How much should i charge?

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    • #43264
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Hey guys!

      As you all know,I am a big aspiring photographer. This monday, my friend told me her mom was havingabirthday party and she wanted me to take pictures of the event. The only problem is thatI don’tknow how much I should charge her. This would be my first “real gig” (if you can even call it that), and although I amcomfortable in charging her for my services,I don’t want to make it too expensive. I amgoingto take all the pictures, editing them in Adobe Lightroom, and then burn them in a Lightscribe dvd along with a quick slideshow with the best photographs.

      What is an average amount for a first timer?

      Thank You,

      Caio

    • #181351
      D0n
      Participant

      Can’t just toss out a price, your market may be different than mine, but just figure out your actual costs for materials, how much time you estimate you’ll need to complete the project and multiply your expected wage by the amount of time, add in your materials cost (gas, media, wear and tear on gear) and add in a small percentage for profit.

      Compare that estimate with what your competitors in your area are charging…

    • #181352
      composite1
      Member

      Caio,

      When figuring out what to charge for a given profession the best place to start is your state’s Occupation and Employment Statistics page on the state gov. website. There you can plug in an occupation (in your case photographer) and find out what the average wage per year or per hour is.

      Once you find out what the average hourly wage is (since you’ll be working as a freelancer) then you make your adjustments for the added cost of things like supplies, travel time (fuel), and so on. Since you probably don’t have a lot of overhead (rent, food, equipment purchases, utilities, auto payments, etc.) you can safely base your pay for now upon the wage itself and estimate how much time it will take to shoot the party and how long it will take to prepare the final product for delivery.

      For example; it will probably take a couple of hours to capture the major moments of the party (bringing in the cake, blowing out the candles and such.) and then a solid estimate of how long it takes you to process one image x ‘X’ number of images + the time for preparation (i.e. burning the disc and making any cover art) of the final product = total time. All that time based on the hourly wage. When you’re making your calculations remember to round up to the next number. Once you have your time and charge figured out, let your client know the estimate and if they want you to work longer than the proposed shooting time (three hours instead of two) that will raise the estimated cost of the job. If they agree to that (preferably in writing) then go ahead. Otherwise, stick to the estimated time you proposed.

      Here’s a link that will help you find the info you need in your state:

      http://www.rileyguide.com/trends.html#gov

      Go to the links on Labor Market Information State by State and click on your state.

      If you’re in Texas, try this link:

      http://www.texasindustryprofiles.com/apps/win/

      When you start your search, type in ‘photographer’ for example and it will bring up the related industries and you pick out the one that relates to you.

      I know this will help you get a good idea of what you want to charge. Above all else, DON’T GET GREEDY!

      Good luck kid!

    • #181353
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Composite1, you are a life saver xD

      But it is a bit creepy how you know i live in texas… LOL nah, just kidding.

      But thanks though πŸ™‚

    • #181354
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Okay,so i got this chart from the website you gave me.

      <table border=”1″ cellpadding=”5″ style=”font-size: inherit; line-height: 1.22em; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;”>
      <tbody style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;”>
      <tr style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;”>
      <th align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>Percentile</th><th align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>10%</th><th align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>25%</th><th align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>50%
      (Median)</th><th align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>75%</th><th align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>90%</th>
      </tr>
      <tr style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;”>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>Hourly Wage</td>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>$8.23</td>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>$10.17</td>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>$14.31</td>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>$21.26</td>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>$29.97</td>
      </tr>
      <tr style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;”>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>Annual Wage(2)</td>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>$17,120</td>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>$21,150</td>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>$29,770</td>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>$44,230</td>
      <td align=”center” valign=”middle” style=”line-height: 1.22em; padding: 2px; margin: 0px;”>$62,340</td>
      </tr>
      </tbody>
      </table>

      Would it be reasonable for me to charge about $12/13 an hour? Because i am abeginnerand i wont have a lot of costs. Am i getting underpaid or is that areasonableprice, or am i being to “greedy”?

    • #181355
      EarlC
      Member

      MAN, Shippo, that’s a LOT of nasty code clutter dude – usually caused by copy and pasting. I started to try and clean it up, pick out the plums, but it’s beyond my capacity to separate it out. Not too many of us are going to be able to pull the info out of all that code. Sorry.

      My response regarding “charges” for just about anything I do in video is that it is either flat fee based on what I need to make per hour based on the formulas already shared – materials, time, experience, what the market will bear, etc. or a flat hourly rate.

      My hourly rate (and the rate I try to maintain in turnkey or flat fee bids) for ANY video production service is a minimum $70 per hour, and a preferred rate of $100 per hour for individuals and $500 per finished minute for corporate/commercial clients.

      When I have provided photography work I ONLY shoot based on hours (no albums, no prints and in the “film” days I handed over the rolls of film, prefering to NOT get involved in the developing/printing aspects of the business) the formula being X number of hours with X number of photos (so many candid shots, with so many posed/formal shots, and additional charges/fees per image for computer enhancement; some general cleanup of a select group of shots) at $150 an hour, two-hour minimum.

    • #181356
      D0n
      Participant

      A lot of good advice here.

      I do things a little different than Earl.

      I never gave a negative or raw file to anybody.

      I used to process my own film and print myself….

      I now do my own processing and printing digitally…

      I only use a pro lab occasionally for work I’m not equipped for ike printing huge enlargements or printing on metalic paper.

      I am old school.

      I believe the negative or raw camera file is the sheet music, but the print is the full, live symphony performance.

      I try to maintain total control over the process from start to finish.

      I recommend learning all about the printing process because you never want a bad photofinisher blaming his mistakes on the photographer.

      Not that Earl’s way is wrong. I bet he is much better video editor than I am, we all have our strengths and weaknesses….

      Our video work is solid but basic, with the strength on the lighting and composition, and our photography is stellar, better than most if not all, in our area.

      I’m still improving on my FC and editing skills, again we’re pro, but can’t lay claim to the Title “BEST”… yet.

    • #181357
      composite1
      Member

      Caio,

      Well you just failed the ‘Keeping your location a secret test’. Actually you told me before. Earl and D0n have given some good points on how they figure out their charges. As for your question of what amount to charge, now that you’ve got some numbers to work with what do you think is fair. Yeah, you’re a beginner and it would be unwise to charge what a pro would. On the other hand, having seen your work posted in the Forums I wouldn’t call you a ‘newb’ either. You obviously have a good idea of what you’re doing and are now working towards building some experience.

      What the client is actually paying for is your time and expertise. So as Earl mentioned a ‘flat fee’ based on your intended hourly rate is not a bad idea. Find out how long the party is planned to go on and figure in an extra hour for setup and breakdown time during the shoot. Don’t forget to add in the hours for post work and preparations for the final product. Decide on your hourly rate and when you do so, remember to balance what you expect to be paid with what the client is willing to pay. Flat fees are a good way to allow clients to have a good idea of what they’ll need to fork over to get your services.

      The most important thing particularly when starting out is coming up with pricing that will be profitable for you and attractive to potential clients. Don’t get into the habit of underpricing your work (say $5 bucks an hour!) Never set your base hourly pricing less than the average amount in your area. If you want to work for minimum wages, you don’t need to be a shooter to do that! As your skills, rep and client list grows you’ll be able to raise your prices accordingly. Even then you’ll still have to keep in mind what the market for such services in your area will bear.

      So are you being greedy? Not necessarily. Now if you show up with a ‘happy snap’ camera and expect your client to be confident in your abilities to pay that kind of money you’ll be disappointed. If you want to step beyond the amateur and hobbyist sphere and into the semi-pro and professional realm you have to look the part to a certain degree. An SLR (film or digital) camera with interchangeable lenses and if available a flash unit beyond the built-in one will go a long way to ‘upping’ your profile as a semi-pro. Oh and don’t forget to give your client an invoice/receipt for services rendered. Get into the habit of doing that because if you keep doing this, eventually you’ll have to pay taxes.

      Above all else, stay calm, stick to the basics when shooting (focus, exposure, composition) and you’ll have no choice but to do a good job. Nothing worse than having to face a client after a shoot goes bad (worse if it was your fault for screwin’ the pooch!) Oh and D0n is right about giving over all materials even if the client requests all negs, etc. you a) make them pay extra for it and b) maintain your right to keep copies of portions of the shoot for your exhibition and promotional efforts. It’s always a good idea to hang on to copies of the work in case the client loses theirs. That way if they want more, they can pay you for them.

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