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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.

 
Caffrey123
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Jan 07, 2013 03:15 |  #91

I am proud of the work I do full time. It is significant as I believe I would have completely different feelings about going full time were I to work with a company without a worthy cause. I'm not trying to come across as special, it was just part of my reasoning which I believe to be significant.

Many purchases I make are write offs but clearly not as many as there could be. I never denied that fact.




  
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Jan 07, 2013 03:45 |  #92
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Caffrey123 wrote in post #15455206 (external link)
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.

I'm sorry to say , the biggest piece of work here as you put it is yourself.

I have sat back and watched your replies to other people and honestly, your comments and hypocrisy has just got more and more unbelievable, non nonsensical and downright laughable.
You have thanked everyone who has said what you want to hear and apart from a superficial comment, have pretty much berated any advise or comment you didn't.
I don't know what you are like in real life but here you come across as a very immature and close minded person.

The ironys and hypocracys that you have stated are significant. You have gone from never wanting to do photography as a business from ever to 4 years to now 1.5. You have gone from claiming you were making $450 a week to admitting it's not even half that.

Making a statement that you can't afford backup equipment because you have other expenses and can't afford it when this whole thread has been filled with people telling you your prices are too low and you need to charge more is ironic beyond belief.

After all you have been told, the fact you still don't get it and want to stick to what amounts to garbage about not charging more just on it;s own renders this entire thread a complete waste of anyones time. IMHO You came here with one intention and that was not to get feedback to consider in setting your pricing structure but to have your ego stroked. The only advise that you have seemed not to rubbish is that which agreed with your intentions and position right from the start.

When you make statements that you would never work your full time job for what you get for your part time job, that really shows that you are beyond help. You will just have to figure it out for yourself.

And while i'm telling you a few home truths, I'll give you one more about your work you keep saying you want comment on.

I think you have a great eye and a lot of potential talent, especially with your kids work.
You can see what you want in your minds eye, you can clearly get into the kids heads and get them onside and build a rapport with them and the fact you are doing what you are with crap kit gear only adds to the significance of your talent.

Anyone can take snapshots but few people have the eye as you do. There is a hell of a difference in skill, talent and mindset between people that make a recording and people that can make a piece of art as a lot of your work is.

Your wedding, family and other work is not bad but has no where near the mood, feeling and general ability to suck the viewer right in as your Kids work which is clearly outstanding. I shoot Thousands of kids a week and if there is something I rather look at anything else of it's pics of bloody kids. The fact someone you no doubt consider a to be a bastard like me thinks you have a real and outstanding talent in this is something you can take as a well earned and sincere compliment.

I don't have anywhere near your talent but if I did, I sure as hell wouldn't be insulting that talent and skill by pricing myself so low.
I get the impression a lot of your excuses ( and sorry, but that's exactly what they are) is a justification to carry on what you are doing because you are sared that raising your prices will mean less opportunity for you to do what you enjoy so much and gives you the sense of self worth and satisfaction it does.

It's a pitty that you don't realise that if you opened your mind this could be your full time career easily and also give you the satisfaction of what the profits of that talent could bring to you and possibly your future family.

It seems like most of us you have worries and stresses over money. Think for a minute what pretty much being able to buy whatever you wanted could mean to you.
That what we are really talking about here. and if you are not a material person, You could also afford to help out the causes you also seem to be concerned about a whole lot more than you are now.

I have come from the poor house to a significant income inside of 18 months and I can tell you, having the money to remove all your financial stresses and just go out to dinner whenever and where ever you please beat's the crap out of having to buy the cheap ass coffee you don't like at the supermarket so you don't blow the weekly budget.
Essentially, thats what people have been trying to help you achieve with this entire thread.

I see a real talent in your work but I also see someone who is too stubborn and pig headed to make the most of the skills and talents they have. That seems like a real shame to me. You could be an outstanding and hugely successful photographer but no matter how much you or other might argue different, talent is not enough.
Unless you open you mind and stop arguing with anything that doesn't add up with what you have already decided, You are going to be playing tiddly winks and wasting your talents forever.

I know if I could do what you can, I'd be dam pleased and I sure as hell wouldn't be arguing as to why I should be only charging $200 for a shoot.
I'd be starting at $2k and I WOULD still have all the work I wanted to handle.

Anyway, if you are happy with what you are doing , there is a lot to be said for being able to sleep happy at night and it takes more than money to get you that peace.

Good luck with it.

/Rant.


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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Jan 07, 2013 07:10 |  #93

Thomas Campbell wrote in post #15437963 (external link)
As a bonus, you are hurting all the photographers in your market by undercutting them. In return, you will get to see the market rate for photographers go down in your area, limiting your future earning potential.

Thomas Campbell wrote in post #15437963 (external link)
You aren't threatening anyone. There are thousands more just like you.

So which comment is the reality of life?

Wayne


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Jan 07, 2013 07:29 |  #94

Caffrey123 wrote in post #15455334 (external link)
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.

Pricing aside you have one thing correct and that is digital delivery, in the old days it was produce and sell and up-sell prints and store the negatives, but now-a-days excepting some weddings all most short attention span customers want and will migrate to is the photographer who can deliver instant gratification and that is best served by digital delivery and supplemented by a back sell of prints and other associated services.

There was a time in the not so distant past where I might tell a customer “we don’t do that” but times have changed and now the only thing I will tell a customer is “yea we can do that.”

While that may not be an immediately profitable statement to make, I will in the end turn a profit one way or the other…

Wayne


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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Jan 07, 2013 08:17 |  #95

Caffrey123 wrote in post #15455206 (external link)
You are a piece of work. I could say that the sky is blue and you would have something negative to say about it.


Unlike you, I am actually being real here based on a decade of experience in the photography industry. You are a child holding their hands over their ears screaming LALALALALALALA.

I want to take your advice but so often you jump on little details that don't apply to me.

You willfully ignore details that apply to all photographers. You can choose not to have insurance, but I wouldn't want to be in your shoes when something bad happens.

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.

Guess what. I don't use makeup artists, models or rent venues, either. But sometimes, clients really want to look good for their photos and decide to do everything they can to create a lasting heirloom for themselves and their family. And that does apply to you. You just don't know what your clients have gone through to book and make a session happen and by not having any true backup plan other than Geek Squad, you are being decidedly unprofessional.

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.

Why ask for advice if you are already doing the best thing?

Pricing aside you have one thing correct and that is digital delivery, in the old days it was produce and sell and up-sell prints and store the negatives, but now-a-days excepting some weddings all most short attention span customers want and will migrate to is the photographer who can deliver instant gratification and that is best served by digital delivery and supplemented by a back sell of prints and other associated services.

There was a time in the not so distant past where I might tell a customer “we don’t do that” but times have changed and now the only thing I will tell a customer is “yea we can do that.”

While that may not be an immediately profitable statement to make, I will in the end turn a profit one way or the other…

While it is true that you can be profitable delivering digital images for portrait sessions, you can't be profitable with an accurate accounting of your expenses at the rates she is charging.


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Jan 07, 2013 08:37 |  #96

Thomas Campbell wrote in post #15455916 (external link)
While it is true that you can be profitable delivering digital images for portrait sessions, you can't be profitable with an accurate accounting of your expenses at the rates she is charging.

That depends on how the business is being run and the long term goals for it, if the business is run out of a home under the table and not reporting or paying taxes it can be run profitably at rates less then 50% of those charged by reporting business’s.

And as a person who has run a few business’s I can tell you factually there is a whole lot of under the table mom and pop’s out there and some of them are doing quite well and the reason they never get caught is there is no forward reporting, unless they do something that generates a 1099 they remain under the IRS’s RADAR.

About the only time they hit a wall is when they try to expand and then the reality of reporting, licensing and red tape comes into play.

Wayne


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Jan 07, 2013 08:39 |  #97

Channel One wrote in post #15455978 (external link)
That depends on how the business is being run and the long term goals for it, if the business is run out of a home under the table and not reporting or paying taxes it can be run profitably at rates less then 50% of those charged by reporting business’s.

And as a person who has run a few business’s I can tell you factually there is a whole lot of under the table mom and pop’s out there and some of them are doing quite well and the reason they never get caught is there is no forward reporting, unless they do something that generates a 1099 they remain under the IRS’s RADAR.

About the only time they hit a wall is when they try to expand and then the reality of reporting, licensing and red tape comes into play.

Wayne


This is true. Sadly, there are a lot of crooks out there.

Here in Texas, the state comptroller is VERY happy about hearing about businesses that operate under the table and generally send a little heads up to the IRS after they have dealt out their wrath.


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Jan 07, 2013 08:45 |  #98

Since you asked for some some critique on your work/website, I'm going to mention a few things I noticed. Of course, it's hard to give a detailed critique on all your pictures so it's going to be very general.

1) A good portion (+1/3) of your photos are soft/out of focus. I'm big on this. If I notice a picture that doesn't have the right focus, it's totally throws me off. Although most non-photographers can't tell, it doesn't give us an excuse to have out of focus photos. If you want to know which specific ones on your site, let me know. There's a bunch under "Little Rascals".

2) A lot of your photos are composed with the subject right in the center. You might want to try to improve on your compositions and be more daring.

3) I think you should add a picture of yourself in "About".

I think you do good work overall. Just some improvements here and there.

I've been following the thread and the topic of equipment has been brought up several times. I don't think it's very wise or practical to have 1 camera and 1 lens that your business relies on. You had mentioned that there's a local shop and you have a warranty and all, but to only have a 50mm and one camera (crop sensor I'm assuming) would totally limit the looks of your pictures. And as others have mentioned, if either your lens or body goes funny on you, that's just more cost on your part that can be avoided if you just invested in a back-up.

Just my two cents. Take it for what it's worth.


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Jan 07, 2013 08:50 |  #99

Thomas Campbell wrote in post #15455985 (external link)
Here in Texas, the state comptroller is VERY happy about hearing about businesses that operate under the table and generally send a little heads up to the IRS after they have dealt out their wrath.

Yea but for that to happen someone has to drop a dime on them and that makes for bad karma. Furthermore and personally with the way the economy is now a days I could not do that to a person who is at least off their butt trying to make a buck semi-legally, you know it’s only photography it's not like they are out there peddling drugs of flesh.

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Jan 07, 2013 09:03 |  #100

Channel One wrote in post #15456015 (external link)
Yea but for that to happen someone has to drop a dime on them and that makes for bad karma. Furthermore and personally with the way the economy is now a days I could not do that to a person who is at least off their butt trying to make a buck semi-legally, you know it’s only photography it's not like they are out there peddling drugs of flesh.

Wayne

Sometimes. The Comptroller has agents that show up at different trade shows and verifies people's name and sales tax ID.

We had a big bridal show in Houston (One of the biggest in the country) and there was a photographer here that had operated illegally for years and they were busted in front of potential customers by the agents that come to it. They are in line for thousands of dollars worth of fines unless they cut some type of deal.

I can't verify it, but I have heard reports of people getting busted due to their Facebook Fan Page and FB ads/Google ads.


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Jan 07, 2013 10:08 |  #101

Thomas Campbell wrote in post #15456067 (external link)
Sometimes. The Comptroller has agents that show up at different trade shows and verifies people's name and sales tax ID.

That sounds like the dummies down here who setup booths at gun shows minus an FFL only to have a couple of BATF UC's stop by to purchase a few guns, for cash, without paperwork, and then the unlicensed dealer ends up busted.

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Jan 07, 2013 10:13 |  #102

Channel One wrote in post #15456015 (external link)
Yea but for that to happen someone has to drop a dime on them and that makes for bad karma. Furthermore and personally with the way the economy is now a days I could not do that to a person who is at least off their butt trying to make a buck semi-legally, you know it’s only photography it's not like they are out there peddling drugs of flesh.

Wayne

I don't see it as bad karma to make somebody pay their share of the taxes. If you want to play at being a business, get all the paper work in order.


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Jan 07, 2013 10:23 |  #103

To the OP- There's a bunch of interesting advice given here, just wanted to say that you're the only person in the thread that knows your market and what is best for you.

Here's a couple of stories that you may (or may not) find interesting...

I spent a few hours with Jay Maisel's rep a few years ago. (former big name in the photography world, not sure about these days?). She was going on and on about her frustration in bidding out jobs. Seems each and every job that she bid, there were always people whose bids were lower and that ultimately many of the jobs were won by someone other than Jay. The way that she saw it, the solution was for everyone to be bidding at Jay's fees, which were probably astronomical at the time. I understood her point in the big picture scenario, but at the same time felt that if everyone raised their fees to his level it would most likely benefit him more than anyone else. I mean, if you could have your choice of Jay M. or Joe Schmo at the same price, my guess is, most would pick Jay. As I considered her point, I knew that raising my fees by a factor of 10 probably wouldn't fly with my client base.

Another situation that happened just a few years ago. I was contacted by an ad agency to bid on a 2 day project for a national restaurant chain. I put all of my regular fees together and ultimately was awarded the project. Fast forward a few weeks and a package arrived in the mail. It was the samples that I had sent out along with my bid. Included in the package (inadvertently) was a letter that the agency had written to the client with a breakdown of everyone who had submitted a bid, along with their recommendations. Many were names that I have competed against in the past. One of the interesting things that stood out to me was the fact that my pricing was lower than many the others, and in some cases by a substantial amount.

I took 2 lessons from these- First, I went up on my prices. I was comfortable were they had been but saw an opportunity to change them..., within a model that worked for me, not anyone else. Secondly, I know that there's a limit as to what I can realistically charge. The fact that someone else charges more isn't necessarily a license to charge the same.

It all comes down to what makes sense for you and your particular situation. Regardless what you charge, there'll always be someone who will charge more for the same work, and there'll always be someone who will charge less as well. The real trick is to find out what that number is.


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

  
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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Jan 07, 2013 10:46 |  #104

The way that she saw it, the solution was for everyone to be bidding at Jay's fees, which were probably astronomical at the time. I understood her point in the big picture scenario, but at the same time felt that if everyone raised their fees to his level it would most likely benefit him more than anyone else. I mean, if you could have your choice of Jay M. or Joe Schmo at the same price, my guess is, most would pick Jay.

She wanted a solution that benefitted her.

However, I doubt any of those photographers were bidding rates that were unsustainable business rates.

I do a lot of commercial work and have about a dozen billboards with my photography just in Houston right now. And when I am bidding on a job, often someone comes in with a ridiculously cheap rate. Their bid is usually thrown out completely. There just aren't people in the commercial side that work at a loss. You don't get the guys doing $200 day rates very often because the guys that hire them know what they are going to get. I am fairly cheap as a commercial photographer - but my day rate is still around $2k. A guy like Jay Maisel wouldn't get out of bed for that, but Jay probably isn't bidding against a guy that was bidding $200+200 for an assistant+500 for rentals. And even if he was, the company would probably throw the bid out without a second thought.

Commercial world and consumer portraits are two entirely different things, just as editorial and weddings are two entirely different things from those.


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Jan 07, 2013 11:45 |  #105

Foodguy wrote in post #15456307 (external link)
It all comes down to what makes sense for you and your particular situation. Regardless what you charge, there'll always be someone who will charge more for the same work, and there'll always be someone who will charge less as well. The real trick is to find out what that number is.

This is essentially what I was going to say. No matter what you hear from people on these boards find the number that works for you.

For me, the beauty of doing photography on the side, as a secondary income stream is that it takes all the pressure off and makes the process way more enjoyable. I can charge whatever I want and not stress. Everything I make from my photography is essentially profit because all my other bills are covered by my primary income stream.

Also the beauty here with this business model is that all of my yearly costs, except for a few things become business expenses and balance out a good portion of the taxes on my primary job.




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