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Thread: How much would you charge?

  1. #1
    xeliex's Avatar
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    How much would you charge?

    How much?

    A friend of mine has asked me to shoot her daughter's christening / baptism coming up in May.
    She wants be to be a guest, but also a designated photographer.

    She says that if I don't accept to be paid for it, she will hire another photographer, but that she loves my work and would rather pay me.

    I quoted her $250 for the event, including church, reception, and dinner. That will include edited (lightroom mostly) high quality full size JPEG DVD.

    Does that sound reasonable? Any advice you might offer will be helpful.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Xeliex,


    There are multiple ways to set a price for your work:
    1. You can charge what others are charging-but if your price is too high and quality low, this will very possibly affect any future work you get.
    2. You can charge low-but depending on why you did this it could affect future fees. If you charged low to undercut others in the business, not only are you very likely going to have expenses higher than your fee, you will very likely have to continue charging low fees especially if other photographers are producing higher quality work.

    3. You can estimate your expected expenses, calculate a wage based on the time spent at the engagement, and create a pricing model with an added rate of return. Remember this fee can be treated as hobby income with no write off for expenses on your taxes, no depreciation of photographic equipment, and very likely no write off for a home office.
    Last edited by McQ; 4th February 2010 at 04:29 AM.

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Also - when you take money for a job you also cross a certain boundary with regards to expectation of quality (the "failure is not an option" scenario), which is fine - so long as you're confident and competant to do the job (by the way, that's the advice I give to all first time professionals - it's not a comment on your work).

    It's something that often happens with wedding photography ... aunty Mary and uncle Bob ask you to shoot their wedding - they think it's an easy thing to do because "everyone knows that with todays cameras you just point them in the right direction and they take care of the rest". Of course it's never that easy, and often the non-professional photographer returns results that are well below the standard expected by the friends/relatives, which causes issues.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Yes indeed Colin, I didn't like to say once women insist on paying for something offered free there must be a reason; and it might be expectation of a professional job.

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    A funny thing can "happen between friends", so I say this with a word of caution. If you're a guest/friend invited to the all day event, I would suggest you go as low as possible to compensate for your time, post processing, and materials. Take as many shots as you can, do not promise 200+ shots but a minimum of 60 shots (at least) of your best and sharpest images to present. Aka, keep it short and simple. If you say you will take or guarantee a certain number of images (like I will give you 100+), the recipient will get "hung up" on that number. Anything less will automatically be unacceptable even "amongst friends".

    Images that are "missed", "slightly out of focus", or "out of focus" shots should never be seen by the recipient. Even if you think "Yeah, it's not the greatest of composition. Kinda out of focus but not bad. But what a cute smile!" will result in a guaranteed bad outcome. It's amazing how one bad image can ruin the whole of the package. Even if the package is beautifully done and presented.

    Remember even the best of the best of photographers will have "off or bad days". But for some reason "friends and family photographers never do" when it comes to them taking pictures. Ask me how I know (rollseyes).
    Last edited by Amberglass; 30th January 2010 at 07:59 PM.

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    I haven't been in the business of taking "events" since 1958, but I have taken some for friends and relatives. I solved the "not good photography, but cute" problem by making two packages. The second package is not shown when making up the album, but given upon delivery, as "Oh, and here are some which aren't really good enough for the job, but you might enjoy them." Even if there are only one or two in there, it is that little extra which seals the "pleasure level" for the customer. Is that cheating? Perhaps, but it works.

    I recently received a note from a friend whom I haven't seen or spoken with in almost 20 years. He and his wife were going through the wedding portfolio I made for them in 1982. They wanted to comment on one of the "extras" I had included. It was a picture of his youngest son, who didn't make it back from his last trip to Iraq. Just a snap shot, but one which they now treasure.

    You never know.

    Pops

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Pops and Xeliex,

    That is another consideration when making the CD of the event. Will you include graphics, music, etc. or just allow the viewers' software slide show to breeze through the photos.
    Last edited by Shadowman; 30th January 2010 at 08:56 PM. Reason: additional wording

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    I haven't yet had to pursue that question, as the last two "event" shoots I've been on filled the CDs I made for the grandkids and their parents. No room for those extras. As an example of just one job, I had enough problems putting four 36-exposure rolls of film, 67 SD750 shots and 376 shots with the D40 together into some semblance of continuity.

    I have thought of making CDs of screen backgrounds and screen savers. I might, now that you have brought up the subject, think of including music.

    Pops

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post
    Just a snap shot, but one which they now treasure.

    You never know.
    I'll 2nd that After every shoot I pick out what I think are the best candidates for "keepers", and the client does much the same thing with me later - I'd say they agree with me over 50% of the time, but not much more than that. But the bottom line is "who cares" - they're the client - they're paying - and they can have any images they want

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Pops and Xeliex,

    That is another consideration when making the CD of the event. Will you include graphics, music, etc. or just allow the viewers' software slide show to breeze through the photos.
    And will the music be properly licensed? I know some who simply rip(off?) any music they like - for private use it's probably still illegal (I'm not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice!), but if it's for a paying job that possibly (probably?) moves the issue into a whole new category.

  11. #11
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    And will the music be properly licensed? I know some who simply rip(off?) any music they like - for private use it's probably still illegal (I'm not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice!), but if it's for a paying job that possibly (probably?) moves the issue into a whole new category.
    Colin,

    Would the license apply to the client's copy only, what if other guests are promised a copy and the fee charged does not cover the cost of extra copies?

  12. #12

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Would the license apply to the client's copy only, what if other guests are promised a copy and the fee charged does not cover the cost of extra copies?
    I imagine it would depend on the terms of the license (sorry, I don't do multi-media shows).

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post
    I haven't been in the business of taking "events" since 1958, but I have taken some for friends and relatives. I solved the "not good photography, but cute" problem by making two packages. The second package is not shown when making up the album, but given upon delivery, as "Oh, and here are some which aren't really good enough for the job, but you might enjoy them." Even if there are only one or two in there, it is that little extra which seals the "pleasure level" for the customer. Is that cheating? Perhaps, but it works.

    I recently received a note from a friend whom I haven't seen or spoken with in almost 20 years. He and his wife were going through the wedding portfolio I made for them in 1982. They wanted to comment on one of the "extras" I had included. It was a picture of his youngest son, who didn't make it back from his last trip to Iraq. Just a snap shot, but one which they now treasure.

    You never know.

    Pops
    Oh I agree with you, Pops. I'm thinking more along the lines of "task at hand" and fulfilling the initial request. There are always images that I "come back to" that I question, not certain that they should belong in the final album. Being a documentary photographer, I'm always creating story lines and flow to my work. Often times "in transition images" just requires more editing or cropping to achieve the desired effect that I am envisioning. A second smaller "keep sake" album I will create if there is enough for one [presented a couple of weeks after the initial delivery as a "thank you" for allowing me to document their special day, for family and friends]. Or images that I describe as "independent" (they tell a story all by themselves) I present in separate individual prints (aka, images that one should display as a family photo heirloom).
    Last edited by Amberglass; 31st January 2010 at 03:56 AM.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Colin,

    Would the license apply to the client's copy only, what if other guests are promised a copy and the fee charged does not cover the cost of extra copies?
    AHAa; I tried to find some music for my website but it is devilishly hard to find free stuff that's good and then it is only free for non-commercial use. I seem to remember a term 'needle-time' or similar and a time limit of 29 seconds before you are in contravention of a license if you haven't paid for one.

    Personally I would avoid music.

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    AHAa; I tried to find some music for my website but it is devilishly hard to find free stuff that's good and then it is only free for non-commercial use. I seem to remember a term 'needle-time' or similar and a time limit of 29 seconds before you are in contravention of a license if you haven't paid for one.

    Personally I would avoid music.
    Why not have a family member or friend compose something for you?

  16. #16
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Why not have a family member or friend compose something for you?
    Good idea; or even just record the proceedings.

  17. #17

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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Why not have a family member or friend compose something for you?
    Im my case I suspect that the best my friends could do wouldn't even sound as good as fingernails on a blackboard I have "many friends in high places", but unfortunately, music composition isn't one of them

  18. #18
    xeliex's Avatar
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    Re: How much would you charge?

    Thanks everyone for your valuable input.

    I will keep your points in mind for future events.

    Yes, I am invited as a guest, and now that you opened my eyes to it, perhaps it is a good idea to just offer my services as a gift for the baby.

    I am sure she wouldn't mind and I would probably feel better about it.

    Like many, although I have never had a paid photo assignment yet, I would rather shoot for free versus shooting for little.

    Thanks again for all of you.

    Elie

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