Help on Pricing!

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Elli, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. Elli

    Elli TPF Noob!

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    I have JUST started taking my photography to a business level instead of a hobby level. I was approached by a woman at my son's preschool and she would like me to photograph her pottery, jewlery, and other art that she creates for advertising purposes, her website, etc.

    I am only planning on doing a nominal fee for her as this will be great experience for me and something to add to a "jobs list" to get me started. She's just starting her business, so I don't want to charge her much, as she could give me great word of mouth referrals and kind of a "you scratch my back, I scratch yours" - plus she has kids so maybe future work down the line doing kid portraits for her.

    Anyways, long story short, how do I go about setting up a basic fee structure? Do I charge for shoot time? Or just say a certain amount for # of pictures?

    What did some of you do when you first started out? I'd like to know for this particular job and as a starting point for future business.

    Do you suggest a basic "release form" from her to use her artwork as portfolio material?

    Thank you for any and all advice you can send my way!
     
  2. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How about a little horse-trading? Maybe do her add and web pics in exchange for a small display space in her shop for a predetermined amount of time. Use her art talent to design your logo and/or flyer. Starting a small business is always hard, bartering with other small shop owners is a benefit to you both as long as you agree in advance to terms.
     
  3. astrostu

    astrostu Guest

    I would suggest a few things:

    (1) Contract. Doesn't have to be full of legal-ese, it can just simply state what you're doing and what the use by her will be.

    (2) Payment. Since it sounds like this will be a good thing for both of you, I would suggest charging her cost. That is, assuming prints are being made, charge her what it costs you to make those prints. If most of it is just digital (web stuff) and you'll be doing a fair amount of processing, then that's harder to price in a you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours way. I would try to do what John suggested with having business cards in her shop by the photos, a link on the website with something like "Photographs by ___" that would link to your e-mail or website ... that sort of thing.

    I've never done this sort of thing (I would love to, though), so I can't offer on-the-job experience tips, but that's how I would handle it. When I sold my first photographs (and my only ones so far), I was advised to charge 2-3x cost, so I charged about 2.5x what it cost to print them and mail them. I ended up making $19 on a sale of $45 (3 photos, one fairly large), and if I were to do it again in the future, I would charge at least 3x what it cost to print them due to the huge amount of time I put into the sale.
     
  4. guitarmy

    guitarmy TPF Noob!

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    Hi Elli,

    I'm no photobusiness guru or anything, but everything I've read about taking photography to the business level usually revolves around a "per-job" sort of fee. Partially because, as you get better, presumably each shoot will take you less and less time (thus why you shouldn't charge by the hour, as hypothetically that means you'll be giving better product and service for less money as you progress as a photographer).

    If I were you, I'd figure out what your cost of doing business is, and try to apply it to each job. For this particular job, since you are both 'starting-out', perhaps sit down with her and ask what she has budgeted for the shoot. Then work together to come to a price that is suitable for both of you.

    Personally, I wouldn't just charge cost - cost plus a smaller creative fee, perhaps?
     
  5. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    The first job is very hard. Consider how the photography will go down. Post some details. I do studio/location work and feel that per hour plus x amount over materials is the way to go. The barter system is not a bad idea, but make sure everyone is clear on who gets what. Before the work starts!

    My first couple of freelance jobs were total disasters. That was in 4x5 film times, so things are slightly different today. Less treacherous. At that time I was charging 60 dollars per hour plus 15% over film and processing costs. That has since changed dramatically.

    The key is communication from quote to finished shots. Make sure the photos are approved before the end of the shoot. That will prevent any grief when the client sees the results and the bill.

    Studio/Location is a fascinating field. I bet you will enjoy it.

    Love & Bass
     
  6. Elli

    Elli TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the great suggestions and advice everyone :thumbup:. Since this is my first try and I need the practice more than anything, I'm only going to charge her for cost of prints if she wants them. I suggested the ideas of putting the photos of her product nicely framed in her store with my business card (which I still have to draw up) and links from her site to mine and she happily agreed. I appreciate all the great ideas!
     
  7. astrostu

    astrostu Guest

    Woo-hoo! Advice I gave was taken! :mrgreen: Good luck!
     
  8. Elli

    Elli TPF Noob!

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    LOL, a rare occurrence? :lol:
     
  9. astrostu

    astrostu Guest

    Nah, it's just the first time I offered pricing advice ... since over the past 2 months I've asked for it on several different occasions.
     

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