Monday, February 7, 2011

Let's talk prices for photographs

This saying describes perfectly how I always think. 

In my other post here , I wrote about the importance of knowing how to talk /deal with prospective clients and I mentioned that, I would talk more about the importance of the prices.

 When you charge a rate that you feel is underpaying you, you become a pain in the ass to the client and yourself. You begin to despise what you have to do because it feels like cheap labor. Your creativity suffers along with your work performance. Instead of focusing on the job at hand all you do is worry about the guy down the street making more money than you.

When you work on high standards every single detail matters, and for that reason only, and the task of explaining the client about certain aspects takes a lot of determination and confidence in what you say.
The photographer deals not only with the model (who can be or not be the actual client) but also with agencies, collaborators, artists (makeup, hair, styling, creative) and also his/her team. That's a lot of people to deal with but most important of all is the actual client and the relation between them all.

Usually the main priority of the client is the price and then the product/service to be acquired. Prices are very important. They talk about your business and they keep clients away or bring them back again.

There is no client who would say when do we do that photo session or when can we have those images before a "Request For Bid". No way ! That would be very rear indeed and I totally understand why. But asking the right price and knowing all about it would not make your client totally understand it as well. It's again up to us (our agent) to know how to talk about it.

When I started the photography business I was sure that shooting a Vogue cover would get me so much money and that the model on the cover are paid a fortune as well. Not always true. For instance a model could be paid even less then a hundred dollar for a cover if is not a super model when for a fashion show she could get hundreds of thousands. Advertising campaigns or a fashion designers would have huge budges. Editorials are more opportunistic then strategically planed so the final work is not that certain and prices ten be a lot lower for that. On the other hand, like I said earlier, ad agencies when contacting the photographer already know what they need and the price usually goes sky rocketing because they are always looking for bigger, better and more shocking then the last campaign so the price would do the same.

One might think that is all about the client but like in the magazine cover case there is not about that but about the type of work that needs to be done and the standards to be fulfilled.

Other type of works in the photography industry like the stock photography have quite exact ways of determining the price (agency type, license type, exclusivity or not, size, territory, time...) or it use to be like that, before the micro and macro stock were so much alike.

Interestingly enough only after Istock "created" the very very low prices for a download of the today's micro stock industry I've learned about photographers earning millions from doing just that.

I would be very interested to know how many millionaires are there from photography today .


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