Friday, October 16, 2009

Value yourself and your work

I think we've all been through this. When we first start as photographers, we usually undercut ourselves in fear that we may scare away clients with our prices. In the end though, we always regret this decision because we realize after the fact that we are actually loosing money and hurting our business in the long run. So many things have to be taken in consideration before you put a price tag. Things behind the scene that clients do not know. I was a client, a bride, before a photographer and I didn't have the slightest idea about the business side of photography. All I thought was that I hired a fantastic photographer to show up for 6 hours at my wedding. What I didn't know was that 6 hours of work is actually more like 30-40 hours of work a week if you are a full time photographer, which she is, and 15-20 hours a week if you are a part-time phototgrapher. The real niddy griddy work happens right after your event:

1. Right after your wedding, or session, the photographer will come home and download all the images from the memory cards and organize them in folders. As soon as they are loaded to the main computer, the images then will have to be backed up (in case something happens to your main computer) into external hardrives and/or DVD's. Same process all over again. It may very well take up to an hour. This has to be done to ensure your wedding images are protected.

2. The photographer will begin editing your images. This process may take up to 4-6 weeks. Some photographers choose to upload the unedited images to an online gallery and wait for printing orders to be received before they start processing the images. This is also a very nice idea to order your images faster, but make sure you know the images you are seeing in the gallery are not edited and that they will be retouched once you have made the order.

3. Remember that you hired your photographer based on their portfolio, time, and talent. You loved their work, you loved what you saw on their website. A photographer works hard to present their work in their own artistic style. So be sure to know that if that is what you want for your wedding photos, you will have to invest in them. Typically, it may take up to 4 weeks to edit your wedding images. Lets say the photographer works 5 hours a day on your images, Monday through Friday. In a week, that's 25 hours, in a month (or 4 weeks) that's 100 hours of work. You'll also have to take into consideration your time spent emailing, interaction with the client, phone calls, travel time to and from the post office, mailing orders, designing albums, etc.

4. Another factor to be taken into consideration is how much it costs to run a business. Running a business includes: Paying for a website, online gallery for every event, taxes, office supplies, equipment, renting equipment, insurance, a studio, photography workshops, and the list is endless.... Everything has to be factored in. Once you figure out how much it costs you plus how much you will need to profit in order to make a living, then you will be able to price your services.

I am by no means an expert in the business side of things, and I think that we all live in learn from our mistakes in the beginning. I certainly have made my share of mistakes but I know that that will only help me grow and change to be a better photographer and a business person in the future. I believe that we all need to be educated and know what we are investing in.

I have found this article to be of great help for fellow photographers in regards to this subject. Feel free to read it HERE

Happy Friday!


~~JAZ~~ said...

Thank you so much for this Jackie!! :-)