Question about pricing for first paid gig

pwol

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Apr 21, 2015
Messages
176
So I’ve been shooting for a while, just as a hobby and never had intentions of getting paid for it.

My brother has been working for an electrician company for several years now, both in the field and in the office. His company just finished a building that they’ve been working on for 2-3 years. It’s a strange coincidence but I’ve also worked on that same job site for a year doing tiles.

My brother randomly shows his office coworkers my photos on Flickr, and they always like my stuff. They’ve been asking him to have me take photos for a couple of weeks now.

It’s a really nice building and they’re proud of their work. They want somebody to take several pictures for their website, and maybe some for larger prints for the office.

They want me to give them my pricing tomorrow, and shoot in 2 weeks when the building will be closed to the public for a weekend.

This is where I’m lost. I’m confident in my technical ability to get the shots, but I’m a bit iffy on the composition for indoor architecture/real estate type shots. I’ll have plenty of time to experiment as they’ll be there all day. What do I charge? I know people say don’t work for free, but since It’s my first time I was thinking either a really low brother discount cost / free so I can experiment, get experience, see if they like the results, then charge them a proper price on future jobs. Should I just charge them if they want pints done (print cost and some for me)? Should I just charge a flat fee for the whole job?

I’d appreciate any suggestions / comments, thanks!
 

TheMenWhoDrawSheeps

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 15, 2016
Messages
553
since it´s not your main source of income, just make a fee for your work - charge a couple hundred for work, excluding the prints, because every job is proper and i wouldn´t rely on future opportunities. there isn´t propper price later - they will ask, why it was cheaper before.
every shoot gives you experience so don´t be so shy.
you should think of it bit differently, it´s not your brother asking to do it, it´s a company. for them, it´s an investment, and not money, that they will lack for smth. else.
architecture is always architecture, just look for the leading lines, get a flash, maybe gels, and make a composite in post.
 
Last edited:

cdmicha

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
212
Location
Arkansas
Real Name
Chris
This is a tough question to answer, as I think pricing is pretty personal. I'm of the mindset that you should definitely charge, especially if it's for someone that can afford to pay. I'll do some work here and there discounted/free if it's for a good cause, but usually I charge everyone (including friends). If your work is decent, then it's valuable.

As photography isn't my main job, I price on the job and not on the deliverables- meaning I figure out time invested, make it worth my time to do, then let clients print the delivered images to their heart's content. How much is your time worth spent away from family, relaxation, etc? For me, that's a pretty big number. What's really interesting is that over the years, I've never had someone say "no thanks" when they heard the price, even though I've steadily increased it. This leads me to believe that in general I (and maybe most people?) do not value our own photography as much as we should.

Short answer: charge by the job, make that number worth your time spent.
 

junkyardsparkle

haunted scrap heap
Joined
Nov 17, 2016
Messages
2,289
I’m confident in my technical ability to get the shots, but I’m a bit iffy on the composition for indoor architecture/real estate type shots.
I was in a very similar situation recently - I don't shoot a lot of wide-angle stuff typically, but all too familiar with the norms on real estate sites. My approach was lots of variation and selection, since I can usually see the shots that work much better sorting through them later than I can in real time... for whatever that's worth.
 

ijm5012

Mu-43 Legend
Joined
Oct 2, 2013
Messages
7,963
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Real Name
Ian
What you really need to do is figure out:
  1. What do they want photographed, and how long will it take you to shoot those shots?
  2. Based on what they want photographed, how long will it take you to edit those images?
  3. From there, you'll have your total time invested in shooting & editing. Now you just need to figure out an hourly rate.
While I can't help you with an hourly rate, my suggestion would be to go high, and see what they say. If it's too high, they'll come back (it's not like you're bidding on the job and need to put in your best offer off the bat). Worst case is you negotiate down to something that they're comfortable paying. Best case is they pay your asking price.

Remember that this is being shot for a corporation, and these images will be used to advertise for that corporation helping generate further revenue for that company. Either way, please do let us know what the pricing ends up being, and what the total time invested was. This is a question that comes up fairly often, yet there's not a lot to go on historically.
 

sbm

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
135
Location
Texas
Real Name
Sam
My first thought goes to the book Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro, specifically chapter four, Charging for Your Work, which begins:
Mike Montiero said:
THIS SHOULD BE the shortest chapter of the book. Anything I have to tell you can be summed up thusly: charge as much as you can, deliver an honest value, and never work for free. Unfortunately, most designers feel such pangs of guilt about charging an adequate amount for their work, if anything at all, that it’s probably worth the time and effort to go a little deeper.
I think this is also apt for photographers.

I wholeheartedly agree with this too:
While I can't help you with an hourly rate, my suggestion would be to go high, and see what they say. If it's too high, they'll come back (it's not like you're bidding on the job and need to put in your best offer off the bat). Worst case is you negotiate down to something that they're comfortable paying. Best case is they pay your asking price.

Remember that this is being shot for a corporation, and these images will be used to advertise for that corporation helping generate further revenue for that company.
I’ve not personally gone through this with photo work (yet) but the few times I’ve done freelance design work, I picked a dollar amount based on my estimate of time the project would take, then increased it. I’ve yet to have someone blink, scoff, or be disappointed paying what I ask.

I hope the idea of family or “doing it for experience” won’t rob you of setting an appropriate expectation for yourself, this client, then the next (if you decide you want another). If you work with someone who values what you do and knows how that can benefit them, then the value you bring will be evident, and you ought to be compensated thusly: for your time, talent, and the product you produce.
 

ralf-11

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
1,434
agree re basing it on an hourly rate - tho you will give them a set $$ amount

the big thing is that you will grant them a LICENSE to use your photos for their purposes - you want to retain ownership of the photos and have the ability to show them to others, advertise for yourself, etc.

their license will include the ability to display them on site or off-site, and to advertise for themselves, etc.
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2009-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom