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Headshot Pricing Models for Groups and Companies

Lesson 4 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

Headshot Pricing Models for Groups and Companies

Lesson 4 from: The Business of Professional Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

4. Headshot Pricing Models for Groups and Companies


Class Trailer

Class Overview


Getting Headshot Clients


Headshot Pricing Models for Individuals


Headshot Pricing Models for Groups and Companies


Payment and Delivery for Groups


Six Styles of Business Headshots


Headshot Lighting Gear


Posing Basics for Headshots


Basic Standing Pose for Headshots


Basic Seated Pose for Headshots


Head Position for Headshots


Expression Sells the Image


One-Light High Key Headshot with Male Model


One-Light High Key Headshot with Female Model


Two-Light High Key Headshot with Male Model


Two-Light High Key Headshot with Female Model


Two-Light Standing Pose Headshot with Male Model


Two-Light Standing Pose Headshot with Female Model


One Light Low Key Headshot with Male Model


Two Light Low Key Headshot with Female Model


General Q&A


Constant Light: Low Key Classic Headshot with Male Model


Constant Light: Low Key Classic Headshot with Female Model


Constant Light: Standing Pose Headshot with Male Model


Constant Light: Standing Pose Headshot with Female Model


Setting up the Background for Extraction Shoot


Shooting for Extraction Headshot with Male Model


Shooting for Extraction Headshot with Female Model


Shooting Low Key Modern Headshots for Extraction


Basic Headshot Facial Retouching Techniques


Basic Headshot Eye Retouching Techniques


Basic Headshot Retouching Techniques: Dodge and Burn


Basic Headshot Retouching Q&A


Extracting a Single Subject


Creating a Headshot Composite


F-Type Headshot Lighting: Equipment and Principle


F-Type Headshot Lighting: Execution


Shooting Headshots in Volume


Lesson Info

Headshot Pricing Models for Groups and Companies

So this is the headshots for pricing for companies. Here are the two business models. You have per person, so if somebody calls you and says I want you to do 20 headshots for my company, you can typically either charge per person, or you can charge per day, that makes sense? That's the two big things, I see going on. I use both, and I will explain exactly how, but at first I just want you to understand that you will run into the problem where you're going like, do I charge per person or do I charge per day? Deciding on a day rate, this is sorta like figuring out your session fee, with me? Here we go, what is your daily break even number? Figure out how much money you need to make in a year and then I want you to take five days a week, 'cos assuming you're only gonna be opening your business five days a week, and divide that number into days. How many working days there are, figure out how much money you need to make each and every day in your business in order to keep the doors open, t...

hat's your break even daily rate. Think about that, you're with me? Everybody understand that, cool. You need to figure out, how much money it costs you including how much you pay yourself, your total nut for the whole day, and for the whole year and break that into working days. I would say for your average photographer with a one or two person studio, that really wants to make a living, it's gonna be somewhere between 400 and 500 dollars, 600 dollars depending on if you have a studio or if you work from home, so let's just call it 500 dollars. Just, you need Monday through Friday to bill out 500 dollars total for the week, each day, in order to keep the doors open. Multiply that number by three, let's say 1500 dollars, these are all numbers we're making up, that is gonna be your base day rate. Why do I do that, why in threes? Because 500 dollars is gonna be your break even, 500 dollars, which is roughly 33.3333333 percent of that is gonna be, what, taxes, the tax man is gonna come take a big bite outta your butt every time you make money, especially when you're the business owner, you got state tax, federal income tax, social security, unemployment, blaah, bublaah, bublaah, bublaah. 33 cents, roughly, let's figure it out. As a business owner, small business owners, we pay a lot of taxes as the business owner. More than if you had an employee of your business, you're gonna pay way more taxes than they are. So, when you multiply that number by three, you're assuming a third of that is gonna be gone, to Uncle Sam, so Chris Christie can buy new hair gel, it's gonna be really exciting, no offense New Jersey, I love you, alright. Now the other 500 dollars is what? Take home, profit, keep, scrooge mcduck money bin money. That's the money that you want. So again, this is not science for me, this is how I do it, and this is work so that you know that you're gonna profit. If somebody pays you base day rate, you know that you're making money. Not only are you meeting your financial needs for your business, and not only are you paying your responsibility to the government but you're also actually making money, which is sorta the point. So when to use a day rate. When your per person total approaches your day rate. 'Cos you're gonna start to see, especially if you've given your client your pricing and they've got 15 people, if they've got 20 people and they're gonna pay, let's say, if you're doing a hundred dollars a person, at two thousand dollars they're blown over your day rate, and you know you can do 20 headshots in a day so just sell them your day rate. So you're saying, oh, I'm taking money out of my own pocket, you're not, because going at day rate gives you unique opportunities to upsell more stuff, which I'll show you in the next slide. When the client wants multiple looks or locations for each person, that's when you need to charge a day rate, because it's gonna get really hairy for you, breaking down, setting up and moving stuff, and if you're working on a day rate, you're not necessarily shooting just bang bang bang. You're there for a set amount of time, and you have a mission that you're gonna accomplish in that eight hours, you can create a game plan for it, and I always charge a day rate when they want multiple looks and locations, because I don't wanna worry about how much I'm charging per person when that's happening, I wanna worry about the job. Individual and group shots. When the client wants individual and group shots, 'cos here is what happens, the group shots, they screw you out of the money for the group shots every time. They go, oh it's 12 people, oh and can you just do a group shot of us real quick over there and then you end up doing like 20 different permutations of that group shot and they're not paying you for any of those shots. So I always find that if they want group shots, I just switch to a half-day or a day rate depending on the size of the business. When the intended use of the image is gonna need licensing. This is important, because if it's gonna go into a magazine, or a publication, or an advertisement, this image needs to be licensed, because you own it. You own the image and you need to get paid for it, and that license should have a limit, and that's a totally other class, but licensing intents that they're gonna use it for just more than, let's say, a picture on a website, it's gonna be used for commercial advertising purposes, does that make sense, okay. And events, especially if I do a lot of, like I set up a booth and I just do headshots at an event. Because what's gonna happen is, if you charge per person, they say, oh there are 200 attendees, and we're gonna go ahead and expect that a hundred of those are gonna get headshots, so we're gonna pay you individually for a hundred people, and I'll go, I'm not gonna work that way, you're gonna pay me for my time, I'm gonna shoot whoever comes up, because you don't wanna have them pre-pay for a hundred people and you only shoot 25, and they're gonna go, why did we pay for a hundred people, then you get in a weird situation where maybe they want money back, maybe they don't, but it's very important that if you're shooting an event, that you just get charged for your time and not necessarily per person, because the per person amount never works out accurately. Alright, inquiries, bidding and booking. Bidding and booking jobs, number one way to book a corporate job is to answer the phone. This is really, completely a hundred percent true. I have lost a 4000 dollar job before, because I didn't respond within 45 minutes. Because what happens is, boss goes to middle management guy and says, find us a headshot for this, for to shoot our company, or to come to this convention and shoot everybody while we're all together. Middle management guy goes to Google, types in Atlanta photographers, emails the first five people and whoever gets back the fastest with the right price is the one who gets the job, it's gotta be fast. Whenever we get a, it's almost like, you've seen Minority Report, where they get the red ball that means murder and they're like beep, beep, beep, there's a murder coming, that's how corporate inquiries are for us. If somebody emails us about a wedding, I'll go, we'll email them tomorrow, we'll be fine, the wedding is 12 month away, I'm not as on it as I am, when I get a corporate inquiry, I forward it over to Julie, or she forwards it to me, and it's like, get on this right this second, 'cos you will lose money. Be there for the inquiry and respond very quickly. So how to bid. You will get questions about how to bid on these big corporate jobs. This is how you actually book them, you will get these inquiries, you will. Respond quickly and be concise. This isn't your bride, you don't have to go, blah, blah, blah, love your dress, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, pintrest. You don't have to do that with these people. you are almost certainly not even the 10th most important email they send that day. You are a check mark on an Evernote list of stuff their boss told them to do that day. So be quick to respond, and be concise. Thank you so much for your inquiry, we can definitely help you with that, and then we follow up with the following questions. Find out, if there's a budget in mind. Here's the thing about a corporate budget, they have to use it all, or the next year, when that same line item in the budget comes around, if they only use half the year before, then their budget gets cut in half. So they wanna be under budget, but not crazy under budget. 90 percent is the magic number, I've found. 90 percent of the budget, they look good to their boss, and they're not slashing their budget for the following year, do you understand how that works? So, when you can find out from them, a lot of times, if it's an event, they hired a photographer the year before and they know how much they paid. So if you're willing to do the job for that amount of money, then come in at 90 percent of their budget, that's sort of the magic number for them, if that makes any sense, alright? Have your paperwork ready to go. On my wife's desktop, because she runs the business, and I just take the pictures, there is a folder that has our W-9, our insurance information, our business license, tax ID, all that stuff, whatever they want, whatever they're gonna need to be able to book me as vendor for their big company, that gets attached in the first email and send. Have that stuff ready to go at all times. As soon as an inquiry comes in, as soon as they say yes, send me your paperwork, you're already done, because you're gonna have to hunt around, what the hell is our tax ID again? Be ready to go with that, I'm telling you it can make a huge difference because minutes, sometimes, can be the difference between booking a job and not booking a job, the easier you make that person's job, they're not a creative entrepreneur most of the time, they're a cubicle dweller, and they're checking things of off a list, so if you make their life easier they're gonna be more inclined to choose you, sorry, cubicle dwellers, I don't mean to be negative towards you. And submit multiple pricing options. This is the key I wanna talk about. We have our base day rate, but you need to have a bunch of stuff that they can choose from in order to... If you submit too high, then you gotta come way down on your price, and they're not gonna value your work. If you submit too low, they're gonna think that you're not good at what you do, and they'll maybe want to find somebody that's a little closer to their budget line, okay? If you submit a base rate, that's modest by anybody's standards, like let's say if it were 1500 dollars in your market, but a bunch of stuff that they can tag on, you're gonna give them a really, really good way to be in their budget and to have a lot of cool options. Let me show you what I mean. Control every point of contact. When you submit that inquiry or that bid, make sure that you let them know, you're gonna follow up with them in a few days, if you don't hear from them, they know that you're gonna follow. Don't send it of and wait to hear from them. I never do that, but I give them a... Sometimes, if it's a Friday, I'll wait till Tuesday to follow up, I've send everything that I can give them to get the job but I do wanna follow up, but never on a Monday, Mondays are bad for everybody. So here's a sample price breakdown. This is where we talk about multiple pricing options, here's a day rate, 1500 dollars is our base that we made up, a licensing and usage agreement per day of shooting, let's call that 500, I just made that number up, you can make it 5000, if you want, I don't recommend it. On site viewing, so I'm gonna have the ability of them to hold an iPad and images that I take are going straight to that iPad and everybody who gets their headshot done, gets to select their image right then and there. Because a big problem for them that's a bottleneck, is when people, you put up a gallery with 7000 images and everybody has to go and choose their own headshot, but if you have them walk out of the session, choose the headshot right there on a laptop or tablet, and then that's done, then you know what image you're delivering to the client right away. I charge extra for that because I have to have an extra human body there on site to do that with them. Same day delivery, whatever you wanna charge for it, to deliver the images the same day, have that as a pricing option, sometimes they want that. File administration, I actually have... I use a volume software called FotoVelocity, and it basically enables me to rename all the files with the name of the person whose photo it is. So for a company with thousands of employees, instead of having to figure out who everybody is in the photo, the file is their last name, their first name, who their department manager is, what city they work in, whatever I want. And we'll talk a little bit more about that later, but I charge extra for that, 'cos I have to have an extra body on site to do that. An additional photographer, if they have enough people, where they warrant having another booth along site, so we have two stations for headshots, I give them an option to charge extra for that, and also retouching, let's say you charge eight dollars an image, if you pay two dollars if you're outsourcing it. So all these things I have are options for them. If they just want a day rate and a licensing and usage, and that's all they get, that's fine, I shot it, and I send them the photos and we're done. Absolutely cool with that, I love that. But I have a lot of other ways that I can upsell them, and you'll find that you will sell these things a lot. And they will, eventually you'll get inquiries, where they will ask for things like this and they're not on your price list, you should know how to do these things, if you're gonna work in this world, 'cos they will ask for them, and you're gonna make their life a lot easier. So now you're coming in really, really low, if they just want the basics, but if they have a bigger budget, you can pad it. So you're letting them sort of a-la-carte pick from your list of services in order to be in their budget. There's gonna be a lot less having to come down, and having to come up, and meeting in the middle, if they get to pick what they want. And this is been hugely successful for us. And I gotta tell you, I hardly ever just do the base day rate and the licensing. They almost always add one or two of those things on to it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

6 Styles of Headshots
Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

Melville McLean

Gary Hughes is possibly the best teacher I have seen here and that is a very high compliment. His business analysis is simple and to the point. His set ups and techniques are simple and straight forward, no easy task in itself. His interactions with his models/clients are finely developed and reduced into the fewest but most important key exchanges. He teaches by example how to interact and direct. If you are a high volume photography with brief time per sitter, you might especially appreciate his tips. It is extraordinarily difficult to keep a tight, well structured class going live for so long at a time. His intelligence, wit and personality are all in his favor but it is the content itself that is most impressive. I am not a portrait photographer but I have 30 years of commercial studio experience. He knows what is most important, leaves out the rest and has organized the material in anticipation of most difficulties that arise so that it rests in a seamless, smooth, coherent learning experience. All of his practical advice is excellent. Just understand that his work is about doing a relatively large number of shots in the most efficient way rather than a lot of time spent on a few clients for a completely different format [presentation like very large prints. In fact he is especially pragmatic. He emphasizes that you do not have to own the most expensive equipment but you absolutely do have to know how to use the equipment that you already have. And I am telling you this as someone he makes fun of in his course with fancy cameras and Profoto lighting gear. He is an advocate of all thought out approaches as well as relying on skills and knowledge. You will understand how and why to make all of his key, conventional light and posing set ups. He makes everything sound simple and doable -- and with his help -- it is. What you have to appreciate is that it is up to each individual to acquire the specialized skills to make our work compelling enough to be competitive. The unspoken truth that we all face is that talent plays a key role as well and that it takes time to become every accomplished. But I have also seen concentration, commitment and hard work result in developing innate talents that blossom in very successful careers. Mr Hughes reduces every step into the clearest, most essential components. He is self effacing both as a photographer and post process retoucher but he is very good indeed and does not waste time overdoing images that cannot benefit from a larger format presentation. Everything is appropriate and practical. He has already removed everything that does not matter for his purposes for us that would only interfere with the concise, clarity of his presentation.


I am so glad that I had the opportunity to watch this course. It has not only provided valuable lighting set-ups, but also great basics for posing.!. The Photoshop extraction technique Gary demonstrated was icing on the cake. Gary did a great job teaching and I greatly admired the technique in which he taught. Thanks for a great class!


This was an excellent class! The class covered so much information and great tips and ideas. Gary is funny and has an easy going approach, which makes the class that much more enjoyable. As a struggling pet photographer, I have been trying to find something to supplement my business with that does not involve children/babies, or shooting weddings again and headshots seemed to be a great option. After watching this class, I feel confident building up a headshot component to my business. Definitely recommend this class!

Student Work