Trying to find reasonable pricing

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Nickjd, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. Nickjd

    Nickjd TPF Noob!

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    I've recently been doing more and more little photography jobs, and have had lots of problems trying to figure out reasonable rates for the work that I do. Comparing my work to "professional" photographers, my work is as good as and in many cases, much better quality. I have no idea what is normal pricing for small jobs. The most recent job was with the YMCA where I was supposed to take pictures of kids for posters on the walls. I was to print thirty 13x19 posters on professional photographic paper for them and I would be paid $400. I knew the director of that Y, so I thought it would just be nice to help them out for cheap. I had about 8 hours of work in it (not including all the commuting, I had to do 120 miles of city driving to get there and back 4 times). So, overall I was taking and selling 13x19 prints at a professional quality for only $13.33 a piece! That's such an incredible bargain I thought, to have a real photographer take pictures and print them for you.
    Now they wanted to use my photography in their brochures and stuff for free, they are expecting me to just give them the rights to the images. I know this is just the ymca, and I don't want to be a jerk, but how should I formulate pricing for small jobs like this?
    I feel like they think that doing photography stuff is cheap! For a student to spend nearly $3000 on equipment is no easy task, and to barely make a profit is a slap in the face.

    So what do you people think? I wanted to have the opinions from other photographers.
    Thanks!
    Nick
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Think of it in basic utility terms. Find out how many hours you are working for and put the minimum price per hour you are willing to work for on the job. Then also look at it in terms of satisfaction. If the job is crap don't except less than the minimum, if the job sounds like a fun afternoon more than it does work you may be a bit more flexible.

    I work for peanuts because I enjoy it. People are always telling me I should charge more. But back when I was doing web design (to make money) if someone wanted to pay me less than the hourly rate I found acceptable I would just tell them to go somewhere else. You get a new perspective on things when someone wants to pay an experienced web developer $18 / hour, but a biscuit factory is willing to pay you $25 / hour for unskilled labour.
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you do commercial work you probably will want to charge by a day rate plus expenses.

    Here is a great book on all of this..
    [ame]http://www.amazon.com/Best-Business-Practices-Photographers-Harrington/dp/1598633155[/ame]

    One of the better investments you will make if you intend to charge for your photography!

    mike
     
  4. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    What do pro photog's usually charge for all the rights to an image? Or an image for website/promotional use?

    My friend had me do a shoot for the DJ company he works for. I had a good time doing it and I know what I would be happy getting. But what would he pay if he went out to hire someone?
     
  5. Nickjd

    Nickjd TPF Noob!

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    You make a good point Garbz...
    I suppose I was making a profit of $20 an hour after expenses and for a photographer new in the professional world that's not bad. But I was just thinking of all those pictures I printed! One of my professors once charged me $25 for ONE 13x19 print... and he said "You'll NEVER find a photographer willing to take and print a picture for that cheap... not anywhere".
    I gave them 30 pictures of the same size and quality for $400.

    And I should get that book, I certainly need some guidance in finding more about proper business practices.

    But do any of you really think that is an acceptable transaction (for 30 large prints, 8 hours of work plus the rights to the images and 120 miles of commuting) in exchange for $400?
    Thanks everyone for the replies!
     
  6. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    Definitely seems on the cheap side to me. Large prints themselves are expensive, then you add in your time, effort and any model/assistant if you used one plus the gas and other expenses.
     
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    13.33 per print seems to be coming in cheap. Since we have no details it is hard to help. General rule of thumb is cost plus materials plus at least 15% over that.

    Now the question is; was the print usage discussed before shooting began? I am guessing that it was not. If this is the case you can charge what you feel is appropriate per shot. Generally between 60 and 300 dollars. Keep in mind that these photos are their identity. They are vital to promotion. And if they are anything like our Parks & Rec they will use those images for years. They do have a budget, so negotiate a fair price.

    Love & Bass
     
  8. Nickjd

    Nickjd TPF Noob!

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    That's a very wise response craig... yes the prints were discussed before hand as well as the price. We agreed on 30 prints and $400 assuming that I would just be there no more than a couple hours getting pics and that all they wanted was the prints. I ended up driving there four times and now they want the rights to them. I knew it was cheap, but I thought I would be helping out a friend and the helping the ymca would be a good cause.

    I figured that printing 13x19 photos on professional glossy photo paper cost me about $7.50 a piece, but that's just ink and paper.

    I have a hard time trying to figure out how much my time and expertise is worth. I was thinking too that a "real" photographer would charge about $60 a piece, and I'll tell them what you said to see if they will give me any extra for image rights. These prints are just using an inkjet, the Canon PixmaPro9000 with genuine canon "chromalife100" inks, so they might not last 20 years open air, but I imagine they should last a good 8-12 years before they fade into something that looks horrible.

    And I know that I really did a good job by the response that they gave me. The director was just shocked how good they were, and brought about 6 other people who worked there to see them. Everyone was basically like "Wow... that's just amazing... " etc...
     
  9. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Of course your time and expertise can only be answered by you. Some research may be needed.

    When I started I charged $60 per hour. Mostly copy work for galleries and on location studio/interior shots. The client retained all rights for publication or whatever. My expertise was at a minimum and I had a full time job so the work was just extra income. For me the idea was to start off slow and move up. Now my per hour rate is much higher. If it is an editorial shot I charge by page position and all that fun stuff.

    Not sure if that helps or not. Just do not be afraid to eat it and do not make any enemies. Negotiation is key.

    Luv And Bass
     
  10. Nickjd

    Nickjd TPF Noob!

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    Your advice is very helpful, I didn't know what base any of my wages on. And I think you are right, this is probably something where I should just "eat it" and not make enemies. They liked my work so much, they will probably hire me again for little jobs like that, and even said "Maybe we could put you on part time staff".
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Don't hesitate to use them as a reference!

    If they say really nice things about you then they will more than make up the difference! ;)
     
  12. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I am sure others have better advice then me. I say just throw out 60 dollars per hour. Most folks can afford that. As you gain experience etc things will become clearer.

    Love & Bass
     

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