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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 23 Jul 2012 (Monday) 20:50
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CHARGING: How/when?

 
tbsguy18
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Jul 23, 2012 20:50 |  #1

I'm sure this topic has already been discussed, but the 3G where I'm at right now is slow and I don't feel like going thru page after page...

Anyway, I'm at the point where I would like to move to the next step with my photography. Right now, its an extreme hobby of mine that I've gotten pretty good at, and it would be nice to make a few bucks every now and then. I dont plan on replacing it as my career, but some extra cash never hurts. I've slowly been building up a portfolio, mostly my kid, some friends kids, random people in the area that have seen my ad that I put up, etc...portraits mostly. Word of my mouth has really helped in building up a portfolio (a benefit of living in a small town).

I mostly have done all these pictures for free, for the sake of building a portfolio, but I'm wondering: Whats the best way to make the transition into getting paid? When should I?

Basically, I'm worried about getting the reputation as the "free photo guy" and then not being able to make some money. What is the best way to take it to the next step?

So any advice would be greatly appreciate. Thanks in advance!


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GerryDavid
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Jul 23, 2012 22:04 |  #2

If you take pictures that people are willing to pay for, then charge. :) and make sure it covers your time and expenses. Ive seen to many photographers loose money even though they are "charging". $50 for a cd full of processed images isnt worth the $50. :)


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Stefan ­ Zabel
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Jul 24, 2012 11:49 |  #3

Or you could go with a shoot fee of $50-$150 and then draw up a price list all your products on top of that. It's nice to have the fee, because you can always waive it so people feel they are getting a deal, which makes paying for products more palatable.

I wouldn't waive the fee as a default, but it's nice to do this for friends say who are used to getting everything for free. You can also offer a free shoot as a prize at fundraising events/charity auctions/school fairs and so on. Clients get the shoot for free, but you still get paid for the DVD, frames, prints...


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GerryDavid
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Jul 24, 2012 12:01 |  #4

The reason I recommended not charging for time on this one is because he doesnt know if he can deliver. If he doesnt get anything useable and they spent $200 they may get upset and spread negative news about him. Wheras if he didnt charge and their not out anything than a bit of time they may be more understanding. :)

on a side note, a cheap way to get some lighting is to buy some used vivitar 285hv's for around $50 each, get some softwhite umbrella's for $10 each and a few stands to put the flashes on. a set of 4 would be $240 plus the stands that can be had cheap at the dollar store if you have to. good enough until you can replace them with strobes. I used this setup for ages until the cycling time drove me crazy and I finally upgraded. plus vivitars dont last long with me it would seem :D


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tbsguy18
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Jul 24, 2012 12:47 |  #5

Stefan Zabel wrote in post #14762555 (external link)
Or you could go with a shoot fee of $50-$150 and then draw up a price list all your products on top of that. It's nice to have the fee, because you can always waive it so people feel they are getting a deal, which makes paying for products more palatable.

I wouldn't waive the fee as a default, but it's nice to do this for friends say who are used to getting everything for free. You can also offer a free shoot as a prize at fundraising events/charity auctions/school fairs and so on. Clients get the shoot for free, but you still get paid for the DVD, frames, prints...

That sounds like a pretty good idea actually. Aside from the pictures, I've done for my family, I tell everyone else that I'm doing it for free now just to build up a portfolio. So I'm hoping that will benefit me when I actually start charging, and won't scare people off or something.

As far as getting everything printed up, where do you recommend? And what do you usually charge people for prints, DVD's, etc...?


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FerozeK
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Jul 24, 2012 13:21 |  #6

Dont tell them you doing it for free to build a portfolio. Explain that you shooting currently using the time for prints/cd method. Or tell them its a hobby and you just love taking photo's. It will be hard to get out of the free photo guy rep at a later stage

I always make sure I get something in exchange, even if its help with my car or a free meal, I find I get less complaints that way. I agree with selling the prints and stuff, eventually someone is gonna ask you to shoot a wedding and its going to cost you to shoot them.....




  
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tbsguy18
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Jul 24, 2012 13:28 |  #7

FerozeK wrote in post #14762950 (external link)
I always make sure I get something in exchange, even if its help with my car or a free meal

Its funny that you say that, because I have actually gotten something out of it every time lol. I had my alternator replace, been taken to lunch, got a $50 iTunes gift card...
So I guess I haven't exactly done it for "free", but it wasn't a monetary gain on my part. Although, I would have paid for all that stuff out of my own pocket anyway....hmmm


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FerozeK
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Jul 24, 2012 13:49 |  #8

I didnt invent the barter system, but it works. Especially these days when times are tough. If you did it for money, and you were gonna buy a part for your car and you got it exchange for a few photos, its kinda the same thing.

I could fix the old models, I could understand what went wrong with my 89 model bmw, and fix it, but these newer cars just trip me up.....

Why not work for amazon vouchers and then you can buy the gear you need?




  
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tbsguy18
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Jul 24, 2012 13:57 |  #9

Amazon gift cards would be good!

In my 27 years here on earth, I've noticed that people are more comfortable giving you goods and services then they are about handing you money. But if I can use their services, why not!


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GerryDavid
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Jul 24, 2012 13:59 |  #10

woudlnt an amazon voucher be the same as cash? they have to go out and buy it unless they had it already.

I think bartering is more for trading things you already have and no longer need? :) Like taking someone's portrait in exchange for their nice desk, that is now a prop. :D


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FerozeK
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Jul 24, 2012 14:07 |  #11

Ya, but its a mental thing, they not paying cash so they don't feel like they paying you, and you not asking for cash so you not feeling like you asking for money, semantics I know, but it works.

My idea of bartering is I have something you want, you have something I want, lets exchange, for everything else there's ebay.

I've done design work for local businesses, both of us were cash strapped, so I'd design her business cards or flyers for a contact lens test, it might seem a bit odd, but it works for me.




  
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tbsguy18
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Jul 24, 2012 14:09 |  #12

Yea, it is the same as cash. Same as my iTunes gift card...
Thats what I find so weird about it. People will buy this stuff, and hand it over to me, but giving me actual currency seems to be a problem.
Like the lady that took me to lunch, I told her "you don't have to take me to lunch, just give me like $15 for some gas"...and she was like "No, I don't mind! I'll pay for your lunch!"
My lunch ended up costing more then $15...Idk


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GerryDavid
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Jul 24, 2012 14:15 |  #13

Its the same as cash? good luck using an itunes gift card to put a payment towards that new lens. :)

If its something you already use then maybe. :)


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FerozeK
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Jul 24, 2012 14:30 |  #14

Well from now on stick with amazon vouchers, I dont know if B&H does them, but it would be perfect for you. You learning to deal with clients so its not the client that has problems paying, its you that cant ask for it. A successful photography business has nothing to do with photographic skills and all to do with business skills. The ability to ask for money will come, or you could just do a basic business skills course




  
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tbsguy18
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Jul 24, 2012 14:39 |  #15

GerryDavid wrote in post #14763251 (external link)
Its the same as cash? good luck using an itunes gift card to put a payment towards that new lens. :)

If its something you already use then maybe. :)

Ok, I guess there are some exceptions to this lol. No, an iTunes gift card won't buy my new lens, but like you said, it's something I already use. But in a way, it did save me $50 that I was gonna spend on music anyway. So I guess that can go to a new lens :)

I do see your point though. At some point, the line has to be drawn.
So far I have no complaints because it has worked out to my favor, but I know that wont always be the case.


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