How to account for a multi-family portrait session?

jpnatale

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Hi everybody! I have a situation I'd like some advice on.

I recently booked a wedding with a girl, took her deposit, then she had the wedding cancelled. I told her she could use her deposit towards services for me for the next 1.5 years.

She recently emailed me and asked if she could set up an outdoor shoot for her and her family, as her sister will be moving away soon. It will be 3 families, with 9 people total. She wants both whole group shots and individual family shots.

I have only recently started taking on small weddings, and haven't done any charged portrait work yet, so I haven't started thinking about prices (I did her engagement session for free to get some practice, and have done a few similar things). I had considered doing something along the lines of a flat per-hour fee for shoots like this before, so I was initially just going to do that, like $75/hour or something. But the fact that it's going to be 9 people/3 groups makes me think something else might be in order.

My real question: How do you handle larger and split groups like this? Is it customary to still treat it like a single session, and just charge for the appropriate amount of time? Or should there be separate "sitting fees" or something. Just looking to see what other people do for larger sessions, not so much about how much to charge (I know, it's dependent on 19 different things).

Thanks for any help, and I'll answer any questions with information I haven't given yet if needed!
 

DanielLewis76

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I am only a new amateur so my answer has nothing to do with photography and is totally business related.

If there are 3 families then it will take 3 x the time an therefore 3 x the money. That is unless they want group shots in which case if it takes less time its costs them less but they use you less.

The main issue for me would be what they got for their money. Is it just the photo files straight from camera on a disk, prints? Editing? Time for taking and then editing the files should be priced separately (even though you may charge just the one price). Otherwise you may end up in a scenario where they keep asking you to edit/re-edit images over and over until they are fully happy which you never priced for.
 
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jpnatale

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Thanks Daniel

I'm not too concerned with the editing portion, I will be doing light post processing just for corrections, and providing the (good) digital images. I prefer to be hands off as far as prints, so long as they only have high quality files and edits.

As for the extra time, I'm just not sure if I should do something like the $/hr, where 2 hours is 2 hours, or some type of flat fee for the session, regardless of time, taking into account 3 families. It doesn't seem correct that 1 family for 1 hour should be the same price as 3 families for 1 hour. I understand that in the second scenario, they don't all get the 1 hour each, but combined, but they likely don't want TONS of photos, just a few fun shots.
 

runnah

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How much was her deposit?
 

ronlane

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My reaction would be to offer her 2 hours now with all the families and then a hour session later of just her and call it good. But I'd put it in writing so that she doesn't think she gets more sessions over the next 1.5 years.
 

tirediron

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I would bill this as a straight 'per-hour' job and estimate at least three hours (for a single location, no clothing changes). Any time you have multiple groups, things get complicated, and invariably the plan changes and Aunt Tilly will want pictures with the cousins, and so forth, none of which was planned for in the original discussion. Since the client has already given you $200, then simply tell them that will be applied against the total for this (I would guess $4-500).
 

ronlane

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I would bill this as a straight 'per-hour' job and estimate at least three hours (for a single location, no clothing changes). Any time you have multiple groups, things get complicated, and invariably the plan changes and Aunt Tilly will want pictures with the cousins, and so forth, none of which was planned for in the original discussion. Since the client has already given you $200, then simply tell them that will be applied against the total for this (I would guess $4-500).

Or you could do that. (Now I know why I was going to have you price my stuff out. :) )
 
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jpnatale

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Thanks for the responses everyone. I'll probably just do something like the $200 can cover the first hour then like $50/hour after that, just in case it goes longer. I don't envision it being a long shoot at all.
 

Richichi

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you just started out doing small weddings and haven't done any real portrait work and your going to charge them $200 for the first hour?? Hmmm personally based on your comments only I would let the $200 cover the full shoot (2-3 hrs.) I would be more concerned with finding a way not to give them your intellectual property for them to do as they please is my personal opinion. Good Luck !!
 
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jpnatale

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rich, that's a very good point. I just didn't want to have to worry about what would happen if they didn't "use" all the $200. your solution sounds better considering everything (situation, my experience, etc). Thanks!
 

jamesbjenkins

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I just didn't want to have to worry about what would happen if they didn't "use" all the $200.

It's all about managing expectations. If you've never shot portraits for a paid client before, $200 for the shoot is a great price for you. Even if it takes 4 hrs, you got more than you could have.
 
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jpnatale

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$200 for the shoot is a great price for you. Even if it takes 4 hrs, you got more than you could have.

Absolutely. The weird part about the $200 was that originally it was deposit for a wedding, so I was also looking for a way to not worry about how to reach that much. If I had just been approached to shoot this separately, you're right, I would have started out much lower.

Thanks to everyone for the responses! I'll likely just be doing whatever is necessary for shoot and considering it paid in full (so to speak), no matter the time. Thanks!
 

tirediron

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...I'll likely just be doing whatever is necessary for shoot and considering it paid in full (so to speak), no matter the time. Thanks!
Not exactly setting yourself up for business success with that sort of model....
 
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jpnatale

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Haha, no, definitely not. This is all more like toe-dipping in the $$ side anyway. Not meant to be sustainable/income making. Just cover expenses and some spare cash. Never (almost never?) gonna make 6 figures shooting
 

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