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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 25 Jul 2010 (Sunday) 11:17
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Billing your time on location

 
Frugal
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Jul 25, 2010 11:17 |  #1

When you do an outdoor local location shoot, say for a portrait session for a large family, when does your hourly rate start and end? When you arrive and begin setting up lighting - until you leave? Or just for the time you are posing and photographing?


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Jayson ­ Prentice
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Jul 25, 2010 11:39 |  #2

I think each person can charge as they wish for this type of situation. But in reality, when you start figuring numbers you have to account for all of the time needed for that session including the time to travel to location, setting up, photographing, tearing down and traveling back, as well as post-processing time, etc. So regardless of how you choose to charge, all of that time will be added up into how much you really made per hour...


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Frugal
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Jul 25, 2010 12:06 as a reply to  @ Jayson Prentice's post |  #3

I think each person can charge as they wish for this type of situation. But in reality, when you start figuring numbers you have to account for all of the time needed for that session including the time to travel to location, setting up, photographing, tearing down and traveling back, as well as post-processing time, etc. So regardless of how you choose to charge, all of that time will be added up into how much you really made per hour...

Thanks Jayson. I understand all that. My question is how do you quote it to clients - time on site or time photographing? My post-processing fees are extra because some clients want different levels of retouching.


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jacuff
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Jul 25, 2010 12:45 |  #4

Clients will expect it to be from when they show up. Increase your hourly rate to take in account time setting up. So if you spend 20 minutes setting up and you are currently charging $150 per hour, charge $200 per hour instead and the billable time starts when the clients show up.


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EnronRocks
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Jul 25, 2010 13:14 |  #5

I use a iPhone app called Billings 3, one I get in my car to drive to the location I start billing for millage. Then, once I turn off my car, I start the app and it counts the hours and adds it to the invoice. Then once they leave I stop the app and charge for the mileage back to the office. Once I get to the office, I transfer the invoice from my iPhone to my iMac, and then I use the application on my iMac to start charging for production time.

I also charge for my time as well, for travel, setup and so on. I don't charge for the time it takes to pack up and leave, usually don't take that long.


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Jayson ­ Prentice
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Jul 25, 2010 13:16 |  #6

jacuff said it already... But, the clients will want to see it based upon their hours spent getting photographed not all of the extra time it takes you (photographer) to get everything ready, etc. So when you are figuring out the price per hour you just have to take that into account.


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RDKirk
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Jul 26, 2010 07:35 |  #7

Frugal wrote in post #10599888 (external link)
When you do an outdoor local location shoot, say for a portrait session for a large family, when does your hourly rate start and end? When you arrive and begin setting up lighting - until you leave? Or just for the time you are posing and photographing?

I don't quote billable time for that kind of client. I certainly have, however, calculated the average amount of time I spend on such a job and my pricing structure (specifically, my the cost of my minimum product) is based on that average. I control my workflow to maintain that average. For the level of work I do, at the bottom line it works out to an average of 2.5 hours.

Part of that average includes average driving time within my area. I have a separate travel fee schedule for clients beyond a certain radius, which would be quoted separately.

I don't have a separate retouching fee, either, because all my retouching for portrait clients is one level: "Comprehensive." But as with everything else, I've calculated an average amount of time I spend for retouching and built it into my price structure. The prices of my products vary by size or material (paper vs canvas) or mounting/framing method, but not by quality.


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Jul 26, 2010 11:11 as a reply to  @ RDKirk's post |  #8

I don't have a separate retouching fee, either, because all my retouching for portrait clients is one level: "Comprehensive." But as with everything else, I've calculated an average amount of time I spend for retouching and built it into my price structure. The prices of my products vary by size or material (paper vs canvas) or mounting/framing method, but not by quality.

I find that the amount of retouching and resculpting doesn't correlate with my definition of quality. A family recently wanted the adults to look 10-30 years younger and one person to look 50 lbs lighter. Also multiple head swapping, mostly related to the one thing they don't like about themselves and not anything real. They purchased prints from 12 different groupings. How do you deal with pricing retouching for a client like that vs ones that are happy with their age and weight, and just want to look their best?


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RDKirk
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Jul 26, 2010 11:23 |  #9

Frugal wrote in post #10605301 (external link)
I find that the amount of retouching and resculpting doesn't correlate with my definition of quality. A family recently wanted the adults to look 10-30 years younger and one person to look 50 lbs lighter. Also multiple head swapping, mostly related to the one thing they don't like about themselves and not anything real. They purchased prints from 12 different groupings. How do you deal with pricing retouching for a client like that vs ones that are happy with their age and weight, and just want to look their best?

As I said, I've already arrived at the average amount of time I spend (this average being, of course, based on past work) achieving the level of enhancement that is my standard. Half the jobs take more time, half the jobs take less (which is why it's an an "average"). I actually do a fair amount of swapping and even design my work methods and take images to allow doing it quickly and efficiently.

The reason I call it a "quality" criterion is because my ultimate goal is to make my subjects look good--as good as I can make them look, which includes every aspect from selection of tools to posing to lighting to retouching. If I deliberately allow an image go out at less than "as good as I can make them look," I consdier that below my standard of quality.

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Frugal
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Jul 26, 2010 11:56 as a reply to  @ RDKirk's post |  #10

If I deliberately allow an image go out at less than "as good as I can make them look," I consdier that below my standard of quality.

I completely agree. Maybe I'm feeling jaded because the family before last wanted changes that reduced the quality from my standard. Every other day they emailed me with a new change on one of their selected pictures, many of which didn't make sense, but they liked the result. The check for the prints even had a post-it note on it requesting a an adjustment to a smile that looked fine to me. That involved discovery into what kind of smile they wanted. They really were the client from hell.


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Billing your time on location
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