costs for time
i am sure this is quite individual...but if anyone could shed some light...
i will be taking a photograph for a mural that will be in a hotel restuarant in london. this is my first major (paid) job, and i was wondering if anyone could give me a tip as to how much i should charge?
obviously i would have to add the costs of film, processing etc... but what about my time?
Here is what I have learned during forty years’ of commercial work:
Finding work is not difficult. Getting paid for your work is often impossible. Remember that you are doing custom work which has no resale market except to that one client.
Every job comes with a preset budget. You must first determine the budget and then adjust your photographic quality to fit that budget. If the client insists he has no budget, stop right there. He probably has no money. Lots of people order expensive photography with absolutely no idea of how they will pay for it.
Submitting a bill after custom work (which is of no value to anyone besides the client) has been completed for an amount exceeding the client’s expectations will result in non-payment. You might get your exposed film back (after a legal fight), but you won’t get paid.
What’s worse, you will lose the money you spent for processing, materials and other expenses. I repeat: determine the client’s budget before accepting the assignment.
Second point: wherever you are, there is a market rate which has been established for various kinds of photography. That rate has everything to do with usage, competition, etc. It has little to do with your cost in time, materials and expenses to produce the work.
For example, in the days when commercial photographers shot film, they charged approximately double their hourly cost of doing business to shoot in the studio. Then the time spent developing and printing in their lab was given away for free. People were willing to pay big money for photography, but not for film development.
It is just as bad to charge too little for your work. I call it the “Jewellery Store Syndrome”. No prospective bridegroom would purchase a diamond engagement ring for one dollar (or one pound). Even if the quality were perfect. His bride is “worth” his paying considerably more.
If you quote a price dramatically below the market price in your area, the client will think he is commissioning junk work.
In summary, find out the market rate for the job in your area and make sure the client is willing to pay that rate before accepting the assignment. Adjust your work so that you can make a fair profit at that fee.
I would never recommend going into a commercial job, without the budget or money figure the client has budgeted for his particular requirements, and I will never push the shutter button without knowing all figures in place before hand, once the job is done and you are there to deliver the product, IS NOT THE TIME TO NEGOTIATE! you must do this before the job to ensure payment and delivery, I always try to work with a contract in place, if a customer will not sign a contract, I really doubt how serious he/she is about actually getting the job done, working with a contract in place, with all facts and figures really can cut down any hassles that may arrise once you have shot.
As John mentioned, make sure you know the market in your particular area, this can vary based on location even within a single city, I always try to get the high and low range of what the type of work I am doing is going for, then price myself somewhere on the high middle range, based on my experiance and what I have done and can show the client in the particular field we are doing the shoot in.
I know nothing about pricing "photographic" work, but I became self employed 15 years ago and am now semi-retired at 47, so "generically" I know a little bit about profit, loss, marketing, competition and customers.
The two posts preceeding mine (Dave and Johns) are so "generically" dead-on the money that it's scary. These two guys posted EXACTLY what I was thinking and would have posted myself, given my business (in a different trade) experience.
a question of experience
"As John mentioned, make sure you know the market in your particular area, this can vary based on location even within a single city, I always try to get the high and low range of what the type of work I am doing is going for, then price myself somewhere on the high middle range, based on my experiance and what I have done and can show the client in the particular field we are doing the shoot in.
Thank you all for your advice! i really apreciate you taking your time to respond...
i wanted to inquire something about what you wrote david, quoted above. what constitutes experience in your understanding... how confident you personally think you are? or how many paid jobs you have done in that particular area of photography? for example, i am fantastic night time shots, but i have never dont a mural before...
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please ignore my last thread, it was a bit slow. but i completely understand what you mean, and i really apreciate your advice!!