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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography
Thread started 14 Sep 2013 (Saturday) 14:21
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Product Photography Pricing? How much do I charge?

 
bikfoto
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Sep 14, 2013 14:21 |  #1

I was approached to take product photography shots (clothing line). I'm wondering what is the average charge these days? Do I charge per photograph, per look, or per hour?

From what I've seen, $15 per photo seems to be average, but I'm wondering if that changed.

Looking for suggestions.


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Foodguy
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Sep 14, 2013 15:39 |  #2

$15? Wow... It's been years since I've done this kind of work, but I was approached by a national mail order catalog business to shoot their food items for a Christmas catalog back in the mid 90's. One thing led to another and we started shooting a bunch of other things for them as well, including lots of lay down flat clothing. We negotiated a price per photo (inclusive of everything) that was in the vicinity of $350.00. Some pictures went quickly while others took longer, but our goal was about 10 a day.

I guess things have changed.


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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pyrojim
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Sep 14, 2013 17:41 as a reply to Foodguy's post |  #3

Wow $15 a photo... I suspect the subset of information you have looked at this far is generally low end product photography. At $15 per shot, I suppose that would be barely ok, if you didn't have to factor in the super lengthy set up time for each shot.

I can't even set up my lighting in 30 minutes. Let alone my lighting AND camera.


Just to troll a little bit, I hear food guy still uses phosphor powder for his flash. Hand mixed. And I saw your thread over at getdpi looks like its almost time to step up to a modern setup. :p you know, something with a screen and buttons?


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Flores
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TEXAS
Sep 14, 2013 17:45 |  #4

i've seen some guys setup to do catalog shots... if the 3 of them aren't doing 20-30 an hour, they aren't making money...

of course, everything the shoot is small, and fits in their preset setup, so it's an assembly line for product photography...




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Foodguy
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Sep 14, 2013 17:50 |  #5

pyrojim wrote in post #16296549external link
I hear food guy still uses phosphor powder for his flash. Hand mixed. And I saw your thread over at getdpi looks like its almost time to step up to a modern setup. :p you know, something with a screen and buttons?

I love the smell of phosphor powder in the morning. Reminds me of...

...something, but I'm too old to remember.

<if it ain't broke...> :lol:


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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bikfoto
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Alexander the Wannabe
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Sep 15, 2013 21:56 |  #6

pyrojim wrote in post #16296549external link
Wow $15 a photo... I suspect the subset of information you have looked at this far is generally low end product photography. At $15 per shot, I suppose that would be barely ok, if you didn't have to factor in the super lengthy set up time for each shot.

I can't even set up my lighting in 30 minutes. Let alone my lighting AND camera.


Just to troll a little bit, I hear food guy still uses phosphor powder for his flash. Hand mixed. And I saw your thread over at getdpi looks like its almost time to step up to a modern setup. :p you know, something with a screen and buttons?


The client wants to put his products on the website. It would be a clothing type of website. No large prints or anything. Just the product photography for the website. I suspect I can quickly scare them away with a $5,000 fee for one day shoot. That's why I was wondering if it's common to charge per photograph or per look or even per my day of shooting.


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Nightstalker
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Sep 16, 2013 01:14 |  #7

Check out what other product photographers in your area are charging :

http://www.productphot​ographylosangeles.com/​photography-pricing.htmlexternal link

http://www.robgreer.co​m ...hotographer-pricing.shtmlexternal link


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bradttu
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Sep 16, 2013 09:08 as a reply to Nightstalker's post |  #8

I charge $150/hr for all commercial photography, regardless of intended use.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Sep 16, 2013 09:52 as a reply to bradttu's post |  #9

to borrow/paraphrase a phrase from another board member, anyone can illuminate a subject, not everyone can light a subject.

if all you are doing is bouncing a flash off the ceiling onto a table, you might be able to do okay with 15 bucks an image. I can see a scenario where you could do an image every minute or two. If you just plan on handing over jpgs without any sort of color correction, you'd be doing well, at least financially. However, I can't imagine it would be something to put in your portfolio.


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JacobPhoto
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Sep 16, 2013 14:27 |  #10

Are you shooting them posed with people? on a mannequin? Flat on the table?

Will you have an assistant to help you with the staging and/or lighting?

How long do you expect to setup each image? How many angles do you need of each shirt?

Is the fee per frame shot? per image supplied to the client? or per image used? Do you understand how these differ?

If the client says you missed a shot and asks you to re-shoot 1 image, do they only have to pay you $15?


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rdgphoto2010
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Oct 24, 2013 02:16 |  #11

I have recently been asked to photograph 300 campsites in an RV park for them to use the images on their virtual website. I am a semi-professional (meaning I have been paid for different projects) but I don't make a living with my photography.

My question is: How much would I charge for this type of work. I've previously only shot sports and portraits. They just want eye level images of each site so when viewed on their website a person can see what the surrounding area is and how big the site is. There would be no printing involved nor editing I doubt either. These images would be put on disc only for them. My time would involve just getting the right angle for each site.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.




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Alveric
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Oct 24, 2013 02:35 |  #12

bikfoto, there are three kinds of product photography:

1. Drop & Shoot: your standard place-on-table, light and shoot job. Assembly-line style, if you will. One product after another, lighting doesn't really change, you just make minor adjustments when you change the subject. Think of a bottle of perfume on a light table: record shot. No frills.

2. Beauty shot: still life mechanics. You have to arrange the subject so as to stop, even stun, the viewer. Props might or might not be needed. Creative arrangements are the order of the day. Think of same bottle of perfume resting on a rock with a forest or beach as background, light shining from above giving it an aethereal quality.

3. Illustrative photographs: where you're selling the need for the product. The product is usually not even in the photo (although the designer might drop it in as a superimposed layer in the final ad). Think of a beautiful woman in an autumn afternoon, leaning on a railing with a yearning look in her eyes.

As you can imagine, type 1 is the cheapest and type 3 the most expensive. Which kind are you doing?

High volume photography is of the first kind, and unless your client has deep pockets, you'll be looking at charging in the tens of dollars. Adjust as per the number of images, and charge a set up fee per set to be built. Say, $50 as set-up fee and $30 for 5 shots, then start lowering as the number of products increase, say $27 for up to 10, $23 for up to 20, $20 for more than 20. This is just an example: if you're in a metro area you can even charge $100 per product; but in a small city, if you go past $50 per pic they'll just find someone else.

$15 is too low, BTW, unless you're in a hamlet.

If you're doing type 2, then the whole game changes, as it can take you several hours to construct the set and get the shot. These are the jobs for which you charge a day rate.


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Alveric
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Oct 24, 2013 02:40 |  #13

rdgphoto2010 wrote in post #16394820external link
I have recently been asked to photograph 300 campsites in an RV park for them to use the images on their virtual website. I am a semi-professional (meaning I have been paid for different projects) but I don't make a living with my photography.

My question is: How much would I charge for this type of work. I've previously only shot sports and portraits. They just want eye level images of each site so when viewed on their website a person can see what the surrounding area is and how big the site is. There would be no printing involved nor editing I doubt either. These images would be put on disc only for them. My time would involve just getting the right angle for each site.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sum up your expenses and add a mark-up that you consider fair according to their budget (you did ask them what their budget is, right?). Be sure to factor in not only the hours you'll spend shooting, but also the post-processing time. You can either charge for post-processing separately, or include it in your 'creative fee'.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

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PhotosGuy
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Oct 24, 2013 09:22 |  #14

rdgphoto2010 wrote in post #16394820external link
I have recently been asked to photograph 300 campsites in an RV park for them to use the images on their virtual website. I am a semi-professional (meaning I have been paid for different projects) but I don't make a living with my photography.

My question is: How much would I charge for this type of work. I've previously only shot sports and portraits. They just want eye level images of each site so when viewed on their website a person can see what the surrounding area is and how big the site is. There would be no printing involved nor editing I doubt either. These images would be put on disc only for them. My time would involve just getting the right angle for each site.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

From post #13: "(you did ask them what their budget is, right?)" Even at $5 a shot they're looking at $1,500 & I suspect that they're not going to pay that?

[QUOTE=rdgphoto2010]
"nor editing I doubt either." Shouldn't you know before you quote the job?


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greyswan
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Ontario Canada
Oct 26, 2013 10:29 |  #15

Here is a calculator for freelancers that might be useful: http://freelanceswitch​.com/rates/external link
(sorry, not sure how to put a link in. Just search FreelanceSwitch Hourly Rate calculator.

Gives an accurate view of what you need to make, and you can figure in regional differences in prices.

Hope it helps.
Chris.


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