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  1. #31

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    I think you are going to have to sit down and figure out your actual cost, studio time, power, cleaning, insurance, right down to the toilet paper and I will bet you are selling yourself way short I work in industry (I know industry in the USA, I'm shocked too) and our time runs out at around $45 per 100 square foot, your actual mileage may vary but you get the idea. All I do is sit in an 8x8 cube and draw pictures all day and they charge $250 an hour for my time that costs them something like $150 and hour with all the overhead, and I am not all that well paid. Taxes and workmen's comp are killers! I think you will find you need to be around $120 per 50 minute hour to be profitable.

    Good luck and all the best to you!
    "Would you like it if someone that painted in oils told you that you were not making portraits because you were using a camera?"
    "Shouldn't it be more about the joy of producing and viewing the photo than what you paid for the camera?"

    Me

  2. #32

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    patrick

    who is your target market ?

  3. #33
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    I have never made a business of photography, but as an experienced "observer" I think that the phrase "a session with one roll of 120" speaks volumes. The product of a photography business is photographs, not empty film spools or used backing paper. Amateurs measure effort by the number of exposures made, professionals by the number of hours spent or the number of finished photographs required. Actual film cost is one of the smallest items in nearly all professional photography. Think about how many minutes of, say, a car mechanic's or plumber's time it would take to pay for a roll of 120.

    Pricing schemes run all the way from "What will the market bear?" locally, through "What would I have to charge to make this a sustainable enterprise if I did it full time?" down to "What would I have to be paid to not walk away from the opportunity?". Of those, the first is probably the most important, the second the most difficult (which is why so many startup businesses fail in the first year or two), and the last is essentially the criterion of an amateur (which does have its own place in the grand scheme of things).

    As someone pointed out, a course or two in business administration would be an excellent credential for anyone considering a photography career. Can you take a few commissions to defray the cost of your hobby? Sure. But if you are talking about a business, pretend that you have been asked to loan someone else enough money to establish himself in the business that you are proposing. If the answer would be "no", then you need to refine your business plan.

    Oh, yes---myself? My policy is that I either sell it for what it is worth, or give it away. And no one that I know would even consider paying what I think it is worth

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by greybeard View Post
    Actual film cost is one of the smallest items in nearly all professional photography.
    You are right that the film is nearly insignificant by itself but actually "cost of goods sold" is a significant and well defined number in the industry.

    For established profitable film pros (not celebrity shooters, but the normal studios that have been working on main street for 10 years) it's about 30-40% of the sale price.

    Patrick's package would cost him about $35 at a good pro-lab; including a new roll of film, proof prints, developed, and scanned.

    $100 retail for Patrick's 1-roll package would essentially match the industry standard for "profitable".

    What many people don't know is that digital, from a accountant's viewpoint, isn't any cheaper than film for a given job, the costs are just in different places.

    The other thing that is really nice about 120 for portrait business is that it creates a manageable number of shots from both the client's view and the photographer's.

    Throw 12 proofs in front of a client and weed out 6-8 of them and you're more likely to sell bigger prints than if you show them even 24 or 36 to start with.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  5. #35
    fotch's Avatar
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    I think what Mark Barendt just said makes a lot of sense, he has the pulse of the business.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotch View Post
    I think what Mark Barendt just said makes a lot of sense, he has the pulse of the business.
    I take no personal credit for coming up with these numbers, they come from "Professional Photographers of America".
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post
    Well I guess I am trying to approach this with keeping my prices very low so that I can even compete with all of the di*ital photographers in my area that charge peanuts. I guess I need to look this from a new point of view.

    Yes, you do. Competing on price is crazy, and operating with margins so tight that you can, is a sure way to burn yourself out. What others charge is a fair starting point for understanding the range of prices the market might bare, and understanding who is charging them and why. Beyond that it is a waste of time.... your overheads are not the same as someone else's, your time is more, or less valuable, the products you offer are not like for like. You don't know that these guys charging peanuts are even making a penny, so don't try and base your costs on arbitrary figures.

    You need a proper business plan. Who is your market? How much do they need you? What can you provide that they will want? How difficult are they to find? Where are they? How expensive are they to reach? What will they respond to? How demanding will they be on your time? Does your photographic style fit with their aesthetic preferences?

    All of these socio-geographical and cultural issues come into play, and should be addressed long before you attempt to establish your costs.

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarize View Post
    Yes, you do. Competing on price is crazy, and operating with margins so tight that you can, is a sure way to burn yourself out. What others charge is a fair starting point for understanding the range of prices the market might bare, and understanding who is charging them and why. Beyond that it is a waste of time.... your overheads are not the same as someone else's, your time is more, or less valuable, the products you offer are not like for like. You don't know that these guys charging peanuts are even making a penny, so don't try and base your costs on arbitrary figures.

    You need a proper business plan. Who is your market? How much do they need you? What can you provide that they will want? How difficult are they to find? Where are they? How expensive are they to reach? What will they respond to? How demanding will they be on your time? Does your photographic style fit with their aesthetic preferences?

    All of these socio-geographical and cultural issues come into play, and should be addressed long before you attempt to establish your costs.
    That's excellent advice for anyone thinking of starting any new business.

    I would also suggest asking yourself, right at the start:-

    1) Why do I want to do this? If the answer is "I'd like to do it", rather than "to make money", then keep it as a hobby!
    2) How can I make money from this idea? Is it a new product or service which no
    one else has thought of (and, if so, is there a realistic demand for it? And why has no one done it before, are there some hidden snags?)
    3) If it's been done before, can I compete by offering a better or cheaper service by operating more efficiently or in a different way to competitors?
    4) If all the above seems to work, and you have done a proper budget to cover all costs and eventualities, will it leave as much profit per hour of my time as I might earn doing a similar job employed by someone else? (Plus, ideally, something extra for all the responsibilities and insecurities of owning my own business!)

  9. #39
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    railwayman3: Well put; very well, actually.

  10. #40
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    One thousand hours of chargeable time per year was something I was told a while ago.

    Basically that's twenty hours per working week which you can charge your customers for. The rest of the time is spent chasing up things, preparation, etc.

    So decide how much you want to earn in a year before tax, add all of your overheads and expenses and divide by 1000 to get your hourly rate. I think you will be surprised!


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

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