how much $$ do you want to make / hour ?
you can always do it that way ...
sitting fee + cost of film and materials up front.
price for finished prints back end.
go to a pro-lab and find out how much they charge
for the sizes you want to sell, and then triple them ( or at least double them ),
and come up with some sort of package deal, like they do at
kiddie candids or jc penny or ... ( fill in the blank ) for 'sheets" ..
i wouldn't waste your polaroids on portrait proofs, polaroid film is too expensive + rare these days
to do that with it ;)
Thanks for more of the advice guys....Its all still rolling around in my mind.
Pricing is always hell until you decide to be honest with yourself about what you are trying to do.
So I'll ask this question. "Are you really doing this with the hope of making money as a viable business?"
- If no, pricing properly doesn't matter, cover your costs and go have fun.
- If you are trying to build a body of work you can show off as a portfolio, trading your work as a photographer for your "client's" work as a model is a fair trade.
- If you are testing your market to see if your work will sell at a certain price then you can't give it away or all you learn is that it will sell cheaper.
- If you really want a viable business then as I remember, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) says that your "cost-of-goods-sold" should be about 30-40% of your sales price when using film and doing business as a home based studio.
(Side note: For comparison, digital cost-of-goods-sold is about 20-30% PLUS about 10% for depreciation. For film based studios depreciation is only about 1%. So essentially film and digital studios stand on an even cost basis in the real world.)
PPA puts it pretty bluntly too if you ask for their help; if your cost-of-goods-sold is greater than the norms, your business is in trouble and it is not sustainable.
These percentages are real numbers based on the real experience of thousands of photographers over many years.
So you need to figure your real costs and do some math, here's an example.
For my portrait jobs the film goes to Richard Photo Lab. I have them process, color correct, print proofs on 5x5 paper, and put 40mb scans on a disk.
After I add the cost of a roll of film and postage both ways, I figure it's about $35 hard cost per roll on average.
I can't do all that work any cheaper in house unless I give my time away.
So for me, the math is simple, $35 cost divided by 35% (which is my target cost-of-goods-sold) = $100 per roll (135 or 120), and so that's my going rate.
I also charge $100 a flat fee just to show up for an on-site shoot (even if the job is close you'll probably have 1-2 hours in travel, mailing, sorting, and setup time).
Don't sell yourself short.
Add up the total time you will spend on the thing, and multiply by the hourly wage you would like to be paid. Add for materials and other expenses. That is your fee. If they don't want to pay it, let them go somewhere else, and put that time into your real job instead. (HINT: Catering pays well - about $15 to $25 an hour - considering that it has virtually no requirements except that you don't look like a total scumbag.) I would do a "quick" digital head shot for a FRIEND for $60, maybe...with no printing, and no carrying of equipment other than what I could carry on my back and in my hands, and no more than two hours computer work.
When I think about these things, I consider $25 an hour to be an absolute minimum for simple work (e.g. a whole lot of products on a uniform white background, intended for Internet only), and $40 or $50 is really more like it for involved work. That includes lab time. (Even these are more like semi-pro rates that professional rates.) Otherwise, it is absolutely not worth it. I'd rather catch up on my sleep.
At any rate, the most important thing is making sure that the actual time and money you spend on the thing divided into what you make for it equals a decent hourly rate. You improve your hourly rate by making accurate estimates of your time, and then actually finishing within the estimate.
At this point, still being a student, my goal with this is to
A. To have some fun with this
B. To make a little money to keep buy more film paper and chem and save up for more gear
C. To make others enjoy portraits I have taken
D. To gain experience doing this on a very small scale.
Then you have what you need to get started with your plan.
Originally Posted by Ektagraphic
I'm going to grab some people to model for me to test with....I have kind of a long way to go....Does anyone use reflectors often outdoors?
Reflectors are perhaps more important outdoors than they are in studio, because your control of light is limited to location, time of day, and positioning of your subject. In studio, you can arrange lights however you, so that reflectors are not as critical.
All this being said, only use a reflector if you want the effects that a reflector brings. Do not use one just because.
I will have to pick up a couple....I have done some experimenting with a studio set up and some light and I had lots of fun!! I guess I will want to eliminate shadows on someones face without fill flash if I am in that position...so I'll try reflectors.
IMHO, it is important in being a good photographer to not to apply a "blanket" technique to your shooting. Think about why or why not you would want to eliminate shadows on someones face in each situation, before just deciding that this is what you are going to do all the time. Everything you do to take the picture and make the print is going to affect what the print does emotionally, conceptually, and what have you. That is your starting point, not "I use fill for portraits." Light is your only seriously important tool. Use it to manipulate the image in order to achieve the desired effect, not just to make use of your tools for sake of making use of them. You must free yourself from predefined boxes to be a good photographer. You must go into each image fresh, and consider each image individually. Instead of worrying about gear and what situations you will use it for, think about light and what it does for the image...then think about what you can do to manipulate it to get the intended effect. I suggest that you quit getting so much into gear in your thinking, and really get into learning and thinking about light and how to use it. One thing I would do is to get some basic shapes. Sphere, cylinder, and cube. Get three hot lamps, a table, and a backdrop or two. Get some bounce cards and some black cards. Get some diffusion. Get some barn door material (black foil - A.K.A. cinefoil - works well). Then spend your time lighting those stupid objects in every way imaginable until you understand light and can control it to get what you want. Spending your time doing that will help your goals far more than worrying about what camera to use or what other people do with reflectors.
Originally Posted by Ektagraphic