View Full Version : I am SO pumped!!! (an update)
25th of November 2004 (Thu), 05:58
This is kind of an update to my earlier post asking for a critique of my idea to start a Location Photo Service in my area.
A couple of weeks ago I took a little Photo "Walkabout" just out snapping things that caught my eye.
I passed a restaurant on the main street of my home city and the lighting caught my eye through the door. It was early in the morning, about 8 or 9 AM. I asked the Chef/Owner of the place if I could take a couple of shots. He said he had studied Photography for 2.5 years in college and had a minor in photography and he would be happy for me to snap as much as I wanted while they prepared for the lunch crowd. He even asked if he could see the results and maybe even get some prints.
I took the several shots and as the lighting was rather dim I had a problem shooting with just my monopod. I had to brace on the podium where the Hostess stands and after about 6 shots I got the following shot:
When I took the print back in for him to see yesterday after work the guy went crazy. He loved the pic and called his manager over to see it. Immediately they started talking about having me come in for a shoot of the restaurant for pics for their web page and for use in upcoming advertising they are planning. The Chef/Owner wants a professional portrait made and wants me to come in and do some shots of his hands at work in meal preparation. He also wants me to come in and do some shots of plated up entrees that he can have printed and laminated to use as menu inserts. When he asked me how much I would charge him I told him I was just starting out and I would do this for him for tag line advertising. He said he would go better than that and if it all worked out well he would get me in with the other "Upscale" restaurant owners in the downtown area and he assured me THEY would pay WELL!
This is the first time I have dealt with anybody other than a friend with photos. The response was almost overwhelming to me. I left the restaurant and I don't think my feet touched the sidewalk all the way back to my car. I haven't felt that good in YEARS!!!
25th of November 2004 (Thu), 07:20
I'll bet the restaurant owner is dancing on a cloud as well. After all, he's getting thousands of dollars worth of advertising material for nothing.
If I had a nickel for every time someone said that if I gave my work away to THEM, they would tell all their friends who WOULD pay...well...I'd be enjoying the view from the beach of some exotic island 24/7.
You will definately get some experience from this gig. I do hope it's all positive.
25th of November 2004 (Thu), 09:31
Skinner I have to agree with Larry on this one. The owner may not have intentionally screwed you on this but he is getting the best deal that he ever will get. Literally this could have easily been a $1000 job. OK it is too late to go back and say, "Hey I have thought about this and I think I should get paid." At least try to get a free meal for two out of him.
I would also ask that somewhere on the menu a little notice would be there stating "Photograhy by Skinner", and have some business cards at the hostess stand. Also I would ask for a letter of recommendation listing his complete satisfaction with what you did for him along with his name, restuarant name, address and phone number. You are in recovery mode now so try and think of anything that he can do to help you.
Aslo ask if you can have two menus, one to keep and one to send to the local restaraunt association.
When shooting the food you will have to dress it up. I don't know that much about it but, using melted butter or non stick spray to make the food glisten is a trick they use. Also any foods which need to be browned may be done with a heat gun, looks like a hair dryer but blows a lot hotter, or maybe a propane torch.
Maybe a search of the net will give you some ideas of what to do to the foods to make them pop.
Good luck on it, I hope he comes thru with some more work for you.
Maybe you could call a city close by and see what other photographers in your area are charging for similar work. Be prepared in advance to give a price quote if another restaraunt calls.
25th of November 2004 (Thu), 17:32
If you like this place, I would have suggested bartering with him. Food vouchers equal to a fair rate for your work. This way, he is paying you, just in a different way. I would shoot pics this way in a heartbeat. You really would be "working for your food".
Anything the owner spends is a tax deductable expense. He is in the business to make money and you should be too. Even if your rate is low, you should establish a rate. If the client saw your work and liked it, it has value.
Never sell yourself short.
26th of November 2004 (Fri), 18:32
Thanks for the advise guys. I am taking it all to heart believe me. My Daddy taught me long ago to NEVER work for free. So, in this case, being a startup and all and my first attempt, I am gonna do the shots for a credit line on all pictures used. Good idea about getting him to let me put out some business cards too. I'll approach him about that.
Are you guys SERIOUS though about this being the kind of project that could rake in $1000? I mean, I am in little old Greenville SC. I don't think there would be many restraints that would go for that kind of charges for photographs!
I could be wrong though.
27th of November 2004 (Sat), 06:42
Not a professional photographer, but I am professional in some other fields, and can't emphasize enough the need for you to not only follow all the other suggestions (what a terrific forum!) but also to begin to compile a professional-looking portfolio of your work beginning NOW.
A copy of the menu and any other publicity brochures which use your photography would certainly be part of such a portfolio, as well as copies of ALL the pictures you take for this shoot. What one restaurant owner / chef wants to use, another might think of as pure hokum, but if you show ALL the pictures you take when you go to speak with others who might be interested in your services, they might see great shots they want you to duplicate for their establishments.
And don't just restrict yourself to the local restuarants -- how hard would it be to drive an hour or two and do the same in other towns/cities? And ANY business establishment is a potential client, whether a wallpaper store, CD store, barbershop.
A well-compiled portfolio will do a lot to help get further business -- many people don't want to chance using a neophyte, so if you know anybody else who has a retail establishment, do some shots of their businesses even if they don't want to use your pictures or don't need new brochures printed, so you can show a wider range of experience and the ability to show different businesses in a good way.
Good luck! and congratulations! But don't ever give your services away again (charging much lower than the going rate for such shoots in your area is almost the same as giving your services away) -- it is hard to raise your prices when word gets around that you charge so little. And many potential clients will wonder why you have to charge so much less -- is it because your work isn't as good? You know it isn't, but sometimes it is hard to convince potential clients.
27th of November 2004 (Sat), 13:47
it is hard to raise your prices when word gets around that you charge so little.
How very true. Let me give you a hypothetical situation.
You do a shoot for Bob's Fine Foods, a restaurant on Main St and charge him but still not what the job is really worth. He is very pleased and mentions your name to the guy who owns the Mexican place down the street. Now Jose' wants you to do a menu photography job for him. Ok so you decide that since he is just in business about a year, you will cut him so slack. You do the food shots, a couple location shots of the building and a few of the staff. He uses the food shots for his new menu. The building shots he wants to use for ads, you know show the atmosphere of the place. Inside the door he has 11x14's hanging of the pictures of the staff. All is good, he pays you $700 for the use of the photos.
Now a month goes by and the pizza joint down the street wants the food shots, bulding shots foran ad and staff shots for it's lobby. So you meet with the guy and price it at $1100. He is shocked because Jose' told him that he paid $700 and now your 50% higher than what Jose' paid. Now what do you do? If you stand your ground chances are your not going to do the job. If you relinquish and charge him $700, that is where your price will be for everyone who is referred by either him or Jose.
I have had people ask me for discounts, my answer is always the same. I estimate the job and price it as cheaply as I can but still make a fair wage for myself and money left over for a profit for the business. Now if you take money away from one of those parts of the equation, somebody loses. Me, I lose pay, the business loses revenue used to cover overhead.
When I price my work it is done without any room for discounting. If you want to offer discounts, add about 12% and then give a 10% discount if they ask for it. If they don't ask, you make a little more towards the bottom line.
1st of December 2004 (Wed), 04:47
All very good advise on pricing and I THINK I have a solution to your scenario IndyJeff.....
"Mr Ben, I am starting out as you well know. A seasoned pro photographer would charge you as much as $1000 for this job. As I am building my portfolio and in need of material and a record of paying jobs, I can offer you a discount of XX% for this one job."
I have learned one thing..... people LOVE to talk about the GREAT Deals they got. Doing it as a discount with a stipulation could give you the chance to tell the Pizza guy that the job you did for Mr. Jeff was a one time discount because you used his material in your own advertising.
In any event, this *IS* a great forum isn't it? You guys are a WEALTH of help and support and MORE Encouragement than even my family has been in years gone past! You are giving me the motivation to move forward with this!!
Thanks to each of you!
2nd of December 2004 (Thu), 09:07
When I was starting out I would sometimes give a new client a discount in order to get started with them or because I thought the job would be a good portfolio piece. I would explain in advance what the charge would normally have been and that the discount was one time only. Also, and very important, when I invoiced the client I would list all services and materials at my regular prices, subtotal them and then in a separate line item in all capital letters state :
"DISCOUNT, FOR SELF-PROMOTIONAL PURPOSES. ONE TIME ONLY" $XXX
or a percentage amount.
This way the client, art director, account executive, etc. could see what a good deal they were getting and I had stated in writing that they could not expect to get the same discount on subsequent jobs
2nd of December 2004 (Thu), 14:04
Skinner that would be a greta way to get the work and still give a discount. Plus as a bonus, you get a SIGNED release being able to use his images in your advertising.
Yes, this as many have said is a great forum. One of the best around. Being able to bounce ideas off members here and get a fix for them before you implement them is priceless. Imagine if Skinner hadn't posted this, did the job and then was getting several local businesses wanting his services. Not knowing the value of his work he charges them $150 and then gives them a cd with the images. He walks away thinking how great this is. Then he finds out he should have been charging $150 to do the shoot regardless if any were used or not, and $100 for each image used in the menu. Poor Skinner would start calculating in his mind how much money he just basically walked away from and well, poor guy might have tried to hang himself from his shower rod.
Now Skinner, you need to take this one step further, get with a printer and find out setup charges etc. Now approach the restaruant owners with the line that, "I can give you a new menu, complete for $X.XX per menu. What we are talking about is an attractive menu with photos of the product, description, pricing, anything else you would like included."
Now the owner is getting a real job done from start to finish. He doesn't have to arrange for printing, getting photos, and then drawing up the whole thing. Skinner does a couple of different versions with different layouts, gets the food descriptions from the chef or owner. Aligns them with the food listings and WHALLA, he doubles his money from the job by providing the total job from start to finish.
13th of December 2004 (Mon), 09:46
Good luck - nice break and I hope all goes well.
Just a quick tip that I got from a guy who is a professional. Shoot food cold, even if it is meant to be hot. That way you will know that they sauce, etc isn't going to change colour, consistency, or other during your shoot. BUT to make it look hot, wet a small towel, place it in the microwave for a short burst and then hide it under/behind the plate. The steam coming off the towel will look like it is coming off the food.
vBulletin® v3.6.12, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.