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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 10 Dec 2012 (Monday) 22:39
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Pricing/packaging guidance for families

 
nccb
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425 posts
Joined Aug 2011
     
Dec 10, 2012 22:39 |  #1

I know these questions are asked a lot, forgive me. I searched the business category and went through 3 or 4 pages of results and a lot were regarding wedding/commercial/rea​l estate, etc. My question mainly deals with family portrait pricing.

I'm an amateur who occasionally gets asked by friends family to do shoots. I haven't done tons (4-5) but this is mainly due to time constraints and not putting a lot into marketing myself. But word of mouth (and posts on FB) are starting to pick up things for me and I'm finding that I'm getting requests pop up more frequently. I'm trying to figure out how to ease into monetizing my habit in a graceful & professional transition. Up to this point, because of the family/friends thing, I either haven't charged, or have charged ~$125 for everything (session & digital copies). My only local point of reference is when my family got photos done it was $250 for everything (session + all digital high res jpegs).

I wanted to get folks' thoughts on...
A) pricing
B) packaging...i.e. what you deliver (digital? prints? if digital, what size?)

My goals are:

1) To not dilute/destroy the professional pool around me.
2) Charge a fair price - i.e. I'm not a pro who has done this for 8 years, I shouldn't be paid as one.
3) Present it to the customer in a way that works *for them* (all digital delivery? print packaging?)

Balancing these goals, I'd still like to act semi-professional and move towards monetizing my work. While I'm not going to quit my day job, it would be nice to fuel the obsession.

So I know it's a large topic, and tons of thoughts on the topic.


5D3 | 24-105mm L | 85mm 1.8

  
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gh ­ patriot
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Dec 10, 2012 22:43 |  #2

http://secondglancepho​tos.com/pricing/childe​rn/ (external link)

This seems to work well for me


2 x 5D III | 40D | Rokinon 14 2.8 | 35L | 50[B]L | 85IIL | 100 L |135L | 300 f4L | | 24-70L | | 70-200 2.8L II | 2XL |
flickr (external link)

  
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nccb
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425 posts
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Dec 10, 2012 22:51 |  #3

gh patriot wrote in post #15351656 (external link)
http://secondglancepho​tos.com/pricing/childe​rn/ (external link)

This seems to work well for me

Kevin - nice breakdown of the packaging. A couple questions....

I'm assuming in package A, B, C - the print credit is already wrapped up in the package price?

What service do you use for online proofing?

Which do you find to be your most popular package?

Have you ever had a client ask for the whole shoot in digital format (hi-res)?

What do you do regarding folks wanting for FB posts, web size sharing, etc.?


5D3 | 24-105mm L | 85mm 1.8

  
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gh ­ patriot
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Dec 11, 2012 19:36 |  #4

Yep wrapped up in the price. An 8x10 unit is 2.05 at my lab for example so 100 of 8x10 is $10 out of my pocket for example. I post galleries to my website for online proofing, the proofing portion isn't visible to the public. Most popular for weddings is my 2200 package half and half with a second photog for and extra 400, senior guys A, girls B or C. Families it varies alot. I have had them as for the whole shoot, weddings its included in the price and they can purchase the largest package if they want all the files but its rare. I usually put up a small gallery on facebook on my page and they are welcome to share those photos on their fb page themselves, its advertising.


2 x 5D III | 40D | Rokinon 14 2.8 | 35L | 50[B]L | 85IIL | 100 L |135L | 300 f4L | | 24-70L | | 70-200 2.8L II | 2XL |
flickr (external link)

  
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CrackedLens
Member
75 posts
Joined Nov 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
     
Dec 12, 2012 10:28 as a reply to  @ gh patriot's post |  #5

Here is what I do and it has been working for the past 5-6 months and about 20 shoots. I'm an amateur, shoot part-time and have a full time job, so besides equipment (which I am very good about keeping GAS in check) I have low overhead.

I don't offer packages. My session is time blocked- currently 3 hours for family portraiture (engagement, family, newborn, maternity) and "commercial" which is for websites and businesses. The 3 hour block doesn't mean we shoot for 3 solid hours, it means the client has 3 hours of my creative time - so they can do as many clothing changes as they want, invite how many people they want into the shots, go to a different location, ect. I don't spray and pray, and that time gives us LOTS of opportunity to explore, play, kids can take breaks-very low pressure. My rate just went up for 2013, and so I'm offering gift certificates at 2012 prices NOW, and a referral program- those clients I have already shot receive $50.00 off their next shoot if they refer someone and that person books. So, anyway:

$250.00 (up from $175.00 in 2012) 3 hour session
I pick as many images as I can to present, do "simple edits" for exposure and upload them into an online, password protected gallery on my site (this is coming- my site is going live next week - I've been having the client come to my house to preview, and all my marketing has been done word of mouth and by FB).
They have 48 hours to choose 25 images that they want. If the client wants more than 25, it's $5.00 per image. They choose their 25 and "order" and I do final, very minimal editing.

Presentation: 25 high res images suitable for printing on a small jump drive. I also offer (at no extra cost) those 25 images in black and white, and also those 25 downsized to 72 ppi for web sharing. I was doing this at will, but it does take a bit of extra time, so in 2013 its going to be offered, but not necessarily promoted.

Drive is presented in a little white box with my logo and website address and inside is a 2x2 square business card with full contact info.

So, yes I don't do print packages. I know this is somewhat taboo, but people in my market area seemed more interested in web sharing, and they are savvy. They know Costco has a pretty good lab. I WILL do prints and I do mention them to every client, but not one has taken me up on it (this could have to do with Christmas, as cards are the obvious motivation for most families this time of year).

I've got 7 currently booked shoots into the second week of January. And, of course I feel pressured to keep my marketing up.

Hope this gave you some ideas. I've been reluctant to put this out there, as I'm not all that confident in my scheme. But, I just read recently, or heard a great quote about photography: "You don't know how far you can go, until you go too far". :D

Michael




  
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nccb
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Dec 12, 2012 10:34 |  #6

Michael - I really love the simplicity of that approach. I think the folks that would be my target around my area would vastly prefer a digital-only delivery too.

It helps to know your situation is much like mine too - amateur, full time job, etc.

One question - 3 hours? That sounds like a really really long time. Do you find your clients using the whole 3 hours? If you do it in 1.5 do you cut a break on the price or is it all-or-nothing? Also, does the 3 hours include your post work & packaging? Seems like that would be at least 1 hr minimum (at least for my post).


5D3 | 24-105mm L | 85mm 1.8

  
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CrackedLens
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75 posts
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
     
Dec 12, 2012 11:18 |  #7

3 hours does seem like a long time. I usually bill it as "up to 3 hours", but nope no price break- you have me for 3 hours for that amount of money. The first 1/2 hour is usually a conversation, getting to know the kids so they feel comfortable, ect. And I find, with my style, that it just works to have that extra time available. I have had a couple of shoots where we ended early, but not so much earlier that the client even mentioned money back (maybe 25 minutes to a half hour). With families, it sounds like a lot - but it really does offer leeway- lots of time to explore, move around, let people relax, take breaks. I do worry that I'll begin, at some point, to come across people who just think that is too much time to block off their day, and I'm considering how to approach that. Sometimes, I will probably just have to stick to my style and let the other guys have the one hour clients. I have considered doing a "mini session" of 1.5 hours (as a matter of fact- I have it listed on my site, but its on the strike list for my marketing meeting with my designer on Friday) - but being a part time shooter and half my shoots are in my home studio, I can't see setting up my seamless,lights, equipment, my own family (I have a 10 month old) for that short a time. And I live in Phoenix - it's a 45 minute drive to anywhere! It's all an experiment.

Post - yeah in the beginning I was KILLING myself - just silly amount of time in post. I wasn't making anything because of the time expenditure. A smooth, solid minimal workflow helps. I got serious with learning my stuff- realizing my 5D shoots correctly about 1.3 of a stop over the meter, calibrating my monitor, buying a Sekonic for my studio, working Lightroom's features and only minimal Photoshop, and very little pixel peeping! hehe- that's the hardest habit to break. So, yeah it ends up, all said and done at least an hour in post, maybe more. I'm not kidding myself - I'm not making alot of money, probably hardly anything when you take that $50.00 an hour and add in my marketing lunches with my designer (she is a friend and I'm lucky!), business card printing, ect. My prices WILL go up- I'm just trying to go slowly and work the market in my totally blissfully ignorant (but learning!) way...I don't forget I started doing this for free not too long ago. : )




  
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nccb
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425 posts
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Dec 12, 2012 11:49 |  #8

Wow, you said you were an amateur... you have tons of lights, a designer, marketing meetings, and a home studio! If you are an amateur I am afraid I am just a snapshooter with an expensive camera!

BTW where do you get your custom USB delivery boxes from? That's a great idea.


5D3 | 24-105mm L | 85mm 1.8

  
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CrackedLens
Member
75 posts
Joined Nov 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
     
Dec 12, 2012 12:08 |  #9

Haha! Thats a great question! It's called: cheating! : )

I sold my crop cameras and lenses, and instead of buying a 5D2 or 5D3, I bought a 5Dc (Mark 1). This freed up money for lighting - and I took advantage of Christmas last year and my birthday this year.

Like you, I have two lenses. A 24-105mmL and a 50mm 1.4. Trade my 50 for your 85? heheh : ) I want that 85 sooo bad. GAS GAS GAS. I don't like the 50 for portraiture- it's not all that flattering many times. I use the 24-105 almost exclusively now.

I'm a yoga teacher. My marketing coach and website designer is a student and friend. I exchange classes with her, and buy her lunches. I also give her cash when I can. She is a genius and I feel like I am robbing her most days, even though she assures me I'm not. I'd love to to give her a plug right now, but not sure that is allowed here..she is always pushing business my way and me her way. We've done two commercial website shoots together.

Boxes- Joann Fabric! Hahah. They are just little white jewelry boxes, and the little sticks fit perfect. I downloaded free labels from MS word, input my logo and business info, and I print labels and stick them on the boxes. I also bought black velvety paper stuff and I took out the cheesy (I mean, man the boxes themselves are cheesy enough) little fluffy insert in the boxes and I use the black stuff inside the boxes to class 'em up. Heehee. Yeah, this isn't the best scenario, and I'm looking to improve it. But it works. I found a website where I can buy like a case of those little white boxes for 72 bucks or something. I haven't pulled the trigger because I'm hoping an alternative presents itself in my meeting on Friday. But this works. 99.99% of the presentation is to women, and I'm not trying to be sexist, but perhaps there is just a spark of recognition when you a hand a woman a little white box, it reminds her of other gifts...perhaps, just perhaps.

My home studio is...my home! My living room. I have a huge living room, all tile, and I simply move my sparse furnishing over to one side, and roll out my seamless. I have the most patient and understanding wife in the world. Oh, and my "creative director" - my wife! heheh!

Its all an experiment. ; )




  
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Pricing/packaging guidance for families
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