Being employed for the first time - how much to charge.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MichaelBarry, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. MichaelBarry macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    London
    #1
    Here's the situation: I've recently gotten a DSLR and I've been shooting with it and my friend (who's in a band) has asked me to take some shots of the band.

    I said yes and he said he would pay me for my troubles - I was delighted to even be considered in the first place.

    But I don't know how much to charge them.

    • Should I charge a certain amout by hour? (how much?)
    • Should I charge by how many photos they want? (how much?)
    • Should I charge them a flat fee? (how much?)

    I know he said he would pay me but I will do it for free as this is my first assignment and I don't know how good I really am yet (and he is a friend too) but this question is more to do with the future and any future jobs from other bands in my area that see my work.

    I've got a Sony a200.
     
  2. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #2
    Ask how much is their budget and what they expect.
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    A lot depends on usage and rights- but you should make sure you're covered for your time both shooting and post-processing. I generally charge a flat rate based upon what I expect to make an hour for my time, equipment, insurance, etc. Once you shoot for money, you may need to change your insurance on your gear if you have it. Different markets support different pricing- Elmira NY isn't going to support the same economy as Manhattan.

    You should charge though- you don't want to be the free guy- you can always discount your price, but it's very difficult to get out of the bargain basement once you go there.

    Suggest a price, and if your friend can't afford it, work out a discount off that price- but invoice by the original price with the discount so that you don't end up getting screwed by that pricing against other people later. Also, make sure you get them to all sign a model release, if the band hits it, you'll want the pictures available to you to sell. Make sure you outline their rights to the images (copies, PR work, redistribution to others...) in terms that you and they are both comfortable with.

    There are pricing guides a Google away, if you need some guidance on what your time is worth photographically, one of them should give you ball-park rates.
     
  4. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #4
  5. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #5
    Well here is a suggestion, getting payed is good but try not to charge your friend professional rate, even if they can pay for it.

    Why? Cause:
    Yup, I'm not sure how much experience you have in photography so I will assume you are just a beginner, hence if you were to charge professional price and your results is not professional grade, then I expect they wont recommend you to someone else, unless you are naturally talented then that is a different story.

    another reason is, and I know its not about the camera blah blah blah but hey if you expect professional grade pays, at least have more better gear then a Sony a200 which is the cheapest if I recall, Sony DSLR body.

    Besides, by not charging like a professional, you got more of a leeway with the band by giving reasons that you are not yet a professional and just an amateur. Just my opinion :) Damn I wished to get called and payed for my shots, so far I got calls and no payment cuz of the "friend" factor or I just really really cheap payment, but heck, I haven't achieve the standard shots I want yet so I appreciate getting the experience. Also take note that all of what I stated is my own point of view and opinion so feel free to disagree or whatever.
     
  6. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #6
    i am assuming you have the kit lens for the shoot, yes? I would maybe charge $100, not more, unless you are renting glass, umbrellas, strobes, etc.

    What were you shooting with before? How long have you been shooting, if i may ask?
     
  7. 103734 Guest

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #7
    I wouldn't charge anything, except for maybe gas.

    Just ask him if you can use your pictures in your portfolio, I'm trying to get started right now too and I am doing all my shoots for free so I can gain the experience and so I can build up a portfolio.
     
  8. MichaelBarry thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    London
    #8
    I was shooting with a Sony bridge camera (SONY DSC-HX1) but I was just shooting for myself on vacations, trips, family gatherings etc.

    I've got the sony a200 with the kit lens (18-70mm f3.5-5.6) and a Minolta AF 50mm f1.7 (which I got from ebay for a under £65!).

    I'm planning on getting a flashgun soon (and diffuser)

    the reason why I was not going to charge is because I was worried they would be disappointed and I would do it simply to gain a portfolio and experience.
     
  9. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #9
    Well that is a very good reason, good luck in your shoots :)
     
  10. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #10
    That's one of the reasons you _should_ charge. Go in to do a job, not to hope you get something- the mental difference is worth it. Treat it like a job, not like something that if it works out you might be able to do something with it. Contract, licensing, pre-shoot conceptual discussions, all of it take time and should be done like you're a pro, not like you're some guy with a camera. If things don't work out, reschedule for another shoot on your time.

    Here's the real issue though- you gain the portfolio images either way, but one way you're on the road to being professional about it, and the other you're just a guy with a camera hoping to get lucky. One way, you're getting paid for your time and efforts, the other way you're "that guy who did it for free last time."
     
  11. Afterthecalm macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    #11
    This will not be favorable to photographers that are gainfully employed by their work, but this is how I do things.

    First, he is your friend..in a band. He is cheap and possibly broke (why can I make this generalization, well, because I am a musician, and I have been in the scene for about 20+ yrs, and still playing). This is where you can barter your services, it's better than money.

    Shooting one (or more) band for free can open you up to several different avenues. I have had the luxury of shooting in dark, poorly lit places, and you'll have a lot of bad pics, so this is where trial & error comes into play. You'll learn what will work, and what doesn't, and your pics over time will get better.

    I have been getting into clubs for free, and been provided with free drink tabs. I don't pay admission to clubs anymore. I don't get questioned when I bring my gear, I have made friends with many in the industry and now I get called upon with paid gigs because I shot the hell out of 2-3 bands for free, so we leech off of each other, so to speak.

    It's been paying off, I will be shooting the Rockstar Mayhem Fest 2009 tour when it comes to town, because I made the right contacts, while shooting my friends band


    Or you can ignore this, and charge $50
     
  12. PimpDaddy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    #12

    QFT!

    One of my friends who shoots alot of bands and parties at clubs has done the same thing and are now hired for shoots and other stuff and is getting payed +1000 dollars per shoot/gig.
     
  13. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #13
    Afterthecalm, i agree with what you said!

    This reminds me of a time a few years ago (drove over 20K miles in the summer of 06', all over Oregon), capturing landscapes and waterfalls, etc. I gained alot of knowledge and experience!

    Well, a co worker at work found out that i shot for fun (i brought in some work and it got passed around) and wanted me to shoot her wedding, which was nothing fancy. She asked how much i would charge.

    Firstly, this was way out of what i had been doing. I shot for fun, and nature was my subject, for the most part (corny, i know:) )
    SO i thought about it (i didnt have the most pro gear, just my 30D) and told her $500. ONLY because i was going to rent a few lenses (85mm F/1.2), 24-70 2.8L,..this was before the 24-105L) another body (1DMk2 or 1DS) some flashes, etc. So basically i was going to do this wedding for free, and i told her every thing i was going to do. In the end, she decided to go with a "pro", and the pictures turned out grabage. He had a d-reb (the body really doesnt make as much a difference as the GLASS) with the lens kit, a sigma cheapo 3.5 zoom and a 50 1.8mm prime. nothing else.

    So i think i would actually do it for maybe a case of beer or maybe the cost of a fast prime lens to rent, so you can have some fun experimenting with different lenses! The most important thing is to have fun with this. It is so easy for photography to lose its' fun factor.

    I would search pBAse or photosig and just type in keywords and get ideas of different angles that people use. I have seen many creative comps of bands. Have fun in PS or LR or Aperture as well. Good luck and post your work!!!
     
  14. Flash SWT macrumors 6502

    Flash SWT

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #14
    compuwar has some great advice in this thread. Even if you shoot it for free make sure you get a model release and also make sure to stipulate what they can use the photos for. ie: one particular CD release or one specific poster, etc.

    Just because they are a small-time band these days and you don't have much experience doesn't mean the photos won't be worth more (to both of you) down the road.
     

Share This Page