spending Options Will You Incorporate in Your Boudoir Photography Pricing?

Because boudoir photography is an intimate photography experience—unlike any other session your client has likely done in the past—I highly suggest offering flexible options to help put your client at ease. I offer a money-back guarantee that states that if the client chooses not to purchase any of their images after the session, they can get half their collection fee refunded. I also offer flexible payment plan options and the ability to add on to the collection they originally purchased.

I have found these options for boudoir photography pricing, combined with creating an environment of trust and comfort during their session, result in higher client satisfaction as well as higher sales. A win-win all around.

Finding the best pricing structure for your business involves a lot of testing and trial and error. Nothing is written in stone, and you can always adjust based on feedback and research. The ultimate goal is to find a pricing structure that you feel comfortable and confident with and fits both your business model and client needs.

boudoir photographer kendra swalls

Kendra Swalls is the owner and photographer behind Paisley Layne Photography. She is a boutique-style portrait and wedding photographer serving the Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, area who specializes in high school seniors, women’s glamour and wedding photography.