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Photography Question 
Darlene Rodriguez

Portrait Photography - Head Shots

I have been asked by my daughter, who is an associate partner for a law firm, if I would be interested in doing some head shots of the lawyers and others for their Web site. I'm fairly new to digital photography, only about 1 1/2 years. I've entered some local shows and won a few ribbons. I even sold a few prints, but this would be my first "real" paying job. I would be able to take a few practice shots of my daughter in the settings they want to use. How much should I charge? It would just be take the pictures, download to a CD, and that's it.

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11/27/2005 6:10:38 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Well Darlene, it's like this: When you shoot a job for pay, your fees are calculated using a number of factors including how much time is involved(before, during and after the shoot, including travel time to and from the location); the degree of difficulty and your level of skill; expenses including film, processing, or whatever you might pay for a pound of pixels and cds; use of the equipment, whether you own it or have to rent it (i.e., cameras, lenses, lighting and accessories). Last but not least, fees for usage of the images - in this case, on a Web site based upon the fact that you hold the copyright unless or until you'd transfer it in whole or in part.

As your daughter is a lawyer, she should understand that the copyright that you own (in most situations) is a property right created under the federal constitution and governed by the Copyright Act and the amendments to it, including those of 1976 and 1978.

Once you've considered all these factors (among others I may not have listed), then you should be able to set a fair price for your work including the usage they want on the Web site and a structured fee for any subsequent usage - say, for advertising materials, illustrations in any magazines to accompany articles they've written, etc. As your daughter can probably attest, everything is negotiable. When you establish a price, make it high enough to remain flexible in your negotiations, if any.

And, if as most photographers starting out, you tend to undervalue your services (even when the client promises tons of work from referrals), then you should probably take a look at two web sites: Advertising Photographers of America and the American Society of Media Photographers

And, when your daughter throws back her head and says something like, "Gee Mom, I'm a lawyer and even I don't make that kind of money". Remind her that when you were a lawyer, neither did you. :>) Then remind her to consider the benefit you convey to them by doing the work and the uniqueness of your particular work product.

Take it light.

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11/27/2005 6:41:44 PM

Jay A. Grantham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2005
  Send me an email through my member page and I'll point you to a PR Portrait calculator to give you an idea.

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11/27/2005 7:31:58 PM

William Koplitz   You probably can't charge them so much as to shock them. The rule I always use is charge them what it's worth, or give it away. In my world there are no calculators that really work because each assignment is different. As to what it's worth, I try to charge as much as possible, it they don't have some kind of negative twitch, you aren't charging enough. I give many assignments like this away, especially if there is family involved, even in a business situation. The political capital your daughter will gain is way beyond any fee you will be able to collect from the firm.

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11/29/2005 6:42:16 AM

Darlene Rodriguez
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/25/2004
  Thanks for all the input. I appreciate the comments. Thanks again.

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11/29/2005 10:30:25 AM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2005
  You say the pics are for a website. Tip: always shoot at your highest possible resolution, even though they will (in this instance) only need low res pics for the web.
If you retain the hi res master pics, you would re-sell them higher res pics later on for general office printing or brochures etc.
Regardless, always use your highest re on your camera (better safe than sorry).
Pricewise, I am a firm believer in pricing that the job means to you, and pay no attention to what other people charge. For instance, if you want $300 for your efforts, then so be it (forget everybody else's price).
Question: are you not going to edit your pics? Preparing pics for the web (or print) always requires some editing.

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11/29/2005 11:05:27 PM

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