Fees?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ababysean, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    So, I am just starting out and I need more people and subjects to practice on, but I also need better gear and equipment if I want to grow....

    I am shooting for free and I have my first "client" on Thursday evening, an engagement shoot.

    I explained I would take the pictures, edit them, and send files that would be able to share in email and on networking websites, such as facebook/myspace, ect. The files will be too small for printing. If they would like a printable image, pricing starts at 10 dollars per sheet. (define a sheet as 1 8*10, 2 5*7, or 4 4*6)

    I would also like to put a package pricing plan together, something to encourage them to buy more and save!

    example:

    Package 1 25 dollars
    2 8*10's and 2 5*7

    you get the idea....

    I am wondering what a good pricing plan is? I don't mind doing the shoots for free, but if the images are good enough they want them printed, I think I should be compensated for my time. This way, if none of the shots come out, nothing is lost, and I can take the experience and try to grow from why it did not work.
     
  2. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    The best model I've found.. is to work out what I want to charge in the long run and go from there. Find other photographers offering similar services in your area, and get a feel for their pricing. Then continue that research further and find what photographers regionally charge. That is, if your long term goal is to continue running a buisiness.

    Once you have a buisiness model and goal, lay out exactly what you want to make per shoot, and what you'd want your prices to be.

    What I do from there, is work on a case by case basis. My prices are available to view, but that is to help me with the "what do I charge" hassle. Then I can offer discounts for each situation. If it's a shoot for my sister in law's new baby for example, I can just tell her flat out that I'm going to waive her session fee and give her x% discount on all her prints/files.

    I do this for several reasons, but mainly because it keeps me from being the "free" or "cheap" photographer. People still see that they are getting the servies of somebody who takes her buisiness seriously and puts her best effort forward...but they also feel like they're getting that service with a great discount. This is better, in my opinion, than just playing the "well..how cheap can I make my prices" game, because it turns instead, to a "here is what I offer" and "here is what I can do for you..." model.

    Does that make sense? I hope it helps a little..
     
  3. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    Oh, sorry I forgot to add one thing-

    I still do occasional shoots "for free." Mostly for friends and family, if I have a new technique, light, or idea I want to test out with them in an informal setting. They understand that the shoot is informal, and I don't do the hassle of "your pictures will be ready within a week...you can get together for a proofing consultation etc..." I get exposure and practice, (tagging people on facebook is amazing advertizing..) and I can go out shooting without pressure once in a while..

    You can still shoot "for free" if you have a firm buisiness model put together and don't include the pressures you would for a paying client.
     
  4. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    That is what I want to do. I am FAR from professional, I have a D3000....

    but

    I have to practice on real people that I don't know. So I put an ad on craigslist and spelled out that I will give you all images in a file format that can be shared electronically. Prints are additional....

    I just don't know what additional is yet.
     
  5. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    Time to browse some other photographers =)

    The first question you need to answer for yourself.. Is what do you want to make per shoot? If you're not charging a session fee, then all of your profit is going to come from prints and digital files.

    I found that most portrait/lifestyle photographers aim anywhere from 400.00 to 3,000.00. The range and level of work is soooo vast.

    In my opinion, a good goal is to aim for 400 in sales. What do you want people to buy the most of? Small scrapbook prints? Gallery wrapped fine art canvas? What do you want to offer?

    Don't be afraid to set your prices higher. Many photographers will charge nearly 100.00 for a single 8x10. I started much lower, but if I'm ever stormed with people wanting pictures that I can't find the time for, the prices may need to go up.

    You're not selling "prints" per say. The printing lab sells the prints. You're selling your photography- your artistic vision. The prints are just the medium.

    Do you feel that your artistic vision is worth 5.00, $50.00 for a full session of your time and talent? Or are your goals higher?

    Set a goal after researching others in your area, and then adjust your craigslist add to read that you're offering a discount on regular prices while in the "portfolio building" stage of your new buisiness.

    That's what I would do.. but there are lots of choices. Either way, good luck! =)
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Why are prints different than digital files?

    Print labs don't sell photos. They sell paper and ink. Customers have to provide the photo. They either provide a photo they took, or a photo some other photographer made.

    Giving away your images on a CD, is still giving away your images, and here is where it gets bad. Those people you give the images away to, will go to the local print place.
    They will want an 8x10 so it will fit the frame they have at home, but part of the photo is getting cut off because the aspect ratios are different (your D3000 shots are 8x12 aspect ratio) or they are trying to print to big and it's pixelating, and they will blame you.

    What are you going to do if/when they try to get prints made off the disc and the lab won't let them have the prints until they can produce a use license/print release.

    Don't give away your photos. I wouldn't even recommend giving away your time. Like Aayria said, price for real, but DISCOUNT.

    How many other businesses do you know of, that start by giving away their product?

    Restaurants? Nope!
    Clothing stores? Nope!
    Gas stations? Nope!
    Florests? Nope!
    Bakers? Nope!
     
  7. JenLavazza

    JenLavazza TPF Noob!

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    Check out my pricing on my webpage. It's a nice happy medium. It's cheap enough that I have become VERY busy (5 sessions this week alone! All through word of mouth!) but not so cheap that I feel like I'm working for free. Plus, I never took money up front. If they turn out good, they pay session fee plus order....if not, we're out only the time we spent.

    I do plan on changing my pricing at the beginning of the year for two reasons. One, because I'm really getting busier than I want to be....but also I feel I am finally at the level where I get more good photos than bad. I find myself editing for HOURS only to have a client on a tight budget, so no matter how good they are they only order what they can afford. So here is what I plan on doing -

    I'm thinking 125.00 session fee - covers sitting fee, and 75.00 towards order. Due in cash at time of session. I wouldn't have done this before because I would have felt too much pressure of making sure I got good shots...where as now I am pretty confident. Then I'm guaranteed the 125.00 (a little less after paying for prints if that's what they end up ordering...but could be more if their order is more than the 75.00) making it more worth my time editing so many. I also plan on increasing my digital image and print costs by a couple dollars.

    Hope that helps give you some ideas! Sometimes it's just through trial and error!
     
  8. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    The files I am going to send via email will not be more then 150kb, too small to print.

    That is why it is different. They can put them on facebook, myspace, or whatever, or email them, but the small file can not be printed.
     
  9. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    How many other businesses do you know of, that start by giving away their product?

    Actually, yes many business give away their product to spread the word. Ever been to Sam's club? They have free samples on every isle....
    A local gym gives you a few weeks free, before joining.
    A small cupcake business had an open house, where they had mini samples of their cupcakes, free.
    Walmart gives free cookies at the bakery.....

    So yes, many business start by giving away their product, hopefully this will help spread the word.
     
  10. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    I don't think anybody is objecting to the idea of free samples, and that's not what KmH meant.

    When a buisiness gives a "free sample" they already have established prices in place... The customer understands that while they're getting a sample for "free" that it's really a discounted rate of their normal pricing.
     
  11. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    This is what I have so far

    Session Fees
    Family complimentary with photo release H.S. Seniors complimentary with photo release Children complimentary with photo release

    Gift Portraits (one pose)
    3*5 (6) $10.00 4*6 (4) 10 5*7 (2) 10 8*10 (1) 10 wallets (8) 10

    Print Packages
    Standard- 1-8*10, 3-5*7, & 8 wallets

    20 Family- 4- 8*10, 8- 5*7, & 24 wallets

    60 Event- 3- 8*10, 4- 5*7, 4- 4*6, 8- wallets 35
     
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Seems you had the answers you needed all along. My mistake, but I'm glad I could help you focus your thinking. I promise, I won't make the same mistake again. :thumbup:
     

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