What do I Charge2007-06-20T19:42:44+02:00

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What do I Charge

  • Author
  • Peter Betts
    Post count: 1250

    I was at my Bank today and one of the Managers approached me to ask what I would charge to come to his house to take a series of pics of his family. I was thrilled and I had no idea and told him I would get back to him ASAP as I was “in a rush”. We had a series done in JHB many years ago and we received about 40-50 pics including the 10 nicest ones enlarged to about A4..would that be a standard package today? and what should I charge ..what range??
    Also I havent got backdrops yet and a small portable Studio Lamp set that I can take to people’s houses for taking family groups, pets, babies etc. Do I need this sort of equipment as I have the D200 Camera, SB800 flash, 12-24 lens, 24-85 lens, 105 Macro lens and the 70-200. I got an off camera flash cord from Hedrus and imported a Really Right Stuff Flash bracket to keep the flash well above the camera and to allow the camera to rotate Portrait/landscape while the flash remains on top.
    Would I get by on this kit to start with or must i get a small set of lamps now
    with a background setup while I research it and get the right stuff later on first time around. I would be most interested in advice on Price/product to offer (no of pics etc) and Equipment I need and if I need to get something ..how much and where

  • AthishB
    Post count: 442

    For the Bank Manager … do it for nothing 😀 .

  • donkey
    Post count: 258

    Sorry Peter, not my area of expertise at all. I have a friend who did family portraits. If he went to their houses and spent and hour or so there, he would charge between £80-£250. About 30 Pics of different sizes.

  • Missy
    Post count: 1072

    Kenny;56261 wrote:
    For the Bank Manager … do it for nothing 😀 .

    I’m doing everything for nothing at the moment just like the ol days when I had a salaried job..so someday this has to stop…he was a senior teller…I dont even know who my bank manager is….if they give me hassles I go to the CEO in JHB…sorts everything out …bonds car loans the works overnight on my zero income income…come on guys what is a reasonable fee to charge and do I need lights and backdrops etc

  • vjgreene
    Post count: 1345

    Peter I am no boffin on portrait photos, but the one thing thats always problematic when doing photos of my own kids etc. is the background. I would add a backdrop to your list of already substantial equipment. Next sort out the lighting, that could make or break the photos.

    What to charge? Frankly if I take my car for a service I pay R350/hour. I would calculate the total time needed to do the job and multiply by R350/h plus costs of printing etc.

  • Michael Bosman
    Post count: 1469

    …and don’t forget post-processing time depending on their requirements and your workflow.
    Don’t undercut yourself.
    I would say charge R500-R750 per hour excl. printing costs. Sounds steep but when you factor in ALL of the costs that figure is not that far off actually?

  • Bucket
    Post count: 1319

    Hi Peter, from my point of view the price would depend on several things.

    How much experience do you have in this area and how good do you think the photos would be at the end. Would they be point and shoot (probably not I hope), good amateur (ditto), or professional quality. I would base the charge on what quality you think you can produce – ask JC for example by PM for an estimate of a professional rate – at least he could give you a price range – thats my advice for the cost side. I certainly wouldn’t do it on the cheap – remember the setup time, shooting and PP time – it will all add up.

    Do you have the gear necessary to take professional images – I’m no portrait expert so I can’t really help you on this. Just to say – a set up which is fast and has a good DOF, light diffusers to apply the light evenly and if its indoors something to create a clean background.

    As far as I’m concerned there are several things which are crucial to taking good protrait shots.

    1. Light – good use of light can create interesting shadows and can draw out the persons features. I would imagine that a bank manager would be looking for classic portraits of his family – nothing too arty or weird – just well taken shots with nice soft/overall light.
    2. Background – ideally should be either clean and not distracting or should add to the shot. For the classic shot I’d look for a clean background. Though having said that, why confine yourself to doing it indoors – nothing to stop you from going somewhere that you know to take the shots, or do you know somewhere that the family like for example – what does the family want? Do the family like a certain place that you could go to and then use that as your backdrop – just an idea!
    3. Position – I personally only like protraits when the pose if relaxed and natural. I also don’t like staged images – much prefer images which are spontaneous.

    As I said, I’m no portrait expert – just wanted to do whatever I could to help. If this is all crap then just ignore me!:eek: 🙂

    Best of luck anyway.


  • donkey
    Post count: 258


    I have found this site very useful for all general info on photography



    Post count: 64

    This is a dificult question, we all have different overheads, markets and reputations. I wont do it for less than R3 500 – excl. any prints. Annie Leibowitz won’t do it for less than $50 000.
    I also won’t work with 30 – 40 shots, max 2-5 photographs, it’s one family right? concentrate on working towards one GREAT family portrait as opposed to diluting it with 40 or 50 mediocre images (you have to convince your client of this. think Quality not Quantity).

    On the backdrop, decide(with the client) if you want a studio portrait or an environmental portrait. Good luck.

  • Missy
    Post count: 1072

    Thanks everyone for all your valuable input. at this stage I will probably go for an outdoor shoot

  • Bucket
    Post count: 1319

    My final bit of advice – don’t do it on a day when its raining!:p 😀

    Best of luck.

  • Anonymous
    Post count: 65

    I did a similar shoot the other day, charged them R500 for a hour, gave them a contact sheet with all images on it and printed only what the wanted.
    I would take this shoot and learn from it, make some money and work towards more shoots.

    I was at the Royal Show in PMB about 3 weeks ago, 2 studios had stands at the show, the one guy was from George, come to Durban every six months, and does shoots for families, he charged R500 for an A5, a second copy he will then sell for R300, A3’s was from R2000, the other studio will get you and your family in for an hour, do the shoot and sell you the pic of your choice framed for R4000

    Makes one wonders !

  • bsmall
    Post count: 6

    This may be a late reply…

    But I would completely agree that you shoot outdoors. If you don’t have a fully kitted-out studio and are working in someone’s home, you don’t really have an idea of how squashed you could be – which could turn into very uncomfortable photographs. Also, I think it so much more fun and relaxing to work outdoors in nature – people tend to relax and have more fun (which shows in the pictures), and you can spend a good hour or two getting some nice, fun, formal, informal, etc etc shots. By the way, how old are the family members? If there are any children (under 16 years), outdoors is so much easier for them, as confined and formal studio’s usually bore them to death!

    I don’t know where you live, but if you are in or close to Centurion, I can advise some really beautiful and safe outdoor locations. Otherwise, go to a local botanical garden or church or someplace safe.

    Good Luck, Have Fun and my advice is to look at other portrait-type-family-type photographs beforehand so that you have a general idea of what you want to attempt.

    As for price, I would charge a minimum of R500 – work out your hours and then charge according to at least what you earn for a living per hour.

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