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Thread: How to charge for family portraiture

  1. #1

    Default How to charge for family portraiture

    Any idea what's the rate to charge reasonably for family outdoor portraiture? About 3-4 hours outing. No printing but at least 100 shots.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Depends how much experience you have, for 3-4 hours outdoor shooting, anywhere from $200-600 seems reasonable, again, completely depends on experience.

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    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Quote Originally Posted by YEOWMING View Post
    Any idea what's the rate to charge reasonably for family outdoor portraiture? About 3-4 hours outing. No printing but at least 100 shots.
    I don't think you're a pro, a pro would not ask this kind of question.

    Are you ready to assume failure ? what will you do if your camera does not work ? if your hard disk is broken and you lose all photos before you deliver ? if the customer is not happy with your work ? you hurt one of the kid with your camera ?

    Many question who are much more important than the rate you should apply, many question that you have to find an answer before you can play pro and get paid for your work.

    If you can not answer, just do it for free (or almost) without any warranty about the result and no damage more than not be paid in case of failure.

    A last, let the pro job to the pro people. They can answer all the pro question (included rating).

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Quote Originally Posted by stougard View Post
    If you can not answer, just do it for free (or almost) without any warranty about the result and no damage more than not be paid in case of failure.

    A last, let the pro job to the pro people. They can answer all the pro question (included rating).
    so the pro born just like that?

    so where is the transition between the state of charging free and becoming a pro?
    When did the pro learn to answer all those pro question?

    Thanks for answering, pro

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    To Stougard,.... Well, true enough, I am not a pro, that's why I am asking these questions. And it is the client that look for me for a paid job after viewing my works. So I guess, my works isn't that bad afterall to have attracted some people to like it. And maybe one day, I will be Pro, who knows.

    To amateur photographer, thanks for the fair remarks, like yourself, I do believe everyone deserves a chance to improve and transit between phases, and I think Clubsnap is a good learning ground for such exchange of experiences and skills.

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    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Quote Originally Posted by amateur_photographer View Post
    so the pro born just like that?

    so where is the transition between the state of charging free and becoming a pro?
    When did the pro learn to answer all those pro question?

    Thanks for answering, pro
    I'm not pro, I've been during a while a long time ago and I screwed a few projects as well.

    The basic definition for PRO is : "you make more than 50% of your income from photo". I think that the guy who makes that can as well answer to the question "how much should I rate for an afternoon work ?". I think he can as well answer to many questions about photography, that he has enough staff as spare that even if a camera does not work during a work, he has spare with him. I think as well that he has an insurance that if something happens bad, he's covered.

    A good way to start is micro-stock. There is no risk, you shot you submit, when you get 100% acceptance rate, you're ready to move one step further.

    The worst way to start is wedding photo, because something happens bad most of the time and client is always expecting the best when non-experienced photographer can just provide a very basic level. Don't be mistaken, wedding photographer is really a job for experienced and knowledgeable people. Even if family photo is less risky, who knows what efforts customer has made to get it and what are his real expectation.

    You want to be a PRO ? start with micro-stock, work as an assistant with an real pro, learn the job and you'll see how is it different from your dreams and far from the image given in American movies.

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    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Quote Originally Posted by YEOWMING View Post
    To Stougard,.... Well, true enough, I am not a pro, that's why I am asking these questions. And it is the client that look for me for a paid job after viewing my works. So I guess, my works isn't that bad afterall to have attracted some people to like it. And maybe one day, I will be Pro, who knows.
    Don't miss-understand, people often ask non-pro photographer to work for them. It's not a question of your current work (who may be very good, I don't know, I did not see it), but a question of price. You'll be cheaper than a pro.

    But the customer is still expecting a pro result.

    It arrived to me some times as well, I have 2 ways to answer :

    - I do it for free because I enjoy doing it and the subject is interesting.
    - I do it for more expensive than a pro because I see nothing interesting and I've no reason to compete with pro.

    It's funny, as soon as I'm more expensive than a pro, nobody wants to work with me any more. Even if they absolutely wanted because of my work, however the price.

    My only advise, make it for free and ask people to sign model release or do it for 2,000 $ and see if people want to work with YOU or just want an other cheap photographer.

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    you time is your money, how much is your overtime work for 3 to 4 hours? you should be charging this amount for the shoot, this is assuming you will pass them the CD without editing. If you spend some time on post production, charging them the time you have spent on editing also.

    if you can't/feel bad/dare not charge same as your over time pay, might as well tell them just pay a token sum cos you are helping them, so they will know the truth value is much higher for what are they receiving.

    hope this help.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  9. #9

    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Thanks for all your advises. I guess it's afterall a relative thing. Bottomline is appreciation and perspective definition of standard. There's no right or wrong about it.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Quote Originally Posted by amateur_photographer View Post
    so the pro born just like that?

    so where is the transition between the state of charging free and becoming a pro?
    When did the pro learn to answer all those pro question?

    Thanks for answering, pro
    The transition was made (for me, and many working photogs I know) just like that.

    When a photog is not ready to charge (for various reasons), he remains an apprentice, either paid or in some cases, free (which I'm not advocating right here). A responsible mentor photographer will assume the responsibility and risk of the shoot, while at the same time grooming the apprentice to have the skills of going solo some day.

    An apprentice who knows exactly what to do, and how to do in every single situation of a routine shoot even without the guidance of a mentor will know that they're ready to charge for their own shoots. Usually (though not always), such knowledge will include some sense of pricing as well. Being able to meter correctly and depress the shutter button steadily is but one morsel of the whole works in a paid shoot.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    you time is your money, how much is your overtime work for 3 to 4 hours? you should be charging this amount for the shoot, this is assuming you will pass them the CD without editing. If you spend some time on post production, charging them the time you have spent on editing also.

    if you can't/feel bad/dare not charge same as your over time pay, might as well tell them just pay a token sum cos you are helping them, so they will know the truth value is much higher for what are they receiving.

    hope this help.
    there's plenty of truth here. if you can't cover your overheads and make something out of it, it ain't worth your time especially if it's for commercial gain.

    how and why do portraiture photographers earn their living? simple answer, they are good with people. they are above to coax that little extra from their sitters.

    taking a family portraiture may sound simple enough. but there are many elements that you have to consider. the biggest one will be how many kids will there be and their ages.

    depending on the number of shots you take and your post production speed, you can easily hit 4 hours on post or even 8 hours if you are slow. so how much do you charge? only you can answer that question.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Let us not discourage YeowMing...

    We should not discourage YeowMing...He is trying to find out the cost of charging,,,He may charge a reasonable amount (up to YeowMing), but it does not mean he has to go through the route of being an apprentive, or charge free....

    Each person has an opportunity to break out to be a semi-pro, an experienced amateur taking a paid job (this does not mean being a pro).... If you give something free, no body appreciates the job done.

    Yeow Ming, you should try your best, now that the rate has been given...up to you to charge. I should say, since you have the opportunity, give it a TRY! nobody becomes a paid photographer ( not yet a pro!) by not trying.

    Regards, and let us know your experience.

  13. #13

    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Thank you all so much for the inputs. I have learnt much from the discussions here.

    I am well aware that once it's a paid job, I have the full responsibilty of getting the standard across to my client, and if they really don't like the outcome, I'm even willing to disregard the charges, rather make one more friend than an enemy, not worth because of money issues.

    I have actually quoted the family $200 , and let them consider. As I am not pro and it's passion about photography that drives me, if they negotiate lower because of budget contraints, I might just take up as a gesture of goodwill. See how things goes when they get back to me.

  14. #14
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    no offend, $200 is already a token sum..

    consider 3~4hours works, half day gone, not including post production, plus a few k investment of hardwares (camera, lenses, computer plus lots of accessories)
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Yeowming,

    The way in which we charge for a portrait session is that we first charge a sitting fee, ie your $200. This covers transportation, etc. This is basically for you to show up.

    Subsequently, we charge for prints on top of the sitting fee. For portraits, we normally charge something around the region of $20 for a 4R and $50 for an 8R, prices increase according to print size. Digital files can be purchased at $xxx (whatever you set) per file. This rate varies year to year.

    This is a good system if you're first starting out because it does not put a large amount of financial liability on the client if you screw up. We like this system as well because most of our clients who call us back are repeat clients, so we don't need to charge them a high up front.

    We don't do hourly charges for this portrait sessions because it's pretty hard to tell how long you're going to run, not like say a wedding or company event where the timing is fixed and you can charge an hourly rate. Just my take on it.

  16. #16

    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Once again, thanks to Kuang for your advise, I like your system, it makes everyone happy at the end of the day, Client can choose to pay what they are comfortable with and at different stages of the time. While you also stand to earn with generous clients, it's a win-win situation for all.

    Catchlight, no offence made,. ... no worries. I know alot of photographers charges highly for their time and skill, but perhaps in my circle of modest income friends and contacts, $200-300 even for a ROM job is consider expensive. Some even consider a $400-500 full day wedding job as expensive. On the contrary, there are people who thinks paying thousands for a day's job is reasonable. So it's really a subjective thing, values differs in different classes of people. Just as art. I don't think majority of us will fork out tens of thousands for a painting to be hung on the wall, but there are people who appreciate such works and pays for it.

    But one thing is for sure, here in Singapore, unlike the USA, photographers aren't getting enough recognition. And there's too wide a range for pricing for the same kind of job.

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    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Quote Originally Posted by YEOWMING View Post
    But one thing is for sure, here in Singapore, unlike the USA, photographers aren't getting enough recognition. And there's too wide a range for pricing for the same kind of job.
    Actually Singapore not so bad. Talking to a wedding photographer recently from NY. He says spread there is anything from $0-$50 000 to shoot a 8 hour wedding on a consistent basis.

    Singapore I think at best, the spread is $0-$15 000 (or something like that not too sure).

    Good ro bad, I guess that's for you to decide.

    I think the benefit of foreign markets is just the large population size. Even Jakarta and Bangkok gets much better top end rates than Singapore because the size of the population.

    Anyway, at the end of the day, for all this talk on money, I hope you have a fun and inspiring shoot- that, to me, is the most important thing at the end of the day.

  18. #18

    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Quoting is not an easy task, it can vary for all sorts of reasons. Let's try to encourage each other by sharing information!
    As mentioned, charging a sitting fee then charging per print relieves financial strain on the client, but will require more administrative work on your side to handle.
    Try not to charge too little, because it will lead to the cheapening of the photography market in general.

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    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    my rule of thumb is: if the customer doesn't complain, then you're too cheap!

    but seriously, it all depends on how much you want to earn from it. i'm also an amateur, and have done several jobs here and there. i charge based on what i want to get from it, and take into account the customer's ability to pay, and how likely i will get repeat business.

    as an amateur myself, i roughly peg my worth at about $250 for half a day of work, maybe 3-5 hours. companies offered me $15 an hour before. i gave them my friend's namecard. haha

    so, how much do you want to earn today?
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  20. #20

    Default Re: How to charge for family portraiture

    Quote Originally Posted by stougard View Post
    I don't think you're a pro, a pro would not ask this kind of question.

    Are you ready to assume failure ? what will you do if your camera does not work ? if your hard disk is broken and you lose all photos before you deliver ? if the customer is not happy with your work ? you hurt one of the kid with your camera ?

    Many question who are much more important than the rate you should apply, many question that you have to find an answer before you can play pro and get paid for your work.

    If you can not answer, just do it for free (or almost) without any warranty about the result and no damage more than not be paid in case of failure.

    A last, let the pro job to the pro people. They can answer all the pro question (included rating).
    wah..you really know how to pour cold water

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