What should My rates be?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by racefan24, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. racefan24
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    racefan24 New Member

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    Hey guys,
    I am starting to get photography job offers, but I don't have any rates. Here is a little bit of background information so maybe you can help me figure out how much my rates should be.

    I have been studying photography for 4 years, finishing up my Junior Year as a photography major at Columbia College Chicago. I have taken about 16 classes on photography which includes Film, Digital, and Studio classes. Also, I am starting my 3rd season as a freelance Auto racing photographer. I have shot many events for series that include NASCAR, NHRA, Monster Jam, and the World Of Outlaws.

    As for equipment, I use a canon Rebel XTI with just the kit lenses and a 50-250mm telephoto lens, all only f4 (I know I need better equipment).

    With that bit of information, how much should I charge???
  2. o hey tyler
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    o hey tyler Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't charge anything if you haven't had experience with portraiture. You should focus on building a portfolio first.
  3. robbie_vlad
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    robbie_vlad New Member

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    It depends on what you are shooting, whether you are responsible for printing, etc.
  4. Tulsa
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    Tulsa New Member

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    Your going to want a bigger portfolio than that, unless your clients will be Monster Truck promoters only. With that said, what kind of jobs are you being offered? If this is something you want to do professionally, when do you plan on upgrading to pro gear?
  5. gsgary
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    gsgary Well-Known Member

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    You are very limited with the lens you have
  6. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    In 4 years of study I would have hoped that the business of photography would have been covered.

    There are different pricing models for photography:
    • Commercial
    • Retail
    • Editorial
    Commercial and Editorial photography involve use licensing for various specific uses (advertising (print, TV), annual reports, web usage, etc), sizes, number of publications printed, geographical areas, time frame of the use license, etc.

    A creative fee is usually charged to cover the photographers time, talent, and the costs associated with each shoot (models/talent, weather days, catering, location scouts, equipment rentals, etc). A pre-shoot, line item estimate and a line item invoice payable within a 90 day period are pretty standard.

    Retail photography usually entails a sitting fee, a number of print/CD packages, and a range of specialty products from Photo framing to refrigerator magnets.

    How does all of that relate to the 'photography job offers' you have gotten?
  7. matfoster
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    matfoster New Member

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    decide how much an hour of your time is worth. establish all operational costs involved in a task. guestimate how much business you can expect over a period of time. divide the cost of your tools by that number. do the same for promotional budget. do the same for periodic replacement/upgrade of tools. there's your rate. if it seems unrealistically high, then simplify your product/service or expand your prospective customer-base to reduce the operational cost-per-unit.
  8. clbd39
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    clbd39 New Member

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    Er... I would definitely add to the portfolio and take away anything that is "snapshot" like... there are only a few that I would personally keep...
  9. AUS-10
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    AUS-10 New Member

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    Your pictures aren't THAT good. Not as good as I expected. I personally wouldn't charge anything for something like that. IJS.
  10. racefan24
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    racefan24 New Member

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    Listen people I only asked a simple question. I KNOW I don't have a good enough portfolio to be considered a professional photographer, but come on don't bash me (constructive criticism is different than what you all are doing). You attack me not realizing that I am not a professional photographer, I am not looking to make a living with charging for photo's right now. I don't have the equipment. Obviously none of you respect auto racing photography. Please research auto racing photography before completely bashing my work. I am glad I posted this because I was considering just maybe to go into a more fine art way with photography in the future, but I can see that most photographers in that industry are rude and rather bash their fellow photographers who are NEW than help them.
    Tulsa: My goal is to be in the Auto racing field so naturally my portfolio will be filled with racing photos. I am upgrading to a canon 50d and the 70-200 f2.8 lens by the end of the year. My portfolio is more about showcasing the skills I may possess than amazing work. I bought my first camera not even two years ago so I don't have much work as of yet.

    AUS-10. Thats a really rude comment. If your gonna say something is bad have the balls to say WHY. Not just O your work sucks.

    In closing again this forum is for people who need help, I was hoping to get help not be ridiculed. If I asked for my work to be criticized then I would have asked. I asked for help and other than complex answers ( I do appreciate those). To the rest of you who like to say if something isn't good enough for you without giving a reason and offering how you can better it (constructive criticism), leave us newbies alone!!!
  11. Bitter Jeweler
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    Bitter Jeweler Well-Known Member

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    ...Gentlemen, start your engines.

    :popcorn:
  12. ks0385
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    ks0385 New Member

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    Hehe... Cuz he shoots Auto Racing.

    :lmao:
  13. gsgary
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    gsgary Well-Known Member

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    Ok then i have looked at your auto racing shots and you have a hell of a long way to go before you even think about charging probably another 2 years they all look very static
  14. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    You asked a question that is not simple and is impossible to answer with any authority. And, you did so in a public online forum. You have no control over the responses and need to pick and choose which replies are worth while to you.

    A certain amount of business knowledge is necesary to accurately set your pricing, which is why most structured photography programs include business classes that cover how to manage the financial aspects of running a business of any kind.

    But, you want some sort of an answer so....Charge $35.00 per hour. I haven't looked at your photos.
  15. GeneralBenson
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    GeneralBenson New Member

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    Apparently the consensus seems to be that you shouldn't be charging for the quality of work that you are putting out. I don't know where everyone is looking to see it, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. If you work isn't good enough, you shouldn't charge for it, and if you shouldn't charge for it, then you shouldn't be 'working'. You should be focusing on skill development with personal projects and doing things for friends and family only. Don't take the popular road of just working for free until you're good enough to charge, because in the long and short run, you do yourself, you 'clients' and the industry a large disservice.

    here's the other thing. If you've been studying and doing photography for 3 years and are still putting out images that are at or below average, then you need to take a serious look at the program you're in of you chosen career path. I'm not saying that to be mean, but I honestly think that is the truth. I would say the same thing to my closest friend. I think one of the biggest downfalls with our current Master's degree based educational system and 'you can be all you can be and anything you want' American mentality, is that it makes it to easy for people to end up never being anything more than mediocre in a field they never should have been involved in, while never finding what they actually are good at.

    Like I said, grain of salt.

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