Car Photoshoot Prices?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by kvas691, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. kvas691
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    kvas691 New Member

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    I have started to become a big name in the local Tuner Car scene with my photography. I have always done it for free for my friends, but since going to an event and taking pics for some random cars, i have people approaching me about doing photoshoots with their cars and Crews. I need to know how much to charge. As of now, i do not think they will be buying actual prints, but downloading them for their Forum pictures and build threads online. I am still a newbie at this, and this is all kind of coming pretty fast haha heres an example of some of my work. need to know what kind of price range to charge. Thanks alot.

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    BarriereEVOx1 by kvas691, on Flickr

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    OrangeSRT4 by kvas691, on Flickr

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    Bryan WRX Firehouse by kvas691, on Flickr
  2. terri
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    terri Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Ken - I moved your other thread since it was identical to this one. This is the more appropriate forum for what you're asking. Please - no duplicate posts in multiple forums. Thanks!

    Good luck with your work!
  3. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    The price you charge has to take many factors into account.

    Things like how much it cost you to make the photos, your reputation, and how long you've been in business.

    It sounds like you are just starting out business wise, but people have heard of you so you have some reputation.

    Unfortunately, you have been shooting for free and that's also likely part of your rep,

    Your friend: "Ya, Ken Vasquez took those pictures for me".
    The guy he's talking to: "Dude, those shots are sweet. How much does he charge?"
    Your friend, " Nothing vato, he does it for free."

    One of the most difficult things for a business to do - is raise prices.


    But, there are many pricing strategies:
    • Cost plus
    • Competitive pricing
    • Value-in-use pricing
    • Market penetration pricing
    • Promotional pricing
    • Loss-Leader pricing
    • Prestige pricing (This is what I use)
    • Trial pricing
    • and many others
    Essentially what you are wanting to do is known as retail photography. Your photos will be for personal use, not for advertising or promotion of a product.

    The business model for doing commercial photography (advertising and product promotion) is different than the business model for retail photography.

    Retail photography has several pricing models but most often includes a fee to pay for your time, and any product purchased is extra. Many retail photographers include a minimum amount of product with the fee for their time. Like a portrait photographer will charge a $100 sitting fee that includes an 8x10 print or 2.

    Many retail photographers require a minimum purchase before a customer qualifies to buy a digital file or a CD/DVD of photos.

    What you describe
    are what a lot of retail photographers watermark and give away with a print, CD/DVD purchase for use on social networking web sites.

    So, no one here can really tell you how much to charge.

    I recommend you get a guide to starting a small business like The Small Business Start-Up Kit: A Step-by-Step Legal Guide

    and work on improving the composition, use of light, and HDR conversions in your photographs.

    Do you have a circular Polarizing (CPL) filter?
  4. kvas691
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    kvas691 New Member

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    I have a local Car Shop who is interested in buying the files. He will be posting some of these around the shop, and also on his Shop's Facebook Page. He was considering advertising on my Web site, which i have my gallery of car photos, which many people have been looking at since i started working with him. I was wondering what a good price for charging for the files. He suggested 50 bucks, or about a dollar a print. I have a lot of them, not all of which are very nice, more of showing off the event, but some are more artistic, and possibly worth more than a dollar a piece.

    Also as far as advertising on my webpage [ Wix.com - Website built by KVas691 based on Craft Com ] . I was considering maybe 300 for 6 months. He will have a banner on the Auto Section and then a large ad on a new section, which is not yet up, but will have ad's for other companies that i work with.

    The delemma im having is, This car shop is well known, and the Owner has a large influence in the entire north east Street Racing community, and also across the country. (gotta love knowing the right people in the right time) He has ties with local and nation Car magazines, and Web Companies, which he told me he will be recommending my work, so i dont want to charge him full price.

    ok thats enough for one post. haha


    Oh and whats the best way to send large amounts of pictures at one time through email. I was thinking a .Zip File, never made one before tho.
  5. Nubbs
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    Nubbs New Member

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    His Ties don't help you pay the bills. I would work a deal with him to pay for the services he wants and than if down the road he hooks you up with his ties and gets you more work you can than discount future work for him or even tell him you will refund part or all of his original payment. make him come good on his promise to hook you up. because once he has what he wants he isnt going to working as hard for you to get a break.
  6. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    A car shop buying your photos, and putting them on the web to promote the shop, would be a commercial use. As I mentioned above, commercial use has a different pricing model than retail use which would be selling the photos to the car owners. You can do that too, but it works differently.

    In that case the publisher of a photo (the car shop) may want to have a signed model release on file for anyone in a photo that is recognizable. The people in the photo are the ones who decide if they are recognizable otr not, not you or the car shop owner. A persons face isn't needed to determine recignizability. A scar, a tattoo, being the driver of a unique car, etc could all make a person recognizable.

    Commecial use is billed by the media and number of impressions. Use of prints in the car shop would be a point-of-sale usage and would be priced differently and in addition to using the same image on a web page (Facebook business page). Commercial photographers understand that geographical location has a bearing on pricing and so rely on pricing software like fotoQuote, fotoBiz, and the fotoKeyword Harvester

    At any rate, you are venturing into business issues, you need a written contract with the shop owner, and really should be seeking the advice of a qualified attorney and an accountant.

    Business people that have little or no business experience, usually get expensive business experience when they deal with experienced business people.

    From what you have mentioned, it sounds like the shop owner has you at a distinct business disadvantage. Be careful and good luck. :thumbup:
  7. James Taylor
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    James Taylor New Member

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    Rock on Ken, sounds like you've got some great opportunities to step up to doing paid professional work for a great community of people, soak up the fun and attention!

    There's no shame in doing work for free or for starting to charge now - it's your camera, your talent, you can play the game any way you want. If you've got people knocking on your door so to speak wanting to pay you for work, that's a great sign that it's time to step up, if you have the time and interest.

    I won't disagree with the depth of Keith's suggestions, but I'll offer a simple alternative: figure up your pricing based on how much you want to put in your pocket in trade for an hour of your time. There is no perfect price point, too many variables influence where the sweet spot lies, but you probably have a good idea of how much you'd like to take home from an hour of work. That might be $10, that might be $100 or $1,000 - balance what you want to earn versus what you realistically think folks will pay, of course. A happy medium isn't too hard to find. Just make sure the number puts a smile on your face.

    It sounds like your potential clients want an all-digital service, which keeps expenses/overhead minimal and simple. Whatever hourly 'rate' you come up with, keep in mind that eventually you'll have some expenses: your shutter will blow, you'll want to upgrade your kit, you'll probably need some help from a CPA or tax preparer for figuring up all this business income, you may want to do some advertising or pay a web designer to hook you up with a nice site. Figure that's going to come out of whatever hourly rate you earn, and increase your rate according to your ambitions and future expense expectations.

    You've been shooting for free, so money-wise, there's nowhere to go but up. Again, there's no shame in asking to be paid for your time and talent, any potential client who doesn't appreciate this fact isn't worth having as a client - let them take advantage of someone else's kindness.

    Be humble in your pricing - you can always raise it later as your reputation and talents grow. That said, get yourself paid - again, make sure at the end of the shoot, the month, the year, after all expenses, you still have that canary-eating grin on your face.

    Once you have an hourly rate in mind, just structure your shoots to try and hit this hourly rate, or better. Although I don't generally recommend packages to my fellow portrait photographers, I think your clientele would appreciate having some tiered options, especially ones that involve groups and entire clubs.

    Such as, on the low end, you might offer a one-hour, on location, one- to four-car shoot for $XXX, to include shooting individual images of each car, and some group photos. The drivers get to split the cost, and each walks away with one individual hi-res digital file and an agreed-upon single group photo file. You can then upsell other individual images from the shoot, other group shots, even prestige prints like 20x30 wall hangings. Always try to give your clients the reason and opportunity to spend more money with you.

    You'll have to think about the different ways individuals, groups, and clubs may want to invest in your photography. You could do individual prestige packages for the big spenders who love their cars, including hours of shooting time, multiple locations, images on CD and prints or groupings for display on the wall. You could do club-size bulk deals, even set up an annual photo event with them where every member gets a photo, and you set up an epic all-members group photo (think like a Team & Individual photographer here, volume work at lower prices but faster turnaround per subject), then get them to work the cost into their annual dues ($10 or $20 per member times a 50-member club is nothing to sneeze at for a few hours of shooting). You could have packages for smaller groups of friends, for cinematic Fast & Furious style shoots, and so on. You could have gift certificate promotions marketing to the parents or girlfriends or boyfriends of drivers, so on and so on.

    The end goal is to always at the least hit that hourly rate that makes you smile. Don't forget to include the time you spend servicing the client before and after the shoot, and the time you invest in your web site, blog, processing and posting, etc. I've gotten very efficient at this over the years, but even still, for a one-hour high school senior photo shoot for example, I budget four hours of total time invested in the shoot.

    Sounds like you have a few different opportunities to monetize your work - sales direct to drivers, leasing images to commercial entities, and advertising through your web site.

    If you have the mental and business dexterity to juggle all three balls, you can maximize your income from each - but you can also just focus on one target market (sales direct to drivers, for example), and use other monetization opportunities to bolster and promote that specialty.

    For example, a great relationship with the car shop owner you mentioned opens a lot of doors. Instead of milking him for "the standard commercial industry rate," you could barter and find other ways to build your exposure via his shop and contacts. Look for ways that you both benefit, let him keep his money in his pocket, and focus more on building a great relationship and getting your work in front of his clients and contacts. $50 for some files to print and hang in his shop, even $300 for six months of advertising on your site, that's peanuts - even just working part time selling direct to drivers, you should be able to make that much money in less than a day's worth of shooting. I'd say the better play here is to work with the shop owner on a mutually-beneficial trade that gives him great photos and exposure and gives you exposure and introductions to important people in the industry.

    Think more along the lines of sponsorship, cross promotion, "official photographer of..." status, joint marketing campaigns and events, invitations to industry events, big promotional prints hung in the shop with your business cards, coop contests, etc. A great relationship with a popular, connected vendor like this can be worth far, far more than a few hundred dollars over time.

    To make a short story long - Ready, Fire!, Aim. Set a price, do work, hustle, make money, measure your time versus your take versus your expenses, and adjust accordingly as you get a good feel for how all these parts work together to create your bottom line. Have some fun and make some money!

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