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Old Mar 16, 2011, 7:42 AM   #1
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Default OT: Making money from photography

I was asked about my interest in taking pictures of project houses for a contractor (from start to pre-walk thru). I was figuring charging per pictures he chose/took for print/web.

Would this be a good approach? What would be a typical fee for picture usage? I'm starting off thus I'd probably reflect this by going with a fee lower than average?
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Old Mar 16, 2011, 11:15 AM   #2
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I would think you should have a set fee plus a price per picture. Otherwise, unless the price per pic is very high you could end up doing a lot of work for very little money. Keep in mind I've never made nay money from photography so how good my advice is I don't know

John
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Old Mar 16, 2011, 11:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jelow1966 View Post
I would think you should have a set fee plus a price per picture. Otherwise, unless the price per pic is very high you could end up doing a lot of work for very little money. Keep in mind I've never made nay money from photography so how good my advice is I don't know

John
I've changed my note a bit after having discussed it with others. I'm now leaning towards a set fee per house project.
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Old Mar 16, 2011, 12:04 PM   #4
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hiyas
dont do your first idea, charge for the shoot that gives some certainty for them next time they want your services, they know it will cost $xxx.00 and base their needs around that.

As for price, this is really tough, but what you have to do is figure out what everyone else around your area is charging, and be in that zone somewhere. When I first started I had the idea that being cheap would get me going, all it did was make it harder to raise prices when the starting was over and the real work began.

You need a range of quoted prices to work from, choose somewhere in the middle, make sure your quality is as good as the better ones, work really really hard on that. In the end its the quality they want, if they wanted cheap they would do it themselves, but they already know they suck at it.

Some ideas on figuring out pricing, cold call competitors I did that posing as a real estate agent. Call real estate agencies or swoon up to RE agent receptionists, they call the photographer anyways. If your not confident with the girls work on the agents, make sure you know the quality you are dealing with in pricing, some idiots charge like $60 but they suck big time and dont do any post processing at all. Practise your post processing until perfect, make sure you have the equipment you need, develop a portfolio you can access online.

cheers

Last edited by Rriley; Mar 16, 2011 at 12:11 PM. Reason: additions
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Old Mar 16, 2011, 4:02 PM   #5
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Dan, pay close attention to Rriley's advice, and check out his photos. He does real estate photography for a living and does the best real estate photos I have ever seen. Especially the indoor photos, where he actually balances the indoor lighting exposure with the view through a window into an outdoor light level several orders of magnitude brighter. Masterful.

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Old Mar 17, 2011, 2:18 PM   #6
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Hi Ted

Couldn't have put it better myself! I think thats the big problem when your asked to do a shoot and Riley covered those points really well. I get amazed when ppl ask you to do a shoot for peanuts and when you say nope then look at you as if they could do as good or better.

On slightly different note - I helped out a photographer friend of mine on teh weekend who kindly took on gig to shoot an evening party/event for free only at the last minute, only to have this so called client get a major strop before we even got started !! The idiot was acting as if he was paying her and we both promptly walked out leaving him to take his own pics... . The nerve of somepeople...

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Old Mar 17, 2011, 3:16 PM   #7
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hey Harj, yeah its the same old story

Go for the cheap option and thats exactly how people will see you. Not only that if theyre looking for a competent operator they will be led by a large part on price, mostly b/se they dont know anything else. They will inevitably have in front of them a budget based on local experience and they will be tempted to use most of that for their marketing. The cheap guys no matter how competent will get cut out b/se they sound risky, risk is unacceptable.

So there are two things you absolutely have to do, be very aware of what your successful competition are charging, and make sure you have the skills to match that in value and competence, and you are able to demonstrate those skills with a an available portfolio.

The overall message is compete on skills not money.
Charge the same money, thats the going rate and if you are competent you deserve it

Last edited by Rriley; Mar 17, 2011 at 3:19 PM. Reason: additions
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Old Mar 17, 2011, 3:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rriley View Post
Practise your post processing until perfect, make sure you have the equipment you need, develop a portfolio you can access online.
I would need about a few grand of equipment IMO: wide angle lens (9-18mm) and a flash (FLR50). My finance minister couldn't be swayed to allow such an expenditure ATM

I took pictures of our new house using a tripod and my 14-42mm kit lens. The second session yielded better pics as I had played around with the WB and the colours came up closer to what I was seeing. This is for the web primarily.

Plus, this is not a stranger I'd be dealing with. So, we're on good footing to begin with as he likes the pictures I take already!

I guess, it's more of finding out the going rate and see from there. I'll call around and attempt to find some solid numbers. Would calling the local camera shop bring up names to start off my research? Or would these pop up directly from the yellow pages?
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Old Mar 17, 2011, 3:49 PM   #9
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Q what camera do you have ?
you really need to have an UWA IMO, and the 9-18 is ideal on a budget, maybe a s/h option would reduce the price too. Flash OTOH you can have some economy with,

here are some options
you dont need an 'r' flash, that opens you up to FL50, possibly FL36 if distances are short. You can also use Auto flash (non TTL) which you ought be able to score for around $100, lastly manual flash and sub $100. With lens and flash you might get out of it for what $500 and some change

In scanning out the competition, I would look at real estate shooters. Have a look online at various real estate agents and see if you can see any branding (copyright) on images. The bigger the operator the more likely they are to have more governance on market prices, but you need at least 3 to get a picture of where pricing is situated, the more the better though.

You could cold call these operators but if your disguise isnt good they will be suspicious of your motives. Another way is to call agents where the work you see presented is more of a known quantity. If theyre busy they will give you eyeball pricing, be quick and ask them how many images for that money too. Maybe your friend can co-operate here too?

I did all these things as well as some sleazing with receptionists where every once in awhile you find one very willing to help and answer all your questions. Its hard but you have to know where theyre at

Last edited by Rriley; Mar 17, 2011 at 3:53 PM.
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Old Mar 17, 2011, 5:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rriley View Post
I did all these things as well as some sleazing with receptionists where every once in awhile you find one very willing to help and answer all your questions. Its hard but you have to know where theyre at
Sleazing with receptionists is hard?

Sorry - no way could I resist that question.

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