QuestionSSS to portrait photographers

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by jemmy, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

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    Hi again! Another few questions - i know you must be so surprised! Was just wondering
    1...how many shots you guys take in a portrait session?
    2...how many shots you cut these down to to show the client?
    3...how much post-processing time you allow say per picture, or per session of photographs?
    4...do you base your pricing on an hourly rate based on the time you spend from wo to go?

    Basically i am going over my original prices (more or less based on how much it costs my to have them developed) and looking at my time...
    As an example...
    *a shoot takes me 1hour - i take about 180 photos
    *then i look through them and try to cut back as many as i can (this was a prob with a recent session because i loved too many and only cut some)
    ..which would take maybe half an hour?
    *then i convert from RAW to Tiff which takes probably half an hour again?
    *then i may go to PhotoShop and adjust levels/curves as necessary which may take another hour or more?
    *then i go through all the 'finals' with the client which may take about an hour again?? That is provided they are 'good' decision-makers??


    So is it wise to add all this time together (4hrs) to work out my sitting fee price? I was hoping to offer a cheap sitting fee of about $50.00 Aus but after going through all this, i dont know if it will work to my advantage after all. (*My thinking was, if i offered a cheap sitting fee, it would encourage more 'clients' then so long as the photos were great they would recommend me to others and build clientelle that way - also with reasonably cheap prints!?) I'm sure you guys work quicker than this but this i think is an honest idea of how long i think i would take at this stage.

    Thanks in advance for answering my questions ~ i am the first to admit i ask toooooooooo many but I really appreciate your expertise! Thanks
    :heart: Jemma
     
  2. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    The # of shots I take really depends on the client (how cranky babies are or how much time the parent's have can play a part) but generally I take around 200-300 photos. A lot of that is just shooting continuously because with little ones, you just always have to be clicking to get the great one.
    I have always advertised that I choose the 24 best from the whole session to do touch up work on and get presentable.
    My post processing time has increased since I've been on this site and learned how to do it better. Obviously my pictures look a hell of a lot better now, but it does take me more time. Probably 2-3 hours for post processing (24 pics is a lot!)
    My sessions last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half on average. But I advertise that they can last as long as needed.
    I charge $100 for a session. Most parents don't scoff at it because they understand that they are receiving 24 good images (on average maybe about 2-4 of them will be great) This includes 24 4x6" reprints. I also travel to them if they want or to pretty much any place they want to go.
    Then, my reprint prices are also really low so it hasn't been too hard to get parents to sign up for a session once they see my work. They don't mind the $100 session fee.
    I don't go over proofs with clients. I send proofs by mail with a letter that sometimes mentions which ones are my favorites but not always. Seems like people are just way too busy to be meeting up all the time to go over stuff like that. I guess I'm just not interested in helping them select which ones they want to have printed. They should be able to make that sort of decision on their own in my opinion.
    So, let's see, on average, each session has been taking about 5 hours so and it costs me about $10 to print and mail the proofs. So I'm making about $18 an hour. I can live with that right now as I build up my client base, but lately I have been considering lowering the amount of images I present to a client. Maybe I'll go down to 20 or 15 images and see if that helps cut down on my time.

    I've never been a big fan of small sitting fees. I've looked on craigslist.org in my area at some of the other children's photographers and I've seen them offering $60 and sometimes even $15 sitting fees with 10-15 prints. But, then I look at the quality of their work and I can see why they are offering such low sitting fees. They obviously aren't spending much time with the post processing.

    Don't sell yourself short just to get clients. Your business will start off slowly, but people will realize that QUALITY takes time and it needs to be compensated.

    Good luck:)
    -April
     
  3. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

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    wow!! thanks for the great reply april... i REALLY appreciate it!! Am spending the morning tomorrow finalizing my prices and stuff!!
    ps: i take it you are speaking in us dollars?!! xx?
     
  4. Alison

    Alison Swiss Army Friend Supporting Member

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    1...how many shots you guys take in a portrait session? Depends on the number of people in the session. I would say on average about 150-200 photos.

    2...how many shots you cut these down to to show the client? They typically see 50-75 poses.

    3...how much post-processing time you allow say per picture, or per session of photographs? That all depends. I don't do a lot of PS work, I shoot in RAW, adjust the exposure a bit if I need to, adjust the contrast and then crop and convert some to b/w. I would say overall I spend between 2-4 hours on portraits. Weddings are a lot longer.

    4...do you base your pricing on an hourly rate based on the time you spend from wo to go? I have package rates for portraits. I figured out my cost for the number of prints and determined what kind of profit I wanted and went from there. So for example, you get 12 units of pictures (I unit being 8X10, 2 5X7 or 3 4X6) for $200 and that includes my time to process. I need to adjust my pricing though, it's been at that range for almost 3 years.
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I find that all of these things can be different depending on the client and the job. Yesterday morning I took about 230 photos of a family using a DSLR. I got some posed portraits of the family together and in smaller groups, and then I chased the kids around the park as they played. I'll narrow this down to about 12 to 16 posed portraits, and 30 or 40 of the more documentary playground photos.

    Today I did an engagement portrait session with a couple, we only shot about 60 photos with the DSLR, and did 8 more with BW 4x5. I'll narrow this down to about 24 from digital, and 3 or 4 from film.

    I estimate 2 hours of post-processing for every hour of shooting for digital or film. It doesn't always take me that long though. I spend a lot of time with some images, and barely any with others. It just depends on what I'm trying to do.
     

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