One of the most common questions photographers have is about how to effectively price their work. Rates vary so widely based on location and skill level that many are left scratching their heads as to what is fair. This has lead to the common mantra stating “ask for the clients budget”. Here is why I think that's a ridiculous way to price yourself and a horrible piece of advice.
Photographers are creative entrepreneurs. As creative entrepreneurs, most of us aspire to monetize our craft and make a living as artists. In order to run our businesses efficiently, it’s important to have tools and systems in place. If you’re a single person operation, it can be overwhelming at times to think about all the things that go into running your business that aren’t “photography,” including but not limited to marketing, bidding, invoicing, making phone calls, sending emails, networking, upgrading equipment, and higher education to name just a few. Without systems, it’s easy to get off track.
That title might sound a little bit backwards to most of you, but it is not. I know many professionals feel you shouldn't do any photography for free, especially after you have worked your tail off to get to a point where people will pay you to make images. However, even as a full time professional photographer, I actually do a lot of free work. But I do it only on my owns terms, and do turn down many offers.
Renting studio spaces can get pretty pricey, especially in big cities like New York. VSCO is now offering free studio time in their New York location for all artists. If you are in the area, and have a project that requires a studio, this could be an awesome opportunity to take advantage of. The studio includes a permanent cyc wall and even some basic lighting to get you going.
So, you’ve got your portfolio finished. You have strong images that display the work that you want to be hired for. Your website is branded in a way that appeals to your target market. Your business cards are all set to go. So why aren’t clients flying through your door?
A few months ago we shared that Instagram began to roll out some pretty powerful analytic tools called "Insights," though as many of you might have gathered it's not available to the masses just yet. Select users have their hands on the tools currently and they are able to track things like impressions, total reach, clicks to the link in your bio, and even what percentage of your followers are male or female. The tools expand further down into regions of the world your followers are from, including the exact city. Here is how to get them right now, for free.
Thomas C. Corley, author of Rich Habits, wrote that the the most successful business owners create multiple sources of income. Seasoned photographers have experienced the ebb and flow of the portrait business over the years and know that the best way to stay afloat is to be consistently adaptable. Maintaining multiple baskets for income to be generated is key to surviving a slow season.
You may have purchased your first DSLR camera, you may have already fallen in love with the art of photography, you may be thinking about taking your work to the professional level, but what would my best piece of advice be to an aspiring professional photographer? My advice may surprise you.
A number of websites offer multimedia content to content creators for their projects through an easy-to-access online portal. But as well as those sites serve the many that use them, they all have one thing in common: they set the price for all content. Letting photographers, videographers, and musicians set the price for their own work, Pond5 is an exception in a set of businesses between which it is increasingly hard to differentiate.
Full-time photography is a dream many of us have considered fulfilling. What could be better than to get paid for what you want do? A pursuit of passion is often a difficult start, but there’s one critical aspect that I think you should consider immediately: specializing.
To preface, most professional photographers are of course only doing their best to help others when they speak from past personal experiences and while giving advice. However, even the most well-intentioned words from somebody may create negative consequences for the listener. Sometimes it’s not even in the words, but the examples they tell through their actions. When it comes down to it though, you must always remember: Don’t let anyone — even the professionals — ever give the final say in how you do your photography or run your business.
When somebody asks how much they should be charging for their service, this is the single best piece of advice I’ve been able to give. It’s hardly unique, but it puts things into a much better perspective. I always suggest justifying your prices, and prevent reduced hours. Here is the problem with charging by the hour, and how I fix it.
F-Stop Gear has been a respectable camera bag company for many years and they’ve created some highly-trusted packs for the adventure photographer. Several of them have been reviewed with praise on Fstoppers. However, recently their name has become more and more synonymous with frustration rather than respect as customers become more vocal about feeling cheated after a botched Kickstarter project and bag orders that never seem to ship.
Sam Zeller is giving it all away. It began with releasing 184 photos for creative commons use on stock photo site Unsplash. From there the Swiss photographer and FujiFilm ambassador has decided to unload an entire archive of his images taken across Europe for free use to anyone with the aptitude to find them.