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Photography Question 
Mary J. Gorton

What Do I Charge?

I have been taking pictures for a little while. I also work at a preschool, and I have been taking pictures of some of the children and showing their parents. A few of them are interested in purchasing some photos. What on earth do I charge? One photo that a parent wants is a 5x7, and I got it developed at National Camera Exchange. Another parent wants me to take a picture for their Christmas cards. Having never charged anyone for photos, can I have some ideas on what to charge? I would love some ideas. Thanks!

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6/20/2005 5:43:24 PM

Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
One thing you might want to check on is if the school has the parents sign something in regards to picture taking ... especially if you have been asked by some to purchase them. And I'm assuming the school doesn't mind you doing this, but if you start charging, the school might find this a conflict of interest so to speak ... as far as what to charge ... that is so peculiar.
You have those parents who just don't care to take pictures period, and are so grateful to buy ones that others have taken just for the sake of not having to deal with taking them, developing, etc. Then you have the parents who will let you get things set up (I take some limited sports pics and things) and then want to take them over your shoulder because they don't want to pay someone else for it ... whatever you decide, make sure it's something you can live with and one that you would use perhaps if you would begin a more serious approach to earning some money with it.
I would suggest consistency, so if one parent pays $10, then so does everyone else (even those not at the preschool). I wouldn't want to hear that my friend paid $10 for something and assume everyone paid that price and then have it be more. Good luck!

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6/21/2005 4:53:41 AM

Carl J. Morrison
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/8/2002

Those above gave good responses. I take photos at classic car shows as they register, then sell 8 x 10 photos in a folder with the name of the show and date (done in photoshop) for $20. The management of the show, gets a power point presentation of all the winners in return and I do not have to pay for a booth at the show. You might do the same...have the kids lined up someday and take a group shot, then individual shots...head and shoulders with appropriate background and give the school a few 8 x 10s of the group shot for their records and for teachers to post in the room, then sell the individual parents whatever they want.

Since you will not have to take your equipment (printer, laptop to see the shots, etc.) I'd just make up the 8 x 10 with school name, date, etc. and send it to Sams Club or whatever you have locally, to make prints and you pick them up in an hour or later. I'd send individual prints this way as well. 4 x 6 are about l5 cents. As a rule, I sell 8 x 10 for $20, 5 x 7 for $10, and 4 x 6 for $5. You can always go down in price, but unless you are doing something extra, like providing a photo folder or something, you can't go up. On the other hand, you could charge half that and make a little money, but you'll find this to be a lot of work. Having the title of the school and date on the photo makes it something the parent's probably cannot do, or won't take the time. Be sure the school agrees with this and you can provide them with a photo CD of closeups of the kids to run on back-to-school night and they will be happy and you'll be on your way to doing this at other schools!

Another idea, print the 8 x 10 with titles, and 4 x 6 of individual kids and post the whole bunch on a bulletin board with an order form nearby. If you ask the prices I mention above, you could give the individual teachers a complete set of all their kids free (for use on bulletin boards of their own, etc. or for records) and an 8 x 10 and still be ahead financially.

Good luck and write me directly with questions:

If someone sees my other work at, for instance, and wants a 300 dpi photo for a publication, it is $100 for an 8 x 10.


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6/28/2005 9:12:31 AM

Sharla    Hi Mary,
Looks like you've already gotten some good answers, but I'll still add my tid-bit too. I found myself in the same position of loving to take pictures of my friends' children and then not knowing when to charge and how much. I finally decided, for now, I'm charging $25.00 for 1 roll of film. I develop it at Eckerd, cuz I love the matte finish there, and give my "customer" all the proofs. I don't make tons off of that, but I had to start somewhere! Plus it was friends! Then for reorders I've been using a company called Pro Photo Imaging,, 1-800-237-6429
I sent for all their info, and LOVE the quality of job they do! They are pretty cheap and then you add to that cost when you sell it to your customers. Everyone seems to be really impressed with my reprints from them. Hope this helps!

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6/30/2005 4:50:38 AM

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