What would you charge?

Started Apr 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
RhysM Senior Member • Posts: 2,212
Re: Meanwhile...Back in the -real- world

Truelight wrote:

I'm the OP here and this thread has proven quite amusing.  I mentioned I worked, full-time, for 28-years, for this agency.  I'm now retured. Even after all that time, when I left I was making an annual salary less than what some of you suggest I charge for this project.  $100 a head with 200 people to shoot??  $20,000? They could just put me back on the payroll for almost 4 months at my old salary and still come out ahead.  Even for projects involving just one person and an hour of shooting I do not charge $100 for the shoot.  For this project, once I get set up, I will probably have each person in front of the camera for 4 quick shots - a few minutes each max.  Yes, I will add travel and other expenses, but the total bill won't come close to $20K.

Of course many will say I'm charging too little and that I'm hurting the industry by undercutting the professionals.  Yes, I do this part-time and don't make my living with photography, so I can afford to charge less.  But if I even suggested $20k for this project they would laugh and I would feel guilty, even considering they are a government agency with deep pockets.  Those tactics are for the government contractors who charge $250 for a 20-cent machine screw.

There have been some good posts here with good tips and I'm negotiating now with the agency to set the rate.  I guess those of you who find people who think your work is worth that much and don't balk at your price, (and who can look themselves in the mirror with a straight face after collecting the check), more power to ya.

But that's not me.  I will repost once I have set a price (and then standby for all manner of flames).

A few more observations from me:

a) The people saying they charge $100 a head shot is all well and good, but i doubt any of them have been asked to do 200 at the same time for the same client! Also, they haven't heard of economies of scale. There's a big difference between charging $100 for  dozen head shots of a committee/board vs. 200 shots.

b) Don't be afraid to "devalue" the business.

If you are a hobbyist turned part-time photographer and don't need to use the money as your main source of income then charge what you are comfortable with.  If you were to say charge $20 a head, plus all expenses then you've just earned (minus taxes)  $4000 for your next lens or whatever.  If a full-time pro wants to charge $100 a shot then they should be 80% better and earn that extra money by attracting customers with their vastly superior end product, not whine about people undercutting them.

If they can't be 80% better than someone with a few thousand $$$ worth of equipment and some self teaching then they need to realise it's not about the amateurs/part-timers devaluing the business but about them overvaluing what it is they do.

Lots of businesses and industries are disappearing because cheaper alternatives have emerge with more affordable technology and better education resources.

It's a sign of the times, what i find annoying is that other businesses adapt and diversify, where as photographers seem to think they've got a god given right to keep doing what they've always done, the same way and for the same price as they've always done it and expect nothing to change.

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