What to charge

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by sgbphotography, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. sgbphotography

    sgbphotography TPF Noob!

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    Hi,
    I'm just getting started in the portrait business. I've been looking at what other photographers charge for their services for comparision, and it seems like there are two camps out there: 1) Charge a sitting fee and keep the price of prints low 2) Don't charge a sitting fee, but charge outlandish prices for prints.

    I'd love to hear the opinions from other photographers on each of these approaches.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    You are right, there are generally two schools of thought on this.

    There is no right or wrong way to do it...so it's not something that can be easily answered for you. You will probably have to try some things and see what works best for you.

    To add another variable (and make it more convoluted ;) ) let's throw in the issue of selling the digital images. These days, a lot of clients want the digital images...and a lot of photographers offer them. There are pros & cons to this (as with any issue) so it should be carefully considered.
    On one hand, you can sell them, then not have to worry about reprint orders to make money. But you have to sell them for enough that you make enough money on them in the first place.
    If you let the clients order/make prints themselves, you loose control over the final product. They might have them printed at Wal-mart and get bad prints...then blame you. If you sell the prints yourself, you can make sure that they are of good quality.

    The same issue still applies...do you charge a lot for the sitting fee and less for the files/prints....or do you lower the sitting fee and charge a lot for the files/prints.

    Personally, I have changed my structure (or at least changed my thinking) a few times. For a while, I liked selling the sitting fee and files (on CD) for one price. I included a set of 4x6 prints, so that they knew what good prints look like. This was good because once the product was delivered...I didn't have to go back and forth with them, over and over again....waiting for prints orders etc.
    On the down side, you might loose contact with your customers...and they might not be so quick to call you up again.

    What I'm planning to do, is set up an on-line ordering system, where I can have clients order prints on-line. This will mean more work for me, fill those orders, but I think I can make more money this way...and it also allows other people (family members etc) to order prints from the shoot. I will probably still offer the CD of image files...but I will up the price of it. This might also allow me to lower my sitting fee (but not too much) which might entice a few more customers. If I were more in-demand...I'd keep the sitting fee higher and rise it as often as I could get away with.

    To take the on-line ordering a step further, there are some great sites that will handle everything for you. You just upload the files after the shoot...and clients can order from that site. Their orders are filled and shipped...and you just sit back and wait for the money to arrive. Of course, these sites do get paid...it's usually a monthly or yearly fee plus a percentage of the profits.
     
  3. sgbphotography

    sgbphotography TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Mike!
     
  4. Lacey Anne

    Lacey Anne TPF Noob!

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    This is what I do. :) It also allows family members to order exactly what they want. And grandma's like photos.:sexywink:
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    Lacey,
    What program/site do you use for ordering?

    I've looked into quite a few but unfortunately, most are based out of the US and either don't ship to Canada or charge too much, which would turn off the clients.
     
  6. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    Who do you use in the US? I have been thinking of this type of "upgrade" as well.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    I've heard plenty of good things about Collages.net. I really liked that they had a pay per event fee, as well as different monthly fees and a yearly fee. They have pretty good looking albums as well.

    I didn't ask them directly, but someone told me that they wouldn't bother to ship to Canada...and even if they did, the shipping would be prohibitive.

    I looked into a few others, even some that are based in Canada....but based on what I'm hearing from people who have tried some different things, I'm leaning toward Photocart. It's an application that you load onto your own website and people can order right from there.

    As for upgrades...there are many, many different products and sites. Asukabook, Fin a.o., Graphi, Tap...
     
  8. amandakifer

    amandakifer TPF Noob!

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    Try pictage.com. We have used them for several years now and love them!
     
  9. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    Mike is right on the money on pricing. You really need to try and find what works best for you and the clients you will be marketing to. You want to be sure you get paid for your worth but also match the area you are living. Just where I live alone there is a network with 3 photographers who we each use a dif pricing structure. We each attract different clientèle and its all based on where we are marketing ourselves and what is our worth.

    I started off with a high session fee and it didn't work for me. I now have a tiered price system and package plans which my clients seem to love. The tiered system still allows me to be compensated depending on the number of people and I don't feel like i need to limit my time since I like to allow 2 hours for my sessions.

    On the other hand package deals have been great for larger groups. Clients feel like they are getting a lot for their money through a package deal (session fee and x # of prints are included in one price). Plus prints are cheap in comparison to what i charge so it costs a little to offer a lot of prints.

    the most important thing is not to undersell yourself. I have photographers and friends tell me that over and over and since i started taking that advice I feel I am getting my worth.

    good luck
     
  10. MX962

    MX962 TPF Noob!

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    http://photoreflect.com/ heres one Mike you may have a look any way
     
  11. JodieO

    JodieO TPF Noob!

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    I use PhotoCart (picturespro.com)

    I pay one price, have it set up on my website, and then the orders roll in.... I fill them through my lab. No one is taking a cut from me like I have seen places do like photoreflect and all those places...

    It works great. My average sales are $2,000+. It works for me ;)
     
  12. Big Mike

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

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    Thanks Jodie...Photocart does seem to be the product of choice. I think I'll be getting it, sooner or later.
     

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