How do I price photography work?
August 15, 2006 9:38 AM   Subscribe

ProFilter: Like some other people, I've started getting solicited to do some photography for actual money, and I need to locate some current pricing resources. Yes, yes, there's

The gent in the earlier thread noted in the last posting that he hadn't really had much luck nailing down actual numbers, and while I'm digging though the linked resources, I'm not having too much luck with it either.

Any professional photogs in teh hive? Florida would be a plus.
posted by baylink to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
this might be worth asking on i know a lot of pro's hang around on there
posted by moochoo at 9:44 AM on August 15, 2006

Even more inside: I shot a bunch of pictures at a statewide karaoke contest at the bar I usually sing at the past couple weekends.

One of the singers in said contest, whom I'm printed an 8x10 of a Saturday picture and gave her on Sunday (as a 'free sample') called me this morning, and wanted to know how much I would charge to shoot some beach-sunset pictures of her and two daughters to use as Christmas Card "rub it in, call home" shots.
posted by baylink at 9:48 AM on August 15, 2006

There's no real harm in calling/emailing photographers in your area and getting a sense of what thier rates are. You can simply pose as a customer and call up and say you're comparing rates (which you are, right?). Many photographers have set, published rates right on thier website.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:06 AM on August 15, 2006

Seconding blaneyphoto's suggestion for finding out the going rate in your area.

Also, you'll need to consider your pricing structure - I've only recently started in the photo business and the charging options seem to be broadly: (1) a flat commission fee (out of which you'll need to take the printing costs), (2) commission fee plus printing costs, or (3) just charge for the prints (with a suitable mark-up). Once you've decided which of these to go for, make sure the client is aware of what they're paying for.

As to how much to charge for a commission, you might like to think along the lines of:

If I did this full-time, I'd want a gross income of X. I could reasonably expect Y jobs a week, working Z weeks a year. (Y * Z)/X should give you some kind of starting figure.

I'm afraid to say it but there's also an element seeing how much you can get away with charging. Try opening the discussion with the client along the lines of "What sort of budget do you have in mind?" and take it from there.

Don't forget also that, as the client is sure to be delighted with their christmas cards, to see whether they'd like to buy some nice framed prints too.
posted by dogsbody at 11:38 AM on August 15, 2006

I don't have any specific rate information but I see a lot of new guys who've been burned commenting on so here's two things to be aware of:

Have expiry dates when giving written quotes. Your rates will go up as you get experience. Plus this limits the time you feel pain from under quoting any job. See this AskMe for a typical situation when you are first starting.

Watch you aren't making less than minimum wage after overhead and supplies are covered. Don't forget to account for the time spent meeting with clients before the actual shooting starts.
posted by Mitheral at 1:20 PM on August 15, 2006

So, just to throw a wrench in the works: what if I just charged clients the $50 an hour portal to portal that I charge for other work (graphic layout, computer stuff, washing your Hummer :-), and provided them with the finals on CD, with *non-commercial* rights.

I've never been all that fond of the "mark the prints up like a bastard" approach that traditional photogs do -- I've always thought it indicated a lack of selling skills to sell the *actual* work at a livable rate.

This isn't the only work I'm making money off of, obviously, and doing that would preclude me having to make value judgements about "which work I ought to be doing".

Assuming they'll pay it, that is?

Anyone ever done it that way?

Isn't anyone here besides Blaney a pro? :-) I figured we hadda have one or two others....
posted by baylink at 6:57 PM on August 15, 2006

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