BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Jane A. Myers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/3/2005

Charging for Photos?

I have never charged for doing any type of photography work. Lately, I have had quite a few people ask me what I charge. I have done several senior photos for friends and family. Today I had a request from a co-worker to photograph her family reunion and was wonder what I would charge. I am not even sure if I feel right charging someone to take pictures. I am not a professional and have always just took them for fun. Does anyone have any advice? Can a non-professional person even charge?

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6/2/2010 4:49:51 PM

John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Jane,
One of the differences between amateur and professional work is that a pro has to come back with useable images and an amateur can walk away from a bad day. So, if you want to do a professional job, one question to ask yourself is, "Am I prepared for trouble?"
Regarding what to charge, the first question is how much time will I spend on the job? This should include the time getting to and from the event, any appointments before or after the event, and, of course, how much time will I spend in post-production? I donít know how much value you put on your time, but if you figure to have 20 hours tied up in shooting an event, you should make some money. I can tell you that shooting any event is a lot more work than fun. Sometimes people try to get an amateur to shoot an event to save money. These people will probably be difficult to deal with as they value price over quality. I generally work for businesses because they are much more upfront about money. You can charge for your work when you tell yourself you can. I teach a number of classes here at BetterPhoto designed for the emerging professional. Thanks.

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6/2/2010 7:43:15 PM

Lois Wilkes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/20/2009
I was in a similar position about 25 yrs ago. A friend was getting married on a shoe string and asked if I would take the photos. I wasn't sure if I wanted to change careers from med lab supervisor to photographer so I thought I would give this a try.I charged her $50. She paid for processing the film and I gave her the photos and the negatives. I never had such anxiety in my life until I saw those photos had come out good. Never again! Now I make greeting cards that are sold at a local farm stand and sell an occasional art show entry. That is enough for me!! You really need to decide where you want to go with this and follow that path.

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6/8/2010 11:29:02 AM

Lynn R. Powers   Jane,

I will answer your last question first. Yes a non-professional can charge as much as they want. If they don't want to pay as much as you want you can either compromise or walk away. Once you have accepted the assignment it is up to YOU to take professional level photographs.

As to the family reunion I only have this to say: "Run Jane! Run, run, run!
See Jane run?"
I refused to even do a family reunion. Everyone there had seen my photographs and loved them. They think I am a professional but I do not make a living doing it. I have shot for newspaper as ther special events photographer and also have made model composites and taken special portraits in a business as well as a few that were used in brochures. One wedding cured me from ever taking group photos again. Someone is always unhappy and it seems that they infect a few, not all, of the others. How thick is your skin? If you charge just a little someone will say "You get what you pay for." If you charge a resonable rate it will be too expensive for what they got. Or "That is the worst photograph I have ever had taken of me."
Yes, you will get compliments also but you must please the person that hires you and not the rest of the family, except for weddings where you MUST please the mother of Bridezilla.LOL


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6/9/2010 9:37:29 PM

Thomas Schoeller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/4/2006
  Yes you CAN charge. Agree 100% with Lynn above on all counts. Run for the hills! Let them go through the work to meet with, interview and hire an event photographer the skin as thick as an endangered White Rhino.

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6/27/2010 5:33:14 PM

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