Asking a fair price for your photo assignment
It's a question I very often get:
I have been asked to do a shoot and what my price is. But what can I ask now? What is a honest price?
In one way or another there is an air about photography that says: it must be free or for very little.
That's why I want to go into this for a moment and also dispel some prejudices that you have as well.
Let's start with an email from this morning. Our boiler needs maintenance and I was looking for a reliable company after unfortunately being scammed by the previous company (long story).
On Friday the mechanic of this company will come by for a first service and then we will immediately discuss whether I will take out a subscription with them.
And the price?
A mechanic costs €71 excluding VAT per hour (so I pay 85,91 per hour) and there is an additional €45,50 (ex VAT) in call-out costs. They expect that he/she will be busy for 1 hour, so without material and extra work I have lost:
Mechanic CV: 140,97 for 1 hour of work.
Yes, but a mechanic is highly trained!
Many years ago, we had a similar engineer come over for our heat-recovery unit, a ventilation system that blows heat back into the house.
Just a good maintenance, cost then 45 euros, is really not that bad. The first thing this well-trained technician asked: do you have the booklet, because I've never seen such a unit.
And 10 minutes later it was done because it turns out you can only get a vacuum cleaner through it. So 45 euros for 5 minutes of reading and 5 minutes of vacuuming. We really chose the wrong profession.
Yes, but the mechanic has to make a living!
That's absolutely right, but this is a big pitfall for you. Because if this is your mindset, you will never be able to live off it.
Do you dream of part-time or full-time photography? Do you want to work less and photograph more? Then you must now stop thinking that you don't have to live on it. You now have to build up a buffer so that you can (partly) live on it later.
When I started photography I always dreamed that one day I could make a living from it. And by thinking this I now have the Experience Studio and I am working on this full time, yes, I quit my job completely, because I know that photography and coaching you is my passion.
I'm living my dream and you can too!!!
Yes, but the mechanic has expensive tools!
I always like to check with the mechanic when he/she is working on the boiler. And I always see passing by: screwdrivers, pliers, cloth, sometimes a hammer and very occasionally a pressure gauge or a resistance meter.
I am 100% sure that you have put way more money into your camera, lenses, flashes, etc than the value of the mechanic's tools!!
Yes, but I would like a lot of customers!
It is nice to have a large customer base, but which customers do you want?
Customers who come to you because you are so nice and cheap or customers who like to come because you take such great photos.
And the problem with a low price is that you can no longer really raise your prices, because you are then known as the Aldi of photography, many photos for very little money. The banger specialist.
The really serious dream customers will stay away because they prefer to go to a more expensive quality photographer.
Yes, but it's also good advertising when I do free shoots!
A free shoot is not good advertising, a shoot with very creative photos is.
If someone has a great experience with you, is super proud of the photos and has paid you 100 euros per hour, this will radiate very positively: "I found a really really good photographer!! That's the place to be".
That has a lot more impact than: "I found a free photographer, that's where you have to go!".
You are worth more than you think!
And I mean that seriously. You have invested in good equipment. You are serious about photography. And you are growing.
That is why you can ask a fair price for these investments. You can start with this concept:
A one-hour shoot costs €50, which includes post-processing. This is a good entry-level price and by gaining more experience you can grow from here.
If you are already more experienced, the price can increase or you will charge for post-processing separately. But don't go lower than this 50 per hour.
And does your customer not want to pay this? Then this customer is not worth the effort and time. In a restaurant, this customer cannot say: I want the carpaccio in advance, then the steak with fries and tiramisu, for a friend price of €10.