It's a question I get very often :
I have been asked to do a shoot and what my price is. But what can I ask now? What is a fair price?
In one way or another there is a hint about photography that says: it has to be free or for very little.
So I just want to dig into this and also dispel some preconceived notions that you may have as well.
Let's start with an email from this morning. Our central heating boiler needs maintenance and I was looking for a reliable company after being scammed by the previous company (long story).
The technician from this company will come by on Friday for a first service and then we will immediately discuss whether I will take out a subscription with them.
And the price?
A mechanic costs €71 euros excluding VAT per hour (so I pay €85.91 per hour) and there is €45.50 (ex VAT) in call-out costs. They expect him/her to be busy for 1 hour, so without material and extra work I have lost:
Mechanic CV: 140.97 for 1 hour of work.
Yes, but a mechanic is highly trained!
Many years ago we had a similar engineer visit us for our heat recovery unit, a ventilation system that blows heat back into the house.
Just a good maintenance service, then cost 45 euros, is really not too bad. The first thing this well-trained mechanic asked: do you also have the booklet, because I have never seen such a unit.
And 10 minutes later he was done because it turns out that you can only run a vacuum cleaner through it. So 45 euros for 5 minutes of reading and 5 minutes of vacuuming. We really chose the wrong profession.
Yes, but the mechanic has to live off it!
That's totally right, but this is a big pitfall for you. Because if this is your mindset, you will never be able to live off it.
Do you dream of part-time or full-time photography? Do you want to work less and shoot more? Then you have to stop thinking that you don't have to live on it. You now have to build up a buffer so that you can live (partly) from it later.
When I started photography I always dreamed that one day I could make a living from it. And by thinking this I now have the Experience Studio and I'm doing it full time, yes, I quit my job altogether, because I know photography and coaching you guys is my passion.
I'm living my dream and you can too!!!
Yes, but the mechanic has expensive tools!
I always like to have a look with the technician when he/she is working on the boiler. And I always see: screwdrivers, pliers, cloth, sometimes a hammer and very occasionally a pressure gauge or a resistance meter.
I am 100% sure that you have spent much more money on your camera, lenses, flashes, etc than the value of the mechanic's tools!!
Yes, but I would like many customers!
It's nice to have a large customer base, but which customers do you want?
Customers who come to you because you are so cheap or customers who like to come to you because you take such great photos.
And the problem of a low price is that you can no longer really raise your prices, because you are then known as the Aldi of photography, lots of photos for very little money. The kilo banger specialist.
The really serious dream clients will stay away because they prefer to go to a more expensive quality photographer.
Yes, but it's also good advertising if I do free shoots!
A free shoot is not good advertising, but a shoot with very creative photos is.
If someone has a great experience with you, is super proud of the photos and has paid you 100 euros per hour, this will radiate very positively: "I found a really great photographer!! That's the place to be".
That has much more impact than: "I found a free photographer, you should go there!".
You are worth more than you think!
And I mean that seriously. You have invested in good equipment. You are serious about photography. And you are growing.
That is why you can ask a fair price for these investments. You can start with this concept:
A one-hour shoot costs € 50 euros and you get post-processing. This is a good entry-level price and by gaining more experience you can grow from here.
If you are already more experienced, the price can go up or you will charge post-processing separately. But don't go lower than this 50 per hour.
And does your customer not want to pay for this? Then this customer is not worth the effort and time. In a restaurant, this customer cannot say: I want the carpaccio beforehand, then the steak with fries and tiramisu, for a friend price of €10.