Specific pricing help!


TPF Noob!
Jul 12, 2013
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United States
Can others edit my Photos
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So here's the deal:
My 2nd cousin wants me to photograph her ENTIRE family. She's figuring that there will be about 27 people.

Here's what she wants:

"I am only looking for digital prints and would like a hi-res CD/Flash Drive so I can have a large canvas made and some smaller ones. I am willing to pay an additional fee since this material would be copyrighted to you and I don't want to abuse your talent. I actually enjoy and prefer your editing style when it comes to contrast and color saturation versus a lot of other people. I can also provide a large flash drive to you if you prefer to share them that way. Tim works for a tech company and gets the super cheap. I also have DVD-Rs if you will need those.

1 - Full Family
1 - Kids
1 - Kids + Spouses
1 - Grandkids
1 - Grandkids + Spouses
1 - Grandkid boys
1 - Grandkid Girls"

I've done portraits before, just not of 27 people, usually 4 people or less. Also, it would be about 200 miles total for me to drive there and back home, which is 3/4 of a tank or about $30 in my Honda. And I do already own the equipment necessary to make this shoot successful.

I wouldn't consider myself a professional, but I'm not a complete amateur, either, and she knows that. While I have no formal degree in photography yet, I have taken several photography classes and I know my camera like the back of my hand.

I am at a complete loss. I have no idea what to charge her and it kind of worries that she's family. Help a girl out?

Thanks much!

PS-I do have a full time job aside from my photography, if that matters.
You are going to get a lot of differing answers on this.

Probably the best suggestion would be to ask for them to pay for your gas and something like a gift card to your favorite restaurant. I suggest this because you say that you aren't professional and haven't done the work to determine your cost of doing business, don't have a business plan, etc.

I would also be sure to put together a contract (can be searched on here or google) and a model release (same).
So they only need 7 shots? In a group that large, there's no way. Each parent is going to end up wanting photos of each kid... etc.

Even if you only needed those groups, you're going to either need a) another person to help direct children to look at camera or b) good PS/editing skills to clone heads. Either way, you need to cover expenses, whether it's your time or another persons.

Gas and travel time (.56/mile, per IRS) should be assessed.

Keep in mind you should only be paid if you have a business license. Otherwise you set yourself up for legal trouble. I like Ron's idea of a gift card and model release so you can use the images in your portfolio.
Welcome to the forum.

There is no 'standard' answer to give you. There are just too many factors involved. For example, this would likely cost a lot more in New York or LA, than in a small town in the middle of nowhere...simply because the markets are different.

I guess we could start from the beginning...is this a business for you? You mentioned that you have shot portrait before...so are you charging for your services? If so, do you have a licensed business set up? Do you pay taxes on your income etc?

To figure out how much to charge, you really should have a business plan and figure out your cost of doing business. This would include all sorts of things like; your equipment, your car, computer, home office, license fees & taxes, time & education to acquire your skills etc. From there, you might be able to figure out how much you would need to charge per job/per hour etc. in order to make your business feasible (or at least up to your expectations).

Another thing to consider, is that you're dealing with family. Many people recommend avoiding that, as it puts you in a tough spot and can damage relationships. For example, they may be thinking that you'll give them a deal...but you might consider that that would be taking advantage of you. Or maybe you wouldn't mind giving them a deal, because they are family...as per Ron's suggestion above.

Whatever you decide, it would be a very good idea to have some sort of contract or agreement in place (even if it's just E-mail) before you do the shoot. That way, you both know what to expect....that should really help to avoid hard feelings afterward if someone doesn't get what they expect.
I charge by the hour, so the number of people wouldn't matter. I don't offer discs with a portrait session. They would have to buy files individually. They would also have to buy prints through me. Consider that you're an amateur and that you don't work with a lab to offer products. That will lower your price. But charge enough to cover your costs and time x 4. If you charge for the disc, consider it a separate charge from your shooting and processing fee. Price your costs separately and then figure out what you would charge for the disc. Pros have an advantage because they tend not to offer discs and clients must order products through the photographer, not on their own.

Also, don't do any business with anyone without a contract, and ideally insurance. A contract is free. Having a lawyer draft/review it is ideal but not required. You can get samples on the Net; just read them carefully and use what works for you. At the simplest, you could just write your own and outline the main things you want to agree on. When I work with family, I make it clear I'm doing it as a business and not personally. I use contracts, set expectations and deliver the same experience I would give clients. This way you establish the tone and expectations of the experience as professional and official. There should be no expectation that deals or favors are implied because you're family/friends.
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I don't like mixing family and business. I would ask them to pay out-of-pocket costs (gas, food, media) and then just suggest that they could "pay" you with a nice restaurant gift certificate or similar. With 27 people, and a bunch of them children, I can easily see this running to four hours - I'd estimate this at a minimum of $750 if I were quoting for a client.

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