BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Shannon N. 

How much should I charge?

I have been asked to take engagement pictures. I have no idea what to charge. I am not a professional, so I don't feel I should charge what a professional would. I have done 3 weddings, and I charged them $225 plus the cost of film and developing. I might also be doing a bar mitzvah, and I'm not sure what to charge for that either. Any advice??

To love this question, log in above
2/7/2006 3:40:05 PM

jtth hgtht   There is no perfect answer to this. Depends on competition in your area, your experience, quality of work delivered, any albums, reprints and so on. Do charge by the hour and for film and developing. Sounds like you are not holding the negatives afterwards to charge for reprints so factor that into your price. A lot of pros hold the negatives and charge for reprints as they like to maintain control on the print quality.

To love this comment, log in above
2/8/2006 4:46:50 PM

Shannon N.    Professionals in my area charge around $2000.00 for a wedding. I am not a professional, but am hoping to be someday. I just get my pictures printed locally which is why I give them the negatives, but I was wondering how do I get the prints with Professional, do not copy, printed on the back? Thanks!

To love this comment, log in above
2/9/2006 5:07:01 AM

April M. Shepard
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/11/2005
  Since your starting out all you really need to do is take some standard blank address labels and place on the back of photos. When I first started out that is what alot of the pros told me to do. Take this for example:

ęDivine Moments-2006
Photo By: April Shepard
Unlawful To Copy
Without Written
Permission Of Maker

Thats What I had to do. Hope that helps you out.
April S.

To love this comment, log in above
2/10/2006 4:42:09 PM

April M. Shepard
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/11/2005
  I forgot to tell you that whenever you handover the negs to someone you gave them the right to make copies from them anytime they wish. It would be wise to at leaste charge them for the negs. Weather your a pro or starting out remember that you want them to keep coming back. :)
April S.

To love this comment, log in above
2/10/2006 4:47:49 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I'll be somewhat blunt Shannon and no offense intended. If you intend to become a professional some day, I'll assume it's in a city somewhere other than where you are now. If you stay where you are and at some point decide to charge upwards towards $2k for a wedding (about 90% more than you're charging now), then it's more than likely your reputation will proceed you and people will either hammer you for the $225 prices or find a real pro whose work looks better for $2k.

My advice to you is if you want to be a pro, start acting and charging like one. And if your work ain't good enough, work with a pro as an apprentice and learn the business, which isn't just photography, but business practices as well. THEN go out on your own and charge accordingly.

In addition, join the local chapter of a professional photographers organization, WPI, PPofA, etc., and start going to meetings and talking with the local talent. Chances are, at some point, you're going to need their help. If you're known as the local "low-baller" or "spoiler", they'll probably be more inclined to turn their backs on you, than to help. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news).


Take it light.

To love this comment, log in above
2/12/2006 11:56:22 AM

Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  Mark's correct. It's not easy. I've backed away from wedding photography.
I've spent the past two winters (long ones in Canada)shooting in a very well equiped studio, every weekend, and am JUST beginning to "get it". With three or four more years of constant practice I may then consider myself able to pull off a wedding shoot and perhaps even get a few good shots. I know we all have to learn, but weddings are like learning to swim while alone in the middle of the Ocean.


To love this comment, log in above
2/12/2006 12:38:49 PM

Jyan L. Crayton
  I'm late on this discussion, but if you want profesional prints with the copy right protected paper try out I went to the photographer's convention in New Orleans and this company was showcasing their work. I've just started using them and like the service. You get copyright protected paper with your company name on the back of prints for a reasonable price, I no longer use walmart and other local expensive camera companies for reprints just developing only since I'm still shooting film. I get all my images put on a CD download for reprints and recieve photos in 2 days with free shipping if order is over $15.00 and of course your order most likely be over that all the time..

Hope this helps. Check them out

To love this comment, log in above
3/14/2006 8:10:00 AM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.