3 Pricing Strategies for Increasing Portrait Photography Orders

Sarah Petty


This post was written by Sarah Petty, an internationally known speaker and photography business mentor as well as the owner of Sarah Petty Photography in Springfield, Illinois.

It’s easier than you think to increase a client’s portrait order. And it doesn’t even require making big changes to your photography price list. Instead, you can use a few creative pricing strategies to get your clients’ orders up.


Here are 3 of my favorite ways to design a photography price list and product mix to increase portrait orders:

1.  Use Incentives

Before going into the ordering appointment, it’s important have a plan for what photography products you want to sell so that you meet your financial goals.

For example, if your goal for the session is an average order of $1,500, then you need to know what to sell to reach that investment. In your photography business, that investment may include two 16×20 canvases and 3 gift prints, so direct your clients toward choosing images for those products first, before you sell smaller items.

When you see that an order is getting close to your average, but isn’t quite there, it’s time to pull out a little something extra as a bonus for a client.

As the ordering appointment is coming to a close, mention a special promotion you have as a reward they can earn once they reach a specific investment.

Here’s how you can bring it up without feeling awkward:

“Jane, I have a special promotion this month that I think you’ll love. I can design a video of your favorite images from this session for you to share with all your family and on social media. Is that something you think you’d like? We just need to add one more gift print to your order for you to qualify.”


2.  Hold Back

In my photography business, I don’t sell the high-resolution digital files of a client’s session. Instead, I focus on creating printed artwork for a client’s home. When a client asks if they can get the digital files from their session, I use this strategy instead of saying no.

I hold back certain products to help me overcome objections that a client may have, like wanting high-resolution digital files of the images from their session. You won’t find these products on my price menu, and they can’t be purchased individually.

When a client asks for digital file, I take it a step further and create an Animoto video for them that includes the images they chose to have printed from their session.

Here’s a recent client video I created using Animoto Professional:

These videos are flashy, clients love to share them, and they make you look great. Yet they only take 15 minutes to create. And bonus – you don’t need to shoot video during your session to make a video using your images.

3.  Give Rewards

You’ve probably heard me say that professional photographers don’t compete with cheap. We compete with FREE. Everyone has a camera and can take photos. And that’s OK! As professionals, we need to offer products and an experience that free or cheaper competitors can’t or won’t offer. So instead of discounting your session fee or your product prices to get clients, offer value-added incentives:

  • To encourage clients to come in before the holiday season rush you can offer a free set of 25 holiday cards with every family portrait session booked before a certain date.
  • To get new mom’s booked in the first month after their baby is born, you can offer a free Animoto video of the images you took during their session with a minimum purchase investment.

Now go, get creative with your products and incentives to increase your portrait orders, and let me know below how these ideas worked for you.

Sarah Petty runs Sarah Petty Photography, which was named one of the most profitable photography studios in the country by Professional Photographers of America. She also teaches photographers how to make a living doing what they love at her company The Joy of Marketing, and is the co-author of the New York Times best-selling book, Worth Every Penny: Build a Business That Thrills Your Customers and Still Charge What You’re Worth.