pricing questions


TPF Noob!
Jan 22, 2009
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San Diego
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Hi folks, here is my situation. I am a freelance writer and shooter. I go to high end fishing resorts and get images for my articles. Often I have to pay my transportation to get there, and the lodge puts me up and treats me like a client the moment I arrive.The resort puts me up but transportation to these places is often about 800, and then I may make that back and more over the long run with articles and images sales. The places like having me there as I get them PR, and often, part of the deal is that I provide the resort with images of their premises as well. During the day they place me on boats with their clients and I shoot the action.
Prior to me getting on the boat the anglers (well off world travelers who are typically spending 10-20k per week for a party of 3) are told that they don't have to have me aboard, but that it might be fun to have me along, and that I will be taking pics for magazines. They sign releases indicating I can use pics they appear in, and also, that they understand that they are not entitled to any of my images, as the images are the only way i have for paying for my airfare and other costs like equip.
Often, what happens is that after they see my images, the clients say, gee, they really would like some, and they don't mind paying for them either, so they tell me to come up with a fair price and they will pay it.
I travel with about 20k in top and underwater gear, and as you know pay for my tranportation, etc, so I have a lot of costs and they know this. So I am trying to figure out a fair price. I am thinking of pricing based on per image, and also, that I would do the prints. This would, at least to some degree, make it a bit less likely that the images will end up on the net and lose their value, although of course I do know they could be scanned. If I have any super hot shots that I will need to save for mags, I simply won't sell them at all to clients.
If you folks can help me come up with a price range that would be great. I am imagining they would want 8x10's or slightly larger. Any other input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Jon Schwartz
Do you retouch the images? Are you printing the images or outsourcing? Are you mailing the prints to the clients? Are you shooting digital or film?
...well off world travelers who are typically spending 10-20k per week...really would like some, and they don't mind paying.... I am imagining they would want 8x10's or slightly larger.

Hi, Jon.

Without thinking this through carefully, my first thought is these folks, in the heat of the moment, have a certain level of excitement... catching large fish on the high seas, all with a pro photographer on board. And I think about cataloging, file prep, printing, packaging and shipping their order.

So with these two thoughts in mind, I want to come up with an arbitrary figure... one that's easy enough for them to say, "sure!" and one that makes it worth my while. So, for instance, let's say $100. Then it's up to you to decide what they'll receive for the price. You might say, "Your choice... three 8x10s (all alike or different views) or one 11x14 mounted, ready-to-frame, delivered."

I'm not at all sure this is a good approach, but gives you a minimum order and let's them have some choice while realizing a good value.

You are there shooting something that is meaningful to them. If they are spending all that money on being there then I dont think they will mind the additional cost of prints to celebrate the memories.

There are a few books out there that suggest and offer the best advice possible for pricing your work. Its not just about you pressing the button. Its about YOU. Who you are, what it costs you to be there. Your business insurance, your travel costs, your expenses, your TIME, and the quality of the image you are producing. If you have your equipment and still owe money on it. Wether it be loans or credit card bills. You have to think about all of this.

Pricing your work, time, and who you are is the hardest part of the job. There is no set guidelines for what you should charge. If only it was as easy as seeing the competitions prices. Then youd have a basis for what you could charge.

But read as much as possible! Books are still a great resource of information.

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