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Thread: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    There are various discussions on how much to charge for photo assignments and there are various hidden costs like depreciation and maintenance of equipments, transport, post-processing time, manpower etc etc. The general advise is to consider properly before providing budget photography service to their clients before charging dirt cheap or even free photographer service for the purpose of "building of port folio".

    As we know, new professional photographer charges their service at a low price and starts building up from the bottom and increases their price. In my definition, professional = charge for photography service.

    We tend to see things from a photographer's point of view. Let's now discuss in another point of view - the consumer. If you are a consumer, and you need someone to take photo for an event. Let's say a friend's 30th birthday party.

    Knowing this photographer owns two mid-range DSLR (one main and one spare), and he uses lenses like 35mm F1.8 and maybe a Tokina 11-17 F2.8. From his port folio, his photos are rather decent and proper. All technical aspects were achieved but needs more experience for creativity. Let's assume he charges for 3 hours of service, returns all photo in soft copy, rights remain with the photographer, and basic post process are to be done. What is a reasonable rate to you (as a consumer) and what is the maximum rate that you are willing for fork out for his service?

    Will you engage his service if he charges $800 for three hours of service? Note that he is very very new in paid photography service.

    The reason why i'm asking is, i once helped a friend to shoot a fun shoot for his pre-wedding. I'm doing it for free because we'd known each other for a long time. His wife and himself is satisfied with my work. However, when i asked whether will he engage me for $60 an hour, he said that he will not, because my opportunity cost is low.

    Opportunity cost is defined by the potential amount of money that you can earn for the same duration if you took up an assignment elsewhere, which is $0 for me.

    Does this means that your client will judge you based on your experience and profession instead of purely the end product? When you are new, they will tend to pull down your charging price because you are "not there yet".

    So, let's see if we can have a gauge of what is a reasonable price so that you will engage a newbie photographer for a novice assignment.

    Please do not say things like "pay peanut get monkey" or "i will not engage a newbie photographer" kind of comment as that is another point for discussion already.

    Thank you for your time!

  2. #2
    Senior Member G-man's Avatar
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    Firstly I think your post is well thought out and you have shown an example from your personal experience. Kudos to that.

    Unfortunately, your situation isn't unique. Many times people we know tend to feel that photography is merely a click of a button or at best, as you have mentioned, your opportunity cost is low. Essentially they feel because you did it at no charge, you won't be able to charge elsewhere. Some truth in that if you keep giving your work and time for free.

    My take is to charge for your services once you have gained enough confidence. Many would be clients will low ball you when they know you have zero experience. So build up the experience. In the meantime if someone asks you to shoot for them, charge them a fee still. That may help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

    As for your question on whether I would pay a fair rate for engaging someone who has had zero or very limited experience to shoot. My answer is, yes. I would IF the person can deliver what I want. I have used freelancers who have had zero experience. I don't like bargaining and don't like to be lowballed. So I do not do that to others. Everyone has started with zero experience.

    End of the day, I wish you luck.
    Last edited by G-man; 12th May 2014 at 04:42 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by OoStarDustoO View Post
    The reason why i'm asking is, i once helped a friend to shoot a fun shoot for his pre-wedding. I'm doing it for free because we'd known each other for a long time. His wife and himself is satisfied with my work. However, when i asked whether will he engage me for $60 an hour, he said that he will not, because my opportunity cost is low.

    Opportunity cost is defined by the potential amount of money that you can earn for the same duration if you took up an assignment elsewhere, which is $0 for me.
    Hmm, he just took something free from you and insulted you on the same breath? Not cool IMHO.

    Opportunity cost is not defined by him but defined by yourself and the situation. The situation you created for yourself. If you allow just one person or just one opportunity to define your prices, thats where everything goes south. They will talk you down like your friend did, regardless if you just helped them moments earlier, or not.

    What is your real value to him? Real enough that he will invest time to get together for the session and that's something. He may not pay high because he may not afford or does not appreciate, so you should not based upon his level of financial capability or his level of appreciation for your efforts nor let that define you.

    With that said, not everyone will pay for newbies with nothing to show or relevant experience or skill. Some will, some will not. So I find it funny also when there are people with nothing to show but demands for a good rate. You will understand when you want to hire photographers for yourself or your business. All sorts of people around.
    Last edited by sjackal; 12th May 2014 at 06:12 PM.
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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by sjackal View Post
    Hmm, he just took something free from you and insulted you on the same breath? Not cool IMHO.

    Opportunity cost is not defined by him but defined by yourself and the situation. The situation you created for yourself. If you allow just one person or just one opportunity to define your prices, thats where everything goes south. They will talk you down like your friend did, regardless if you just helped them moments earlier, or not.

    What is your real value to him? Real enough that he will invest time to get together for the session and that's something. He may not pay high because he may not afford or does not appreciate, so you should not based upon his level of financial capability or his level of appreciation for your efforts nor let that define you.

    With that said, not everyone will pay for newbies with nothing to show or relevant experience or skill. Some will, some will not. So I find it funny also when there are people with nothing to show but demands for a good rate. You will understand when you want to hire photographers for yourself or your business. All sorts of people around.
    Best answer so far.

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    So can I walk into a shop that seen to have poor business, and ask them to give me huge discount since I'm the only customer they have right now?
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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    btw, I notice whenever I walk in a shop or store which has no customers at all, some customers will start patron the same shop/store, that always put a smile on my face.
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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    btw, I notice whenever I walk in a shop or store which has no customers at all, some customers will start patron the same shop/store, that always put a smile on my face.
    Hawker stall also.

    Anyway, the hawker stall queues are overhype. Its not that the food is exceptionally nice, its just that they are slow LOL.
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    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    LOL, I would rather take the opportunity to shoot for myself or spend time with my family

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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    btw, I notice whenever I walk in a shop or store which has no customers at all, some customers will start patron the same shop/store, that always put a smile on my face.
    Bro, you should ask them for more discount since you help to bring in customer
    I get paid more shooting part time ...... damn, I should find more time to shoot part time

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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Shooting for free or low cost for a friend is fine so long as you're cool about it but the reply from your friend shows how much he thinks of you and your skills, maybe even your friendship.

    It would be a lost cause to try to see it from the customer's POV, as there are too many factors to consider, ie;

    1) how informed is the customer about the real value of free lance and/or professional photography?

    2) is the customer a fair person willing to pay a fair rate? (Usually they will try to get the lowest rate possible using every reason they have)

    3) what is the customer's expectation/view of photography? (everyone have different level of expectation and view of what is bad/good/professional photography and thus different opinion of how much is considered fair pay)

    4) and very important, what the customer thinks of the arrangement, is he thinking that you're helping him (doing him a favor)? You're providing him a service or in the worst case, he's helping you by giving you the opportunity?

    etc, etc.

    All the above will create a different prospective of how your service will be view by different customer so there will be no right or wrong answer, it's all base on the customer's personal views.

    Instead of wasting time trying to gauge how much a customer will pay, it may be better gauging how much you're worth.
    I get paid more shooting part time ...... damn, I should find more time to shoot part time

  11. #11
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Its sad to be taken advantage of but not knowing that you have been taken advantage of is tragic.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by OoStarDustoO View Post
    The reason why i'm asking is, i once helped a friend to shoot a fun shoot for his pre-wedding. I'm doing it for free because we'd known each other for a long time. His wife and himself is satisfied with my work. However, when i asked whether will he engage me for $60 an hour, he said that he will not, because my opportunity cost is low.

    Opportunity cost is defined by the potential amount of money that you can earn for the same duration if you took up an assignment elsewhere, which is $0 for me.

    Does this means that your client will judge you based on your experience and profession instead of purely the end product? When you are new, they will tend to pull down your charging price because you are "not there yet".
    In your example, it sounds like you didn't treat/see your friend as a client, so it's quite likely he continued to see you as a friend, and not a professional.

    I don't know how you dealt with your friend, but I'm guessing that you probably did it very casually, especially if he's a friend you've known for awhile. It might have communicated that what you did for them was a casual favour, and that you saw what you were doing more as a hobby, than a job, and possibly set the tone for how he subsequently values what you gave him — He likely saw it more as a favour from a good friend, but hard to quantify in monetary terms.

    I think it would have been different, if you'd started out with your friend like you would with any other client. E.g., Prepared a quote/estimate, service agreement, etc. It's always a fine line when friends become clients, but it helps to start it off on the right foot. That said, clients will start creating their own perception of you from the very first contact point. Some you can control (how you present yourself, etc), some you can't (their values, lifestyle, etc).
    Last edited by kandinsky; 15th May 2014 at 01:03 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    One way is to look at things from photographer's perspective...
    One way is to look at things from Client's perspective...

    However, to have a successful shoot, it is a marriage between client's expectation and need with Photographer's vision and capability.

    Both can't be separated and both are equally as important.

    How much $$$ sign you can put on your service depends on what both a photographer and client's perceive...

    I prefer to understand both... looking at one side of the story doesn't offer much insight into how a successful deal will be strike.

    Regards,

    Hart

  14. #14

    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Sad to hear this. Even as a friend to say you will pay nothing because you have no opportunity cost is cold …stone hearted cold. That not a client, that is most definitely not a friend, that is a sponge and free loader whom you had wasted several hours of your time.

    Have some insight as to the POV of a client is good to have, as it helps you refine your quoted price. Pricing is an art not a science, yes there is the costing bit, yes there is what is the minimum I need to make on each job to live comfortably but then there is also what the market will bear for my services, there is always what alternative the client has to choose from and there is actual a budget which seems strange since almost all clients tell you no budget. To which some times there is okay then I am also busy that point of time thanks for calling.

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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    I am surprised that you still treat the person as your friend. Looking at the bright side, luckily your friend answered that to you. Now u know who are your friends and who are those who just known how to take advantage of others.

    It might be true that you might not be able to charge $800 for a professional service, but you have sacrificed your time and effort in taking photos for the event, as well as the hours spent doing post processing. If his answer was that he has no budget for a photographer, and if no one is able to help, he will need to take the photos himself, then it will be more of asking for a favor, and it will be your discretion whether to help

    I would rather use the time to rest and relax, if that is the guy's attitude. I think I will even enjoy more if I go out and take photos myself.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by OoStarDustoO View Post
    A troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic / untrue messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
    I think its quite funny

  17. #17

    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Thanks all for the reply. After reading the advice, there are various school of thoughts, and there is simply no one size fit all solutions.

    I particularly find that the advice that you determine you own worth is really really useful. I think most likely consumer won't think in term of a photographer's point of view and it's up to the photographer to convince why you are worth those money, through your work.

    And chill guys, the friend of mine bear no ill intention and i thank him for speaking the truth rather than humouring me. He knows that it's a favour and he offered to pay me, just not that "much" and i rejected him for his request to pay me.

  18. #18
    Senior Member edutilos-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by OoStarDustoO View Post
    The reason why i'm asking is, i once helped a friend to shoot a fun shoot for his pre-wedding. I'm doing it for free because we'd known each other for a long time. His wife and himself is satisfied with my work. However, when i asked whether will he engage me for $60 an hour, he said that he will not, because my opportunity cost is low.

    Opportunity cost is defined by the potential amount of money that you can earn for the same duration if you took up an assignment elsewhere, which is $0 for me.
    Why is it $0?

    Even if your photography is that bad, opportunity cost is not limited to such a definition. It could be the value you place in utility gained from free time/relaxation had you not done the shot.

    That said, if you are happy to do it FOC, that's also your choice, no one can control you. The caveat is of course that no one knows if their friends will be happy with the outcome. Your friend and his wife were ok, and that's great, but it could just as easily have gone south (as it has in many instances). Well, at least pre-wedding isn't that bad, imagine if you do actual day wedding and everything is overexposed to the point of 4 or 5 stops, even if they are ok you will feel bad. A lot of people seem to equate "free job" or "cheap job" as reduced or lessened responsibility.. Which is not always true.

    I don't do any paid (or free/cheap) jobs, but I think there's some ethical dilemma for hobbyists who undercharge. Sure, it's your side income, but there are people who derive this as their main income. And I suppose the natural retort is that it's a free market and if people aren't willing to pay for the professionals then that's life - see how you like it if your company outsources some of your roles to "hobbyists" while reducing your pay, citing that it's a free market.
    Last edited by edutilos-; 19th May 2014 at 11:42 AM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by edutilos- View Post
    Why is it $0?

    Even if your photography is that bad, opportunity cost is not limited to such a definition. It could be the value you place in utility gained from free time/relaxation had you not done the shot.

    That said, if you are happy to do it FOC, that's also your choice, no one can control you. The caveat is of course that no one knows if their friends will be happy with the outcome. Your friend and his wife were ok, and that's great, but it could just as easily have gone south (as it has in many instances). Well, at least pre-wedding isn't that bad, imagine if you do actual day wedding and everything is overexposed to the point of 4 or 5 stops, even if they are ok you will feel bad. A lot of people seem to equate "free job" or "cheap job" as reduced or lessened responsibility.. Which is not always true.

    I don't do any paid (or free/cheap) jobs, but I think there's some ethical dilemma for hobbyists who undercharge. Sure, it's your side income, but there are people who derive this as their main income. And I suppose the natural retort is that it's a free market and if people aren't willing to pay for the professionals then that's life - see how you like it if your company outsources some of your roles to "hobbyists" while reducing your pay, citing that it's a free market.
    Cheers bro. I did it for free cus he's my friend la. As a gift to them. Apart from that, i won't do free shoot for people i don't know for "port folio".

  20. #20

    Default Re: Why don't we discuss this from another angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    I think its quite funny
    Care to share the humour? Don't tell me you think i'm a troll. I really have those pre-wedding photos with me leh.

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