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fotch
06-29-2010, 12:56 AM
You might want to explore having your lawyer form a small business corporation and being an employee of the corporation. The corporation may ofter some shielding for you.

MattKing
06-29-2010, 01:00 AM
Oh, and be sure to avoid becoming discouraged :).

Ektagraphic
06-29-2010, 01:02 AM
Thanks for all the kind words on both threads mattking :)

fotch
06-29-2010, 01:16 AM
Hey Ektagraphic, all your questions and concerns are intelligent and it is good to be aware of what is needed to be successful. Having been in business for 35+ years, what is routine in setting up a business is just going to be new to someone just starting out.

Taking pictures is the easy part, staying in business takes commitment. Good Luck.

Ektagraphic
06-29-2010, 01:20 AM
Thanks to you too fotch :) I'm new at the world still being in High School :D I have lots to learn and pick up along the way.

fotch
06-29-2010, 01:37 AM
Holy smokes, I thought your were in college. Well, age doesn't matter. Well, on second thought, young is better than old but old does beat the alternative. :D

Ektagraphic
06-29-2010, 01:45 AM
If I told you I was a freshmen this year what will you think now :D

Solarize
06-29-2010, 03:13 AM
Is it possible to have them sign some kind of contract that says that I am not resposable for anything that could happen to them or is insurance still needed?

You would need to consult a lawyer/insurance broker for definitives. Public liability I would not work without. It is essential and not too expensive. Professional indemnity I would work without, but for individual family commissions only, and with a stipulation in signed contract that I will refund any payment (but no more) in the case of total photographic failure. It doesn't help legal costs if a dispute goes to court, but I would think such an eventuality is incredibly unlikely. If the event is not repeatable or there are extra (say, long travel and overnight) expenses involved, you should be totally insured.

As Cheryl pointed out creating perceived value is tricky. Just remember that if you are cheap, your clients will be cheap too. You can't on the one hand talk about the virtues of film, and work with cut prices on the other. Cheap and quality are not compatible.

Shangheye
06-29-2010, 04:55 AM
To price something you need to start with what market you are targeting. Do you have an idea what you are looking for as a clientelle? That determines three key factors:

- Size of the market (and what part of it is accessible...understand your competition)
- What their preferences are (photographic style, Media etc)
- Current price points in the market for that sort of work

Then taking this information build up a cost model of what you need to buy in assets, what you need to spend on consumable (not only photographic materials, but also gasoline for transport, any equipment or location you might rent etc) and what your time is worth. That last one is key, since time IS money as the old addage goes. Finally put an overhead on top for time and materials associated with marketing and sales, Insurance etc. Then build a cost model that considers all these things. Consider current market price points for the service and the prints (assume some print sales, but make sure your service price covers you basic overheads and a portion of your time) and do the sum against your costs. This is your likely profit, then make allowances for tax you would need to pay, and the result is your take home profit after tax. Does that number sound reasonable? Remember, this is the money AFTER you have been paid the value of your time, i.e. it's what is called your Discretionary Cash Flow...what you can spend on whatever you like. If the answer is yes, then this is worth it. If not then look for an alternative pricing model/point or a different market segment.

For example, if there was a market for polaroid simple snapshots in the street and 10 people a day were prepared to pay $40 for each for a portrait of them, and I only need to take one shot for each portrait and hand over the print, this would be a very profitable business...an unlikley market, but I am trying to give you an idea about why the market matters. Understand the market, you understand the business.

By the way people always struggle with what their time is worth...well take what is called an opportunity cost...what job could you be doing in the time spent and what would you earn. Certainly as a minimum it would be minimum wage.

Good luck..

K

markbarendt
06-29-2010, 06:59 AM
Is it possible to have them sign some kind of contract that says that I am not resposable for anything that could happen to them or is insurance still needed?

No, not normally, insurance is still needed if you are going to be in a formal business.

That said if you are working for "film, paper, & chemicals" doing portraits at a street fair your risk is probably low.

If you take a wedding job though...

fotch
06-29-2010, 12:27 PM
If I told you I was a freshmen this year what will you think now :D


Holy smokes, I thought your were a senior. :D:D:D

Mike Wilde
07-08-2010, 11:00 AM
OK, some folks were down on me only charging $60 for a sitting fee. Well, that is what I call a bit of money for them to monetize my hobby for me.

Last night one of the patrons came by to order prints, and I have a $140 order from her, and another client mailed me thier order the same day, and was for $190. I should be able to get these printed in about 5 hours, and enjoy the time spent doing the printing. The processor has had its water baths filled, and the paper is out of the freezer, so likely tomorrow evening I will get started.

Otherwise I would be studynig too much for an upcoming exam, or at work more than I should be. So this under cost work is a nice diversion for me.

Solarize
07-12-2010, 07:46 AM
OK, some folks were down on me only charging $60 for a sitting fee. Well, that is what I call a bit of money for them to monetize my hobby for me.

Last night one of the patrons came by to order prints, and I have a $140 order from her, and another client mailed me thier order the same day, and was for $190. I should be able to get these printed in about 5 hours, and enjoy the time spent doing the printing. The processor has had its water baths filled, and the paper is out of the freezer, so likely tomorrow evening I will get started.

Otherwise I would be studynig too much for an upcoming exam, or at work more than I should be. So this under cost work is a nice diversion for me.

... And this is the reason why. From a hobbyist point of view that is a fair sum, and fair play to you for earning it. Seriously. Well done.
From the point of view from someone who makes a living, or intends to make a living off portrait photography, that sort of return for the time invested would still not be viable. Congratulations on the print order... Have fun in the dark!

Rick A
07-12-2010, 08:46 AM
OK, some folks were down on me only charging $60 for a sitting fee. Well, that is what I call a bit of money for them to monetize my hobby for me.

Last night one of the patrons came by to order prints, and I have a $140 order from her, and another client mailed me thier order the same day, and was for $190. I should be able to get these printed in about 5 hours, and enjoy the time spent doing the printing. The processor has had its water baths filled, and the paper is out of the freezer, so likely tomorrow evening I will get started.

Otherwise I would be studynig too much for an upcoming exam, or at work more than I should be. So this under cost work is a nice diversion for me.
Mike, I totally understand the idea you are doing this for the "love" of your chosen passtime. I only charge enough to keep myself in supplies.
Right now I'm getting ready to display some prints at our local library, and maybe sell a few prints from the exposure. Most of the time I give some framed prints for charity, and price them at a reasonable amount so they sell(all procedes to the charity, nothing back to me), and I sell matted prints at the Chamber of Commerce (5x7 for $9.95 ea.)
I used to be a portrait photographer for Olan Mills, and am really reluctant to pose people, but I do it for nearly the same prices as you, and rely on reprints for the big money, and upcharge for custom matting and framing(tidy profit there). I have a small poratable studio set-up w/lights, backdrop, etc.
My advice to neophytes is to build the price of any needed equiptment into whatever job they undertake. If you cant afford to take a job because you dont have whats needed to make it work, you have to fit the price into the job. If you know you are going to have several portrait jobs coming, go out and buy(or lease) the proper gear, and split the costs between the jobs as past of the sitting fee. If you are going to make this a business, leasing gear is (IMO) the best route, and charge off 100% of the costs on your taxes.