Ever since my friend asked me how much I charge for photoshoots, I've been scavenging the internet for some tips. I have an idea of what I believe, but it was nice to open up my mind and read what others had to say. An aspiring photographer started a thread that really fit my current state: how much do I charge?
One person responded with: $300. Don't undervalue yourself.
I couldn't help but laugh at that. $300 sounds expensive, doesn't it? I don't feel like I have that much credibility and experience to charge someone $300 dollars, especially for my first shoot. I do think it's a great price once you've shot more than 5-10 photoshoots because not only have you improved, but you also begin to truly believe and value whole-heartedly in your work. You know that you can deliver.
"Never ever shoot for free. Not only are you screwing yourself, but the entire photographic industry. Why? Shooting for free tells people photography has no value," another person replied back. Abrasive, but I agreed with this. If you're going to shoot for free (with the idea that someone asked you to shoot them, not you offering) it really undervalues what you do, and people won't take it seriously.
Lastly, I think this person answered it best: "Don't undervalue yourself when your starting out. I've been there too and also felt that I didn't want to charge until I was sure that I could deliver the best. $25 is not enough though, remember you need to charge for your time spent shooting the session, time spent editing the session, all the admin side of things and also your talent. Photography is an art after all and your clients are buying your work. Undervaluing that will only set you up for a fall at the start. Think carefully about how long you spend on each client session and work out from there what you think is best for your current situation."
I have confidence that I will take the best photographs for you. I will do whatever I can to deliver the best results. I've committed so much energy and time into photography, teaching myself for the past three years. I've always enjoyed it, but I never took it seriously. I never took myself seriously. If you know me, you know I'm not serious (unless the occasion calls for it.) That's what I lacked: self-confidence. Photography is the only thing I feel confident about. It's the only thing I'm extremely passionate about (I know this because when I have free time I'm constantly reading photography forums, looking at wedding/engagement shoots, looking for poses, lighting, inspiration, anything photography related until my mother calls me to go eat.) I have no idea where I'm going with this. Oh yes, pricing.
So how does one determine pricing? I value my photography, but I know I'm lacking the credentials/the experience/the proof. However, it's similar to applying for an internship or a job. We've all been there, where we have no experience in the job related field. However, we make up for it in different ways. I'm not going to charge an extensive amount because I am not that great. Doing that will really be cheating my potential clients. However, I don't want to charge so less because I really value what I do and I want to be taken seriously. I do want experience from these photoshoots, so that is already a reward in itself. The pricing really comes in for the time I commit after I take the photographs. I also have to think how many people will be in the shoot, how many outfit changes they want, how many locations, how far the locations will be, if they want printed photographs or images on a cd. There are many factors included.
So to conclude this much lengthy self discussion, I want clients who want me because of my photographs, not the price.
And to answer the question I stated in the beginning of the entry, "I'll get back to you on that."