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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Marion, IL, USA

    What to charge for photo shoots?

    I have a minor dilemma (kind of)...At first I just wanted to take pics of my daughter so i bought a canon t1i. After some time i got an external flash (430 ex ii), then i decided to make a backdrop stand, then came studio lights. After taking some images of my daughter and my wife posting them on facebook I started to get requests (just a few) for some shots of others kids. Saturday was my first shoot with someone elses baby. I gave the parents the images yesterday and they took them to church, work, etc. showing them off. I now have a ton of people asking me to take their kids pics and what i charge...I even have one lady that wants me to come do a session at her house with her grandkids.

    My problem is that I'm very new, but my pics are decent (i would say probably on par with portrait innovations/jc penny if they did any editing). On the shots this weekend i spent about 40 mins taking pictures and about 3 hours editing and got about 75 shots that i'd say are frame-able - then provided some of the best with a couple of effects I like. What I plan on doing is just giving CD's with the images at this point. I have no idea what to charge, how to break up the costs, or anything else. Can anyone give me any advice?

    Also, all i have to offer in terms of backdrops at the moment are black and white seamless. What should be my next step?

    Just to let you know, I've got 2 180w/s studio strobes and my 430 ex ii on a tripod as well, a shoot through umbrella, a silver reflector umbrella and a medium sized softbox

    Thanks for your help in advance!

  2. #2
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Mineral Point, WI, USA

    Re: What to charge for photo shoots?

    Good question... When I did a few portrait shoots I came up with a couple different models depending on the client. I had different pricing models depending on the final output of the photos. If they were ordering prints from me I charged a different price than if I was delivering a CD of images.

    I started by figuring up the amount of time I was going to be investing in the shoot and decided what my time was worth. As an example, you have close to 3 hours invested in the shoot mentioned above. What is your time worth? If you're time is worth $25/hour then I would say that $75 for the shoot would be a place to start. You also have to figure in your costs. That camera/lens, lights backgrounds etc. weren't free. Not to mention the time it takes to learn the skills you have. You should consider all that you have invested when you develop your pricing model.

    Scott Bourne has written a series of articles on pricing your work that you should read.

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 3

    My website

    "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
    Aldo Leopold

  3. #3
    Senior Member jetrim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Ft. Lauderdale

    Re: What to charge for photo shoots?

    Mike is right, figure your expenses and figure out your profit margin. It's not as cut and dry as one of us posting a price list and you copying it. Some things I've learned though - cheaper is not better, and won't get you more work, actually the opposite has been true for me (not everyone that wants me to shoot them can afford for me to shoot them, and that's a good thing). Your average sales will invariably work out to exactly half way between your cheapest product and your most expensive. If you do prints (which I would seriously consider) never include wallets in any package, they WILL buy them anyway, as an extra. Women will ALWAYS pay extra for retouching, men NEVER will :lol:. Also if offering prints, have examples of everything on your price list, including before/after retouching examples. Never ever assume you *know* what the client wants. Single mothers living in trailers buy more 24x36 gallery wrapped canvas fine art prints than families living in waterfront mansions do (at least down here).

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