Friday, December 02, 2011

building business

Over the summer, I answered an ad on craigslist. It ended up being for a political candidate who wanted on-the-street candid photos. I did two separate shoots with him in one weekend, for no pay. I always like taking candids, and this was a new type of shooting for me. So it was a good experience.

A month or two later, he asked if I'd shoot another afternoon for him, but this time he would pay. It was twenty dollars.

A few weeks ago, he emailed me on my day off, asking for another shoot that day. I called him back and left a message that I could, and that my rate would be $75. Later he left me a message and said, "oh, I didn't want to pay that much, we'd done twenty before, but I understand if that's not worth it to you."

No, it's not worth twenty dollars for at least three hours of my time commuting and shooting, plus at least one more hour of editing. That's five dollars an hour! Even $75 for all that is barely worth it!

I'm not sure if he'll call me again, but I hope that if he does, he's prepared to pay appropriately for my time and talent.


Last week I got an email from someone. They were going to be coming to NYC and wanted some shots of them around the city.
I was really excited, because A)I didn't already know this person, so a stranger found my site! and B)that's exactly the kind of shoot that I would love to do!
I quoted $100 for the session, which would be about two hours, and include a credit for one 8x10 print. Then they could buy prints with a discount for the first week, or buy a disc with all the images for $200 if they wanted.

Sadly, they decided not to book the shoot, because they're concerned about money.

However, I am comfortable with that, because I think that quote is very reasonable. For a shoot like that, there's 3-4 hours of commute & shooting, and then at least two hours of editing. So $100 for six hours of my time is more than reasonable! But it's not reasonable to give away all the photos for that same $100, which is why they would need to pay for the disc or prints. Keeping in mind, of course, that more established professional photographers charge $40+ for an 8x10 (so do the big store studios, actually) and $500+ for a disc of images.

These rates/charges I've come up with make sense for where I am right now this year, and I'm happy with that. For now.

Another good note is that a friend in the publishing industry got me a referral to shoot a big conference in January! I shot one day of a conference in August, which was quite a day. This one will be four long days! I'm a little nervous but also excited.

I hope that I continue learning from the booking and non-booking of photo jobs, and I hope to start building up a client base in the coming year!


Nancy said...

good for you, for not budging on your price. It's crazy what people expect to pay, and then they are surprised when they get poor quality goods!

Angela said...

I second that, Nancy! I see the same thing in the writing industry, and my husband sees it in the music industry. It saddens us when people agree to give away their talent for less than minimum wage and thereby lower the bar for those of us who are trying to make a living at this. I don't blame the political candidate or the couple for wanting a bargain, but you offered them a bargain, and they couldn't see that. Their loss.