How much would you pay for this photo?

SensePhoto

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Not trying to beat a dead price horse here but I'm not in the photography for business, just always been a hobby, but now I get the "can i buy that photo from you? And how much would you charge?" question and i don't have the slightest idea. Please help me in the right direction guys.

Some of my work gets featured every other week by a local city facebook page, accuweather or other social media site. Eventually i get ppl that interested in getting the full res photo to print and hang on the wall, computer wallpaper etc. Since i don't go out and take these pics to actually sell them I've been giving them out to ppl for free and my friends and family starting to say that since ive spent thousands in equipment its time to start getting some money back.

I created a smug mug page and now just need to figure out pricing for the following:

-Single photo download 640x480
-Single photo download Hi-Res up tp 4mpix
-Single photo download original

Looking at the following pics that been featured if you can just throw some numbers at me overall i would greatly appreciate it. This way ill have some sort of reference point. Thank you so much guys.​

1. Storm coming by Sense Photo, on Flickr

2.
Lake Erie by Sense Photo, on Flickr

3.
"30 seconds of rest" by Sense Photo, on Flickr

4.
Marine Angel by Sense Photo, on Flickr

5.
Lake Erie by Sense Photo, on Flickr

6.
Erie, PA by Sense Photo, on Flickr

7.
Picture-2.jpg by Sense Photo, on Flickr

8.
Picture-4.jpg by Sense Photo, on Flickr

9.
Waiting by Sense Photo, on Flickr

10.
Church by Sense Photo, on Flickr

11.
Picture-6.jpg by Sense Photo, on Flickr

12. Viper by Sense Photo, on Flickr
 

JenR

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Your work is beautiful. There is absolutely a market for these. There is no good answer to "How much would you pay for these?". It all depends on who your target market is and what they want to use them for. Random people that will use them as desktop wallpaper will not pay as much as a commercial firm that wants to use them in an ad, kwim? Besides all of that, before you accept a dime; you really should set up a legit business w/ tax id, biz license, etc. If you take ANY money, the IRS considers you in business and they want their share. If they catch up with you, can get ugly and expensive in a hurry; even if you are only bringing in small amounts.
 

cgipson1

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Look up CODB! That is what you base your prices on... not what some forum tells you!

Taxes and IRS mentioned above? X1000
 

jamesbjenkins

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The question isn't what will I pay for them.

The question is what do you NEED to sell them for, and how much beyond that amount will you be happy with?

Before you even think about selling prints or photography services, you dang well better get your ducks in a row on the business side. If you don't have a state sales tax ID, a business license and insurance (liability and gear) set up, you are inviting disaster.

And BTW, your images are very well done. I wouldn't have guessed you were an amateur at all. My favorites are 1,3,4,10,11,12.
 

nycphotography

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Your work is beautiful. There is absolutely a market for these. There is no good answer to "How much would you pay for these?". It all depends on who your target market is and what they want to use them for. Random people that will use them as desktop wallpaper will not pay as much as a commercial firm that wants to use them in an ad, kwim? Besides all of that, before you accept a dime; you really should set up a legit business w/ tax id, biz license, etc. If you take ANY money, the IRS considers you in business and they want their share. If they catch up with you, can get ugly and expensive in a hurry; even if you are only bringing in small amounts.

You already have a tax id (called a social security number) and you (most likely) don't need a business license to sell stuff on line. All you're doing by setting all that stuff up is increase overhead, both in dollars, and in time to deal with any extra filings.

If you sell more than $400 worth you'll likely get a 1099 from smugmug, against which you can deduct actual expenses such as mileage and equipment purchases, and then you will have to pay taxes on the (most likely ZERO) amount of income you realize after expenses. The odds of creating a tax problem are remote... one would have to get very lucky and sell lots and lots of prints.
 

nycphotography

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Look up CODB! That is what you base your prices on... not what some forum tells you!

Taxes and IRS mentioned above? X1000

Other than any time spent posting things for sale online... his cost of doing business zero. HUH?!? What am I, daft?

No... actually, he does this as a hobby and for his own personal gratification. He has already fully realized his return on investment. His cost of doing THIS business is literally the incremental time (and money) he spends marketing his work on line.

Not to pick on you, because CODB is important when supporting your (and your employees) livelihoods with a business.

But I do get sick of cookie cutter responses that completely fail to take into account the specific circumstances. He didn't say "hey, I want to quit my job and do this for a living." He said "I think I can make some money on the side with my hobby... how would I price it." Completely different scenarios.
 

amolitor

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If you try to price these things based on your Cost of Doing Business, or some other notion of what you need to make to cover expenses, you'll need to have an approximate idea of how many you'll be selling, and you don't. You don't write a business plan based on estimates of expenses alone.

Your options are to charge based on what similar images sell for, which will narrow the range down to $0 - $1000 or so, which isn't all that helpful. You could restrict yourself to what similar images go for on smugmug, which will probably be somewhat more helpful, but requires a bunch of work and -- I predict -- will not narrow the range all THAT much.

Since it's a hobby, charge what's going to make you feel right about it. What number is gonna make you feel cheated? What number is gonna make you feel like you're ripping people off? You should be able to write down SOME numbers for those. Then pick one about halfway between 'em.
 

Tailgunner

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Look up CODB! That is what you base your prices on... not what some forum tells you!

Taxes and IRS mentioned above? X1000

Other than any time spent posting things for sale online... his cost of doing business zero. HUH?!? What am I, daft?

No... actually, he does this as a hobby and for his own personal gratification. He has already fully realized his return on investment. His cost of doing THIS business is literally the incremental time (and money) he spends marketing his work on line.

Not to pick on you, because CODB is important when supporting your (and your employees) livelihoods with a business.

But I do get sick of cookie cutter responses that completely fail to take into account the specific circumstances. He didn't say "hey, I want to quit my job and do this for a living." He said "I think I can make some money on the side with my hobby... how would I price it." Completely different scenarios.

Absolutely agree, he could sell them for $1 a print and do well since it's just a hobby...although I would suggest more. As for how much, I really couldn't tell you but since that is the going answer, try $2 post cards, $20 small prints, $50 medium prints, and $100 large prints...$300 extra large. Then set up a website and a boh at the next craft show. That or Istockphoto.com.

Best of luck!
 

KmH

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[h=2]How much would you pay for this photo?[/h]
$0.00

I would not be interested in paying for any of them, because I have no connection or interest to any of the images.

Just putting images online with a price is not an effective way to sell photos. Salesmanship, promotion, and advertising are still needed to generate sales.

It is estimated that 500,000,000 (1/2 a billion) new photos are uploaded to the Internet every day.
How do you get a significant # of people to see your photos? How many other people have photos for sale on a SmugMug account? 300,000? 800,000?
Don't forget all the images for sale on all the other photo sharing /sales websites, and photographer owned web sites.
 

tirediron

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You already have a tax id (called a social security number) and you (most likely) don't need a business license to sell stuff on line. All you're doing by setting all that stuff up is increase overhead, both in dollars, and in time to deal with any extra filings.

If you sell more than $400 worth you'll likely get a 1099 from smugmug, against which you can deduct actual expenses such as mileage and equipment purchases, and then you will have to pay taxes on the (most likely ZERO) amount of income you realize after expenses. The odds of creating a tax problem are remote... one would have to get very lucky and sell lots and lots of prints.
I can't speak for US law, but I would be very surprised if your SSN was a valid tax ID for anything other than filing personal income tax. While I agree that in this scenario, a CODB calculation is rather pointless, there are some factors that need to be considered. The first is that ANY time you sell something, assume the tax man is watching. Assume as well that the local authority in charge of issuing business licenses is watching. There's a thread on here from six months or a year back about a "hobbyist-professional" who's failure to fill out the paperwork caught up with her and the municipality was turning the scews for a LOT of money; a lot more than she made I suspect.

DO contact your local municipal/county/whatever office and find out if you need a business license even if your business is solely on-line (I'll bet you do).

DO spend the $100 or so for a 30-45 minute consulation with a local tax accountant and get a crash course in what you should do as far as state and federal taxes.

DO keep records of everything you do, even if it's only $200/year!

DON'T listen to people who tell you 'it won't happen to you'!
 

PropilotBW

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Sorry, I'm with the $zero (maybe $1.00) also. If I want photos, I take them myself. If I don't have a scene like posted, well...oh well, I guess that won't be hanging in my house. Art is expressive and oftentimes the emotion is disconnected from those whom are not the artist.
 

nycphotography

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I can't speak for US law, but I would be very surprised if your SSN was a valid tax ID for anything other than filing personal income tax. While I agree that in this scenario, a CODB calculation is rather pointless, there are some factors that need to be considered. The first is that ANY time you sell something, assume the tax man is watching. Assume as well that the local authority in charge of issuing business licenses is watching. There's a thread on here from six months or a year back about a "hobbyist-professional" who's failure to fill out the paperwork caught up with her and the municipality was turning the scews for a LOT of money; a lot more than she made I suspect.

DO contact your local municipal/county/whatever office and find out if you need a business license even if your business is solely on-line (I'll bet you do).

DO spend the $100 or so for a 30-45 minute consulation with a local tax accountant and get a crash course in what you should do as far as state and federal taxes.

DO keep records of everything you do, even if it's only $200/year!

DON'T listen to people who tell you 'it won't happen to you'!

Selling on smugmug (the actual scenario mentioned in the OP), you do not need a business license, because you are not operating a public facing business... SMUGMUG IS. Smugmug is selling to the public. You are being paid a royalty. Your royalty is "non employe compensation" and is reported to the IRS on a 1099. All you need to collect your royalty income in America is a SSN.

While I can't speak the local laws in every backwater hicktown in America, I've been around quite a bit and I've never found a place that required you to get a business license to collect a royalty. Never, not once.

Cash the (small) checks, report it on your 1040. Figure out what you do or don't need to do for your state and local tax returns. It's not rocket science... don't over complicate it.

But do keep records of all mileage (written records are required in order to deduct it), all expenses, and any income received. Ask an accountant if you feel you need to. I personally wouldn't pay actual cash to answer a question about how to handle hypothetical earnings. You can choose to spend your FIRST $100 in sales talking to an accountant (and it will be deductible reducing both your profit and your tax burden back to zero). But I certainly wouldn't spend it before making any money at all.

And if you make more than $1000 in a year, then you got lucky, and what I said is no longer relevant... do what tirediron says. Just do it with money you've made in the business and not with money you have to make by working for the man!
 

cgipson1

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Look up CODB! That is what you base your prices on... not what some forum tells you!

Taxes and IRS mentioned above? X1000

Other than any time spent posting things for sale online... his cost of doing business zero. HUH?!? What am I, daft?

No... actually, he does this as a hobby and for his own personal gratification. He has already fully realized his return on investment. His cost of doing THIS business is literally the incremental time (and money) he spends marketing his work on line.

Not to pick on you, because CODB is important when supporting your (and your employees) livelihoods with a business.

But I do get sick of cookie cutter responses that completely fail to take into account the specific circumstances. He didn't say "hey, I want to quit my job and do this for a living." He said "I think I can make some money on the side with my hobby... how would I price it." Completely different scenarios.

Funny.. but the IRS does not let me do deductions and write-offs on my HOBBIES! I tried.. really! And I figured $20 k of Pro gear entitled me to that much more so than someone selling off of smugmug!

And once you start making money from it.. it is no longer a hobby! It is a business! And yes.. you can get audited! (that is from my ACCOUNTANT!)
 

nycphotography

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Define making money. Do you mean sales aka revenue? Or do you mean profit?

Nothing like loosely defined, overloaded terms to muddy up a discussion.

If your expenses exceed your income, and you only write off your expenses that are equal to your revenue (ie net profit = zero) and you don't write off your excess expenses as a business loss, then there is nothing for their audit to find. Let them audit to their little hearts content.

And you still don't need a business license or an accountant or liability insurance or gear insurance or anything else to sell a couple prints on smugmug. All you need is a SSN.
 

cgipson1

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Define making money. Do you mean sales aka revenue? Or do you mean profit?

Nothing like loosely defined, overloaded terms to muddy up a discussion.

If your expenses exceed your income, and you only write off your expenses that are equal to your revenue (ie net profit = zero) and you don't write off your excess expenses as a business loss, then there is nothing for their audit to find. Let them audit to their little hearts content.

And you still don't need a business license or an accountant or liability insurance or gear insurance or anything else to sell a couple prints on smugmug. All you need is a SSN.

True... as long as you don't exceed a certain limit.. then you had better. I think that limit is $400 or so (not an accountant, so could be wrong)... and it isn't that hard to bust that if you have decent prints... and know how to market them.
 

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