BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Hope R. Kuhnhoff
 

How to Charge?


 
 
I have been asked to submit a bid to photograph group shots of 150 employees at 12:00 & 5:30 the same day. The photographs are to be used as wall displays & corporate newsletters. The event is a Victory Celebration~~their building hit by a tornado last spring. Could you please advise on what a fair sitting fee should be and the best lens to use. I'm a Nikon film shooter~~FE2 manuals, N90S & F5. 28mm 1:2.8, 50mm 1.2, 35-105 & 24-120mm auto zoom nikkor lenses. Also carry 3 flashes~~Vivitar 285HV, Nikon SB 26 & 28 speedlights. I plan to charge my normal basic fee for reprints, offer text overlay and have offered to cover any presentations to be handed out. My last group of 125 was ok but could use some improvement. Enclosed is a sample. I also have the option of renting equipment. Please let me know whats best. This entity is located 30 miles round trip from my location. Thanks in advance~~the shoot is March 9.


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2/28/2006 11:54:53 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  My guess is that you probably ought to charge based on a standing rather than a sitting fee. The really bad news is that in all honesty Hope, it sounds like you're going to be outgunned on this deal. Unless you plan to rent lighting, stands, light modifiers like umbrellas and softboxes, apple boxes to stand on, a step ladder for yourself, flash meter, strobes and packs of not less than about 2000 w/s each, and a large format camera, like a 4x5 view camera and appropriate lens, plus an assisstant or two to help you set it up and shoot, then I would politely defer this gig to someone equipped to handle it. That way, you'll likely be called when they have something on a bit smaller scale that you may be able to handle more comfortably with your present equipment.

OTOH, if you blow this for want of light, or a format that will give you sufficiently detailed images at the sizes you noted, (assuming they want recognizable people rather than a sea of humanity) it's unlikely they'll ever call you again and your reputation is only as good as your last shoot. Just a few things to think about.
Take it light.
Mark


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2/28/2006 3:03:48 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I agree with Mark. Although you may be well qualified to take this assignment, you don't have the equipment you need. Just explain this to them and tell them you would love to do some work for them in the future but that this is beyond your level of equipment, not your level of skill.


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2/28/2006 3:11:21 PM

 
Pat Wimpee   Having been there done that, I also have to agree with Mark and Kerry. I took pictures for a friend of mine for her boss (about 100 + employees). It was outdoors but still everyone was so small there was no detail to faces etc. Fortunately I was able to salvage it by posterizing the picture in photoshop and giving it a old time effect. Her boss loved it but if he'd wanted the true picture I'd have been S.O.L. (and yes I relize that makes me ok in photoshop but lousey as a photographer):)


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2/28/2006 4:08:36 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  I just turned down a similar assignment because 1) I don't have any, nor do I do, back drops, but, more importantly, 2) that aint my thang. So, I politely declined and instead referred them to a friend of mine who likes to do that kind of work.

i think referring out can go along way to building your credibility. Someone might remember that and call you for some work that fits your thang.

But, and this is far more important, what they will especially remember, is how badly you muffed up their photos, and the fact that you kept the money for a crap job.

I'm not saying you will do a crap job, I'm just saying that it's so easy to just decline if it's not something that is within your scope.


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2/28/2006 4:18:24 PM

 
Hope R. Kuhnhoff   Thanks to everyone for responding so quickly & honestly. I was called two years back by this same entity, to do basically the same thing & turned it down. I referred my favorite, local professional. She got the job & did it very well however she is no longer in business in this area. And Jerry you are right, referral is a good thing. As she was closing out her business she started sending everyone my way. There were 4 other pro's in the area & I had been freelancing for 15 years!
So a big "Thank You" in answer to my question. I'm a very honest person with a conscience and I will definitely sleep better tonight. I'm going to decline once again and work towards purchasing the right equipment so I will be ready the next time they call. Thanks for the heads up on what should also be in my camera bag.
Betterphoto.com is an excellent learning tool equal to if not better than my own local PPA organization. I will continue looking forward to all upcoming issues, answers & inspiration. Thanks Mark, Kerry, Pat & Jerry for getting back to me so quickly. This is awesome!
Please feel free to visit our site @ www.renesphoto.com. All comments would be welcomed. Thanks, Again!


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3/1/2006 6:34:40 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I applaud your decision, Hope. I think it's certainly the right one under the circumstances. Best to forego whatever fee in exchange for your own positive and higher levels of credibility with clients.

One problem I've often seen around here (BP) is people asking questions that strongly suggest they're suffering from what I call "The full heart, empty head syndrome."

Sounds like you're keeping pretty busy. Any time you think we can help out, just hollar. And...you're quite welcome. ;>)
Take it light.
Mark


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3/1/2006 6:48:55 PM

 
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