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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 02 Jan 2013 (Wednesday) 19:48
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Sorry, another 'How much should I charge' but this is a little more specific.

 
memoriesoftomorrow
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Jan 06, 2013 22:00 |  #76

If I were you I'd consider cutting your shoot time down to an hour which will also halve your time in post.

You also really ought to look at making your admin/correspondence time more efficient. You could easily halve the time you are spending on one these shoots.


Peter

  
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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Jan 06, 2013 22:23 as a reply to  @ post 15454534 |  #77

SNIP-List of time/expenses

$71.40/6 = $11.93/hr

And you still haven't figured in all your expenses and are subsidizing it with your other job. So that per-hour rate isn't that accurate.

Thomas, you may not think that our little business models are anything you need to compete with but you forget that artistic talent comes before business savvy.

In your opinion. I know a lot of really successful photographers that aren't all that artistic. From my experience, you need both to be successful.

I did not hire my wedding photographer for his business savvy or big business model, I hired him for his artistic talent.

Their business smarts probably factored into you being able to find them or them being in business for you to book them.

Just as I hope my clients to not pass me by because I am part-time, but hire me because of my ability to capture beautiful memories for their family.

At $150, you aren't putting a stumbling block or reason not to book you in their way. That is a price that is affordable to most people.

My wedding photographer along with many others whom I considered offer a disc of images and an online gallery as part of their package (approximately $3500) - are they not your competition?

Wedding photography business structure and portrait photography business structure are two very different things. They really can't be compared too well. If a portrait client wanted to book me for eight hours for $3500, I would include a disc for it. If they wanted 1 hour for $150, it isn't worth it to include a disk.

My wedding rate is $150/hr at the moment. I have shot only a handful of weddings but prefer to focus on families as that is my passion.

Follow your passion. Find a wedding photographer that hates shooting families and pass off your weddings to them and get them to pass off families to you.

I offer the disc as part of my package but I always make recommendations to my client of what they should print, sizes and professional local and web based labs they should order from (someone commented that I am leaving the difficult part to them but after dealing with clients I only see that they are happy with the freedom and flexibility). I am not just "shoot and burn", there are a lot more steps to it than that. I recognize my clientele, what they want and how they want to use their images.

And you are leaving money on the table and are ultimately an unprofitable business because you have chosen this lower end clientele.


I did a big bridal show this weekend. People there were getting offered 2 photographers, an album and video of their wedding for $800. And they asked me to match this price. If I just wanted to be busy, I could. But I want to be profitable and make a comfortable rate.

I recognize that people would LOVE to pay $800 for two photographers, an album and video. But my price for that is a little over ten times that price.


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Caffrey123
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Jan 06, 2013 23:03 as a reply to  @ Thomas Campbell's post |  #78

And you still haven't figured in all your expenses and are subsidizing it with your other job. So that per-hour rate isn't that accurate. - Yes, I have. In fact, I have included the maximum time and maximum gas. What other things do you think I have not considered?


In your opinion. I know a lot of really successful photographers that aren't all that artistic. From my experience, you need both to be successful. I agree that they need both but as a client I know that I look for artistic talent first. I found my wedding photographer via word of mouth and Facebook.

Their business smarts probably factored into you being able to find them or them being in business for you to book them.Of course it did. If he had been easier to find because of advertising, that wouldn't have mattered to me if his work was mediocre.

At $150, you aren't putting a stumbling block or reason not to book you in their way. That is a price that is affordable to most people.I am the most expensive among at least 10 on base/5 local photographers. I am already setting myself aside by charging $225+ this year. I don't know where or what kind of community you live in but $150 or $225 is not an affordable purchase for everyone when it is an unneeded luxury. The majority of my customers are already officers as many enlisted cannot afford me - if you care to believe that or not.


Wedding photography business structure and portrait photography business structure are two very different things. They really can't be compared too well. If a portrait client wanted to book me for eight hours for $3500, I would include a disc for it. If they wanted 1 hour for $150, it isn't worth it to include a disk. Exactly. So why are you telling me that I am doing it wrong? Our situations and business structures are entirely different. I can afford the time and cost to put 25 edited images on a disc.


Follow your passion. Find a wedding photographer that hates shooting families and pass off your weddings to them and get them to pass off families to you. This is a great idea. I don't offer weddings and I only shoot them if they are very small and intimate. Larger weddings, I would like to pass on.


And you are leaving money on the table and are ultimately an unprofitable business because you have chosen this lower end clientele. I am profitable unless you can find hidden expenses that add up to $70+ a session that apply to my part-time business model. Looking into 2013, I will be taking home at least $130 per session.


I did a big bridal show this weekend. People there were getting offered 2 photographers, an album and video of their wedding for $800. And they asked me to match this price. If I just wanted to be busy, I could. But I want to be profitable and make a comfortable rate. My 2013 rate is comfortable for my lifestyle and part-time business model. I understand it would not be if I had more expenses or if it was my sole income.

I recognize that people would LOVE to pay $800 for two photographers, an album and video. But my price for that is a little over ten times that price.

Memoriesoftomorrow, I factored in the maximum time and cost for everything so my per hour rate would be the minimum I take in. My family sessions are usually closer to 1 hour or 1.5 hours. A lot of that time is spent playing with the children, talking to the parents and walking around the location. It is not constant shooting. Looking at a recent session of mine, I take an average of 200-300 pictures. Many are instant throwaways because children are slobbering,turning too quickly or mum is not looking her best. I cull the images and then edit the best 25-40 individually after applying my own presets.

I can't thank you all enough for keeping this thread going for so long. Whether it seems I have taken your advice or comments in a good or bad way, I appreciate them and it has all been very insightful none the less. I would love if you could spend that much time giving me feedback on my actual work. Any comments or critique is appreciated. I updated my website a little recently but my most recent work can be seen on my Facebook page - http://www.facebook.co​m …3762992064628?r​ef=tn_tnmn (external link)




  
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Caffrey123
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Jan 06, 2013 23:11 |  #79

Sorry, I am hopeless at figuring out this forum!

- I am talking about my failure to multi-quote and use font colour! Whoops!




  
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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Jan 06, 2013 23:52 |  #80

Yes, I have. In fact, I have included the maximum time and maximum gas. What other things do you think I have not considered?

So you aren't going to buy a single piece of gear for 3 years? Just one camera and one lens? First of all, it is really poor business to only have one of each. What happens if one or the other breaks? I've blown out many shutters. You generally don't get much warning.

Or your camera could get caught on something as you take it out of your car as you arrive to a shoot and this happens:

IMAGE: http://distilleryimage10.s3.amazonaws.com/7d446e3a455811e2a1bd22000a9f1361_7.jpg

That happened to me at a bridal a month ago. Bride had paid hundreds for hair and makeup already. Even more to rent the venue. Freak accident and I had three pieces of my $1400 35mm 1.4L. So what did I do? I shot it with my other lenses. Because I brought backups. You just never know how Murphy's Law is going to play out.

Insurance?
Paying for business insurance on your vehicle?
Are you continuing your education as a photographer? Workshops? Conferences? One-on-One mentoring? Imaging and WPPI are great opportunities to grow as a photographer. They also have business classes ;)

Exactly. So why are you telling me that I am doing it wrong? Our situations and business structures are entirely different. I can afford the time and cost to put 25 edited images on a disc.

Even by your own calculations, you are making just over $10/hr. $10/hr isn't enough for me to be away from my daughter and wife. I'd rather charge more, work less and spend more time with my family.

I would love if you could spend that much time giving me feedback on my actual work.

I try not to look at people's work on here so I can more objectively give business advice. There are really good forums for critiques of different kinds.


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Jan 07, 2013 00:07 as a reply to  @ Thomas Campbell's post |  #81

I explained in a comment a few pages back that I am lucky in that I have a great 3 year warranty plan (tried and tested already when my 50mm started to malfunction and they sent me a new one the next day) and a reliable camera rental store very close by. I am not under the same pressure as a wedding photographer. If the absolute worst came to worst and something broke on the way to a session, I could reschedule with my clients for the next day. This may not seem the smartest business move to some but right now and for the past year it has worked well enough for me that I don't need to buy a backup. In regards to the handful of weddings I shot in the past; I rented backup equipment for the day.

I agree that $10-$11/hr is not enough for someone who is full-time and/or the main bread winner. This does not apply to me. I would never accept $10/hr in my other career but my home-based, part-time business is completely different.




  
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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jan 07, 2013 00:12 |  #82

Caffrey123 wrote in post #15454992 (external link)
I agree that $10-$11/hr is not enough for someone who is full-time and/or the main bread winner. This does not apply to me. I would never accept $10/hr in my other career but my home-based, part-time business is completely different.

At the end of the day you are getting paid and making a profit doing something you love doing. Looking at in another way you are getting paid to improve your photography skills. Earning an extra income I personally can't fault that.


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Allen ­ K
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Jan 07, 2013 00:15 |  #83

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #15455005 (external link)
At the end of the day you are getting paid and making a profit doing something you love doing. Looking at in another way you are getting paid to improve your photography skills. Earning an extra income I personally can't fault that.

Exactly!


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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Jan 07, 2013 01:05 |  #84

I explained in a comment a few pages back that I am lucky in that I have a great 3 year warranty plan (tried and tested already when my 50mm started to malfunction and they sent me a new one the next day) and a reliable camera rental store very close by.

Happened to me for a portrait session about 15 minutes before the session was about to start. Hundreds of dollars had been spent to make this session happen right then.

If the absolute worst came to worst and something broke on the way to a session, I could reschedule with my clients for the next day.

The venue had to be rented. The client had had professional hair and makeup done. She had used a vacation day to be there (it was like 3pm on a Wednesday.)

Do you really want to have the conversation "Oh yeah, just take tomorrow off, and resked your hair and makeup for tomorrow, too. I broke my only lens!" You would flat out look like an idiot.

This may not seem the smartest business move to some but right now and for the past year it has worked well enough for me that I don't need to buy a backup.

I'm sorry, but this is just a reckless and willfully stupid decision. There really isn't another way to say that.

I agree that $10-$11/hr is not enough for someone who is full-time and/or the main bread winner. This does not apply to me. I would never accept $10/hr in my other career but my home-based, part-time business is completely different.

The business isn't different. I pay myself for shooting. You should as well. It is a good business practice.

If I had a full time job and did this on the side, I would want a lot more than $10.hr to cut into my recreation/family time. Subsidizing your photography business with your regular job isn't really a good excuse to ignore good business practices.

Go take a look at Beth Forester. I listened to her speak at WPPI last year and she was excellent. She lives in this tiny little rural town in West Virginia and only shoots seniors. Go look at her [Stunning] work and her business. She makes absolutely HUGE money, and I doubt her clients are making much more than your average O1. West Virginia isn't exactly a big money area.


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Caffrey123
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Jan 07, 2013 01:34 as a reply to  @ Thomas Campbell's post |  #85

You are a piece of work. I could say that the sky is blue and you would have something negative to say about it.

I want to take your advice but so often you jump on little details that don't apply to me. I never use make up artists, models or rent venues. My decision to not have a back up at the moment is the situation I am in and am happy to stay in for the moment. Ideally, yes, I would have a better back up plan than my warranty or renting but I have other expenses that come first.

I am not responding anymore as I feel I am wasting my time now. I have been given some really great advice but do not think being belittled is very fun. We all start somewhere and I am doing the best for my current situation.




  
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Jan 07, 2013 01:35 |  #86

Caffrey123 wrote in post #15454992 (external link)
I would never accept $10/hr in my other career but my home-based, part-time business is completely different.

This is the key.
If you want your business to grow to the point that it becomes your full time job one day, then you need to consider the blunt, but accurate, advice you have received.

If you are happy for it to remain a part-time side business while you earn a living in another career, then keep doing what you are doing. There is nothing wrong with having an enjoyable and profitable hobby!


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Jan 07, 2013 01:49 |  #87

Potisdad, thank you. This is something I am completely aware of. I have mentioned several times that I am not looking to make this a full time career for the next 1.5 years at the very least. I have a full time job which I love for a nonprofit I am passionate about. Were I to go full time or aim for that in the near future, I would be taking that advice or I would already be doing what was suggested.




  
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Jan 07, 2013 01:56 |  #88

Y'all. Calm down. There are a lot of great points in this thread but nobody here was gifted a camera and magically started charging $4500 for commercial gigs.

OP: keep doing what you are doing, just raise your prices a bit

Potisdad wrote in post #15455208 (external link)
This is the key.
If you want your business to grow to the point that it becomes your full time job one day, then you need to consider the blunt, but accurate, advice you have received.

If you are happy for it to remain a part-time side business while you earn a living in another career, then keep doing what you are doing. There is nothing wrong with having an enjoyable and profitable hobby!

+1


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glumpy
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Jan 07, 2013 02:55 |  #89
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Caffrey123 wrote in post #15454487 (external link)
Approximate travel costs to each session - 0.5 miles - 40 miles round trip - $0.27 to $20
(including gas, car depreciation etc 2012 CA rate is 0.55. Any round trip longer than 40 miles I charge this rate to the customer. The majority of my sessions are within 1-5 miles away from me)

Equipment - I am not sure how to calculate the depreciation or use of equipment per session. My current equipment costs are $1600 (lens & camera). So let's say I upgrade my equipment in 3 years, with weeks ranging from 1 session - 6 sessions, let's say the approximate is 2 sessions a week if going by last years rates (104 sessions a year, 312 session in 3 years) - $1600/312 = $5 - So, $5 per session on lens and camera body

Disc - $0.25 per session

Personalized CD label including ink & label - $0.30 per session

Custom stitched CD sleeves - $3

Thank you notes - $0.10

TOTAL $78.60

TAKING HOME $71.40

TIME SPENT -

Client inquiry and correspondence - 30 minutes
Shoot - 2 hours
Editing time using Lightroom - 3 hours
Client pick up or drop off + more correspondence - 30 minute
TOTAL - 6 HOURS

$71.40/6 = $11.93/hr

I purchased a domain name and web space a long time before I started my photography business.

TAKING HOME $71.40

So, in actual fact you are not even taking home HALF of $450 a week.
Exactly what I said all along. :rolleyes:

What have you forgotten as expenses?

Well you said you had public liability insurance so there is what I guess is going to be $1000 a year or close enough to an Extra $10 per session.
If you don't have it, More fool you.

What about sickness and accident insurance? If something happens like twist your ankle , break your leg or someone runs into your vehicle when travelling to or from a job and you can't work, that won't be covered by your day time employers insurance.

Is your business registered?
I don't know if you have to or not where you are but if you do, you have to count that. There is a lot you don't accept, I don't accept business trading Illegally so if you want to assert you have a business, then clearly you have to have Business registration if required.

Web costs have to be calculated because unlike long term assets you may have already had like furniture, they are recurring so you will have to pay the domain costs in 2 years and the hosting costs annually or monthly so there is some more right there.

In the real world you would also figure in your time spent on updating your site etc because you wouldn't have a site to maintain if you didn't have a business.

So there are just some real basic things that would apply to your home business that makes your figures unrealistic for a start to those of us whom work to universal definitions of business expenses.

The thing that really makes me laugh is that you are so insistent and determined that you have so little costs, you are costing yourself probably more than you are making in deductions on your tax by not factoring them in! :lol:

My business costs me squillions a year, just ask my accountant.
I deduct every pen, ream of paper, a percentage of electricity and water bills, ( Oh yes, did I mention that I work from home as well? :rolleyes:) every bit of computer equipment, vehicle expense on my car being fuel, rego, insurance ( 84% as calculated Biz usage) and some of my wifes when she gets things for me, write off our phones both mobile and a percentage of home line and.... I am even able to write off a percentage of the cost of maintaining my swimming pool because I use it occasionally for shoots and the the food and vet bills for my Rottweiler and Sheppard as they are security for the place.

Yep, my accountant figures in every cost possible so at the end of the year, my profit and tax is as low as we can possibly get it. Standard practice for any business part time or otherwise.

And yes, I get you are a part time business that works for a non profit ( as you keep mentioning that as if there is some significance) but as a part time business you can still claim expenses. That why denying them so staunchly makes no sense at all.

Real business's claim expenses ( providing they are paying taxes on their part time income)
People doing a hobby don't.

But, I'm not arguing, that requires a level f interest in the matter I simply don't posses.


From RDKirk: First, let me check the forum heading...yes, it does say "Business of Photography" and not "Hobby of Photography." Okay. So we're talking about making money, not about hobbies. By "business" I am presuming activities that pay expenses and produce a profit over the long term.

  
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Caffrey123
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Jan 07, 2013 03:02 as a reply to  @ glumpy's post |  #90

When I said $450, that was a projection for next year were I to charge $225-$250 a session. I projected 3 sessions a week based on booking made already and how busy I was last year. Taking home approximately $150 per session at 3 sessions a week is $450.

Above, my more detailed outline is based on $150 sessions, twice a week.

If you are going to waste so much time going on and on about things that do not apply to me; read what was have actually written and explained about my business, my life and set up.




  
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Sorry, another 'How much should I charge' but this is a little more specific.
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