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Thread: Minimum charges....what do you think?

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    Question Minimum charges....what do you think?

    In light of the various threads discussing photography as a business, there are a few comments regarding "weekend warriors" (for want of a better description ) charging inappropriately. I would suspect that people are undercharging because they have no point of reference to know what is a ridiculously low price. They look at the 12c HN prints and work from there.

    Now, I know that what people charge should be dependent on their actual business overheads etc, but what should the minimum amount be....to maintain the value of the industry (again for want of a better description).
    People tend to be quite shy about discussing pricing whenever anyone asks, so here is the challenge.

    What do you reckon is a fair minimum charge for say an hourly rate, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 quality prints (fully retouched) for example. This is for a straight shoot either portrait or wedding, for examples sake, as I am guessing this is the area most ww's work in.

    Travelling etc not included.

    Keep in mind, this is an ideal minimum charge, not what you actually charge.

    I'll start the ball rolling....

    Hourly rate: $80
    5x7: $15
    8x10: $30
    11x14: $50

    What do you reckon?

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    It can only depend on your costs and the profit you want...

    1. Cost of marketing / web site etc
    2. Capital depreciation (gear)
    3. Business costs (ABN, Accountant, GST, Insurance)
    4. Travel and accommodation (if out of town)
    5. Printing costs
    Etc.

    Now figure how many jobs, how many hours a week etc. Then set the rate.

    BUT that's the argument in a nut shell! A part timer may not want to, or even need to, fully cover business costs as its not their primary income.
    Any income for a PT is better than none.

    That said, those rates are not out of line for what I've done on the few paid gigs I did.

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    Ive always thbught $100 per shooting hour is fair and reasonable

    Prints are entirely dependent on the tarket market/genre....no way I can sell sport pics at $30 a pop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    It can only depend on your costs and the profit you want...

    1. Cost of marketing / web site etc
    2. Capital depreciation (gear)
    3. Business costs (ABN, Accountant, GST, Insurance)
    4. Travel and accommodation (if out of town)
    5. Printing costs
    Etc.

    Now figure how many jobs, how many hours a week etc. Then set the rate.

    BUT that's the argument in a nut shell! A part timer may not want to, or even need to, fully cover business costs as its not their primary income.
    Any income for a PT is better than none.

    That said, those rates are not out of line for what I've done on the few paid gigs I did.
    Exactly Kym, but my point is for a discussion for those who don't work for their primary income to be given an idea of what is a rough figure to start with.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Ive always thbught $100 per shooting hour is fair and reasonable

    Prints are entirely dependent on the tarket market/genre....no way I can sell sport pics at $30 a pop.
    Yep, I know that it is genre specific, hence my portrait/wedding shoot example.
    For interest tho, what would sport prints sell for?
    Cheers, Lani.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    Exactly Kym, but my point is for a discussion for those who don't work for their primary income to be given an idea of what is a rough figure to start with.



    Yep, I know that it is genre specific, hence my portrait/wedding shoot example.
    For interest tho, what would sport prints sell for?
    I sell 8x10's for $10, they cost me $1.50 to print

    I initially had $20 on them but they didnt move

    Next year I am moving to a prepaid only model and digital files only

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    Member matilda's Avatar
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    I charge $90 for 30 mins, but that is not including printing, but does include pp and 10 images on a disk.

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    Ill chime in, first though I shoot motorsport on speck so there is no hourly rate and most of the time no one has asked me to shoot them. I sell prints only (will sell digital files to some existing customers and with print orders)
    My prising is on the front page of my web site.
    $10 6x4
    $30 8x12
    $40 12x18
    This may seem low, it dose to me but talking to a shooter that shoots Speedway the going rate there I'm led to believe is
    $3 6x4
    $25 8x12
    So it would be nice to charge a descent hourly rate but something a lot of people giving advice on what to charge forget there is a price point at which people don't by. This price point varies with the type of shoots, for example motor bike ride days I can do quite well at the price point I'm at, but at kart meetings the price I charge is to high and they wont by so do I lower my price or wait for the price to come to me.
    Last edited by atky; 13-09-2010 at 12:14pm.
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    Just to ad to the original question what would you expect to get paid by a magazine for images shot on speck say 1/4 page 1/2 page full page and anything in between. Would be nice to know one is not selling oneself short.

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    Portrait shoot:

    I don't generally do prints smaller than 8x12 ish... but here's what I do...

    All Matted & Framed:
    14" single picture - $200, Composite layout (14x11 & three 4x5's) - $400
    20" single picture - $300, Composite layout (20x16 & three 5x7's) - $500

    When I figured out all my costs and priced these I thought they were way OTT, but every paid shoot I've done I've always sold at least a 14" single print... I use a framer to do all my matting & framing too, which can be expensive. With clients buying usually 1 or 2 of these products per shoot, my costs and time are covered. If I don't sell anything... then I don't have any costs other than my time and a few clicks of the shutter, so I don't lose out much... but this is yet to happen hehehe
    Last edited by jasevk; 13-09-2010 at 1:08pm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    I sell 8x10's for $10, they cost me $1.50 to print

    I initially had $20 on them but they didnt move

    Next year I am moving to a prepaid only model and digital files only
    Agreed, I shoot some sports and getting the players or their parents to part with $10 for 8x10 is bloody hard.

    Quote Originally Posted by atky View Post
    Ill chime in, first though I shoot motorsport on speck so there is no hourly rate and most of the time no one has asked me to shoot them. I sell prints only (will sell digital files to some existing customers and with print orders)
    My prising is on the front page of my web site.
    $10 6x4
    $30 8x12
    $40 12x18
    This may seem low, it dose to me but talking to a shooter that shoots Speedway the going rate there I'm led to believe is
    $3 6x4
    $25 8x12
    So it would be nice to charge a descent hourly rate but something a lot of people giving advice on what to charge forget there is a price point at which people don't by. This price point varies with the type of shoots, for example motor bike ride days I can do quite well at the price point I'm at, but at kart meetings the price I charge is to high and they wont by so do I lower my price or wait for the price to come to me.
    Much the same thing here, I shot a car show here recently, couldn't get a dime and I'm charging (or trying to) 8x12 $10 or 20x30 $30 and not a single bite. In contrast, I shot the recent Rodeo and a Campdraft and with prints at the same size/price, I sold $270 worth.
    All this in an outback mining town where average salaries are often 6 figures and well above average by miles.

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    This appears to have split into two main categories, work that is done on spec in the hope of selling prints at the end. The other a commisssioned job with an opening brief.
    The person doing on spec is always going to struggle here as you are unlikely to cover your 'costs' for the day. Eg- if the wedding person is charging $100 per hr, they're already ahead, as any prints, etc., would be on top. Meanwhile, over at the racetrack, a 'sport' enthusiast has arrived with his camera to take shots of what appeals to him and hopefully some others and starts snapping in the hope they'll have some customers later in the day, or just as likely, on another day.

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    Reminder of the original question..."What do you reckon is a fair minimum charge for say an hourly rate, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 quality prints (fully retouched) for example. This is for a straight shoot either portrait or wedding, for examples sake, as I am guessing this is the area most ww's work in."

    I was hoping some of the full time pro photographers would provide some input on what they think is reasonable....in light of the common complaint that part timers are under-charging.

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    the original question is a bit like how much should a car cost?


    $80/hr is a good rate but what if that is using entry level pro gear like a canon7d and ok lenses.

    someone who has lots of experiense and gets awsome shot and has great por gear can charge way more because their work might be of the highest quality.

    i cant answer the question as i have no idea on prices in this industry but i know in all industry it all depends of certain factors.

    also its all about supply and demand. my cousin does nice photo's but what he found and it looks like its true is that so many people here have good gear and there are so many photographers to choose from. If there is an over supply of photographers they must start undercutting the competition IF they are equal on every other level, ie same experience and similar gear. either have a unique selling point or go on price. thats just business no matter what business... hope that helps even thou it didn't really answer the question.

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    we cost $150 dollars an hour for a commercial shoot. single shooter. very light pp included - crop, sharpen, levels maybe. these are digital files

    promotional shoot ie theatre with assistant/2 shooters and pp $220/hour + 100% again for image rights. i usually use medium format or something like d3x. usually digital files printed B-I-G by pro labs later.

    "affordable wedding packages" - 4 hours photographic coverage $1250 - 1 free edited 12" x 18" inch print and high resolution jpegs on dvd for clients convenience and printing. I sometimes help arrange printing services/albums if asked to.

    - 6 hours photographic coverage $1550 - 1 free edited 12" x 18" inch print and high resolution jpegs on dvd for clients convenience and printing. I sometimes help arrange printing services/albums if asked to.

    extra photography hours - $150

    I then offer more upmarket packages that include more prints/albums/hours/pp etc and are highly customisable. I DONT offer dvd with these packages. but the base price of $150 still applies.

    model shoots - $150 hour
    Last edited by zollo; 13-09-2010 at 9:08pm.
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    btw this is a look at a few of my prices in no way am i saying these are minimum or what you should be charging. that is for you to work out.
    and i guess to try to answer
    I was hoping some of the full time pro photographers would provide some input on what they think is reasonable....in light of the common complaint that part timers are under-charging.
    IMO give or take 20% for the wedding prices is fairly reasonable and common around here for what you get. i've researched this, but make sure you do too. it probably varies from state to state or even your local area.

    and final thing IMO if you think you are good enough to charge for a wedding, then charge properly and dont drastically undercut established prices in your area. if you want to be more competitive, throw in some extras that you think the client would appreciate instead. small business courses will teach you this as part of the course. you dont do yourself any favours by cutting down each others prices until you start to lose money on a job.

    and those with full time jobs please dont write in and tell me that $200 for a wedding is fine cause you're already earning huge dollars from your ft job, because I really dont care. I'm trying to hopefully help those who are looking to make a living from photography.
    Last edited by zollo; 14-09-2010 at 12:07am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    It can only depend on your costs and the profit you want...

    ....
    Kym, as you have charged yourself out as an IT contractor, you must have already found out that:
    * It can also depend on what the customer will pay - as Kiwi found out.
    * What the customer will pay depends on experience, skills and "support" (equipment etc.)

    Lani, I can't offer any detailed contribution, but think it is a great thread idea.
    Regards, Rob

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    Photos: geeoverbar.smugmug.com Software: CS6, Lightroom 4

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    For the record, I charge completely differently to Zollo, and I'm in the same commercial area I believe.

    I know how much my runnings costs are. I know how much I need to turnover to keep my head above water.

    I tend to charge on the basis based on a similar business model to a builder. Client tells me what they want, I interpret that and discuss with the client what I understand them to be wanting, and then quote on that basis.

    I quote on producing what they've asked for (and in general value add on to that by accomodating small additions without an increase in costs). The total fee will be quoted prior to the job, which is broken down into pre production, photography, any additional shoot costs, post production, method of delivery, and licence; then we can all get on with it, and it matters not one bit how long I take on the job, other than to always meet or beat the agreed deadline. As its very rare for me to produce prints for clients, if on the odd occassion I would produce prints, the potential prices are agreed before the shoot. Although its worth saying that if the print is a large one off print, the amount of post production to the image is included in the print price, if not already quoted prior, in the original quote. Quite simply I do not choose to use my print pricing to cover costs of the actual shoot (which is the business model most portrait photographers choose - an industry market forces led situation).

    How long I spend on the job - to my client - should be quite irrelevant. My aim is to produce the best possible job. My approach is not a one for everyone rule, but one that I'm comfortable with and one that the type of clients who use me are more than happy with.

    The often asked the question of how much do you charge per hour, started to change to how much per 1/2 hour, and then one client started to question if I could charge every 15 mins, is one that if your potential client is focussed on that alone, then its a potential client I dont particularly want. Its like agreeing on a fixed price for anything. The only major trouble is that other than past or similar work, I have nothing to "take off the hook" to show them what they will get after the quote is agreed on. And that is the major difference between a commercial shooter, and a wedding or portrait shooter. So its going to really depend on exactly what photographic area you work in and how much you want to be brave to get past that "how much do you charge per hour".

    And BTW utterly agree with Rob & Mile
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mile View Post
    the original question is a bit like how much should a car cost?


    $80/hr is a good rate but what if that is using entry level pro gear like a canon7d and ok lenses.

    someone who has lots of experiense and gets awsome shot and has great por gear can charge way more because their work might be of the highest quality.

    i cant answer the question as i have no idea on prices in this industry but i know in all industry it all depends of certain factors.

    also its all about supply and demand. my cousin does nice photo's but what he found and it looks like its true is that so many people here have good gear and there are so many photographers to choose from. If there is an over supply of photographers they must start undercutting the competition IF they are equal on every other level, ie same experience and similar gear. either have a unique selling point or go on price. thats just business no matter what business... hope that helps even thou it didn't really answer the question.
    I acknowledged that in my thread opening Mile....but what I am getting at is surely there is a minimum point which full time pros think is a reasonable place to start. I notice William agrees with your post, but surely if people are going to educate part timers, it wouldn't hurt to suggest ballpark figures for my scenario?
    I never suggested for a minute they should be the be all and end all, just a rough place to consider as being feasible.
    Last edited by Lani; 14-09-2010 at 8:06am.

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    I'll come back lani to a figure approximate $100 per shooting hour - looking at all the responses regardless of the package or genre it all will come roughly back to that number, excluding direct costs

    Eg wedding, 6 hours shooting and roughly that again in Pre and post production for 1200 or so seems a reasonable minimum

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    Even on spec, if I'm not clearing $100 an hour I'm not going back there again

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