First Paid Portrait Session

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by onedayillknowbetter, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. onedayillknowbetter

    onedayillknowbetter TPF Noob!

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    The amount of paid work I've been getting is increasing every day, enough that I can say I am supporting myself with my photography now. I feel accomplished, but still a little uneasy because this is all new to me. I had my first paid portrait session the first of June, and got the images to the client's and my liking. We had over 500 to choose from, and she chose to keep 26, and use 4 for print. The only thing is, I'm not sure the price I charged her is something that I am interested in charging again because it was a lot more work than I expected. We spent two hours at one location one day, and then two hours at another location another day, got over 500 images, I put the proofs on my server the next day for both of the sessions, and then Photoshopped four images of her choosing. (technically, it was 5 because she wanted one cropped after I touched it up.) Total she paid $200.
    What do you think of these images she chose and I retouched? She was pretty happy with them, and I was somewhat satisfied (I think there are better ones in the ones she didn't choose.) But, based on the quality of the photos, and everything that was included in her session, do you think this is a fair price, or would it be fair to charge more? What does a photographer base his/her portrait prices on?


    Thanks for all your constructive comments!
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  2. twocolor

    twocolor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here's my two cents worth. On a shoot like this one, I limit my time to 2 hours maximum. I give them unlimited clothing change, and unlimited locations - knowing that each time I pack up gear and change locations, the clock is ticking, each time they change clothes, the clock is ticking. I charge an hourly rate of $50 if they keep me after the 2 hours. I also charge $2 a mile after the initial 30 miles. The standard price on this shoot is $175. They would get tops of 150 pictures. In the case you described, where it was 2 hours on 2 seperate days, I would have charged them as 2 portrait sessions. And I would have narrowed the field from 500 pics down to around 200. Go back through your 500 and rate them on a scale of 1-5. I only show my clients my 4s and 5s. Put your best face forward. Let them think that the only shots you take are GREAT ones.

    I love the pics, though I would like to see what she looks like with a smile!

    Great job, and good luck!
     
  3. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Does she get the digital files of the 4 you touched up for her as part of the $200 price or does she need to pay more for the end product?

    I don't think $200 is that bad of a price if it was really more of a session fee (although going out for 2 days is more than I would have done for the price) especially since you only had to touch up 4 shots (my pp is what takes the most time...) But, I charge $50 per digital file AFTER at least a $250 print purchase to make it worth my time. And, that's cheap for the digital files if you ask me.

    If you included the digital files in this price, then yes, you should charge more next time!
     
  4. GeorgiaOwl

    GeorgiaOwl TPF Noob!

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    I don't know about the pricing, but I think the photos are outstanding.
     
  5. onedayillknowbetter

    onedayillknowbetter TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I definitely go through and select ONLY the ones that are in focus, or basically up to my standard, and then she can choose from those. She was looking for a very specific facial expression (at the request of her label) though, so there were still a lot. Her label requested that she look "less innocent" in her new photos, so that's what we were going for.
    Thanks for your comment!
     
  6. onedayillknowbetter

    onedayillknowbetter TPF Noob!

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    Originally, the plan was to do everything in one day, two different locations; but the weather got a little chilly for a rooftop sunset. I didn't really have a problem doing it the next day because I didn't want to be rushed and we spent more time at the first location than planned and we lost some good light. Actually, total she got 30 images. But I only took 4 into Photoshop to fix blemishes and stuff. The other 26 I just optimized in Lightroom.
    I would really like to make $250 from prints alone, but I feel as though that might deter clients, seeing as how almost everything is done in digital these days. These were press photos, so the record label needed digital files. I probably should charge more for these anyway. Do I get royalties every time it's printed, or what?
    I was thinking of charging $20 per photo for retouching, but I feel like those pictures above look like they cost more than $20 each. I want to have a good price attached to good work, so maybe $50?
     
  7. waileong

    waileong TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't pay $200, I wouldn't charge $200.

    As a photographer, I have limited hours in a day. $200 for 4 hours' work is $50 per hour or less when you factor in your time to get to the location and back.
     
  8. julie32

    julie32 TPF Noob!

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    Oneday--I think your shots are cool and edgy. The very first time I had a paid shoot a few years ago, I did the exact same thing you did. I charged low, took about 300 shots, labored behind a computer for hours picking the best and editing some. Driving to and from the location etc..
    THEN, after a few more times you shoot for people you realize just how much work is actually involved (may not always FEEL like work because we love it)but still, it's a lot. In the beginning too, I didn't feel "worth" more than about $200 because I was learning. I still am learning (and so much from this forum). At any rate, (no pun intended) you'll start charging higher when you feel confident enough to. Congrats on being paid for your artistic ability.
     
  9. onedayillknowbetter

    onedayillknowbetter TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, I'm very happy to say that I support myself with my photography now. At 22, it makes me feel good because everyone criticized me for ceasing my formal education and beginning my self-education. After all the time that I spent in front of the computer, making them look like she didn't have any facial blemishes or anything, and then tweaking them to her liking, I feel like I should charge more next time. I spent a lot of time on these photos, and if the end result wasn't something that I didn't think could be printed in a magazine, I would charge the same thing again. I make $100 in a night for 2 -4 hours of nightlife photography at parties or clubs. $200 for like 20 hours total--at least? That's practically slave labor, my friend. :D
     
  10. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I believe your serverly under charging yourself for your work. Since the pictures are going to be used by her label, I presume for a cd or something, then you should be charging by how many times the picture is going to be used, and have it in writing. Then later if they want to print more, they have to pay you more. If they want to use it on thier website, they have to pay you for that as well. If they want to use it for advertising, again, they got to pay you.

    http://photographersindex.com/stockprice.htm is an online calculator that you can use to assist you in figuring out a fair price.

    And besides the royalty fee, you charge for your time for both taking the pictures, and for post processing.

    Plus for regular portraits, I would recommend charging a fair amount for a cd with full size pictures, or not offer that as an option at all. It forces the clients to buy prints. Why would anyone pay $200 for a huge canvas print if they can buy the negative cd for $50 or $100 and have it made themselves? Plus you can get reorders down the road.

    just my 2 cents.

    edit > forgot to mention that if you give people your digital negatives, then you loose control over the print quality, so if they print it on thier home printer, and because its color is not calibrated to your image, your pictures could turn out awful, and when otheres see it, they think thats your image quality. Another reason not to give digital negatives.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  11. Puscas

    Puscas TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Gerry David. But I can also see how you have to get used to asking more money for your work. It doesn't come naturally to everyone. But you have to do it.
    Just so you know: I got paid 100 euro's per picture for several photo's recently which weren't nearly as good as yours (and I'm no professional). So, don't feel akward about it; you've put in the time and talent, you deserve more than $200.


    and Gerry, thanks for the link!




    pascal
     
  12. onedayillknowbetter

    onedayillknowbetter TPF Noob!

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    This is exactly the type of response that I was hoping for: descriptive, reasonable, and you gave me a link. I've had issues with this forum recently and non-productive responses, and this is not one of them, so I really am very appreciative.
    Yeah, I really, really, am opposed to giving out a CD, but yeah, I need to learn, which is what's happening. I know that they can make copies, and that they might not be that great, and that I could make more money off a print then I could a digital file--in the long run, especially.
    Like I said, though, this was my first portrait session, which just happened to be for someone who needed photos for her label. I had an idea I should charge more, but having never really sat down and said, "I'm gonna make some portraits today!" especially in the places I chose, so I couldn't guarantee that it would turn out in such a way that she would like it. Now that I have more experience from her (and gaining more by working with models TFCD), I am confident I could charge a bit more and the client would be satisfied. As far as getting everything in writing, boy, am I learning quickly how important it is to have a contract as a freelancer. I'm having a lawyer help me with it, so hopefully it should all be good.

    I really appreciate your advice and input, as well as that link! Thanks!
     

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