“How much are your digital files?” is the new “How much is your 8×10?”. Prospective clients asking about digital files in 99% of inquiries can lead you to think that is all that people want to buy, which leads photographers to say to themselves that their business could never support selling products. Let me ask you this though…

WHY are your clients asking for the price of digital files?

It’s because they don’t know what else to ask!!!

Digital files are valuable and should be priced appropriately. Absolutely they should be the most expensive item on your price list.

I did write a post a few years ago about selling digital files, you can read it here. Go ahead….we will wait!

It is 2014 and many of our client do want the digital files.  Even though they will most likely sit in a drawer until media changes and they have their photos sitting on something that hasn’t been able to be read by a computer for the past decade! There are numerous reasons that I don’t want to sell solely the digital files to my clients, outdated media, lack of time or knowledge to print the images, poor quality printing are just a few of the reasons. However I am a big believer in saying yes to my clients.

I want to tell my clients “Yes, digital files are available for purchase and they can even be earned as a complimentary gift!”


My pricing structure then pretty much guarantees that NO ONE will purchase only the digital files….thanks to the bonus schedule.

The first step to incorporating a bonus schedule into your pricing is to determine what your session average needs to be.

Get your FREE session average goal worksheet

Let’s say your sales target for your session average is $2,000. Use that number to build your bonus schedule. I work backwards…..

Spend happy place amount on products, in this case $2500, digital files are a complimentary gift.

Spend sales target on products ($2,000), digital files are a small upgrade…maybe $295.

Spend $1,500, digital files are at least $495 to help you reach your sales goal.

Spend $1,000 digital files are $795 to help you get closer to your sales goal.

Under $1,000 digital files are full price – $1,695 in this case.

Why would anyone ever purchase only the digital files? For an extra $100 you get $1,000 worth of products!

It’s a no brainer!  The key it so have each step up the ladder be just a small jump up….but to the client it’s a huge jump in value!

I do realize that you would make more profit on the digital files only, but one of the defining values of my business to go give my clients the best possible service and products for their lifestyle. I am NOT serving their best interest in selling only the digital files so I am happy to make slightly less profit to serve them better.

It is important to keep your Cost of Goods in line for this pricing strategy….and really ANY pricing strategy.  My goal is to keep my COGS under 20%.   To see an older post on calculating your COGS for your photography business, click here.

final Caton 121

There are a few different resources for pricing your photography profitably. If you are a PPA member you can check out the many resources on their website. They also offer an in-person Business Basics class that is so helpful when you are starting your business. In addition, check for photographers teaching Super 1 Day classes on pricing this May. I am actually teaching one on Tuesday May 5th, 2015 at my home in Wexford, PA. It’s an ALL DAY class on pricing and sales and it’s only $99 open to everyone regardless of PPA membership status. Lastly, if you would like some one to one hand holding for your pricing, I do offer virtual consulting and we can create a profitable price list together.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” -Henry David Thoreau

You are exchanging your time for your business and clients….please make sure that you are being compensated for it!