How to Set the Right Price for Your Photography or Artwork

Updated on

Your work demands attention, and you’d like it to command a fair price too. However, setting a price that’s too low could devalue your work, and ultimately prevent you from making a decent living. On the other hand, pricing your wares at a premium may put off potential buyers and lead to inadequate sales.

Setting a price that presents both you and your work as professional and valuable isn’t hard with a bit of thought, and neither is using our Sell Media plugin to set prices and licenses for your photography and artwork.

In this post, we’ll look at how to set the most effective prices for your work, before considering the different licensing models you could use. To wrap up, we’ll show you how the Sell Media plugin slots into the whole process.

Setting Effective Prices for Your Work

Taking the DIY approach to selling your work online, rather than selling through a marketplace, has numerous benefits – you pay no commission for a start, and as such, you’ll often be able to charge much less than competing sites. That said, with power comes responsibility, and you’ll be in charge of setting prices – meaning you’ve got a few things to take into account.

Firstly, consider what’s called the ‘cost of doing business (CODB)’. In a nutshell, this is the bare minimum it costs you to operate – i.e. your day-to-day running costs plus your desired salary. This could get quite complex, so consider using a comprehensive tool to help you, such as the NPPA’s CODB calculator.

Once you have the bottom end of your range, you’ll then need to consider the market for your image within your industry. This could be as simple as browsing similar content from the likes of Getty Images to gauge ballpark pricing.

Next, consider how unique your images are. For example, macro shots of a flower will be a dime a dozen and not very valuable, whereas a portrait of an endangered animal would rightly command a much higher price.

Finally, you’ll need to consider the value of the image to the client – and the license they’ll choose will go some way in determining that.

Choosing the Right License

When it comes to stock photography, licenses fall into the following three categories:

  1. Commercial: for promoting a company’s products or services.
  2. Editorial: for educational or journalistic purposes, such as newspapers and textbooks.
  3. Retail: for personal use, such as weddings, portraits, t-shirts, mugs, and posters.

It makes sense to charge more when a client’s profits are directly affected by the use of your work – as such, a commercial license will often command the highest price.

Furthermore, you can also sell physical prints, using the Sell Media plugin and our Reprints extension, as a means of setting premium prices that psychologically anchor against your digital products.

Tools and Services to Help Set Effective Pricing

If you’re still struggling to nail down a price, there are numerous tools and services available to help with the task. Here are our two favorites for getting you started:

  1. fotoQuote is industry standard software for pricing your work, with an extensive pricing database enabling you to create quotes with ease.
  2. D-65 offers a premium service where you fill out a form with details – such as how the client will use the image, print run numbers, and its placement – before receiving a recommended price within 24 hours.

Setting Licenses and Prices Using the Sell Media Plugin

Using the Sell Media plugin, setting licenses and prices for your photography is a breeze.

Start by installing and activating the plugin on your WordPress website, and you’ll see a new Sell Media menu appear on your dashboard. From there, click the Licenses option:

The License tab, highlighted in the WordPress dashboard.

The Licenses screen shows your current licenses on the right, and the fields required to create them on the left:

The Sell Media Licenses screen.

Other than the license name (of course), the important setting here is the Markup slider:

The Sell Media Markup slider.

When a user selects a specific license, the product price increases based on the percentage set here. If you’re struggling to calculate the correct markup price, a breakdown based on $1 is displayed below the slider.

If you wish, you can set the license you’re creating as the default for all future products:

The Default License checkbox.

Base prices themselves can be set from any individual product page (along with the ability to create price groups) within Sell Media > All Products. Navigate to your chosen product and enter a number in the Price ($) field of the Options meta box:

The product pricing box within the Options meta box.

That’s all there is to it! By following the steps above, you can create as many licenses as you like with Sell Media, and then set your prices accordingly.


Setting the wrong price for your photography could mean leaving money on the table at best, or driving away customers at worst. Basing a price on numerous factors, along with offering various licensing options, shows that you’re serious about your profession and your work as a whole.

In this post, we’ve outlined how to tackle the complex process of pricing. Let’s recap the steps:

  1. Calculate your cost of doing business.
  2. Consider the market and industry you’re selling to.
  3. Determine how valuable your work will be to the client, and its overall uniqueness.
  4. Set an appropriate license for your work.
  5. Use the Sell Media plugin to set both licenses and prices for each product on your website.

Do you have any tips for setting prices for your work? Share with us in the comments section below!

Image credit: Devanath.

Sell Photos Online

Get the Ultimate Guide
to Starting Your Own Independent
Online Photography Store, FREE!

We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.

Leave a Reply