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Thread: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

  1. #1

    Default How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Hi all,

    I believe HOW TO CHARGE seems to be one of the most asked questions.

    Just feeling bored so spend sometime to write this and feel free to add to it.


    Here are a few things that you need to consider when doing your costing.

    1. COST
    This is often miss by many when doing their costing, or somehow mis-calculation which cause to "eat in" to your profit margin, and as a result, you have nothing left even if you have lots of jobs.

    Here is a some list of things that you need to consider:
    a. Cost of Time
    - Preparation time - Equipment preparations (charging, checking and arranging).
    - Service Time - Time required to serve a client from the first email to the product delivery (this timing can be quite major, so make sure you consider this)
    - Session Working Time - This is time require from preparation to actual session to post-processing to ordering to delivery

    b. Cost of Equipment
    - Equipment cost range from the camera system to computer system to supporting equipment (battery, cards, etc)
    - Servicing cost
    - Depreciation value of the equipment

    c. Cost of Marketing & Advertising
    - This is one of the major cost when start up and when established, you will need to set aside 15-20% for Marketing every year

    d. Cost of space
    - This apply to the space that you rent for your business.

    e. Cost of Products
    - This is the cost of printing, album, etc.

    2. PROFIT
    Profit is the margin you add in on top of your cost and should include at least 10% "human error" margin.

    3. COMPETITION
    Competition do dictate how much you can charge in your market.

    If you are a follower: You can charge lesser than the leader
    If you are the leader: You can charge any amount that you see fit as long as you understand your value vs price equation.

    4. BRAND PRESTIGE
    Depending on your total "Brand Image", your price should reflect your "Prestige".


    Once you have calculated your real "cost", you will need to know how many shoots you do a month, with that, you know "cost per job".


    Here is an example:

    You own 2 semipro DSLR with 2 f2.8 zoom, a couple of flashes plus bunch of card and batteries

    Lets say you buy second hand it cost $8000 (need replacement in 2 years) - $ 333/month

    Your Computer, HDD, etc - $2000 (need replacement in 2 years )- $83/ month

    Your phone bill - $30/month

    Your "meal & transport" cost - $300 per month

    Lets just say, you don't charge for your time, you stay at home with your parents and eat at home and don't pay them for any electricity and dues to them, you have a cost of $750 a month. (But please don't do that to your folks).

    Also, there is no money going to advertising and marketing, so how you are getting jobs and we are cutting a lot of things out to make this example simple.

    So, you just need to work out, how much more do you want to "make" after knowing the "cost" by work out number of shoots a month.

    This is how simple it is for price equation.

    I hope this helps for those who is doing their math in working out their costing.

    So for those who is seriously want to charge people for doing photography, you will need to make sure you consider your real "COST".



    Regards,

    Hart
    Last edited by Agetan; 31st May 2011 at 08:02 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Thanks for sharing. There are still people charging $0 to less than $400 for a full-day actual day wedding(not ROM) at the moment. Would like to know how they can earn profit after deduct off the transportations(especially those who take cab to bride's house early morning like 5am), meal and time. Anyone of you charging at this low rate can share?
    Last edited by kentwong81; 1st June 2011 at 02:06 PM.
    Kent Wong Photography |Leica Q & Leica M-P 240 | 75 & 28mm Summilux

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    I think those generally take out a lot of cost and allow other people to buy their service (such as tag along a bridal boutique) and shoot but no process and burn on CD straight away. It could work, but for those who is making a living, the profit might be slim even if you have 12 shoots a month. If you could make $200 per shoot and $2400 a month, is not bad for most.

    However, these type might not last very long as $2400 today wont be $2400 in 5 years time.

    The above costing breakdown generally applies for people who is looking to work in this field full time.

    I left out things like Tax and Business related expenses as cost too.

    Regards,

    Hart

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Quote Originally Posted by kentwong81 View Post
    Thanks for sharing. There are still people charging $0 to less than $400 for a full-day actual day wedding(not ROM) at the moment. Would like to know how they can earn profit after deduct off the transportations(especially those who take cab to bride's house early morning like 5am), meal and time. Anyone of you charging at this low rate can share?
    I guess these guys probably aren't doing it full time. Some people are just doing it for the love of photography and sometimes to simply cover gear costs.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Nice one, Hart. There's a useful site one can use for this, instead of doing the calculations manually.

    What is This?
    We have developed this hourly rate calculator to give you a guide based on your costs, number of billable hours and desired profit. It is a simple tool for you to play with.

    Remember your hourly rate should always take into account factors like market demand, industry standards, skill level and experience - things that unfortunately we can't put into a calculator!

    Use these calculations as a guide and then modify to suit your circumstance and conditions.

    It will take you about 5-20 minutes to complete depending on how
    much attention you give each calculation.

    http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    I always charge my batteries as close to the shoot so that they do not drain too much. I also charge my customers at least 50% before the project and the remaining when the pictures are delivered. I also charge my clients a figure that i am comfortable with. I wasnt able to charge them with this mentality when i was starting out with no abilities, no experience and no portfolio... Then again, the most important thing is still to charge your batteries...
    Don't brag about your accomplishments; Show us your future works.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Inferno View Post
    I guess these guys probably aren't doing it full time. Some people are just doing it for the love of photography and sometimes to simply cover gear costs.
    Some do offer weddings coverage (as main pg) for FREE... a price that I am not able to meet... Can anyone?

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Quote Originally Posted by JacePhoto View Post
    I always charge my batteries as close to the shoot so that they do not drain too much. I also charge my customers at least 50% before the project and the remaining when the pictures are delivered. I also charge my clients a figure that i am comfortable with. I wasnt able to charge them with this mentality when i was starting out with no abilities, no experience and no portfolio... Then again, the most important thing is still to charge your batteries...
    You are dead right... Charge those batteries... They do run out at the most unfriendly time.

    Regards,

    Hart

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    some people just come so low, you wonder how you even cover the cost of their meals, let alone equipment and time.
    "Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing." - Vince Lombardi

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Quote Originally Posted by iRaphael View Post
    some people just come so low, you wonder how you even cover the cost of their meals, let alone equipment and time.
    Like i mentioned in quite a number of threads, i charged $500+ for albums/prints with only a few weddings under my belt (aka super newbie) with just a single cam and flash. But that's 7-8 years ago. Nowadays the buggers with 1 year exp also charging this, and below even.

    Teh Si already $1.70 @ Ya Kun leh..... even at non-aircon S11 kopi is $1.20!

  11. #11

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    I have always tried to aim upwards, but really i think i am succumbing to societal pressures. Last time where got such a thing as luncheon one....crazy. Singaporeans in general more and more ngeow, low budget etc. But look very nice on the outside leh....

  12. #12

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Quote Originally Posted by kentwong81 View Post
    Would like to know how they can earn profit after deduct off the transportations(especially those who take cab to bride's house early morning like 5am), meal and time.
    Have to specifically put in under chargeable options and list out conditions. (eg early hour arrival before 7.30am, $100/hr.....and before 6.30am there is an additional flat surcharge. I have been doing that since I think 3 months after I started)

    Some ask for discounts due to ending early, well you can just tell them you can arrive earlier to take the evening makeup. If you are going to earn less per shoot, how to survive nowadays with so many people in the market. For those in their 30s and earning an average pay in the private sector (take 50k per annum for eg), basically even those supplementing their income, I'd reckon you need to be doing at least $800 or so per shoot to make this worthwhile. Perhaps its fun at first, even if one is not doing this full time, in the longer run you will run out of steam. Yep, many are pushing the time earlier and earlier, so do charge for that.......esp so many people going for Luncheongs and hence need to start at 5.30-6am. (my regular hrs start from 7.30am)

  13. #13

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Have to specifically put in under chargeable options and list out conditions. (eg early hour arrival before 7.30am, $100/hr.....and before 6.30am there is an additional flat surcharge. I have been doing that since I think 3 months after I started)

    Some ask for discounts due to ending early, well you can just tell them you can arrive earlier to take the evening makeup. If you are going to earn less per shoot, how to survive nowadays with so many people in the market. For those in their 30s and earning an average pay in the private sector (take 50k per annum for eg), basically even those supplementing their income, I'd reckon you need to be doing at least $800 or so per shoot to make this worthwhile. Perhaps its fun at first, even if one is not doing this full time, in the longer run you will run out of steam. Yep, many are pushing the time earlier and earlier, so do charge for that.......esp so many people going for Luncheongs and hence need to start at 5.30-6am. (my regular hrs start from 7.30am)
    If you don't charge for that , you are going to suffer in the end . Other than getting shortchanged and feeling tired because of it . Higher chance photos wont turn out as well , end product quality suffers , your reputation suffers ...in the end you can't get out of this vicious cycle....

  14. #14

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Yep...vicious cycle. It spoils the market as well for everybody. Why the PG don't charge, but VG must charge. But do not forget MUAs do charge, their structure may be a bit different, but remember they finish already just wash hands and go home sleep. You will still be stuck at the wedding taking photos because the relatives do not arrive before 9AM for tea ceremony. "We have time, go out for photoshoot loh". ROM @ 6pm also need to charge, unless they end the morning session 1.5hrs before your agreed stipulated time.

    Remember, 7.30-1.30pm is very different from 6am to 12 noon. The latter I usually need to take Panadols in the afternoon. (sleep deprivation + hot weather). In fact I just took 2, and I am @!%$!@#$ unable to sleep.....for unknown reasons.
    Last edited by 2100; 4th June 2011 at 03:52 PM.

  15. #15
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Yep...vicious cycle. It spoils the market as well for everybody. Why the PG don't charge, but VG must charge. But do not forget MUAs do charge, their structure may be a bit different, but remember they finish already just wash hands and go home sleep. You will still be stuck at the wedding taking photos because the relatives do not arrive before 9AM for tea ceremony. "We have time, go out for photoshoot loh". ROM @ 6pm also need to charge, unless they end the morning session 1.5hrs before your agreed stipulated time.

    Remember, 7.30-1.30pm is very different from 6am to 12 noon. The latter I usually need to take Panadols in the afternoon. (sleep deprivation + hot weather). In fact I just took 2, and I am @!%$!@#$ unable to sleep.....for unknown reasons.
    if go by per hour rate, MUA artist are consider well paid job, even with the test makeup session throw in.
    photographers are the most worst paid, meeting plus portfolio presentation plus email/phone conversation plus shooting plus processing plus traveling here and there plus delivering finish products.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  16. #16

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Personally, I prefer not to charge early starter.... But you need to charge enough that you don't see the issue to get up in the morning.

    I find any additional charges do send a message to clients that you are more into making more of their money. This is not a good way of getting clients to appreciate you.

    Imagine, if you charge enough and when client ask about early start, wouldn't they impress or relax when you say no additional charge? This sometimes can be the deciding factor. Not because of the money, but it shows photographer is willing to go extra miles for them.

    But the key is charge enough.

    Regards,

    Hart

  17. #17
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post
    Personally, I prefer not to charge early starter.... But you need to charge enough that you don't see the issue to get up in the morning.

    I find any additional charges do send a message to clients that you are more into making more of their money. This is not a good way of getting clients to appreciate you.

    Imagine, if you charge enough and when client ask about early start, wouldn't they impress or relax when you say no additional charge? This sometimes can be the deciding factor. Not because of the money, but it shows photographer is willing to go extra miles for them.

    But the key is charge enough.

    Regards,

    Hart
    yes, agree with Hart, the key is charge enough, enough for them to ask for anything and yet you still well covered.

    but for most shooters does not have that kind of luxury, many wedding couples want cheap want young want something you know lar very big. so the show up early surcharge is giving the wedding couples an option, does it justify to pay extra to ask make up artist, photographer, videographer, to start the day early for them? is a OT isn't it?

    to all aspiring wedding photographers,
    if a photographer is charging low rate, and don't charge show up early surcharge, sure will get it from those wedding couples having the typical buffet mentality, "everything I want as long it is free, it doesn't really matter even I don't need it, if I throw it away later I still got nothing to lose"

    so make a choice, charge enough to cover everything or charge everything separately.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  18. #18

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    That's why I feel the need of this thread.

    If you have the work that show the value of your service, you can afford that. What I find many people do is to concentrate too much on their pricing and forgotten about the clients. Pricing is something photographer should know but should not be the selling point.

    In matter of fact, I will tell my clients that pricing is not my selling point, but I am giving them much more than what they are paying for. So when people can see the value and your willingness to go extra miles with them, they will appreciate and use your service.

    Many people fails to charge correctly... And fail to enjoy their work and fail to serve their clients the right way.

    When one choose to be a photographer, you should know that photography is a lifestyle work, hence, you don't charge OT...because you are not working.

    If you do everything right, you should have very high booking rates vs enquiry rates.

    Regards,

    Hart

  19. #19

    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    thanks for sharing this. really need this.

    for the past few months, i have been working under my cousin's business which he is a kind of a wedding planner. which i strongly think that he is making full use of me just because i am his close relative. i do engagement cum wedding for a full day from 8am-9pm, and he paid me $180. which is consist of all the unprocessed photos and 240 processed photos into a dvd disc.

    recently i did a bridal photoshoot over in a hotel, i was only paid $100.
    i didnt only use natural lighting, but used 3 external flashes for the lightings.
    i was kind of disappointed but i dont have the guts to stand up as he is my own close cousin.

    really need some advices. thanks.
    PortFolio
    the best camera is the camera that is with you; A200/500/33 (:

  20. #20
    Senior Member sinned79's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to CHARGE.... (most ask questions)

    Quote Originally Posted by haqeel View Post
    thanks for sharing this. really need this.

    for the past few months, i have been working under my cousin's business which he is a kind of a wedding planner. which i strongly think that he is making full use of me just because i am his close relative. i do engagement cum wedding for a full day from 8am-9pm, and he paid me $180. which is consist of all the unprocessed photos and 240 processed photos into a dvd disc.

    recently i did a bridal photoshoot over in a hotel, i was only paid $100.
    i didnt only use natural lighting, but used 3 external flashes for the lightings.
    i was kind of disappointed but i dont have the guts to stand up as he is my own close cousin.

    really need some advices. thanks.
    why not strike out on your own? by now your portfolio should be good enough. Besides Agetan is recruiting new photographers for baby / family portraits, I find your family portraits quite well done too. Maybe you can ask him

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