Money is a sensitive topic among photographers, and it’s especially tricky if you’re new to charging for your services. Many photographers don’t want to sound like “bad guys” when determining the price, so they tend to devalue their work. Also, sometimes it’s difficult to determine what exactly your services are worth. In this video, Photographer David Bergman will give you some precious tips on determining your value and talking about money with your clients.
“I just purchased a beautiful painting. It was in a gallery and I fell in love with it. It cost quite a bit of money, but it was a great investment and will look amazing in my house. Well, that is, after I add my some finishing touches to it with my own acrylic paints. Maybe add some extra flowers, put glitter around the edges, or change the color of the sky, because I spent a lot of money on this beautiful painting and want to change it completely.”
“Look at this incredible Native American pottery. Beautiful, right? It cost thousands of dollars, and I saved up to buy it, but now, it’s mine. I can not wait to get it home and stick my kids’ Play-Doh all over it. Maybe put some start shapes or some long orange Playdough ropes around the top. Possibly shove the Play-Doh through the little plastic Play-Doh machine and make spaghetti strands to drape on the side. I spent so much money on this Native American pot so now I want to make it look different.”
Here is why (I think) you shouldn’t sell your files in bundles!
Doing IPS (In Person Sales) does not mean that you cannot sell your files – but it does mean you shouldn’t be giving them away as a Shoot and burn photographer (S&B). And now some of the S&B’ernes will object, they are not giving them away, they are selling them as an all inclusive package!
The S&B’s I know, are priced from 60-180£ (67€/70$-200€/220$) for a CD/USB/Download with 5-30 files included. And this is telling your clients that your images has almost no value. For the client it looks like they are only paying for your time, not the art you create.
If we break the numbers down, depending on your CODB (cost of doing business), best case scenario, you will make somewhere around 20-25£ pr image – worst case scenario – 2£ pr file (!!). Do you really, deep in your heart, believe your art should be sold that cheap?
I think you can look around at a lot of the content based around photography on the internet and extract a theme: People want to be better photographers. At the lower levels of the hobby that’s fairly easy. There are a lot of concrete skills and tips to pick up and integrate that are available via a variety of mediums. Doing tutorials for processing. Covering some basic design concepts like composition and other visual elements for shooting. Learning about lens optics and exactly what is going on in your camera. There are a lot of easily articulated skills to practice; it can keep you busy for years just consuming the basic instructional content.
… and how you can do the same (no matter what country you are in)!
A little backstory: I have been a full time professional photographer for close to 9 years. My passion is weddings – I have done more than a 100 weddings, and I still cry when they say yes. For the first 7 years of my carrier I was a starving artist. I did lots of weddings (and families, and children, and events, and corporate, anything that came my way, really) – I worked worked and worked – always trying to book the next client – my portfolio was full, my calendar was full, I was a popular choice when people got married, had babies or having their family portraits done.
The truth is, however, I would have made more money working the cashier at the local fast food joint – and would even have worked less! So I decided I needed a change – I needed a fair pay for my work, I am a damn good photographer, why shouldn’t I get paid for my time and talent? So I started reading and stumbled across “In Person Sales” (IPS) for photographers. I saw people writing about making thousands – on a single client. I didn’t really believe in it – and yeah, maybe it worked in America – but here, in Denmark? No way! Everyone wants the CD (or if you are really trendy, the USB). I believed the same lie I have been telling clients for years; “You want the CD right?” WRONG!
As a photographer, I’m sure you’ve been in those situations when people ask you to work for peanuts, or even worse – for free. Not many things annoy me as the sentence “Come on, it’s only a few snaps.” No, it’s not. Of course, there are some instances when you can and should work for free. But you shouldn’t undermine yourself and your work. The artists also have bills to pay.
However, it can be unpleasant and tricky to tackle the situations when you are asked to do free or low-budget projects, or those that don’t suit your terms. This is why Jessica Hische has created a handy tool to help you cope with situations like this and choose proper reply for different offers.
Well it’s here, and whether you like it or not, Instagram’s new Stories feature is taking direct aim at Snapchat and the minutia of our daily lives. I, for one, am loving it. Stories allows us to share things with our followers that we might never post, humanizing our digital personas and connecting with the community in a totally new way. And even if you refused to join Snapchat, there’s no denying it that Instagram is where the people, and the brands, already are. So take advantage of the built-in community of Instagram with Stories, or you and your CD collection will be left in the digital dust.
Here are a few ways that I’ve been using Instagram, and some ways I think photographers can add value with the new feature, for themselves and for brands.
A year and a half ago we picked up a story off of NBC, where a couple (the Moldovan) claimed that their wedding photographer (Andrea Polito) held them hostage unless they paid extra charges for album cover (you can read our original story here). That was a big story, and the unique situation spread through the media like a wildfire. It was picked up by all the major photography blogs, some major non photography blogs and a few other media outlets.
Well, the trial hasn’t even started, but preliminary actions are definitely in favor of Polito.
I’m a professional full-time photographer and I choose to let people download and use 95% of my images (even commercially), here’s why.
Who am I ?
I recently launched my “Archive” a repository which contains nearly all my photography, organized by location and subjects. All of the images can be downloaded for free in high resolution (up to 6000px on the longest side).
Oh and they’re all under a Creative Commons license.
We love your style! So we’re going to hire you to do something completely different.
If this made you laugh, then these responses are going to hit home.
Ah the industry is a fun one! On one hand we get to thrive creatively, on the other hand all of us have to deal with the bad that sometimes comes with it. At least we can all laugh at it collectively! Let’s turn those negatives into positives… so we can laugh at our own misery. Misery loves company, and so here we are. I don’t know, just go with it.
No matter how long you’ve been doing this, chances are there are specific lines you just never want to hear from a client. We’ve all been through some of these situations.
I asked photographers and creatives to come up with some of their favorites, in the form of actual dialogue or through sarcasm, and they are hilarious(ly sad).