Question about my pricing


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Jan 22, 2012
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The last thread I posted, I have had some problems with the lady I took the anniversary pictures for.
She is trying to rip me off by naming her own price when I told her from the beginning what my prices were and if she wants anymore photos from our shoot than the original 6 she got, she still has to pay for them.
You don't receive 45 pictures for only $120 bucks, that's ripping me off big time. Now I don't think I'm an amazing photographer since I've just started but it's not Jc penny quality and I'm not giving her bad pictures.

I just found it very rude of her to start naming her own prices, telling me what I should do when it's don't go into a resturant or store and tell them, "I want this for this price" it's my business, not yours.

Before we even started the shoot, she sent me pictures of an example of what she wanted done. Poses and the way the lighting and editing was done on it. So I told her yeah, that's simple to do it's just photoshop really to do the editing. We went to downtown Cleveland, Oh and there was a tree up so we took pictures there.

She's telling me now, these were taken in December, that she hates the black and white ones (which she bought 4 of those out of 6) and hates the background. She wanted a simple white background like in the examples, which she did not tell me. She let me choose the location, since I'm the photographer, told me in the beginning she loved it and so does her husband and now she's telling me she doesn't want to ever work with me again and cursing at me but I didn't do anything wrong? I have the conversation saved and everything was agreed on.

Then she also kept telling me about this other photo business, which when I gave her the cd with her pictures, she was complaining that they take bad photos and it's basically like going to jc penny or sears. Which mine aren't like that. But now she's telling me that she's going to go to them from now on because they are a lot cheaper. get what you pay for right? And every photographer has different pricing so why would I make mine like theirs?
Then she mentioned how she'll take me to court over this, yadda yadda. I re-read our conversation. If she really were to do so, it's basically because she doesn't like my pricing, she's making her own, and she's mad that I keep telling her "I told you my prices from the beginning."
I'm taking this at a very business like stand point, being as calm and nice as I can be, and it's very stressful to be attacked like this over not wanting to pay for what I told her. :???:

I want to know, since I cannot call myself a profesional yet, what anyone thinks about these prices I have made if they're fair for me and the client.

Weddings (for everything I take pictures there) $550.
(I've read that amateur photographers price from 1,000-5,000 and since I do not have a studio or official business yet, I should cut it in half)
Cds- $30 (I've read about how places charge for the cds. If someone could be kind and explain to me why exactly they charge for cds? My boyfriend is good with business and he doesn't understand why you would charge I tried explaining to him, but maybe someone else has a better explanation for it)
Any portraits, nature, kids, pet, etc shots- $15 a picture if under an hour. If reaches an hour, $100 for every hr.
Anything printed,- which is hard for me since I do not own a printer nor have the money to get one, when I do have photo classes I can print them for $3 each.
I am not a professional yet, but when I do decide to go that route, I WILL NOT work before a contract is signed and a retainer is given. Verbal agreements are just not good enough. It has to be on paper to make sure you CYA. Since you have no written contract, nothing will hold in court. I think that she is just threatening you to get what she wants, but I would leave the situation alone. It's hard for me to say what you could/should charge since I haven't seen any of your work. You may get some answers if you post some of the pics here.
With respect to your first issue, the client who wants to name her own price: What does your contract say? Don't have one? Guess what? It's not worth the effort; get what you can out of it and chalk it up to an (hopefully not very) expensive lesson. NEVER conduct business without a contract!

I'm confused wihen I read that you don't have an "official" business. Does this mean that you're not licensed and ensured? If so, than you shouldn't be charging anything to anyone.

Your prices seem VERY low to me. I charge a flat rate of $100/hour for my time, whether behind the camera or behind the computer. For any products (Books, prints, framing, etc) I charge my cost +40%. The reason that photographers charge a lot for a CD of digital images is because traditionally, most of the money for a portrait session was made from print sales; by giving the clients digital files, you're forgoing all that potential income.

Summary: Once you're legal (assuming you aren't right now), draft up a fixed price list and a contract. Have the contract reviewed by a lawyer and at your pre-shoot consultation (which you do, right?) you explain the contract to the client, spell out exactly what you will deliver and what the cost will be.

Good luck!
"those prices are great suggestions, but if you want these the price is ____"

Contract is right answer - on a side note if you're not understanding business practices why not have a business manager.

But don't get upset with this client and do what some might do:

I'm still in college so I don't have a studio or anything. I'm doing this to get my name out there which I've been told to do by a lot of people is okay I just have to do taxes or something for it since it's another source of income. My teachers, other photographers that I know said it is okay for me to charge, etc.

Krakowski Photography - Local Business - Parma, OH | Facebook

This is my photo page, sadly, since I'm broke, don't have the money to make a official page for my stuff. The first album is her pictures, sorry for the quality, facebook ruins them.

And I have low prices (which she says is too pricy) since again, Im not a professional yet and I don't see it right to charge more.
No I do not have a contract set up yet, I didn't think about doing that (silly me) but I do have all of what we talked about typed out and saved. I do have model release forms but I don't think that works for the same reason? Would the contract be just like the release forms just with the pricing on it, what's paid, what isnt?

At this point, I just want it to end, she's getting out of hand with it. I want to tell her she has two options of either taking what she has and I send her the $6 since I couldn't print the two pictures, or she can pay for 9 (or 15 she wasnt clear) more pictures, and I'll discount the price so she can be happy with it)
Sigh now she's saying she'll come to my parents house, where I don't live and it says on my page that is strictly for mail use only, and she will go there and if I'm not there Friday to give her the pictures that she paid for (which she already has them, I don't know what the hell she is talking about) then she'll call the police, file against me and take me to court. And if I'm not there, she will go to my work, which, she won't be allowed in anyways (work for newspaper company) you can only go in if it's about your papers or work there so....She can take me to court.
I have documentation of everything we've talked about and saved it. Told her from the start $15 a picture, she's agreed to it, has even mentioned it through the attack 5 times...FIVE TIMES that she knows I charge $15 a why she is suing me in the first place? I have no idea....and it doesn't help that the lawyer is a family member of hers so it's a completely biased opinion on this now. Lost 3 followers because of this but live and learn.
Wish me luck guys >_<
Well, seeing how you are not legitimately in business... I'd roll over for her.
Yep, she's a b!tch. However, you don't have a business license, you don't have a contract and you didn't pay sales tax on that $ you made. She can make your life a living hell and being a broke college student is the least of the pain you will feel.
If she's an ounce of smart b!tch she'll be reporting your "business" activities to the city, county, state and IRS.
You don't go into business without taking care of the government first and foremost. They'll end your business before it ever starts. Being a broke college student isn't an excuse. The sales tax ID is free, you charge the client your sales tax so there is nothing out of pocket. The local business certificate/license may run you $50 if it's REALLY expensive. $50 or having the IRS and sales tax breathing down your neck?

If you are going to stand your ground you could easily have her arrested for harassment when she appears at your home and work. She is threatening and menacing you. Rather illegal.
HOWEVER... you are also risking your future business: You have already lost 3 followers because of it and she's only making a little stink now. When she gets arrested for harassment or goes to court against you she's going to be sure to tell EVERYONE and ANYONE who will listen. She's making a little stink now trying to get whatever she wants out of you. When you don't roll she's going to make a bigger stink which leads back to your less than legal business activities and word of mouth. EVERYONE will hear if you get nailed to the wall or if she wants to screech. That's risking your future legitimate business.
I know this, that I have to pay taxes on it and I am. I know that this is another source of income and I have to pay taxes on that, I've been told before.
And I did everything I could to bargain with her and she wasn't taking it. She wanted a really low price for 35 pictures and I kept telling her, I'll go halfway but I'm not doing less than $100 or for free, still have to pay for them.
I don't think she'd ruin my business. They were two people that she knew so of course they only hear her side of the story. Everyone has to have someone that doesn't like their work and talks badly about them but the guy I know, he had someone send two emails bashing his work saying he needs to be out of the industry for making these girls look how they do and they probably hate it, yet they wouldn't have volunteered, and he's still doing fine.
And I'm looking up the licenses, it's only $25 here so I will do that today, thank you.
I'm not an accountant or lawyer but since you are not a registered business and do not collect sales tax and declare your earnings as income then I think that would make your pictures "work for hire" In the case of work for hire, the client owns the images including copyright and you would have to ask her permission to use them in your portfolio. If this is the case you will lose in small claims court.

Keith, where are you when we you?! :)
CCericola said:
I'm not an accountant or lawyer but since you are not a registered business and do not collect sales tax and declare your earnings as income then I think that would make your pictures "work for hire" In the case of work for hire, the client owns the images including copyright and you would have to ask her permission to use them in your portfolio. If this is the case you will lose in small claims court.

Keith, where are you when we you?! :)

I have to do my taxes for earned income since its less than 600 a year. She was my first client that payed me which I recieved $126 for last year. I am looking into the bsiness licenses more because its not like I have more than, if I'm lucky, two people a year. I just started actually selling them and this lady has been my first customer.
Just so I have a clear explanation, why would the copyrighted images need permission?
Because in the case of Work for Hire, the client owns the images. Like when I worked for a studio. Every picture I took belonged to the studio. When I worked for an ad agency, any designs I did for the company belonged to them. But in your case, I'm not sure if it is work for hire. That would be a question for a lawer. Your campus should have some sort of free legal advice that you get take advantage of or see if there is an attourney near you that will give you a free consultation.

I have heard the same story over and over about a photographer or a designer that quit or was fired and then complained that their former employer would not give them or let them use examples of their work. And basically they are told that they are SOL. Best advice I can give is never burn your bridges with employers.
They are snapshots.. give them to her, and hope that she walks away! Otherwise you are screwed.

As mentioned, taxes, business license, etc.. and buying one today wont help in court for what you did then. No contract? lol! You are screwed! Personally.. I would stop shooting (and charging) until you get all your ducks in a row. Oh.. and instead of YOU printing your shots .. you might want to consider a good lab.

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