Now that everyone thinks the're a photog with an iphone, I need advice... on pricing


TPF Noob!
Jun 25, 2007
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New York City
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Good Morning from NYC,

If someone wants photography of their family but cant afford my prices (which are not exhorbitant) I ask them how much they would like to pay and then I decide if I can do it. Most of the time I will.
Anyway, I really need some of your expert advice on pricing. I did a shoot with a family last week, I was running a sale and the sitting fee was $89.99. Regardless of your opinion of that, if a client wants to purchase a CD with all of the images that I've done a basic edit on (fly away hairs, weird shadow etc) about 50-75 images, my price is $225. If they want individual photos professional printed and or framed I do that as well, price is then contingent on size. Naturally I'd like to make as much money as I can for my work, so I want them to buy individual photos. But now that everyone has a little photo printer or goes to kodak or they feel they can buy the disc and then upload and print.
I have told them that the quality of those photo houses are not the quality of my printer here in ny if they want exceptional prints on archival paper etc..

How do you combat this? Should I increase my CD cost considerably? Just want to know any ideas you guys have out there, what you do....

thank you.
Please only kind responses, don't need judgment just assistance.
Well, you are asking for only kind responses, so that may be limiting. Please read my response and know that I am replying to give you assistance, as you requested.

Before anything else, you NEED to figure out what your CODB and COGS is, and price that way. Pulling numbers out of the air is just bad business. How many shoots do you want to do a month? a year? What are your income requirments? What are your expenses? Figure our your business and then price accordingly.

To increase your sales
- eductate your clients on why they need professional prints
- show samples of what you offer
- show less images
- spend more time shooting and less time editing (why are you getting rid of weird shadows? change the shot in camera, not on the computer)

Also, to improve your business and sales, dont worry about "everyone [who] thinks they're a photog with an iphone." Worry about yourself and your business model. Someone with an iphone can run a more profitable and successful business than most new photographers if they know their BUSINESS. Focus on yours. Not theirs.
I personally feel like assistance without judgement is only giving you about 10% of what you need...... but I won't say anything else!

Don't you want to improve your photography?
You should price your goods and services based on whatever your business plan says they should be priced at.
Thanks for all of you who responded. What I mean was I don't need nastiness as I've read on here before. Constructive criticism is fine. Anyway, I do really need help with pricing things out, especially my time. I've searched to see what others locally charge and that helps with ideas. Granted I dont want to "just pick numbers out of the air" but that's what it feels like I'm doing. This is a side gig for me, as I have a 9-5 job during the week so I just shoot on the weekends when asked...which lately has been every weekend. Flattered, I just need to figure out the business aspect of it. All I really want to do and feel comfortable doing is being behind the camera, the business aspect makes me nervous. It's hard to figure out what to charge for your "talent." I don't have much overhead, I dont shoot in a studio. I dont buy film anymore, just the prints really.
So, if someone asked you to upload the images you took to shutterfly so they could share them with their family in croatia and so they could order prints in croatia as well as here. WHAT would you do or say??

Thanks in advance,
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Well, You are in NYC, so market based you are VERY under priced ( Markets do matter depending on products)

You have to concider what it is you are selling when you sell a digital file ( You seems surpised that people would print you digital file you give them)

When you sell them the digital file, think it this way. If you had a plastic Doll and you sold someone a plastic doll it would be one price. If you sold that person the Mol for the plastic doll and they could make unlimited plastic dolls, Wouldn't that mold cost much more tha the doll that comes out of it. In the first place it takes much more time and effort to make that mold than what it does to pour in the plastic. So just from that standpout it is worth more than the doll and then the unlimited nature of it gives it even more value.

If you sold the doll for $9.95, the mold is easily worth many times that.

So bring that back to your digital file, You've given them the "mold" if you charge $15 of a 5 x 7. The digital is worth much more than that. But of course as with an commodity there is a market price that people won't exceed. But your digital files shoudl be more than prnts. The other way you can concider is, If you only sold them prints, what would be the maxium package value you would get from your client on prints?. THAT is about where your digital file (Disc) should be priced.

You can't get too crazy though because the fact is, People only print so many prints. They will have a few good wall size prints and smaller prints for all the Aunt and Uncles and Grandmas. So you can't go too crazy because the truth is people won't print 12- 16 x 20's

You can also use this to your advantage if you would rather sell them prints. People want the CD because they think they will save a lot of money, But a right priced digital file may persuade them to use your services for prints because overall they will get a better product and in the end may not spend as much as buying the digital file and then having to go througj the added expense and tROUBLE of getting the prints done themselves.

You could also tie the Disc to so Much in Prints sales, You get te disc or can buy the disc as at reduced price. If you make the money you need for that client, after that you don't care what they actually have IF you make what you need. You find that out by taking COGS + CODB + EXpected Profit / projected numbers of clients. If you don't know what that number is you can not price correctly
easy, dont offer the disk. Limit the photos to a set number regardless if digital or printed.
It shouldn't be.
Yeah, It woudl be nice not to offer digital files, but the truth of the matter is, How people use photograpghs are very different than they did, 20, 10, even 5 years ago. Digtal Frames, Social Media, Blogs, Their phone I Pads/Tablets . Some people never print their photos any longer nor have desire.

We can use the music industry as an example. The records companies had NO desire to sell digital downloads ZERO. They woudl have been much happier still selling hard CD's. But the internet and ipods changed all that and the customers demanded it. If you are a record company now and you said, I don't care I am only selling HADRD CD's, You're out of business and they stufck to that for as long as they could. Until a NON-music company showed them how it could be done and done profitably ( Because you could sell at near Tangible product price and cut production, warehouseing and transportation costs) Anyone able to name that Company?

Anyway, we may not like it...I LOVE PRINTS, I Love my work printed HUGE...but if I don't have customers that want THAT...well...

It's a new market

Oh, and Julie...Most people call me Dumb*** ;) Dumb*** take out the garbage, Dumb**... LOL
In My opinion, if they don't want any prints, they can buy the digitals for a price that makes you happy and gives you profit after you consider the time you invest in it, if they are buying prints than after they spend a certain amount on them, then they can get the digitals for a discounted price, both ways makes you profit... Whatever those prices are, it depends on how much you spend editing and getting them ready.
This is my biggest area of education and a BIG bone for me. You are probably losing money and don't even know it at this point. And you won't until it comes time to replace that camera and you realize you haven't figured in all of your costs.
You NEED an education in BUSINESS and marketing.
You are thinking with your own wallet and your heart and not what you NEED to be doing or making.
The CODB calculator that Keith gave you is great. You shouldn't have a zero in any category there and if you do, you might want to really think hard about that zero.
If you think "I'm using equipment (computer, office, etc.) that I already own so it doesn't cost me anything..." you are really wrong. Yes, you've already paid for your computer, camera, house... whatever, but the BUSINESS paid for it or did YOU pay for it? AND the camera and such is expendable. It WILL get used up and you will have to replace it. Your software will need upgrading and so on. You MUST figure those things into the equation.
Your office at home and your personal phone if that's what you are using-you see where I am going here, right? If you didn't have those things you couldn't do what you do. They are a partial business expense. You have to figure them in or you are just reducing your personal income more by paying them out of pocket.

Once you know your FULL, TRUE CODB you can then decide what your price is. Once you decide what your price is that tells you the income level you need to be marketing too. It's probably not your friends and family. I know it's not my friends and family or their friends or family. I do shoot for them, but ONLY WHEN I HAVE EXTRA TIME and on my schedule. If I have a good paying shoot they don't get my time. I have to feed my family and pay for my camera addiction first and they aren't going to pay that bill.

It COSTS me over $300 for a day of shooting. Cold hard cash. BEFORE I pay ME anything. We'll say you have half of the equipment I do and it costs you $150 in real dollars. That's pretty easy to do. PLUS your cost of goods PLUS paying yourself a little bit (you aren't in this for free.) You are looking at a final cost of maybe $300 to $500 depending on the number of shoots you are doing in a day, week, month, year...

You have to realize that you aren't competing against the iphone photographers and the AWACS, MWACS, etc. If you try to compete based on price you are going to be out of the game before you really get in the game.

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