When should you invoice for photography?

Invoicing for photography comes with some important decisions to make as a business owner. Aside from determining your prices, one thing you will need to think about is when you should invoice for your photography. There is no right or wrong answer here and it is all based on your business preferences. In this blog we will chat about different times when you can invoice your clients. 

Each photographer has their own preferences for when they invoice their clients and it may even vary based on session type for when they collect payments. In general, you have a few options when it comes to timing for invoices and collecting your payments. You can collect a retainer and remaining balance or offer payment plans leading up to the session. You can also collect payment in full. Some photographers like to collect part of the payment after the session. Keep reading to learn more about the different times to invoice your clients!

Invoicing for photographers in Iris Works, photographers can get paid through an integrated payment processor

1. Retainer / Deposit Prior to Sessions

Most photographers invoice for photography by requiring a portion of the total to be paid up front and then a remaining balance before the session takes place or on the date of the session. Retainers and deposits are fees collected up front – but do you know the difference between the two of these? A retainer is a fee collected up front to hold the session date. Retainers by default are non-refundable. A deposit is also a fee collected up front and can be used to reserve a session date – but deposits are returned once the service has been completed. Collecting a portion of the fee up front helps prevent clients from no-showing and limits the chances of them cancelling.

Invoicing with Iris makes it easy to set up a retainer and remaining balance approach with the use of payment schedules. You can now offer partial payments on one invoice. With payment schedules you can create a retainer and remaining balance, multiple equal payments over a span of time, or retainer plus multiple equal payments. Your client will be reminded of any upcoming payments 5 days prior to the due date that you determined, as well as on the date a payment is due.

2. Full Payment Prior to Sessions

There might be times when you find it appropriate to request full payment all at once for your photography. Some photographers who offer mini sessions require full payment at booking in order for their client to confirm booking their selected date and time. This can be helpful for mini sessions in particular since the cost is usually lower and would reduce clients wanting to reschedule or cancel. Some photographers might run promotional offers for clients for a sale on sessions or products, and in this case might give some incentive to their clients when they pay in full. 

3. Payments After Session

Some photographers may collect a final payment after the session has been completed. There are pros and cons to invoicing for your photography after a session, even if it is just the remaining balance. One thing to consider is if you send an invoice after the session, there is a chance the client may not pay it. You are then faced with trying to collect payment for services already provided. However, there is a benefit to collecting a final payment after the session – tips! Sending an invoice after the session can open the opportunity for clients to tip you. Clients are more likely to tip after the session because they enjoyed the experience with you and would like to show appreciation for your hard work during their session.

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