How much should I charge to take photos?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pin cushion, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. pin cushion macrumors newbie

    pin cushion

    Jan 16, 2007
    Hello everyone!

    Recently an old acquaintance of mine saw some of the photos that I've taken, and she has requested that I take photos of her children... Naturally, she wants to know what I charge.

    Background: I do photography as a matter of interest and as a creative outlet. I've never actually "charged" anyone for any of the pictures that I've taken, but now that the opportunity has presented itself I am certainly considering the possibility.

    But, where do I begin?

    Aside from the "cost of travelling" and "processing fees" or any other miscellaneous costs, what would be a reasonable price to charge her for the photos?

    "Rate per specific type of media suggestions" (or any other suggestions) would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!
  2. TheAnswer macrumors 68030


    Jan 25, 2002
    Orange County, CA
    I'd say just enough to make it worth your while. If this shoot is expanding your knowledge and really excites your creative side, charge less...if it's not something you would normally take pictures of or an area where you already extremely adept, charge a little more.
  3. pin cushion thread starter macrumors newbie

    pin cushion

    Jan 16, 2007
    Thank you for your response; however, the pending issue remains. I don't know what to charge as an acceptable, standard rate, and she would like to know what I would charge BEFORE either of us commit to this project.

    Anymore thoughts?

    Thanks again!
  4. hotboiled macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2006
    100 <--> 150 good photo's
    250 <--> 500 great photo's
    500 <--> 1000+ pro photo's

    show some of your picts please !!!
  5. hodgjy macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2005
    I think there's a few ways to handle this.

    1) If it's a friend, only charge for travel and processing. I think it's just flattering that people want my work or want me to photograph something for them. I'm not in it for the money.

    2) Charge a fee for your time (cost of gas and maybe $5-$25 per hour). Whatever you think your time is worth. This might be the easiest. Then charge whatever it costs to print the pictures (plus your time).

    3) Charge a fee per picture (maybe $5 per 4x6, $10 per 5x7, and $15 per 8x10). This assumes that you print them yourself and don't give her the files.

    4). Give her a cd with proofs and let her decide what she likes. Then give her a cd with those pictures and charge per the number of pictures on the cd. Perhaps a price of $10 per picture would be ok, assuming she is free to print them whenever.

    There's one thing to consider, and it's kind of a double-edged sword. Not charging a fee might lower expectations and you might be viewed as an amateur, and the pictures may not be received well. On the other hand, by charging, the expectations will he higher, so you better deliver.

    My prices I set above are just ball park figures. I know pros charge a lot more. Since I'm not a pro, that's probably what I would do.
  6. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Google for "photography rates" and similar keywords. ASMP and/or some similar organization publishes them. Be aware though that you're likely to not have the level of equipment and experience of someone charging that rate. If you do have backgrounds, strobes, and an understanding of flash exposure and posing, then by all means put yourself somewhere in the pack.

    Be honest with your friend though, especially if this is something you want to do long-term. If you're going to charge them, treat them like a favored customer, quote them a normal rate and give them a discount- that way you're not underpricing yourself in the future. Make sure they understand the difference between their price and "normal."

    Most friends will expect carte-blanch with the files, most professionals maintain rights to the originals and sell prints- factor this in if you're going to do this.

    Also understand that if you're the low price in any market where word-of-mouth counts (weddings, senior portraits, pet pictures, team photos, kids sports...) then you're going to find it difficult to compete as anything but the lowest if you start out too low for hire. That's why rate + discount is generally the best way to go.

    You can also see what folks in your area charge for the same service, as there may be local variations not accounted for in a generic pricing structure that covers NYC and Podunk, IA.
  7. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    i disagree, while logic would dictate that exactly what you said holds true, my experience (with design work) has been that the less you are getting paid the more the client will be a demanding pain in the ass. generally if you are charging a real fee then the client willing to pay it typically expects that you know what you are doing, whereas a low fee indicates you are an amateur, and therefore much more nitpickyness by the client should be expected.

    in this case since it is for a friend i would charge cost of materials + small fee for your time, maybe $100.
  8. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA

    Photos of kids with blue backgrounds outsell all other backgrounds. If you're going to do portraits, then you should invest in a blue background. (Know your market!) Keep the wrinkles out too, backgrounds shouldn't call attention to themselves for portraiture.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Even if you are thinking of going pro at some time, think of this as an opportunity to build your portfolio and gain a client that can be use as a reference later. Think of the money you don't make as a marketing expense

    Get the images printed at a good pro lab that does color managed workflow and charge her double what they charge you. It will still be cheap for her
  10. dshootist macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2005
    Will you process and print as well as shoot?

    These are other factors that should be included in determining the price. Post production and cost to print can be determined by what kind of final image they require and you can ask your local lab for pricing. I usually charge $50/hr for friends to do post production on images (crop, color correction, blemish removal) and any other graphic manipulation comes in at about $75/hr. Sitting fee is $125 and includes a disc of low-resolution, un-processed images for them to keep. I NEVER give RAW images to the client unless there is a pre-specified need. There are many reasons for this, but I that's another thread's worth of conversation.
    My print prices are 2.5x3.5 wallets 10/$10US, 4x6 for $3US, 5x7 $8US, 8x10 $15US, 11x14 $25US, larger prints up to 20x30 $50+US, and 11x17 posters for $30US.

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