Hi Guys- I have been doing some experimentation and I am thinking that I want to start doing portraits both on location and possibly with a mobile studio set up. I was wondering, what is a reasonable price for doing portraits on 4x5 and or with a Rolleiflex. I don't know if I should line up with the average price of the digital photographer to start with and once I gain quite a bit of confidence and customers I should get a price more in line with the service I am doing. I am probably going to specialize in black and white which I will defiantly be developing myself.
I do family portraits/ couples portraits with a semi mobile rig about every 4 to 6 week. Either at the family's home,or a local park, or nature reserve.
I take along a flight case of stands, reflectors, reflector arms, bounce umbrellas, shoot through umbrellas, and a few modest sized soft boxes, a few black flags and gaffer tape and good assortment of A clamps and a tripod.
For light I use natural mostly, or use a Metz 60CT1, or an equally powerful old Braun flash. Most of the time this is used for fill rather than main lighting.
It is usually on 120/220 roll film with a Mamiya, and then I deliver a legible size image 6cm sq 8x10 contact sheet. The average session is 3-4 120 films - i.e about 30-48 images. Usually C-41.
I aim to deliver contact sheets along with an order form within 2-3days of the shoot.
I process my own film, and process my own prints. I usually do an 8x10 to show how a cropped enlarged image can look, and a second 8x10 on portra b&w paper to show the client what b&w can look like.
For this I charge a sitting fee of $60 presently at this stage if the shot is local to me, just to cover my costs.
I require a model release from all before the shoot begins, to allow me to market with their images and to attempt to give me a cause to chase/shame them if they want to just order one image, and clone them themselves. I have not had this problem to date.
I sell enlargement prints for 5x7 $7, 8x10 $10, and 11x14 for $25 for the first of an image, and about a 40% discount for reprints of the same image.
I offer mounting, custom vignetting, and other services on an ala carte basis to meet the client desires.
Sometimes I will get interest in the B&W and then do a session of just that priced at a premium, and will do 4x5 if they tell me that they are looking for 20x24, etc.
I'm not trying to get rich on this, just cover my costs, and keep my finger active in this scene.
You are cheaper than some bad di**tal photographers prices that have no idea how to take photos! I would prob go alittle less than $60 as a base fee since I am younger and I'll see where it goes...I might do $40 as a base fee but 5X7 $8, 8X10 $15, and 11X14 $32. For 4X5, I'll give them a proof on the spot with Polaroid...
I would probably include either 2 or 4 4x5s and one roll in the Rollei.
What do you do with the negatives?
You guys are both working for sub minimum wage, even when they order a couple prints. The only way to make this not lose money would be to go digital and preview on a laptop and make the prints they want from a dye sub printer on site before they leave. Get your money and part ways. No darkroom time, no time to take and process their order. Your materials easily eat up what you charge, especially darkroom costs.
If you are truly talented at this (more than the average wannabe portrait photographer), you could charge 3x as much no problem.
If you don't want to go that route, tell them film is getting expensive and you need $75 up front for film and processing, and the sitting is actually free. They will then have an understanding of what they are paying for.
Someone else asked about the negatives... The photographer keeps them. In a digital system, I'd have no problem sharing a set of full sized full quality jpegs as an alternative to a large print order. For film, nobody knows how to store or organize negatives like the photographer.
jp498- I'm going to start with these prices and see how people respond to the prices and the quality of my work and go from there.
You could have a session fee that includes print(s), quantity depending on size. Then you could get the client to review the images, giving you the opportunity to decide on the print included and sell more. I have a few examples in my studio that most won't find in a retail store, a couple example, prints made with canvas and prints made with an aluminum sheet rather than paper. I also suggest that 8x10 prints are for an album, an 11x14 print is for a bookcase or on a piano and then I suggest that a 16x20 and larger is for a wall. If you only show them small print examples, you will find that's what you will sell. There are many ways to show the clients just how this works but an LCD projector would help you get larger prints sold. Sometimes I will show a 40x30 print frame then have a 8x10 print inside it and the comment usually made is, "gosh, that's a small print!" Larger prints=larger profits. Why not strive for a good sized order? After all, it's your art and your time & talent getting the end result for your client.
Those are ridiculously low fees...if you don't value your work, then who will? Don't sell yourself short.
In my town there are a few photographers who are quite popular among the middle-class clientele (I say this so you don't think that everyone in LA is some kind of millionaire), and they charge $250 for a sitting of about 1 1/2 - 3 hours, all digital, on location...small proofs are made by a service like Miller's, and prints are ordered after seeing the proofs. If I recall correctly, a 5x7 is $65, and 8x10 is $105, an 11x14 is around $150. Average order plus sitting grosses around $600.
The photographer's time encompasses the first meeting, the shoot, post-processing, proof presentation and final print delivery.
For digital portraits, I usually charge $250-350 ($250 for friends, but it's always friends).
Film is a bigger risk to you for things not turning out well, much greater time commitment. I would price accordingly.
What I don't do is charge craploads for prints. I will make a nice 13x19 print for $100 or so but I'm happy enough to give the files to the customer and have them make drugstore prints if they want.