The $3,000 session average…

Author Recent Posts Nicole BegleyNicole Begley, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is a zoological animal trainer turned pet photographer and educator. She created Hair of the Dog in 2012 to empower pet photographers to turn their dreams into reality by helping them improve their craft and grow their pet photography business.Nicole has authored a book “Pet and Equine […]

Written By Nicole Begley

On December 5, 2016


A multiple thousand dollar session average seems completely unattainable and out of reach when you are grinding through creating your business and desperately seeking your target client. 

Psychology tells us that there are two ways in which people commonly react when they hear of other photographers having a $3,000 sales average…

A. They get jealous and down on themselves and tell themselves that there is no way they will ever get to that point.


B. They may have a moment of “man, I wish I was hitting those sales goals.”….followed by, hope and excitement because if someone else is doing that, there certainly must be the opportunity to do that themselves.  This causes them to seek more knowledge, implement it, and find ways to make their business more streamlined, more profitable, and more attractive to a clientele that is looking for quality.

For all of your type B reactors out there, I would like to pull back the curtain on a month of my actual photography sales.  I’d also like to give you some tips to help you reach a four-figure (or multiple four-figure) average yourself! 

I held 5 sales sessions, for gross sales of $16,000 and a session average of $3,200. 

  • Session 1:  $4,700 – purchased wall art and albums – repeat client
  • Session 2:  $800* – purchased an album and prints – auction client
  • Session 3: $4,200 – purchased wall art – new client through website
  • Session 4: $3,600* – purchased collection and wall art – auction client
  • Session 5: $2,700* – purchased wall art and album – auction client

*The auction client sales reflect the $400 discount that they received from their auction certificate.  So their total sale was actually $400 more, but I’m just counting the money paid. 

While building a business that can attain a $3,000+ session average takes time, I am a firm believer that anyone producing technically sound work should be able to have a minimum of a $1,000 session average…if they set their business and pricing up effectively.

Three keys to the four-figure sale…

Take the focus OFF of prints and files. 

It is much easier to get to a $1,000 average selling a $500 piece of wall art rather than $50 prints, no?  Take your focus OFF of prints and files, those are the icing to a sale and not the cake.  We need to start showcasing what we want our clients to purchase on our website and talk to them about those options throughout the process.

Assist the client through the process.

Speaking of the process, we need to hold our clients’ hands throughout it.  Always tell them what the next step is and when they can expect it.  Discuss how they may best enjoy their images at in the inquiry stage.  A great phrase to offer suggestions to potential clients is, “Most of my clients choose to…..”.  It’s also important to assist your client through the selection process.  I choose to do this through in-person sales, but that isn’t the only way.  The key is to make it easy for your client and help them avoid analysis paralysis because they have too many options.

Price your work to lead to 4 figure sales.

There is an art and a science to pricing.  The science is ensuring that we are making enough profit on each item and our Cost of Goods Sold is in check.  (PPA recommends no more than a 25% Cost of Goods Sold – less is always great)  The art of pricing is creating a price list that encourages your clients to purchase what you want to sell. 

Remember, it’s easier to get to a four-figure sale selling at least one large signature item, either a wall piece or an album.  Why not have one price for your prints and digital files if purchased alone, and another, less expensive, price for your prints and digital files if purchased with a signature art product?  People will be drawn to purchase a product first so that they can receive the savings on the prints and files….even though they are spending a higher dollar amount. 

How would your business (and life) change if you were able to consistently have four-figure (and multiple four-figure) sessions? 

You could project your cash flow more accurately, you could pay yourself a salary more regularly, you could make more money by working less. 

Looking for some more pricing training?  Forget what every other pet photographer is charging -- the best thing you can do for your business is set your prices based on YOUR business and YOUR goals. It’s time to stop following the pack and let your rates lead you to a sustainable business!

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The #1 thing you need to know BEFORE setting your prices
  • My simple formula to set up your pricing structure for success 
  • How to increase your prices without losing customers

Oh, and did I mention this is a free training?  Grab it below.

Nicole Begley

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  1. Steve Porter

    Hi, I’ve just stumbled across this blog and have been reading with excitement. I am definitely a type B, when talk about auction clients, what does this mean exactly, I am in the UK and am wondering if this is just a language difference or are these as a result of vouchers that you have donated to charity auctions? Looking forward to your reply. Steve.

  2. Steve Porter

    Hi Nicole, I can honestly say that this blog is one of the best for business advice in the Pet photography genre I have ever read. Thank you so much for pointing me in the direction of the articles on using auctions this is such a great marketing tool that I intend to utilise, and the advice on identifying your target client is brilliant. Steve.

  3. Julie Ireland

    HI Nicole,

    What a fabulously-written (and helpful!) blog you have…I so appreciate your ideas, wisdom and approach.

    I’ve been a photographer for about 25 years (I used to focus mainly on weddings but feel pretty much done with the 8-10 hour shoots) and am now regrouping and wanting to photograph animals, solely (and their people). I had an alpaca farm in Vermont for ten years, lots of dogs and cats, and am now in Minneapolis starting over with the love-of-my-life and our herd of Newfies. This city is quite the dog metropolis and there are countless rescue groups and canine events…I’m in heaven. I’ve always volunteered my services to shelters/events and continue to do that here in MN…it’s great way to get your name out there but I still feel a little stunted as my business was so long-standing out east…starting over at 58 is challenging in new ways but changing the color of what I’m doing reflects my true passions—animals and the relationships people have with them.

    I appreciate having this new source of information and thank you for it!

    All the best to you,


    • Nicole

      Hi Julie! Welcome and thank you!! 🙂


    I can’t find the blog on identifying your target market. Could you point me in the right place to click?


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