Professional Photographers


TPF Noob!
Sep 23, 2015
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How many proofs (edited) do you offer to your clients and at what price?
For what kind of shoot (retail, commercial, event, portrait session, etc) and where on planet Earth (no location info in profile).
Photographers in major markets can generally charge substantially more than photographers in small and local markets.
Pricing will differ per business model and pricing modality.
Some portrait photographers charge by the pose, some have packages, some only have a la carte.
Commercial usually does not involve prints and the cost is mostly for usage rights.
family photography sessions, portrait, children, newborn, head shots, etc..
The next step is to determine your cost-of-doing-business (CODB) and your cost-of-goods-sold (COGS). Those are your business expenses.
Note: Part of your CODB is the salary or wage you pay yourself.
You add a mark up (extra $$'s) to the total of your CODB and COGS. Those extra $$'s is your profit.
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Put another way - You don't make any profit until you have sufficient revenue to pay all of your business expenses. If you only make revenue to pay your business expenses you are just breaking even and won't be able to stay in business long since you are not making a profit.
Your profit then gets invested back into your business or put in savings.

What some other photographer charges does not help you unless your CODB and COGS are the same as the other photographer's CODB and COGS, and you want to make the same profit as the other photographer.
Thank you for your response. I guess something I am curious about is how people format their session packages..does a person offer a certain number of proofs with their watermark and clients then select which pictures they would like to buy (if they are selling digital files)? or do they just have a particular package at a set price and offer X amount of digital files? and then what do you price yours at? I would just like an idea of how photographers sell their images. I realize that prices and formats may vary widely..just hearing about how others do this would be very helpful. thanks very much!
For a 1 hour portrait session I provided 15 - 20 fully edited proofs.
I offered 'custom packages', which was business speak for a-la-cart pricing.
The sitting fee for a 1 hour studio shoot was $250 and included a pre-shoot consultation with me and my makeup artist.
The client often bought a session with the makeup artist to apply make up just before the shoot.
The cost of prints varied according to print size, print finish, print media, and print presentation method - matted, framed, framed and matted, standout, canvas, acrylic, metal, etc.

Once a customer met my minimum purchase requirement they could then buy a disc of fully edited image files.
A disc of all 15-20 hi-rez digital file proofs was $1500 and included a print size limited print release (use license).

My average sale goal for each portrait session from 2005 to 2010 was $2000. I retired in 2010 and things cost more now.
Today my average sales goal would be $2500 per shoot.

To just barely stay in business (making minimum wage and barely breaking even $$$ wise) a retail photographer today needs an average sale of about $500 per shoot.
If you want to actually make a little money set your goal for an average sale of $750.
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My charge for head shots varied with the number of heads I was hired to shoot.

For a single head shot done in 5 minutes in my studio I charged $40 plus usage rights (use licensing) and prints, if they wanted prints.
For an on location head shot shoot of from 5 to 100 people ranged what I charged varied by how far I had to travel to do the job, how many heads I needed to shoot, and the usage rights the business needed.
Businesses usually asked for way more in the way of usage rights than they actually needed.
Once they found out how much the usage rights they asked for cost, they usually listened to my advice and bought the usage rights they needed.

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