New guy...portrait questions? How to..etc

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by davidquillin, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. davidquillin

    davidquillin TPF Noob!

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    All,
    New guy here. I've looked through this forum and have bits and pieces to some of my questions...just looking for someone to put it all together for me. For on location portraits:

    1. Do you charge a session fee? Say $100.00 and then provide 12 prints (4x6 ?) and a CD with the same 12 prints so that they may order more on their own if they wish?

    2. Does anyone do senior portaits this way?

    3. I've seen a post that someone used to gather business ...."free 8x10" Anyone have experience with this? How did you get it started?

    My equipment as of now:
    Nikon D80
    50mm 1.4

    Can I succeed/starting out with this basic set up?

    Thanks to anyone who can help! This site is great!
    Dave
     
  2. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    What you charge depends on the area in which you live. Check out the local photographers and see the going rate. I only charge a session fee, and then my clients can pick out the individual items they desire. They seem to like it that way, instead of packages which usually contain something you don't want. I don't freely give out CDs. A CD with my processed final images costs about $200. This keeps people from printing my work on their own.

    I don't. Again, see what the market is offering in your area.

    I just finished my limited time offer of a free session with free 8x10 (to gather more for my portfolio and advertising). It was a HUGE success and each session produced a minimum of $50-100 of additional print orders. :) Then, when I gave them the link to their photos, there was a coupon on the sheet for another free 8x10 with their next PAID session.

    You'll need some other items. Even if you plan on shooting only outdoors, you'll need at least a simple reflector to fill in dark areas. Where will you be shooting?

    Marian
     
  3. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    I offer both for now. Some folks would rather pay a session fee and just by the prints they want while others like the idea of getting a deal/savings from ordering a package. In my packages I have tried to offer an added incentive and a reason for clients to come back for more than one session
    I don't offer senior packages.

    i started by doing this and it has been not only a great way to add more images to my portfolio but it has also returned in more prints. So far it has been the best advertising I have done. I have offered this to several local groups I'm a member and have offered referral cards on top of that which will give my client giving the referral free prints for every paid referral session.

    I also would make sure you have your model release forms ready to go. Sometimes something as simple as this is over looked so I wanted to though that out there just in case.

    Best of luck to you :)
     
  4. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Hi David,
    I started out charging between $80-100 for a session which included 24 4x6" printed proofs that they got to keep. I only edited the best 24 of each session. And I didn't have packages and I sold a cd with their 24 touched up images for only $10 if they ordered reprints and I sold it for $25.00 if they didn't order.
    That being said, if I could go back and do it again, I would probably keep the session fee about the same, but would not sell myself short on the reprints and cd. Especially the cd.
    I recently upped my pricing. I've decided that for between $250.00 to $350.00 (newborn and weekend sessions are more) a client can still get their session & the 24 printed proofs to keep. But, now I also have their proofs online so they can share with their friends and family who can order on their own if they like. This fee also includes a $150.00 print credit (I've raised my prices on all my print sizes as well as added collages and Canvas Wall Art. I am no longer willing to part with the digital negatives on these sessions for less than $250.00 Clients can apply their print credit to the cd and then pay an extra $100.00 to get it if they like.

    Be careful about staying at a low price for too long. I feel like I did, and now it may turn off some of my customers that I've had for a couple of years now. I would have also made it more clear that the cheap price I was at was just a starting point to build up my portfolio and get some real experience in.

    Good luck!
     
  5. davidquillin

    davidquillin TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the comments thus far;however, my ignorance is really about to shine. I guess if you were going to post online then you could take orders that way or like you said when you started you charged a flat session fee, provided prints and sold the cd for an additional charge. Is that right? I guess you could provide them with 4x5's and let them decide and take the order and charge for each print they wanted? ($10 for 4x6, $15 for a 5x7, or $20 for an 8x10?) As far as equipment, do most use a flash outdoors or simply shoot with natural light? I know you all are thinking if this guy has to ask all these questions, he's not ready. You are absolutely right...I'm not thinking about anything in the near future. I'm practicing and trying to put together a game plan first. Again...thanks to all who take time to respond!:hail:
     
  6. jols

    jols TPF Noob!

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    i shoot in natural light only.

    i pm'd you my prices did you get them.

    i am really cheap compared to my fellow togs [particulary on this forum]

    i think some people charge huge amounts of money but if people are willing to pay i dont blame them.

    why dont you work out how much it is too develop and how long a session will last and how much you will except for the time taken, including post processing and running around.


    i suggest do free portraits at first to build up your portfolio then go from there
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have a 'sitting fee' and then I offer the option to purchase prints (& other products) or they can purchase the CD, which includes the right for them to reproduce the images (make or order their own prints).

    Personally, I like it when they buy the CD because then I don't have to wait for print orders or even deal with them anymore...just hand over the CD and be done with it.

    On the other hand, forcing them to continue their communication with you (for ordering prints etc) is probably a sound business decision.

    One lesson I learned from an instructor I had...was to be very careful about have a low price. This was primarily about weddings but it can apply here as well. It may not be as easy as you think, to build up a client base with a low price...and then raise your prices when you think you are worth it. I think it's much better to practice until you are good enough...then charge a good rate. It might be a bit harder to start out but worth it, in the long run.

    Also, if you value your time and expertise highly...other people will as well. If you don't put a high value on your time...your clients won't either and you will have people standing you up and/or taking advantage. Not to mention that with a higher price, you can avoid bargain hunters (who are hard or impossible to please).

    When I shoot people outdoors, I almost always use flash...but I like to keep it balanced with the ambient light, so it doesn't look like a flashed shot (but no dark shadows either). For shooting indoors, I have portable studio lights.
     
  8. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Big Mike on these two points. Not all of the bargain hunters are hard to please, but you'll certainly come across a few of them that will come in thinking they deserve the best when they are paying the least. It will only frustrate you! And those few crappy bargain hunters unfortunately give the rest of them (the ones who know they are paying less and don't get the world for it) a bad name.
     

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