Question about pricing

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Naicidrac, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. Naicidrac

    Naicidrac TPF Noob!

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    Hello all,
    Well I have been getting noticed in my local area and I have had a few different people want to hire me to take their photos. I know their are so many variables with this, but I wanted to get a general idea about how much to charge people. I do a lot of pp with photoshop in my images. I would say about 3 hours per photo goes into my images. These people like my work so I need to know how to charge them. I normally spend about one hour on location taking the photos and then go hom and work on them. I don't have a lab and I dont want to give the customer the hi-rez images so I will also need to know how to charge them for prints if I get them done at a local lab. Thanks for all of the help. I am thinking abotu $100-$150 for doing the work and then whatever for the prints.
     
  2. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

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    yeah, I would guess that's a reasonably decent charge. Really I would just say let the market somewhat decide your prices. If you aren't getting anyone maybe you're charging too much, if you're getting absolutely everyone maybe you aren't charging enough.
     
  3. Naicidrac

    Naicidrac TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, that is what I thought. Any thoughts on charging for prints. SHould I just charge what they charge me at the lab? I don't want to charge extra, but I will have to drive to the lab and all that. I also don't want to give the customer the hi-rez image.
     
  4. JodieO

    JodieO TPF Noob!

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    NO WAY!

    First, you need to research your market. My 8x10s are $75 each which I could technically go up to $95 if I didn't have the concern of the economy over my head. My session fee is $250 and I don't travel to them, they travel to me. Again, if it wasn't for this economy stuff, I would be raising that too. My orders generally average around $2,000 or so for portraits (with the occasional under $1,000 order and the occasional $5,000 order).

    To come up with the figures I did, I first looked around at competitors and the industry in general. I surely didn't want to attract "bottom feeders" and be too cheap. If this puts anything in perspective for you, Walmart charges around $50 for an 8x10 a la carte (without any coupons lolol). Why should you charge less than that?

    Next, I figured out what I wanted to make in a year, added to that all the expenses for my business (studio rent, gas, equipment, software, office supplies, prints, albums, insurance, etc. etc.), how many jobs I wanted to take per week, and what I would prefer to make per session. Then, I divided that up and figured out exactly what I wanted to charge to get what I wanted and needed to make.

    No one will be able to tell you exactly what you should charge - you need to do the leg work and research to figure it out... and definitely DEFINITELY don't charge what the lab charges YOU for your prints. That is crazy. You won't be making a dime and maybe you think you will still be makign $150 for your "session fee" but that's gone too after you deduct your gasoline, a portion of your equipment, and then divide that by how long you spend at the session and how long you spend on post processing, you are now looking at being in the NEGATIVE for income.
     
  5. Naicidrac

    Naicidrac TPF Noob!

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    Thanx for the info. That is some great advice. My idea is to start off small at the fee I showed above and you answered my questino totally about prints. I just was not for sure how to go about doing that. I am going to get a little foot in the market at that lower rate and see what happens. If I get too much business then I will raise by prices and visa versa. Thanks so much for the info. That is exactly what I was looking for.
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    "3 hours per photo!? holy ****..."

    ^^^ that was literally my reaction.

    I know there's a lot of variance on how people feel about amount of time spent in PP vs. capturing what you want right off the camera, but three hours is an absolutely staggering amount. I obviously have no idea what you're doing with that 3h of time, but that's going to eat into your profit margins in a big way. Time is money.
     
  7. Naicidrac

    Naicidrac TPF Noob!

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    Yeah that is about right, three hours or so per photo. Most of that three hours is leg work like selections, and cleaning out strobes. I have got my selection workflow down pretty well now though. Now I am 100% self taught as most of us are. I am basically learning as much as I am doing. I have been working pretty hard with photoshop for about 2 years now and I am still learning a ton. As far as photography goes I am certainly not a purist and work with photoshop and pp a lot. Basically I am a total Ameatur and I won a local photography contest. I won a cash prize of about $750.00 cash which was nice and now I am getting a lot of buzz locally for Christmas cards and things like that. Right now I just want to get on the scene since photography is a hobby to me. Then I will start thinking about making more money when the time is right. Now I just want to get my name out in the town. Here are a few of my photos. I am working on some pretty sweet photos now, but they are not finished yet. I will be posting those soon. Thanks for all of the feedback guys.

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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  8. JodieO

    JodieO TPF Noob!

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    One thing to think about when starting at the smaller rates (on prints) is if you build your clientele with low prices, when you raise them, you will be starting all over again as your old clientele - well, most of them will get mad and leave you.

    Trust me, been there done that... and it wasn't fun. I had many clients get very mad at me when I raised. If I could have done it all over again, I would have started myself out pricing my prints high but my session fee would be where I would give the break.
     
  9. roadkill

    roadkill TPF Noob!

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    So you seel the prints, not just give them the disk?
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If your clients want this kind of thing, then they should be paying for it... you really shouldn't be including the kind of PP work you are doing as "part of the package", unless your package is pretty pricey.

    I would suggest you have three totally different services in play here...

    1. Photography
    2. Graphic Design
    3. Printing

    Now you could most certainly bundle these together and sell it as one package, but I think (were I you) that I would distinguish my services as somehow special in this way. "I'm not just some average photographer, I give you stunning imagery with unique impact that only I can provide!" or some such.

    What you are calling "PP" work goes way above and beyond the usual sharpen this, color adjust that, dodge and burn this thing over here... It's graphic design work. Consider that the kind of work you are doing in "PP" many people would charge $75-150 for (and up!), depending on their skill and the complexity of what is being done. (There are some other graphic designers on here who can give more information on this, but the point remains the same...) It's expensive!

    So I would expect to pay a usual sitting fee of $100-200 or so, plus 3 hours of GD work at $150 an hour, plus $75 for the print, plus a bit of a "I'm unique!" charge... bringing us to, say... $700-900.

    Does that sound crazy? Dunno. I sure as hell wouldn't pay someone nearly $1000 to take a picture, but I wouldn't be surprised one bit if someone told me it was going to cost $1000 to build a movie poster.
     
  11. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ^^^ by the way, I would also factor in some of the "Well, I'm learning" and maybe cut down how many hours you are charging for, so maybe lop off $100.
     
  12. JodieO

    JodieO TPF Noob!

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    All depends on what is agreed. If I am doing portrait work, they have to pay $3,000 for the disk.

    If I am doing commercial work, it's different. I will price on a case by case basis. My half day rate is usually $1,500 and full day is $3,000 and includes the images unless it is a bigger company... some commercial work will be priced out separately date rate + use (depends on what type of use - circulation, etc.)
     

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