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Portrait Photo Shoot Fees

David L. Forney , Jan 12, 2010; 01:30 p.m.

I've been asked to do a non-studio portrait shoot of a child in the Pittsburgh area. It's Lilah. See link:
http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=9570981
Her mother wants to pay me going rates. I'm not new to photography, but I've never charged for it, so I'm looking for some advice. I expect the shoot to be about 1 hour or maybe 2. I would then select images from the shoot and post-process (which for me is usually extensive). I would send the images chosen by the mother to a well respected national lab for printing. I would expect to deliver professional quality results. I don't know how many images she will want, but my guess is that it will be a dozen or so enlarged prints and numerous smaller ones. What are going rates generally for this (without considering every conceivable variable in the world)? She obviously already knows my work. I would not view collection as an issue in this case. Also, are there standard contracts for her to sign (allocating rights to the images, etc.). Thanks in advance for any suggestions. David

Responses


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Matt Laur , Jan 12, 2010; 01:42 p.m.

Do you expect that she has in mind any use for these images beyond simply displaying in her home, or giving them to relatives? If she's a potential stage mom, or will be using these for her child's modeling portfolio, etc., you need to think of the paperwork as being a two-way street. You definitely want her to sign a contract in advance, and it should clearly state if/when/how she can reproduce or othewise use your the images (to which you will own the copyrights), as well as clearly define what she'll get out of your work, and for how much.

Follow-up, additional prints or other media can come as a separate order, and with their own language.

You have to decide if you want to get granular about this and charge for your time as well as for delivered prints, or go for a more "package" approach. Since it doesn't sound like you've got a finished bundle of goods in mind, consider a sitting fee ($150?) that includes online viewing of proof material. Then treet the prints as separate business.

John Hill , Jan 12, 2010; 04:06 p.m.

You might want to consider this. I charge $ 200.00 for most family portrait shoots, up to 6 people. I tell them the shoot is usually an hour to hour and a half but the session most times run into at least hour and a half. I am racing against the clock since I do sunset shoots most times. This usually includes around 100 pix with customer selecting 25 photos to be post processed. If your going to do this on a regular basis you need to get a website that customer can have option to have quality printing done at the site or do your own printing. The website is much less hassle for me. Click on my profile or write me and I will give the name of my company and how it works. Not sure if i am allowed to tell you here and I don't want to risk getting my post or your thread deleted for suggesting a company. Also if customer wants more then the 25 images, I charge $5.00 more per image. I put the original files on a CD and give to the customer. The customer gets to use pix as they wish but I retain rights to use them also for ads etc... Get a photo release if you plan on doing anything with the pix later. Cover your arse. Some people say I don't charge enough. I imagine it varies in different areas and by photographer's work. I used to charge $150. when I went up to $200. Customers did not blink.I could probably go up another $50.00 for a 1-6 people shoot. I depend on the seasonal condo visitors for most of my family shoots.

Greg Lisi , Jan 12, 2010; 05:38 p.m.

John...Your input is VERY valuable for me as I'm just getting into this arena. I'm a dinasour from the Kodak film days (no offense to those still using the rolled gold) and I wasn't sure of fees and such. The only thing I wouldn't do is hand off originals w/o a watermark on each (proof) file. Lately, to get experience and practice, I've been shooting portrait friends/relatives with a home studio lighting kit I bought about 4 months ago and added some other goodies to it. I understand what you're saying about legalities and copyrights to cover one's (photog's) posterior when getting into this field. I'd like to expand with you if at all possible....Many Thanks
Greg

John Hill , Jan 12, 2010; 08:45 p.m.

Greg, I send the client pix on contact sheet that is to small to do any printing with. I also put them on the web site with or without watermark for viewing although many people say use a watermark. They have already paid for the images so nothing to lose when putting images up and images are locked from others seeing them. I will send you a message with more info.

Michael Zeis , Jan 13, 2010; 05:52 a.m.

I agree with other posters to charge a sitting fee and make a separate arrangement for prints. (In my quote, I usually provide an example of what an 8 by 10 might cost.)

Also, pay attention to what John Hill said, and put a limit on the number of session photos you will work on for proofs. I tell people I will prepare 12 pictures for them to pick from, but let them see all of the frames shot on screen view, if they wish. The labor for post processing for the 12 proofs is in the sitting fee. The labor to prepare (post-processing and sizing) and order their prints is in the print order.

David L. Forney , Jan 13, 2010; 12:01 p.m.

Thanks so much to all for your suggestions. Are there "standard" contracts available anywhere? David

Midan Smith , Jan 14, 2010; 09:54 a.m.

For me it depends on time restrictions. The post processing required for most of my shoots is 1-2 hours per shot for simple ones, so i tend to charge based on that information. If the PP was a quick crop, exposure adjustment and sharpen, then that would take 10 minutes per image so i would price accordingly. I like to go with a lump sum for the shoot plus 6 photos plus X per extra shot, but the shoot usually lasts 3-5 hours so take into account that too. How much time will the job take in total, and what do you think you are worth per hour? I dont do the prints, they get hi-res images on a DVD with smaller SRGB copies for convenient web use. At the end of the shoot i go through all the images with the client on the computer and they pick the 6 or more they want worked on, with my imput, which makes it easier for them to choose more shots if there are plenty they really like. If i am shooting for my own portfolio, i pick the shots myself.

David L. Forney , Jan 16, 2010; 08:43 a.m.

Richard, Thanks for your response. It sounds like you do something similar to what I expect to do. What rights do you give your customers to the digital files? Can they make copies for commercial use or do you retain that right? What type of contract do you use? David

Raymond Bradlau , Jan 17, 2010; 06:54 p.m.

Great post, I am always interested in how pricing is laid out for this type of work.... some practically give there work away and others price it like an commercial shoot thats seems way to long and confusing for a portrait session

Fantastic portfolio and your color Sienna shots are adorable (great work both in camera and you post production)

Sorry I am not much help with pricing but if you need a loaner lighting kit (strobe,battery pack,soft box,stand....) just shoot me a message, I am located in the Strip and this time of year have no problem loaning out a location kit for a few days.

good luck
Ray
TheSBimage.com


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