Pricing your products for what they are worth--factoring in time, talent, taxes, and all the tiny expenditures of doing business--is a project that can make the most experienced photographer quake. Charge too little, and you'll never cover your costs, never mind turn a profit (or even make a living wage). Charge too much for your target market, and you'll constantly sell 5x7s--or worse, be plagued with the never-ending question about “just the files” (which if this is the case, then you need to find a new target market).
This process doesn't have to make you crazy. Design Aglow has come up with a simple, easy to follow structure for pricing your work. Frames are a easy add-on that can not only increase your average sale, but also demonstrate your value as a full-service studio that produces finished artwork for your clients.
Here's our example, working with a framed 16x20” image.
Start with your standard 16x20” loose print price. Our example studio charges $250 for a 16x20”. We arrived at that price by using a standard Cost of Goods (COG) formula that takes into account the actual lab cost of the print, shipping, and packaging. We then added in our business's fixed expenses (usually between 20-30% of total annual revenue), our cost for time and talent, and multiplied this by 2-3x markup (this number depends on your studio).
Feeling lost? We cover all of these formulas in easy-to-understand detail through our Essential Pricing Guides for Portrait and Wedding Photographers. Helpful worksheets walk you through the process of pricing your session fees, packages, and products.
We'll price the frame by the same formula. Our example studio upsized the frame to a 20x24”, which allows the image to be displayed in a lovely hand-signed mat, for a more polished look with higher value.
All of Design Aglow's frames are sold in multiples, so to calculate the Cost of Goods of one frame, divide the total cost by the number of frames in the set. 20x24s are sold in sets of 3, so we'll divide the number $110.94 (total cost of of a set of three 20x24” frames, including shipping, to our example's studio) by 3 to get the number $36.98, which we'll then round up to $37.
Cost of Goods: $110.94 / 3 = $36.98 (round up to $37)
Now you know your frame's COG, the rest is simple. Just like we did with the 16x20” loose print, factor in your fixed expenses, add your cost for time and talent (for the frame, we omitted this factor to make it more affordable for the client to purchase the frame from us rather than a big box store), then multiply this number by your markup.We come up with $120 for our frame price.
Finally, add your two prices (not costs!) together to arrive at $370, your framed print's total price, which is what you will charge your client.
Print + Frame: $250 + $120 = $370
Repeat this simple method for all your frame sizes and collections.
Depending on your studio's COG, fixed expenses, labor & talent costs, and markup, you could potentially earn up to 150% profit by selling picture frames. And doesn't that number make Design Aglow's Frame Collection even more beautiful?
Check out the rest of our bottom-line boosters, including the downloadable Frame Shop Lookbook in our Resources.
From a very early age I loved taking pictures and looking at them in magazines and books, but the art of photography captured my heart when I was a teenager, on my first overseas trip to Wales. From that point, I began shooting with a little film SLR and having my friend model for me. In college I took some digital photography and visual communication courses as part of my communication studies major, and decided to pursue a career in photography. I became a legal business and took my first paid client at age 20, and it's been quite a journey and adventure over the past nine years.
I secretly bought a mail-order 35mm camera when I was 15, and took lots of ordinary photos of animals and nature for several years. Although I majored in art and studied photography in college, my career started in marketing and advertising, from the client service end. Then I had the most beautiful baby, found my old camera and realized how much I love photographing people.