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What Should I Charge

Lesson 8 from: Commercial Photography: Thriving in a Competitive Industry

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

8. What Should I Charge

Lesson Info

What Should I Charge

people ask me. I got une mail last week. What I charge for a shoot that's so open. What kind of car do you want to buy? I don't know. You know what kind of soda pop you drink. So here's what I ask What is your current current value of a day's work right now? So if you wait on tables and you wanna be a photographer, you're waiting on tables. Let's say you could make 115 $100 in the evening waiting tables. Someone once called up and you say, Um, yeah, I could I could shoot, uh, your family portrait. But I have to call in sick at work where someone has to fill in for me. So they go, well, we only have $100. You're like, Well, if I do that for $100 I'm losing 100 bucks. So what's your current value of days work? Right? Well, think about this. So let's say you make bucks a waiting tables and all you have is what an outfit, a little apron, what they supply and no path. That's all you do to your work. Well, if you got $20,000. The camera equipment. Don't you think you need to charge more tha...

n $200 to help offset the cost of that at least. And maybe you went to school. You got $ in student loans. So when you go and put in a bid, you got to at least make what you could make on a daily basis, and then you got to go and cover your expenses of being in business. As a photographer, you pay insurance for your camera gear, all that stuff you have a cell phone you do business on. I got a factor, all that in there, so you have to at least make a profit. So where's your profit line? I don't know where your profit line is. I can't coach you on a price. Unless I could say, Okay, you say You know what? Here's my problem. Like 500 bucks a day. I have to make at least five bucks a day to break even if the in the month it's OK there, you know? Now do you want to break even? You make a profit. Well, I gotta say I'm gonna be a prophet, So you got to say, Okay, I'm gonna charge 7 50 a day or $1000 a day, so you work your way up into, you know, a profit. Now, um, I want to jump ahead. Let's go to the next one. What is the market willing to pay? That's another thing. So you say I'm $10,000 a day? Well, markets says Sorry, have a good day. You gotta figure out what the market. So you do your research. So when I do a corporate shoot So we're talking corporate direct Hewlett Packard down the road, Microsoft down the road. They called me up and say, We want you to do this in the report. Whatever. What do you charge? Well, that's direct. It's a little bit different arena. So, as a direct corporate photographer, I don't know about Seattle's rates, but it's probably around 100 a day. You fall in that little slot somewhere. Advertising agency called it says we have a campaign for Microsoft. You probably start at around 3500 to 10,000 day, depending on you know how your experience. It's not unusual to even go above 10,000 day, depending on the project, so you gotta know your arena. So if it's agency advertising's one thing, if it's just corporate direct website, maybe for the annual report, that's a little bit different rate. So I can't tell you where to put your slot. But there's a slot to be made to where you can put you put yourself and so you got to do a little research. You don't start out of 10,000 day, but it's not that hard to get there if you are an artist, creating a body of work that represents you at brands yourself in the marketplace, and it's not long before they're calling you at $10,000 day rates, I'm telling you, it happens. But you gotta believe that you can get there because if you if you got a understand the value of your worth because we're bullets the time we under evaluate who we are, Um, so when it comes to a price, you have to at the end of the day, you have to have a smile on your face. So if you shoot a wedding and your beat up and you, you know, had to deliver that work, and by the time you're done, you're going. I'll never do another wedding again. Well, that means you didn't charge enough money. So let's just say this. Let's say you do a wedding, you get beat up. The bride was terrible. The bride's mother was terrible. And you just But you put 100 grand your pocket. Would you have a smile through the day? Probably. Right. So it's all about the smile of the day because you might have a really nice bride. It goes great. We have great light. You know, there was birds were singing. It was Spring Day and you went, Wow, that was fun. But I only made 500 bucks. You know, that was a great couple, and I really liked, you know, doing that for them. So it's about the smile on your face of the of the day, so that's worth more than the money in the bank. But yet that money in the bank So I have clients that I've worked for almost any names, that they were just difficult. And so I just start raising my rates and I raise it raised until I go have a smile on my face, and at some point they go. This guy's too expensive. They just move on. Right? But if I have a bad are grumpy client, but I'm making a lot of money, I have a smile at the end of the day. And so that's what it's all about is that when you're done, you go. You know what, okay was worth my time and I move on from there. Um, all right, let's talk about the slot. This is important to understand because there are some people that only have 100 bucks to spend on a wedding, and we see him on Facebook. My wife, we actually copy one that was so hilarious. This lady wanted is, like, you know, $100 for wedding. She wanted to own the copyright to the images. You had to be there an hour early, had to leave, you know, she had it all set up for 100 bucks. But then there's there's there's there's ah, what is it that you know about $100, wedding and there's the Darfur's that are getting that kind of money. And so here's here's the question for you is you start out in a $100,000 ready, but you can work up to that. Um, but there is a slot for you to fill. Okay? I can't make any money. $100? Nobody. All right. That's okay. So you've got to find that slot. Once you find that slot, then you start looking for those claims. And when someone walks in the door and they say we love your work, you go. Okay, That's great. And and they go, What would you charge? And you say, Well, it's $5000 ago, and they go and leave. Right? You go. Sorry, can't do for lesson that. And so you know where slot is and then you have all the confidence in the world. That's the right slot. Now, let's say you have nothing going on and you say 5000 ago. We have 3500 bucks. That's it. You go. Let me weigh it out. Let me think about Okay. You know what? I got to weddings this month already, Aiken, Sure. This is a little extra gravy. You know, I'll do it for 3500 bucks so you could negotiate based on that but there's a slot to fill. You got to find that slot and then you start over time working your way up the slots. So there's no such thing as lowballing, so it starts coming out. So you know, so so in town there, dear, they don't waiting for five bucks trying. Why is that bothering you? What's your day rate? Was your wedding 5000? Why is that person a threat to you? Not even, you know, because they're getting clients that could only pay a 500 bucks left clients not a threat to you. And they can't. They wouldn't they wouldn't come to you. So, um filled a slot, right? And then that makes you know cases where I'm at. So, um, when it comes to quoting, let's talk about advertising and weddings, too. But when it comes to putting a bed in, most art directors are buyers or clients that say, What would you charge for a shoot, give you very little information? Why did they give you very little information? Because there's two reasons. One is they want to get your cheap number two is they might they want test you to see whether not you know what you're talking about. So when you put a bid end, you cover all the basis makeup artist. You know, you have You have liability insurance policy that I put on that when I'm on a location. That location requires that I have a certificate of liability for that premises. I put that in my line. Item 200 bucks for a certificate of liability insurance. They go. Hey, Jules. Coverage. So I put in all the right slots. I asked all the right questions. I called up. They go, By the way, what's uses rights? Okay, Bubba. All right, then we go through and I get all my numbers and I go out. The door goes now, they may come back. Whoa. Well, that's a little too high or Whoa, let's talk about this. Right. But I know I've asked all the right questions, and then once it's established, get it in writing. So later when you then go Oh, you know, you put in Well, here's the helicopter that you asked for. Well, I thought that was part of the ritual bit. No, it's not in writing. We don't agree on that. So here it is. Here's my numbers. So you have to make sure that you ask all the right question. So putting the bidding is a lot of work, folks, and it's a pain. So here's what I would do. It's safer for you to be a little bit annoying when you ask the art director our buyer a lot of questions. So, you know, sometimes I go Oh, not you again. I need to put an actor bid for you. What you want? Well, okay. What are these? Is right. Jeez. You know, it's like, Well, I can't give you necker bid unless you give me the right information. And so So don't be afraid to get the right information. And if you have to be a little bit annoying to get it, don't worry about it, because it will save your but on the other side, because then you're like I had to make any money. My sister made more money than me because I didn't ask all the right questions. That's happened to me. All right, so submitting the bid is no different. Playing blackjack in Vegas. I always talk about this. You just put it out. There you go. OK, you know, I hope it fall. I fall in the right slot. You hope? All right, we're getting here. We're done. We're almost done. Um, let's see. Competitive. Two ways being competitive. This is We'll finish finish on this. You got an increase. Your skill set. So I'm always trying to get better at what I do, right? Okay, So you increase your skill set. And then here's a key. Fogs keep barely had overhead down. Here's the problem, Photographers. They want to look good. They want to look cool, slick. And they want to entertain. They got all this crazy stuff in the studio. They're entertained like a big Hollywood set, right? And then at the end, they don't make any money. And so, um, when you are able to deliver the job, but still keep your overhead down. Meaning you don't have a Range Rover, but so you just have a little Toyota, you know, whatever rab for that you get around in you now have your able to be more competitive if your over heads down. Because when it comes to put a bid in the Range Rover photographer who is a big studio in five people that are working for him has to bid really high to just cover all that crap. So my goal is always to be able to deliver the job, make it really easy on the process of the client. But don't overdo the crap, because I can keep my rates competitive. Does that make sense? But the doc rivers are human, and they want to look good, right? And and this is a trap. The trap we fall in is, um we end up, um, pricing ourselves out of the job. So I do have one more thing. Let's do a quick. I'm gonna just talk about social media. Social media is always just asked. What about social media? Right. And so I'm old school, right? I hate social media, but there is that they're lyric again. Little 15 year old. Um So social media, social media, unfortunately, is something that cannot be ignored. So if you're in business, you can't ignore it. I wish I could ignore it, but, um, clients not to ST clients, but there are Okay, look, give this. I didn't campaign for Red Bull. And guess how I got the campaign. The art director, who's also a photo photographer hobbyist who's in that role is looking at Flicker and they pull off our directors just all time. They pull off images off of the most current sites out there. 500 PX flicker places where they're going, Where's imagery? And so you won't believe how many times I've been called into a put a bid on a job and they said we went to We found you on Flicker and we went to your site. We pulled a bunch of images off. We did the all the mock ups with your images. Now the client wants you to be the photographer. They found me on social media. She can't underestimate the power of social media. And so, um, you gotta build a following. And when it comes to, um, when it comes to social media, um, like anything else, you got to go and be consistent at your like and I've been bad lately, But But when you go, you you upload stuff too, like all these sites to a consistent plan of uploading images, new images, new images and that's how you build your brand. And so, um, I want to get to, um Trust trust is really critical in building your brand, because what happens is, um when you want to win somebody over, they have to feel confident that you're gonna fulfill the job that you say. Right? So trust is critical. So when it comes to like the replies, like two people, you don't go. If someone bashes you, you don't bash him back. Does that make sense? Just give you mouth shut. Someone just rips you to shreds. Okay? Whatever. Move on. Ah, and here's what we go stick to the 10 1 10 rule. When we do Facebook, we stick to the 1 10 rule that is, I try to give 10 free images that have cool stuff that says, this is my lighting. This is only did this and whatever give back give back and then I got have workshop. I want to promote the workshop Boom. It goes up. So that's how I build the trust in my brand is I'm not always out there to sell, sell, sell. You gotta post killer images. Killer images always went over because people are looking looking looking, looking all the time. Um, like any tool, we gotta do it. A lot and, um, the the rules are always changing. Facebook's changes their rules. Everybody changed the rule constantly. You stay current if the pain to stay current. So you got to do social media, though. And one last tip. I just got almost can explore light, right. So I'll guarantee you Ah, 100% that can. And looked at my Facebook numbers before they made the decision to bring me on. So just consider that. All right, Joel, what a first segment. That was a lot. Thank you so, so much.

Ratings and Reviews

James Munroe

Very good course. Joel tells it like it is. Very cool photography & Photoshop tips that I'll use in my business. Thanks Joel and Creative Live for an awesome course! James

a Creativelive Student

Commercial Photography: thriving in the competitive industry is a very straightforward class. Joel is clear and to the point, breaking down step-by-step how he did it. From developing a portfolio to getting your name in front of people; from setting up the light to the post-processing thinking. I am so happy I bought this course. Thank you Joel Grimes for your time and expertise.

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