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Figuring out your raw materials costs- in the lab+pricing prints

  1. theseasideartist
    Ok so how do I figure out what my raw materials costs are in order to determine my pricing of a wet lab print.

    Lets say i spend $40.00 to buy chemicals for both the film and paper.

    And lets say a sheet of fibre paper costs $2.00 for one sheet. [11x14 or 16x20]

    now the chemicals can possibly be used for more than one darkroom session, maybe not, depends on what you use-

    so lets say I shoot a session , down at the beach- 2 or 3 rolls of film. toddler on the beach-

    would I use the total of $40. in my calculations for that one session even though I might be able to use some of those chemicals for another session?/client.

    it drives me nuts trying to figure out my raw costs-
    how far down do you break down you costs? to the ounce?

    or well I had to order $40. worth of chemicals for this one shoot and if I don't use it on anything else my costs are $40.

    lets say it is $40.00 for chemicals-
    I use them one time - then dump them-but I also have some left over in the bottle to use for another cleint.

    $10.00 for 2 rolls of film for this client.

    2.00 for that one sheet of paper

    so thats $52.00 to produce one fibre print.

    would I use that figure to determine my raw costs for that one session?

    and then add my other costs to determine what to charge the client?

    would I also use those same figures to price documentary work?
    chemicals are chemicals... paper is paper...

    I have seen 11x14 doc fibre prints for sale at $375.
    and there are many others that charge $1200 per session....includes one print

    but how the heck do you figure your actual raw material costs to produce one print?

    If I was making a piece of jewerly I would know I spent 3.75 on this widget and 5.00 on that finding and 8.00 on that small gemstone...but how do you figure out the liquid chem costs?

    Thanks TSSA
  2. wclark5179
    Sorry, I'm not as detailed as you have outlined here. However, my thinking is, as far as costs are concerned, I consider these as important items:

    1. Time by the photographer to create, process and make the print. Does the experience of the photographer, style and the ability to make a beautiful image as an important piece of the pricing pie? What is a brand new, just out of school photographer receive in wages as compared to someone who has 30 plus years of experience?

    2. Selling, marketing and other networking costs.

    3. Educational costs for the key or main photographer(s). Pretty important in today's market.

    4. General business costs. These include location, employees, equipment costs, seminars to send the employees to help them be more valuable for you.

    5. Equipment costs.

    6. Consumables. For darkroom, chemicals for film & print and things like paper costs.

    I believe if you add it up, numbers 1 through 5 would be 90 to 95% of costs. 5 to 10% allow for chemicals & paper.

    What did I miss?
  3. theseasideartist
    Insurance and membership dues-

    you make a good point-
    I think 1-5 fall more into overhead , and the general being in business costs, and #6 is a direct cost in the making of the product, whereas I was thinking of it as part of my overhead.

    for example - a roofing company does not consider the cost of shingles in it's overhead,
    they would calculate how many sq feet of roof they have to cover, and the shingles would be the "variable" depending on how large the roof is. The larger the roof, the more shingles they need to order and bring to the jobsite, and the more the cost they would bill to the client.
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