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Thread: Learning How Much To Charge

  1. #1

    Default Learning How Much To Charge

    Something just came to my mind and I thought I'd ask around here.

    Noticed there are a few rates/how much do you charge threads here and would just like to ask those who shoot professionally, even freelance, how did you come about with the fee you currently command? i.e. How you learnt how much to charge?

    I think this probably doesn't apply to just photographers but web designers, graphic designers, illustrators and so on in a similar creative industry. I was a digital media student and am going to be an arts student and I just can't help but feel that this basic survival know-how isn't imparted to students or rather professionals-to-be.

    Yeah there's still the option of putting up a good portfolio and apply for a job at some studio and get a fixed monthly salary. But what about freelancers? Especially to those just starting out. I feel that due to the lack of market knowledge, they either get "jiak" by companies looking for cheap source, or they price themselves higher than competition.

    I understand the concept that you charge what you think your works are worth but I'm sure there should be some sort of a standard market rate out there isn't it?

    I also remember a person told me that if you charge a certain fee when you're starting out, people will see you at this certain rate and how much you can increase will be limited and not too far off from your initial rate. In that sense, you wouldn't want to start out with too low a rate for it would impact your further growth. How true is that?

    So what was your learning process like? How did you learn about the market standards? Did you have like a magical formula to calculate your rates? Ask people what are their rates directly (like some threads here)? Learn the hard way (either kena "jiak" or no jobs due to high rates)?

    I'm looking forward to the various responses. In a way, I'm keen to learn more about this basic survival skill.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    I learnt through trial and error what to charge. I think generally for each market you will see different general rates, like for events (around $100 an hour), weddings, commercial (ranging from $1200 upwards for half day work) to advertising (much higher)
    I believe there are a few threads on this on this site..

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    if the client does not complain, then you are too cheap

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Quote Originally Posted by ortega View Post
    if the client does not complain, then you are too cheap
    Cool man!!! Time to up my rates again
    I get paid more shooting part time ...... damn, I should find more time to shoot part time

  5. #5

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Dear TS,

    From what I know, there's no standard market rate for photographers to derive their charging rate using some kind of formula. It's like asking what is the standard price of a car, which could be the price of a proton saga or that of a BMW; or the standard price of a hair cut, which ranges depending who's the hairstylist.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Thanks for the sharing guys.

    snowspeeder, maybe I can put your analogy in a different way? Like the price of a 1.5 Japanese family sedan, Japanese compact and others. I guess they won't differ much? In that sense am I right to say it's like what mattlock said, there will be general rate for each and every market? As for the hairstylist, I would like to think it as I probably need to pay more for a established famous one compared to a starter?

    But I guess the problem would be more for starters, how do we know how much to charge? Is there some base rate that starters can use as a guide? And in the first place, how do we get to learn about that base rate? I used to have a couple offers for freelance design jobs, and I think the main problem I faced was am I charging right? I don't know what the market rates were like, I didn't want to charge too low because I didn't like the idea of getting "jiak", but I didn't want to price myself too high either. It's really kind of grey in this area but what was your mentality when you faced such a problem? I believe it has probably happened to at some point in time before?

    Anyway, anyone with any opinions regarding this as well?
    I also remember a person told me that if you charge a certain fee when you're starting out, people will see you at this certain rate and how much you can increase will be limited and not too far off from your initial rate. In that sense, you wouldn't want to start out with too low a rate for it would impact your further growth. How true is that?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Quote Originally Posted by Amekaze View Post
    Thanks for the sharing guys.

    snowspeeder, maybe I can put your analogy in a different way? Like the price of a 1.5 Japanese family sedan, Japanese compact and others. I guess they won't differ much? In that sense am I right to say it's like what mattlock said, there will be general rate for each and every market? As for the hairstylist, I would like to think it as I probably need to pay more for a established famous one compared to a starter?

    But I guess the problem would be more for starters, how do we know how much to charge? Is there some base rate that starters can use as a guide? And in the first place, how do we get to learn about that base rate? I used to have a couple offers for freelance design jobs, and I think the main problem I faced was am I charging right? I don't know what the market rates were like, I didn't want to charge too low because I didn't like the idea of getting "jiak", but I didn't want to price myself too high either. It's really kind of grey in this area but what was your mentality when you faced such a problem? I believe it has probably happened to at some point in time before?

    Anyway, anyone with any opinions regarding this as well?
    It comes down to the style and brand name, that clients, at a given comfort level, will be willing to pay that certain amount. You can't really quantify or use a set of guidelines for artistic works like in photography.

    So how does a person know he is charging correctly? Style and skill level in photography aside, the individual also has to know a fair bit of business marketing and communication skills.

    Perhaps for starters the best thing to do is to ask around and check out the works of what others are doing and the various price ranges. Determine the level you're most confident and comfortable at charging, and just do it. It's takes trial and error to find out where you stand -- no book or class lesson can tell anyone that.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Hi,

    My opion is: market were rate you.
    You may set you own charge. After sometimes, when you realise customer networks not up but down. Either got to improve skill or probably too high (not money worth)
    If, customer getting more, it show that your skill is good and too money worth. At this moment 'ka ka ke kay' customer will still come back to you with comments: you very expensive!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    it's not very helpful to say that there is no fixed rate...you will find that there are general rates which photographers follow, after which they price upwards or downwards based on variables (skill level, overheads, etc)

    You may want to try asking for quotations from studios for a job to get an idea of what the rates are like.
    Also, ask your friends in companies that hire photographers for jobs for their experience regarding quotations from photographers.

    When you get some answers please post them here too so everyone can benefit =P
    (I'm serious!)

  10. #10

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    You may want to try asking for quotations from studios for a job to get an idea of what the rates are like.
    Also, ask your friends in companies that hire photographers for jobs for their experience regarding quotations from photographers.

    When you get some answers please post them here too so everyone can benefit =P
    (I'm serious!)
    Eh... I don't really like to probe when I do not have the intention. I don't know, I think it's just me. So maybe we refer to the other threads around here?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Try to do your own market research.
    Look around at other photographer's work and see those that are about the same as what you're capable of shooting and see their pricing. Don't see just one as that will not give you a feel of the market in general.
    Things you may want to take into consideration:
    1) are you a full time photographer / are they full time photographers
    2) do they won a studio / do you own a studio
    3) how long have you been around / how long have they been around
    4) What do you provide in your package / what do they provide in their package
    5) how comfy are you with that kind of pricing.

    Just my opinion for your consideration.
    I get paid more shooting part time ...... damn, I should find more time to shoot part time

  12. #12

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    That sounds good for a start.
    Thanks for the tip!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    wats the rough market rate?
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    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    You're welcome. Just glad if I could help in any small way
    I get paid more shooting part time ...... damn, I should find more time to shoot part time

  15. #15

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Quote Originally Posted by spazzer View Post
    wats the rough market rate?
    I also not sure. I think you can look at some of the threads in this section though.
    Over here, I more of try to understand how people charge what they do now.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Quote Originally Posted by spazzer View Post
    wats the rough market rate?
    It can go anywhere from 400 - 4000 for the actual day (some even do for free!); depending on who is shooting and what's included in the package. However, I do notice that many folks do charge between 700 - 900.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Quote Originally Posted by snowspeeder View Post
    It can go anywhere from 400 - 4000 for the actual day (some even do for free!); depending on who is shooting and what's included in the package. However, I do notice that many folks do charge between 700 - 900.
    Charges depends on your skills and experience.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    thanks guys for the info...
    D800 | D700|16mm f2.8D|35 f1.4G|50 f1.8G|60mm F2.8D|85mm f1.4G|16-35 f4G|70-200 f2.8 VR2| SB900

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    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    Amekaze,

    here are the step i use for myself

    Step 1- compute the operating cost per year. My advice is to get an accountant to help you with this. This is the minimum amount you should be charging to make it even worthwhile to be in the wedding photography business. Anything less, you're paying to work in the industry. For several photographers i have spoken to, we have all come out to a number around $2000 to $2500 per shoot at about 40 shoots per year to break even, based on some common assumptions. Of course, now that rents have shot up, i think this number is probably much higher.

    Step 2- determine a comfortable profit margin for your business. Your profits are important because it is the reserves that would tide you over the tough years. It is also the money you would use to expand your business etc.

    Add numbers from step 1 and 2 and divide by the nmber of shoots you want to do per year to give you the amount to charge per shoot.

    I'm not a big fan of basing my rates on what others charge because everybody's financial circumstances and financial aspirations are different. When you've figured out what you want to charge, go out and make it happen. What i personally would NOT do is to surf something like singapore brides, see what others charging and peg myself at those rates. Doing so without understanding their business structure and financial situations can be disasterous. Hope this helps

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Learning How Much To Charge

    I think what ckuang mentioned is very true, however, that seems to apply better if you are intending to go into the photography business as a whole. if you are just shooting for your own leisure and etc, just look around at other freelancers and see what they are charging too.

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