Zenfolio introduces AI pricing tool – Inside Imaging

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October 9, 2022

Photography website and marketing service, Zenfolio, has announced Smart Pricing, an AI-driven tool that provides ‘competitive pricing recommendations’ to photographers based on internal collected sales data.

The Smart Pricing algorithm makes pricing suggestions based on ‘historical sales data from hundreds of thousands of transactions, photography genre, the geographic location in which they [the photographer] sell’, and other key market factors, such as ‘lab fees, and shoot type’.

Pricing is often a close kept secret among professional photographers. Since there isn’t an agreed upon ‘industry standard’, many quotes fluctuate wildly depending on the photographer.

This is partly due to the influx of semi-pro or part-time photographers in fields like wedding, portraiture and landscape, who may have other income streams and can afford to undercut established professional photographers, or don’t know the value of their work. But some high-end photographers also set astoundingly hefty prices based on their perceived excellence, marketing and branding.

Photographers also offer different services. Some specialise in printed products such as albums and wall art, which also vary in quality, while others deal entirely with digital files. Photographers may quote by taking into account the hourly duration of the shoot, or with day rates; as well as the time to post-process, or the cost to outsource editing; the cost of gear and other expenses like travel.

Photographers selling prints may go for a high-volume, low-margin approach and outsource the printing to a cheap’n’cheerful overseas lab; while others may opt for a bigger-margin and with limited edition prints on fine art paper handled by a top-notch local lab.

Australian landscape phptographer, Peter Lik, manages to sell 100cm prints like this for US$7000 through brilliant marketing and sales, as well as perceived rarity and collectibility. But Zenfolio’s AI isn’t going to suggest setting Lik-style pricing. Source: lik.com

While pricing can be mystifying to some clients and emerging professional photographers, it’s worth taking time to find a pricing structure to suit the business model. And Zenfolio claims the AI can step in to help.

The company suggests that ‘most photographers’ get into the ‘craft to express… creativity’, and ‘may not have the desire to spend time researching and setting product prices’.

Business management ain’t the most glamorous component of professional photography, but plenty of established business savvy photographers may dispute Zenfolio’s claim they’re just a bunch of hopeless artists.

Anyway, according to Zenfolio, ‘some photographers spend hours researching local market rates, calculating margins and worrying about setting appropriate prices to achieve optimal earnings and profits. Unless you’re also a mathematician and economist, it’s difficult to know if your prices are both competitive and profitable based on your local business market.’

While photography quoting isn’t as simple as, say, a mechanic’s quote, does it really take an economics professor to work out how to do it? Well, Zenfolio reckons it has the next best thing. Let the AI handle pricing for you.

In the last 12 months Zenfolio has ‘collected hundreds of thousands of historical data points from photographers pricing their products, and their clients purchasing those products on our platform’.

Smart Pricing is only available to those with Zenfolio PortfolioPlus and ProSuite accounts, and the results are only recommendations and can be ignored. After all, Zenfolio may have been collecting ordinary data points from photographers with terrible pricing systems. And as previous stated and acknowledged by Zenfolio, photography pricing is based on a myriad of variables, and it’s unclear if an AI algorithm has the answers.


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