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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Family photo fees?
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08/19/2011 02:41:03 PM · #1
Hi all

Been asked to do an outdoor family shoot, in a town about 70km from me (one way).

Not sure how many kids, let's assume for now it's a family of five.

How much time would you give up in a day for this, how much would you charge? I am thinking of renting an 85mm and/or 50mm as well.

Thx
08/19/2011 02:45:15 PM · #2
for family, one MILLION dollars.

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08/19/2011 02:47:37 PM · #3
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

for family, one MILLION dollars.

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seems reasonable. thanks!
08/19/2011 02:58:19 PM · #4
On a serious note, I just became the defacto photographer at a family reunion earlier this month when the photog my cousin hired, got sick. Of course it's much better if you know you will be shooting the "official" group shots & stuff. Anyway, one family doesn't sound so bad. Hopefully someone who does this for a living will chime in, but I would take the going rate (whatever that is) and charge 500%-- er, I mean 50%, depending on how close you are to these family members and also on their ability to afford it. At least that's my take on it.
08/20/2011 12:05:57 AM · #5
charge your normal portrait fee plus at least 2 hours of travel at 50% of your normal hourly rate for shooting. for example, if you normally charge $150/hr, charge $75/hr for travel. it's up to you as to how much you want to give away, but in the end, you are not doing yourself any favors by giving away your time, especially if you need to rent equipment to get the job done.

here's some great insight to pricing by one of the industry leaders, john harrington.

if you don't have an hourly rate, you really need to come up with one - otherwise, how will you ever value your time? there are plenty of books and online calculators that can help you do this.
08/20/2011 07:15:12 AM · #6
Originally posted by saintaugust:

Hi all

Been asked to do an outdoor family shoot, in a town about 70km from me (one way).

Not sure how many kids, let's assume for now it's a family of five.

How much time would you give up in a day for this, how much would you charge? I am thinking of renting an 85mm and/or 50mm as well.

Thx


if its outdoor id consider renting the 70-200/2.8

the 50 and the 85 wont let you get close enough to get any candid shots. i try to photograph family events (my family) for free and fun and i am constantly in peoples faces without a longer lens.
08/20/2011 02:46:04 PM · #7
For me, a family shoot is around $325. This includes all images on dvd and 100 images, of my choice in an album. I give a maximum of two hours for the shoot. With travel, I would add at least $75 for millage and time.
10/09/2011 10:44:10 AM · #8
Obviously every photographer charges differently, but the pricing I use relies on the sale of the final portraiture. For example I DO NOT charge for distance unless it is literally an 8 hour drive.

The system goes like this:
1. Meet with the family beforehand (decision makers who are paying all present) to discuss price, wardrobe, makeup, where the portrait will be made (find en emotional place that is significant in the hearts of the family - instead of "somewhere nice"), my policies (No images on cd, or online, or anywhere, no PROOFS), and get my pre-paid creation fee (I charge $100), and have them sign my model release and schedule a time to do the session.

2. Get there 30 - 45 minutes early to set up because if it is a big family they will also be scrambling to get ready as well so you want to make sure you are ready to go once they look they're best

3. After the session - get back with the person "in-charge" and set up a projection appointment to view the photo's (yes back at their house as I do not have a brick and mortar studio - only the one in my head)

4. Get the BEST 15 photographs and enhance them as if you would for final delivery (The only thing I do not do during this step is stray hair removal or fine skin enhancements unless it is extremely distracting and noticeable - I'll wait until the order)

5. Project the images (one at a time) into a blank, framed canvas (the bigger the better, but I can only fit a 30x40 in my car) The goal is to have them get rid of most and choose their favorites all while seeing this wonderfully adequate sized image on an actual canvas. This image sticks in their heads and a 16x24 seems absolutely TINY in comparison, but pulls a $650 price-tag with it (unless they just want the 30x40 for $2300) Once you get down to an 11x14 or 8x10 its actually laughable.

....so if you are getting average sales of $1000, the mileage don't seem so bad in comparison. The key is giving them impeccable service, no nickel and diming - all policies discussed up front, and last but not least developing a relationship with the client by building rapport through your questions and interest in their family and reasons for getting this done.

I owe this entire system to Charles Lewis (Photographer out of Michigan) and his sales/marketing education for photographers - check him out at //www.cjlewis.com/ and no, I do not work for him or get a commission from plugging his system - it just works and has given me a solid plan to duplicate, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

Hope this helps - let me know if you have any questions.
10/09/2011 11:54:14 AM · #9
' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Lonz, you are my hero! At $275 for the first 90 minutes (which includes travel and setup time) and $75 per additional hour, I thought that I was too expensive for most people. But that is what it takes to make a decent living and I don't compromise much if any.

But you take it to a whole new level with your (edit to correct)20x30 16x24 canvas price of $650 or $2300 for a 30x40!!! Do you really get these prices? I am starting to get that warm, optimistic feeling flow all over me.

A couple of questions:

Is your only fee the $100 pre-paid creation fee and you rely on the speculation that you will sell canvas prints?
Why do you have them sign a model release? I thought that a model release would be necessary only if you plan to sell the images somewhere else other than to the family.
Do you stay busy with this kind of paying work?

Again, I like your pricing system and I would feel encouraged if this system works consistently for you. Thanks.

Message edited by author 2011-10-09 18:11:38.
10/10/2011 01:13:13 AM · #10
' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' yakatme
I used to think that I needed to have an eggtimer out to make sure they weren't getting any free time... because time is money! Well, it is. When you break it down it is very eye opening to find out actually how much the cost of doing business is. What I learned is that the most expensive thing to own is a closed mind - that's why I embraced Charles Lewis' system - It just seemed radically different than anything I had ever seen regarding the business of photography. Heck, I had my fulfillment site, some pretty pictures, and thought that I'm going to sell a ton! Oops... I was wrong... regardless of how good (or not good) my photography was it wasn't going to sell itself. So I started reading and watching a ton of webinars on all of the subjects in my previous post.

I recently found myself in a situation where my day job and I couldn't get along and had to break up... so I jumped back in to the pool and started doggy paddling - I'm not swimming yet, but I'm definitely in the deep end.

I am still testing different "pre-paid creation fees," but $100 seems like the sweet-spot for me (maybe I still need to be more confident in my expertise to charge more, but that's a story for my psychiatrist.)

That is the only fee I charge. The rest is for the finished product and solely dependent on my photo enhancement and salesmanship skills. I actually guarantee my work as well - so if they are not completely thrilled I will make additional photographs. If at that point they still aren't thrilled - I'll give them all of their money back - no hard feelings.

I only started applying the system recently - in late August. I've successfully acquired clients through dormant friendships that were rekindled on facebook, so the first rounders always get the good discounts as I try the system out on them. I charge $2300 for my largest canvas - do people buy it? NO - they aren't supposed to. It's not made out of gold right? But they do buy the "smaller" versions. I start big and go smaller - it's easier than starting with a 4x5 and working up right? But that's only a part of it - the hands on approach and service need to be their first whereas the folks that I piece mealed things together didn't reveal the results I expected (I think the largest was 16x24 on metallic paper)

I have 3 projection appointments coming up in about a week - these are the first batch of "pure" start to finish Charles Lewis system recipients. I am banking on getting at least $1500 profit. Keep in mind that I am also giving them a "friends and family" discount so $500 each will turn into $750 and ultimately $1000+ once THEIR referrals come in.

I will definitely report the results as they happen.

Keep that warm optimistic feeling - I've had it since I started using this system and it keeps getting better! If you haven't already - go to www.cjlewis.com and get the "pay only shipping" education - I think its $11 and you get a free month of the inner circle.

I apologize if my previous post seemed as if I was big man, proven, raking in the cash, I am not.... not yet.... but I believe in it SO much that I can literally visualize the large orders being taken, and the wife crying because her family looks so beautiful. I know this will change the way I live my life and run my business and if I can influence someone else to do the same (who is not in my geographical area - lol) I can be proud of what "we" accomplished.

Message edited by author 2011-10-10 01:15:20.
10/22/2011 03:51:17 PM · #11
Hi all - Just want to give everyone an update!

Just got home from my first projection session and am over 70% of my way to the $1500 I anticipated. This last session I will walk away with $1000 (after printing and shipping costs)

2 more to go and I'll update the results.

Anyone reading this please please please go to the cjlewis site and start reading! When he says "projection works like magic" he is RIGHT ON!

as always feel free to send me any questions or comments!

Happy Saturday!
11/03/2011 11:13:58 AM · #12
Keep on shining guys. I will support this forum topic.
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