Beginning my photography!


TPF Noob!
Jan 17, 2012
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Ow much does one need to charge first starting out into the world of photography! I have alot of people wanting me to do shoots with them but I have no clue what to charge....up until this point I have just enjoyed photography as a hobby but now I have people asking me how much I charge...??? Any opinions or knowledge would be appreciated! Thx -CJ
You could always do free mini-sessions to start building your portfolio.

Nobody can give a definitive answer on what to charge because there are so many variables.
Here are a few helpful threads with regards to pricing.

Bitter Jewler gave this great advice:

"You really should be making, at a minimum, $100 an hour. Your sitting fee and print sales need to cover every minute of time you spend with a customer. If you are shooting on location, you need to cover gas and drive time, and set up time. You need to cover the time spent with a customer pre shoot. You need to cover processing time. You need to cover the time spent going over images after the shoot. You don't seem to be including that in your $25 sitting fee, and few bucks for prints. At some point, even though your customersvare giving you money, younarevactually paying them.

You need to calculate every expense you incur. Add up rent, insurance, utilities, gas, vehicle wear and tear, equipment acquisition, supplies, marketing, insurance, your desired salary, PROFIT, etc, and divide that by the average amount your customer spends, which will give you the number of customers you need to have per month to cover it. Also calculate the average time spent with the customer times the number of customers you need, to get an idea of how much time you will be working. Is it a pretty picture?

As far as customers that don't purchase? Well that's a loss. You have to consider that into your expenses as well. There's nothing you can do about it, other than have people prepay for package deals. Cancelations? Non refundable deposits help. The first thing you need to do is raise your prices.

Quality product also matters, and obviously works into the equation for success. How does your product set you apart from the competition? This is the biggest problem I see with people starting businesses while THEY ARE STILL LEARNING THE BASICS of their craft. They are starting at the bottom of the barrel, and have a very long road ahead of them.

Traditionally, before you start your own business, you work for others and learn the craft. You get paid to learn. You learn your craft, and you can learn how businesses run, and all the roses, and all the thorns that come with it. You learn how problems are solved. You learn what works. You learn what you might do differently. THEN you are ready to start a business.

You need to have enough business acumen to recognize problems and react immediately! My business has been open two years next week. After the first exciting year, I realized I had a problem. I wasnt paying myself enough. While I was blinded by paying myself more than my last job, I was making much less per hour and working much more. I immediately started raising my prices. Within a year, I have doubled my hourly labor fee, and upped my markup on parts and supplies. I have continued to post record month, after record month, and haven't lost a single customer. Well except for two that I refuse to do work for. They were time sucks that werent worth the effort. Keep in mind my business is custom design and manufacture of jewelry, and repairs. I started my business in the middle of the recession. Precious metal prices have skyrocketed.

I sell a luxury item that is in all manner, practically useless. Photography is a luxury, but at least it saves important moments in time. Jewelry sparkles, and is essentially a status item.

By putting my time in working for others, and learning the business, just by watching, and listening, and honing my craft, I launched my business at the top. Had I tried opening my own business right out of school, quite frankly, I would have failed. If not, I would have struggled for years. Quality wise, I could have started this 10 years ago, but I found the experience at my last job of eight years invaluable to teach me what NOT to do

.Just something to think about. :sexywink: "
I agree with the free-mini sessions. I did free sessions for all my friends that wanted them. Yes it is exhausting editing all those images, but it's worth it to hand them over and see how satisfied they are with your work.
Just don't get too carried away with pricing. When I see someone charging $300 for a photo session and they haven't even been doing it long or well....I just think, GREEDY.
Are you a good enough photographer to be doing it for money?

We have had a succession of new posters with no experience believe that being able to press the button is enough skill to take money for shooting pictures.

If you are good, then charge whatever you think your time is worth + expenses + everything mentioned above.
If you aren't confident that you can get good pictures no matter the situation or the subject, rethink the entire issue.
I second the Traveler
I second gsgary :D
Where do your skills fall? That is the question! If your selective color avatar is an indicator, I have a feeling you have a bit to learn before you are really ready.

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