Print Sales

How to Choose Your Print Markup Pricing


hen it comes to selling prints to clients, one of the most frequently asked questions we get here at CloudSpot is about pricing prints, setting markups appropriately, and why no one talks about this. While we can’t give you a one-size-fits-all answer here on the exact percentage markup to add to your prints and products, we can share some of our recommendations, questions to ask yourself, and general advice to help you choose what’s right for your business.

“What price should I list my print products for on my gallery Storefront?” If this is you, keep reading.

Let’s start by breaking down some of the basics: what a print markup is, what is Cost of Goods Sold (AKA COGS), how to do market research, and evaluating your ideal income. 

What is a print product markup? 

Simply put, a print markup is the dollar amount added to the base cost to you of something you sell from our lab partners.(i.e. You want to sell a 4x6 print to your clients for $3. The lab cost is $1, so that means your markup and profit from that item would be $2). In your CloudSpot Storefront, your markup can be set based on a percentage of the cost to create the print or product. Keep in mind, this product markup will be added on top of the cost of goods sold (COGS), or base price of the item from the print lab of choice. As a CloudSpot paid user, you’ll keep 100% commission from your print/product markups, so be strategic here when drafting out your pricing list. 

Wondering how to be strategic? You’re in the right place! 🙌

Start with your Cost of Goods

How much does it cost for you to get prints printed? Luckily, your CloudSpot account makes it easy, automatically listing print lab base prices on your Catalog Pricing Page as “Cost”. We also add a base markup for you when your Store is activated, but always suggest you edit this markup specifically your business needs and desired income. CloudSpot has two ways you can add markup: per print product or bulk by percentage.

Per Print Product Markup:

Bulk Markup:

When you think about markup, it’s important to consider any time and resources you’ll be putting into print sales on your end as the photographer. 

  • How many hours did it take you to make your packages?
  • How much time did you talk with the client about print products and whether or not they will purchase any? 
  • Will you be reviewing and approving each auto-fulfilled order before it is sent to the lab? 
  • Do be sure to include a markup to account for your time. 

Your time is valuable. 

Will you be selling any prints via auto-fulfillment, custom-fulfillment, or both (hybrid)? If custom or hybrid, factor in all of your costs of print creation, including the price of the physical product, deliverables, packaging, and your time spent processing, printing, and assembling final prints. All of these items are value-adds for your client and expenses for your business. Add it all up and add it all to your print/product pricing to ensure you’ll be profitable.

We also wanted to include a quick reminder to factor in sales tax under your Cost of Goods Sold. While this will vary from state to state, meaning we can’t give specific recommendations, after you’ve consulted with a tax professional, know that you can set your tax rate in CloudSpot. Click here to learn more about tax rates.

Market Research

As you work to determine print markup pricing, you’ll want to do a bit of market research to see what the average price is for prints in your area. While we don’t recommend copying another photographer’s print pricing, you will want to do some research to determine the average price a customer in your market will be expecting to pay for printed products. Keep in mind, your pricing doesn’t have to be on the nose for average— there are so many factors that go into pricing prints. That said, it’s important to have a general idea of prices in your market as you work to determine the other elements we’ve discussed so far. Your market research should be purposeful, covering, not only your geographic service area but also your photography specialty audience too.

Print markups can range from 30% - 800%. Decide on a percentage that works for you, but make sure you can deliver the quality of work to match that end percentage. Your work, time, and energy is worth every penny, so let your value shine through your prints.

Identify your ideal client needs

As you determine print markup pricing, think about  what it is your ideal client is wanting and needing for your specific type of photography. For wedding photographers, prints, canvases, albums, and cards are great. For brand photography clients, it may be a little different. You know what your client may want better than they do. What do you suggest in products for your client to cherish their memories best?

Within your CloudSpot Storefront, there are countless options available including prints, canvases, albums, cards, and more. You’ll want to make your client’s shopping experience easy and clear by providing options that meet their needs at price points that match their experience and expectations of your business. 

As you filter through product options to set print markups, consider the types of products and size options that your ideal clients would like to purchase and eliminate sizing options and products that don’t fit the bill. Oftentimes, a curated list of goods based on your ideal client’s unique needs yields more sales because your consumer isn’t overwhelmed by countless options. Decision fatigue is a common issue with extensive print lists. 

By identifying your ideal client’s needs (And then catering your offerings to this!), you’ll make their purchasing process fast, easy, and clear that they are getting the best of the best! This limits client tendencies to second guess a purchase and expedites their ordering process. 

Keep in mind: you can always create more than one Storefront Catalog, so know that you are not locked into one Catalog. If you serve a number of niches, you can always create a unique catalog based on the types of galleries you deliver. This is an amazing way to speak to the exact needs of your clients while saving so much time on your end. 

Your yearly bottom line is key 🔑

How much do you want to make through your photography business this year? More importantly, how much do you need to make through your photography business this year? 

We know these are some BIG questions, but it’s key to have an overall awareness of your income needs and income goals as you determine the pricing of your prints and products. Once you’ve determined your income goals, it’s important to break down where this income is going to come from! Will your income goals be reached from booked projects alone with print profits as an additional bonus or will printed products play a centerstage role in your yearly bottom line? 

Take the time to consider all of the pieces of your business and how they work together! We know this can be daunting, but this ensures that you aren’t selling yourself short. By looking into the big picture, your print markup pricing will be working towards your goals, not against them! Selling prints is an incredible way to increase your overall profitability as a business while serving your clients with items they will cherish for years to come.

Lastly - Let’s talk about confidence 

If you’ve added up the numbers and you are starting to look at the final price of your prints and products and are thinking… “Will someone really pay that for a print from me?!” know you are not alone! 

This is one of the most common things we hear from many photographers who are setting their print pricing and markups. Clients are looking for more than just digital items— allowing clients to purchase quality prints from someone they trust is a huge value-add. Believe it or not, most photographers markup their print pricing 300 - 800% on top of the cost of goods sold.

Your work holds much more value than just the base printing cost… your time, talent, skillset, and expertise should be reflected in your print pricing!

In 2021, Clients purchased almost 240,000 prints and products through CloudSpot Storefronts. 🤯 That right there should tell you everything you need to know! Clients are ready to invest in prints and products, so why shouldn’t they buy from you? Don’t sell yourself short!

We know pricing can be a daunting topic, but we are confident that your prints and products are worth the investment. A little bit of intentionality with pricing goes a long way! 🙌

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