How to Package Your Photography Services and Design a Price Sheet

Once you've set your basic rates for your photography services, consider putting together some package deals. Packages can make your sessions more appealing to clients while making things easier on your end (as you'll have a template for your sessions). By grouping and suggesting services, they can also help you make more money.

We've put together some tips below on how to organize your offerings and set up a professional price sheet.

Keep it simple

Keep your price menu as clean and clutter-free as possible. Your goal is to design a sheet that's easy to scan. Your clients should be able to tell the difference between your packages quickly, so focus on large differences over minor, incremental ones.

If there are features or offerings that apply to all of your sessions, list these at the top of your sheet rather than repeating them under each package. Repeating information and presenting them as features for each of your packages will not necessarily make them look more appealing. Only list what's adding real value.

Offer 3 or 4 packages

Most photographers' price sheets include 3-4 packages:

  • Package #3 or #4 will be your deluxe package. It's for clients who want to splurge, and includes all the bells and whistles. It's not necessarily what you're trying to sell, but it's designed to make your other packages appear reasonable in comparison.

  • Package #2 will be your most appealing option. Itshould draw attention to what's missing from Package #1, and highlight what they can get from Package 2 for just a bit more money.

  • Package #1 provides an entry-point for people who are interested in your services, but are not quite ready to spend.

As you're deciding what to include in each package, think about what your clients really want. Don't just list everything you can offer — what do your clients actually need? If you design your packages right, people won't be requesting to swap out features all the time.

You might also find it helpful to have an 'a-la-cart' list on the side of your price sheet, featuring add-ons for each package.

list your most expensive package first

Again, your highest package is designed to make your other options seem reasonable. As your clients read from top to bottom, they will see all the features they're missing out on if they go with the lowest package. This will also make your price sheet easier to read: you'll be taking away options, instead of adding more.

choose your words carefully

Here's a great example of word choose can affect your packaging, from an article on Virtual Photography. Take this list of words:

Shoot / Photograph
Images / Pictures
Collections / Packages

While you might use the word "shoot" more often than "photograph," put yourself in your clients' shoes — which sounds more appealing?

Think about who you're marketing to, and adjust your wording accordingly. If you're a wedding photographer, for example, opt for language that sounds more high-end and elegant.


Need help with your design set-up? Or a place to print your finished product? Contact us. You can learn more about our printing and design services at

Why You Need a Photographic Niche (And How to Find One)

Why find a photographic niche?

Establish credibility and build your reputation. This can help you bring in referrals. If someone is looking for a wedding photographer, for example, they are most likely going to ask their friends if they know a good wedding photographer, specifically. Same goes for newborns, headshots, etc.

Focus your marketing efforts. When you narrow your target market, your marketing efforts will be more effective. You'll have a more focused and higher quality message, and a better understanding of where to promote yourself. You're more likely to find the people who want what you're selling.

Stand out from the crowd. Consider a more specific, uncommon niche — such as tattoo photography — that will help you stand out. While you may not be casting the widest net, for those who are interested, you've caught their attention and established yourself as an expert — you'll be the go-to person.

How to choose a niche

Some questions to ask yourself: 

  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What are you good at?
  • How well does it pay?
  • What is the competition?
  • How difficult is it to break into?
  • Is there any special equipment required?
  • Is it contingent on location?

Some common niches

  • weddings
  • newborns
  • children / families
  • portraits
  • headshots
  • fashion
  • stock
  • product
  • food
  • landscape
  • street
  • architecture
  • travel

How to Use a Power Pack with Flash Heads

One of the benefits of studio photography is that ability to take advantage of off-camera flash, which provides more power and control than an on-camera flash. There are several different options for off-camera strobe lighting: speedlights, monoblocks, and power pack / flash head combinations.

Packs and flash heads are the most powerful option. Though they are not very portable, they are perfect for studio shoots. At Fairway, we include a Profoto Acute 2R 1200 Power Pack and two Pro 7 Flash Heads with our studio rentals. Here’s what you need to know about using this equipment. 



This is a power pack. It's a generator that operates on AC power (so it must be plugged into the wall). The Acute 2R 1200 Pack has a power output of 1200W, and three ports for connecting flash heads (labeled here as "A" and "B"). 


This is a flash head. It should be attached to a light stand and can be outfitted with a softbox, reflector, umbrella or other light modifier — all of which provide different qualities of lighting.

A typical setup we use at Fairway, for example, is a flash head with a large softbox on our righthand side, and a flash head with a medium softbox on the left. The smaller softbox serves as the fill light, meaning it's used to fill in the shadows produced by our main light.

Softboxes produce soft, even lighting. Click to learn more about the different lighting produced by softboxes and umbrellas.


The flash heads do not light continuously; they are controlled wireless by a Pocketwizard Transmitter and Receiver. The Transmitter is attached with a wire to the Power Pack, and the Receiver hooks up to the top of your camera. Make sure they are set to the same channel. When you press the shutter and take your photo, the flash heads will light automatically.


Understanding the Power Pack Controls and Settings:

  • MOD.A, MOD.B, MOD.LIGHT — these settings control the "modeling lights." Modeling lights allow you to see where the light will hit. When the modeling lights are on, the strobes will light continuously at a more modest setting.
  • If you want to set off the strobes without taking a photo, press the white TEST button.
  • The strobes will not work unless the TEST button, or "ready lamp", is lit up. It resets every 1/4-second, typically. The more power you use, the slower the recycle time. We recommend turning the SOUND setting on, so the pack will beep when the ready lamp lights up again. 
  • Each light can be set to full power, half power or quarter power. This is controlled using the switches labeled A and B. Remember that the more power you use, the slower the recycle time (it's best not to use more than necessary).
  • You can use symmetrical or asymmetrical power distribution between your lights. To control the power setting of each light individually, select the A+B setting. For symmetrical distribution, select A <--> B.
  • SYNC — This is where you plug in the transmitter cord.

Camera Settings + Lighting

Set your camera to manual mode. You'll need to set your aperture and exposure settings. For studio lighting, you'll typically use an aperture between f8 and f12 and a shutter speed of about 1/200 with your iso at 100-400. If you find that your lighting is too dark or too light, you can either adjust your camera's settings or the power settings of your lights, as well as their placements.

How to Use Instagram as a Professional Photographer

If you're going to be on one social network as a photographer, it should probably be Instagram. Here are some tips on using the platform to effectively promote your work and distinguish yourself from the average user.

1. Instagram is not your portfolio.

Don't simply regurgitate everything that’s in your portfolio. Have some fun with it. Experiment, and share spontaneous shots that may not be published elsewhere.

You can think of it as a visual diary: give your followers a glimpse into your life, or a behind-the-scenes look at a project you’re working on.

With all this in mind, remember that you're trying to promote yourself as a professional. Create a sense of balance between more carefully planned out photos and more impromptu ones.

2. Be consistent in your subject matter.

Let people know what to expect. When someone lands on your feed and sees a general theme — whether it's landscapes, portraits or street photography — it gives them a reason to follow you.

3. Use a consistent editing style.

Whether you’re posting photos from your DSLR, iPhone camera or both, establish an editing process. Most photographers prefer third-party apps — such as VSCO Cam or Adobe Lightroom Mobile — to Instagram’s built-in editing features. (To distinguish yourself from “Instagram photographers,” you may want to avoid Instagram filters.) Keep in mind that your Instagram photos will be viewed at small sizes, so you don’t have to worry so much about details like noise and grain.

By using a consistent editing process, your feed will have an overall cohesive look.

4. Write a good bio.

This is the first thing people will see. Keep it short and to the point. Include a link to your website, as well as your email and location, so people who want to work with you will know how to contact you and where you’re based.

5. Write short descriptions for your photos.

Include a description with every image, and be concise. If your text is longer than a few lines, people will have to click "expand" to read the rest.

Add context to your images. If you’re posting a photo of a landmark, for example, name it in the description and use the location tool.

6. Use hashtags wisely.

Don’t insert hashtags into every other word of your photo description — it looks unprofessional (ex: This is yesterday’s #model at my #photoshoot in #nyc). Instead, attach them to the end of your post, and don’t go overboard. If you’re using a lot of hashtags, post them as a comment instead of in the original description.

Do some research and experimenting in deciding which hashtags to use. Keep in mind that if you use popular ones like #photography, you might end up with a lot of spam and bot comments. Try to find some niche hashtags that describe your photography style and are not overused.

Once you’ve found what works for you, you can use apps like Tagsdock to create custom hashtag lists that you can re-use to save time.

7. Engage with the Instagram community.

Find and connect with photographers who inspire you, and follow accounts that you are genuinely interested in. Join conversations in a meaningful way (don’t just spam for followers). And be sure to reply to people who comment on your work. 

There are a lot of “quick fixes” to build your following, but if you share great content and explore Instagram from a place of genuine interest, you’ll grow your following organically with followers who are you actually interested in your work.

8. Keep a regular schedule.

Don’t flood your followers’ feeds by posting a series of photos all at once. Post once a day, or every three days. Whatever you decide, keep a regular schedule.

* * *

Don’t overthink it, don’t be afraid to be emojis and remember to have fun with it. While you should have a general plan for how you’ll use your account, as well as an editing system in place, Instagram is about sharing images quickly and with ease. And don’t forget that it’s a social network. Ideally, you’re connecting with other photographers by following their work and sharing your own.

Photoshoot Prep Checklist

There are a lot of moving parts to consider when you're coordinating a photoshoot. We put together a list of some things to keep track of.

The Week of the Shoot

  • Confirm with everyone involved.

  • Send call sheet to crew.

  • Prepare mood board and/or shot list, lighting plans, etc.

  • Review equipment list. Indicate:

    • equipment you are bringing

    • equipment provided by the studio

    • additional equipment needed

      • Make arrangements for rental equipment if necessary.

  • Scout location; know what to expect.

    • Check out food and parking nearby, etc.

The Day Before the Shoot

  • Review equipment list and pack gear.

  • Charge camera batteries.

  • Pack backup equipment.

    • battery

    • memory card

  • Check camera settings.

  • Format memory card.

  • Clean lenses.

  • Check directions.

  • Review details such as shot list, client requests, etc.


Portfolio Website Tips for Photographers

for your portfolio ...

  • Don’t include all of your work – just your best. Be selective and show what you’re proud of.
  • What type of work do you want to be hired for? Make this the focus of your portfolio.
  • Keeping that in mind, you’ll also want to show your range.
  • Be strategic about the order. Place your best photos at the beginning and end. Draw your visitors in, and then make the ending memorable.
photography portfolio gallery example

for your website design ...

  • Use a simple, clean design. Let your photography be the focus.
  • If you’re using a template, make it your own: change the fonts, colors, etc.
  • Don’t go overboard: stick to just a couple fonts.
  • Make the navigation simple and easy to use, without too many menu items. If all you have is “about,” “contact,” and “portfolio,” that’s fine.
  • Make your contact information easy to find. Depending on your layout, you may want to put it in your footer or header so that it shows up on every page.
  • Understand your audience. What type of clients are you trying to attract? This will affect your design choices. If you’re a corporate photographer, for example, your fonts and colors should convey professionalism. Wedding photographers typically make use of white space and feminine typography.
photographer's website example

for your about page ...

  • Make it clear, concise, and creative.
  • What’s your approach to photography? What do you love about it? Tell the story of what led you to this point of view. Talk about how you got started, and what your plans are for the future.
  • Make it personal. Include a few unique details about yourself.
  • Make sure to have a great self-portrait! 
photographer's website about page example

Defining Your Concept: Tips for Creating a Mood Board

The first step to preparing for a photoshoot is to define your concept. If you have a general vision, but you're not exactly sure how to articulate or execute it, a mood board will help.

Simply put, a mood board is a collage of inspiration to be used as a reference point before and during your photoshoot. It will help you clarify your vision while getting the rest of your team on the same page.

Some tips for putting one together:

1. It’s helpful if you have lots to pull from when it comes time to decide on your concept, so you should always be collecting images and sources of inspiration. Collect tear sheets, save images to a folder on your desktop, make use of your screenshot tool, and take lots of pictures on your phone. Even if you’re not sure where or when you’ll use it, if you see something that inspires you, save it for later.

Programs like Evernote will let you store everything in one place — photos, notes, articles, lists — and then organize your files with folders and tags (check out this article on using Evernote for mood boards).

2. Have a visual reference point for every aspect of your shoot: hair, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, models, model poses, and props. If you’re working with a team, it can be helpful to dedicate a section of your mood board to each member of your team — your stylist, makeup artist, model, etc.

3. Start with a folder, Pinterest board, etc. with all of your sources of inspiration, and then edit it down to a cohesive final mood board. Don’t overwhelm yourself (or your team) with too many images. You can simply arrange your photos on a page in Photoshop, or use an online tool such as Moodboard,, Niice, or Pixelboard.

mood board examples

How to Use a Reflector

A reflector is a type of light modifier that is used to bounce (or reflect) existing light. It’s a portable, flexible tool that can dramatically enhance the lighting in your photos. They are easy to manipulate and experiment with.

Most reflectors you’ll see will be a piece of reflective fabric stretched over a flexible ring. However, there are many different types which differ in size, shape, and color.

silver and gold reflectors


For portraits, a small reflector is usually suitable, and it will be easier to handle. Larger reflectors will diffuse light across a larger area, creating a softer light.

Silver reflectors work well for studio lighting. They won’t change the color of the lighting and out of all the reflectors, they will reflect the most amount of light. White reflectors are a bit more subtle, and will typically have to be placed closer to the subject. Gold reflectors will create a warm glow, similar to sunlight.


A reflector can make a great fill light, which means it can be used to lighten or fill in shadows created by your main light. For example, you can place it on the opposite side of your subject from your main light and use it to bounce light onto dark shadows. You can also place it below your subject to fill in shadows under the nose and eyes.

Using Catchlights for Portrait Photography

A catchlight is a reflection or glimmer in the subject’s eye. It helps draw attention to the eyes — arguably your portrait’s most important feature — and brings dimension, depth, and life to a photo. Painters used catchlights in their portraits long before photography was introduced. While it may not be immediately noticeable, catchlights will affect the overall look and feel of your photo.

The size, shape, brightness, and position of a catchlight is determined by the light source used. They may be round or rectangular, depending on your light source. The larger the light source, the larger the catchlight. And if you use more than one light, you may see multiple reflections in your subject’s eyes. There is no “correct” way to use catchlights. However, many photographers prefer what’s most natural-looking — catchlights resembling those created by the sun.

Photographers typically position catchlights at the 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock position in the eyes (again, this mimics light created by the sun). For a natural-looking portrait, you’ll want them to be balanced — so if the left eye is positioned at 10 o’clock, the right eye should be as well. Have your subject face the light and try placing the source slightly above their head, at a 45-degree angle between the subject and camera. You may find a reflector useful for bouncing light into their eyes.

Understanding Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the length of time that the shutter is open, or the amount of time that the camera’s sensor views your scene. A fast shutter speed freezes action, while a slow shutter speed will create a “motion blur.”  A slow shutter speed may be used to convey a sense of movement — to show water flow, for example, or if you’re photographing a runner, you can use a slow shutter setting to convey a sense of speed.

Shutter speed is measured in seconds, or fractions of a second: 1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, etc. (the speed typically doubles with each camera setting).

So how do you decide which shutter speed to use? Ask yourself what’s moving in the scene, and how you’d like to capture it — whether you want your image to have a sense of movement, or if you’d like to freeze movement. Movement typically freezes at 1/500th of a second or faster.

If you use a shutter speed slower than 1/60th of a second, you’ll likely need a tripod. It will be difficult to avoid holding your camera steady for this long, and you may get an unintentional blur in your image.

Remember that shutter speed affects exposure, so if you’re working in manual mode and change the shutter speed, you’ll also have to adjust the ISO and aperture to maintain exposure.

You may also choose to work in Shutter Priority Mode, usually indicated by a “Tv” or “S” symbol on your camera. In this semi-manual mode, you select the shutter speed and the camera will automatically select the proper aperture. A fast shutter speed will use a small depth of field (large aperture).

Using Strobes for Studio Photography

Strobes are large external flashes that can be specifically placed and angled towards the subject for soft, realistic lighting.

profoto studio strobe light

They provide more flexibility than built-in flashes, which will always go off from the same direction that the lens is pointed, often resulting in harsh shadows and flat, unrealistic lighting. Strobes are generally more powerful than other types of off-camera flashes and are very popular in studio photography. (We include Profoto flash heads with our studio rentals.)

You’ll have your strobe (or light head) attached to a light stand and a type of diffuser, such as a softbox or umbrella. The strobe is plugged into a power source and is triggered by a transmitter, which may be wireless or hooked up directly to the camera. (Fairway uses the wireless PocketWizard Transmitter, which allows you to move freely throughout the studio.)

You’ll want to adjust your camera’s aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings so that they work well with the additional lighting from the strobe. Start with an aperture setting between f8 and f12, a shutter speed of about 1/200 second, and your ISO set between 100 and 400. In terms of positioning, try placing your light about 6 feet away from the camera. You can start within these guidelines and then experiment to see the different results you get.

Preparing for Your Studio Rental

Booking your first photoshoot at a studio can be intimidating, but there’s no need to worry. Not only can your first studio shoot be a lot of fun — it’s also a great way to gain experience working with models, lighting, and professional photography equipment. Before you go out and purchase expensive lighting equipment of your own, you can try it out for a fraction of the price by renting a studio. Many include equipment with their bookings, or they offer it to rent for an additional cost. (Click here to see what equipment we have at Fairway.)

The more prepared you are, the more smoothly the day will go. See below for some tips on preparing before the day of your shoot so that you get the most out of your studio rental.

Find your subject

  • A professional model can help, but it's not necessary. If you're new and just hoping to get comfortable in the studio and acquainted with the equipment, you may even want to consider using a friend as your model so that you're more relaxed. Make sure that they can take direction and convey emotion.
  • Communicate with your model before the day of the shoot. Get them involved with the process, and ask if they have any requests. Be sure to let them know what to expect and about any plans, goals, or ideas you have. Tell them what the process will be like.

Have a plan

  • Think about how you'll use lighting, and have a few different setups planned out. (There are plenty of online resources and tutorials with setups.) This way, on the day of the shoot, you'll spend less time making decisions and more time getting the shots you need.
  • If you have multiple outfits, looks, or models to shoot, have a game plan — decide on the order beforehand.
  • Write your plans down, as well as any tips or important information you'd like to remember. Even if you don't refer to this sheet, it'll provide an added level of comfort.

Do your research

  • Find out what equipment is provided by the studio. If there's anything you're unfamiliar with, or anything you're not sure how to use, do your research. Of course you won't need all the equipment, but it's helpful to know what your photos might benefit from.
  • If there's any equipment you'd like to rent, check in the studio before the day of your rental. Confirm in advance that the equipment you'll need will be available.

Other considerations

  • Think about anything that might come up. Will you need parking, or a service elevator?
  • When booking, factor in time for setup and for anything that might slow down your shoot.
  • Get familiar with the studio's terms. Find out their cancellation and rescheduling policies. (You can find ours here.)

How to Use an Umbrella

An umbrella is a type of modifier that diffuses soft lighting. It’s one of the most affordable and versatile types of light modifier. The main difference between umbrellas and softboxes is that while softboxes produce directional lighting, umbrellas create what’s called “inefficient lighting,” meaning it’s spread in many different directions.


Using a flash without a modifier such as an umbrella will likely result in hard lighting, which means you’ll get dark shadows. With soft light, shadows are very light or non-existent.


A common way to use an umbrella is as a “shoot thru.” The umbrella is placed in front of the flash, and the flash shoots the light through the umbrella and onto the subject. This will create even lighting across the subject. You can also use it as a reflector by pointing the flash at the inside of the umbrella and aiming both away from your subject.

You can experiment with shadows and different lighting effects by moving your umbrella around and placing it at different angles. The “classic” position is 45 degrees up and over to one side. If you’re new to light modifiers, you may want to start here and then try experimenting with new positions. Generally, the larger the umbrella is and the closer it’s placed to the subject, the softer the lighting will be.

Further reading and examples of umbrellas in action: 

Lighting 101: Using Umbrella — Strobist
What Umbrellas Do — Scantips

What is a Softbox?

A softbox is a type of light modifier that’s used to produce soft, even lighting. The lightweight box is made of translucent cloth, wrapped around a wire frame and attached to a light source (usually a studio strobe or speed light) on a stand. 

Profoto Softbox

The interior cloth is white or silver, while the exterior black cloth prevents light from spilling out. The light bounces around and scatters in all directions inside the box, and is then directed outward through a layer of diffusion material. The result is evenly distributed directional lighting that’s easy to control.

The effect is similar to window lighting, and it can help reduce harsh shadows. Softboxes are often used for portraits but are also great for shooting subjects such as products, food, and fashion.

They come in a variety of sizes. The light becomes softer as the size of the box increases and as it’s placed closer to the subject. Soft light can help reduce contrast, soften shadow edges, and conceal imperfections.

You can move the box around — to the side, up or down, closer or further — to experiment with shadows, hardness of lighting, and other effects. If your images look flat, you can try placing the light at an angle. If you’re getting uneven or harsh lighting, try moving the box in front of the subject.

Further reading and examples of softboxes in action: 

10 Different Lighting Effects Using Just One Softbox — Picture Correct
Using a Softbox - studio lighting beginners' guide — ePhoto Zine
5 Tips For Using a Studio Octagon Softbox — Seamless