Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Hidden costs when quoting for photography work

aka Why there's no such thing as a "quick 30 minute photography job"

I've had this in my drafts folder for a while, but it's about time it saw the light of day. Prompted by a enquiry from a twitter follower a few weeks ago about a photo job he was asked to take on, and whether it was worth doing for the amount of money the client was offering.

I also received an email from a photographer who has landed her first paying client and she asked me about pricing for a photography job and what was a reasonable rate.

Great questions! And one I struggled with when I was first starting out.

Setting your pricing for any service you provide requires a some thought.

Nearly every photography job is different and some will be much simpler than others. Here are some things you may wish to take into account before you quote!

Your thinking and planning time

You will be drawing up a quote around your client's request

Maybe you like to work on a drawing board of ideas. Perhaps you might want to do some research and get inspiration

If it's a new working environment, you might need to research the best settings for your camera or even pre visit the location

There may be exceptions to this. For example, with photojournalism work you can be thrown into several completely new environments during the course of the day and you will probably be required to wire over your images pretty sharpish.

Your consultation time

This could be done via email, phone or in person where you will be answering questions and depending on the nature of the work, making suggestions to your client. Some clients may wish to meet up with you first. Some may want you to visit the location prior to the day you take the photos.

Your travel time & petrol & parking fees
How far are you happy to travel?

When do you introduce mileage costs?

Is there free parking available? What are the parking charges like? How long will you be using the car park for? Car parking fees can vary a lot.

The time you spend taking the photos!

Let's not forget that part!

Photo selection and editing

Again, this will vary from job to job, and what you are photographing. If it's an all day job then chances are you will have a lot of photos to go through. You need to set time aside for selecting the best images for your client, and the editing time. There may also be occasions when you have to deliver the images immediately and there will be no time to edit, so that will obviously take less time.

Photo delivery

How are you going to deliver the photographs? online (uploading time) or disc (time, disc cost and postage) prints?

Unfortunately there are not hard and fast rules regarding fees. When you take all of the above into account there is no such things as 'it'll only take 30 minutes'. This is from early experience; events can over run, people can turn up late etc.

When you send your quote to them, detail everything that is included such as consultation, such as travel, parking, petrol, the taking of the photographs, image selection and processing, and delivery method.

And also work out your terms and conditions. Please do. It can feel funny do that at first, but it's for both your benefits. A few things you might consider putting into your terms and conditions:

Delivery time of photos. When will the client receive the photographs. The same day, next week, within a month?

How they will be delivered?

Payment terms and conditions.

Will you take a deposit to sure the booking?

What will happen if the client defaults on the payment?

Sickness - what happens if you can't attend?
Cancellation - what happens if the client cancels?

You might also find this National Union Of Journalists guide to digital costs useful,  ie wear and tear of your expensive equipment.

London Freelance has a lot of information here regarding; negotiating rates and rights, day/base rates, digital pricing, contracts and paperwork, copyright, tracking down pirates, and other resources, plus pricing recommendations.

You may find my post on when to work for free worth a read.

Good luck! Happy snapping :)
Say hello on Twitter: @karenstrunks :)

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