Forums > Photography Talk > Setting pricing - Australia

Photographer

Fred McKie

Posts: 46

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

G'day all

I'm wondering if other photographers may be able to provide a general guide regarding pricing; ie what would you charge per hour or per image based on the quality of my portfolio. I'm based in Queensland and just starting out, so while help from everyone is welcome I'd especially be appreciative of input from fellow Australian photographers.

Also, for portrait work (as an example) how best is it to charge? Base fee for the shoot then per image chosen by the client for printing?

To help gauge my standard please see http://www.fredmckiephotography.com.au in addition to my MM folio.

Thanks!

Fred

Jan 01 13 07:23 am Link

Photographer

Josh Yu Photography

Posts: 206

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

There's many ways it is done bust from what I've seen, mostly time based, as in an hourly rate for setup, shooting and editing. Portrait is a hard market though, and often is done at a set fee for a shoot with x number of photos, or time/per photo hybrid basis.. Personally i mostly just charge by time or agreed set fee before the shoot.

Really it's whatever works for you though. Good luck smile

Jan 01 13 07:33 am Link

Photographer

Fred McKie

Posts: 46

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Thanks Josh, I appreciate that. I guess I'm just keen to know I'm not getting carried away with pricing before I make my prices public.

Jan 01 13 10:37 am Link

Photographer

Rodrigo DD

Posts: 70

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

G'Year Mate!

Standard rules of market apply, if you go too high you'll get none, if you go too low, you might be overwhelmed or seen as low-end.

Trial and error.

As for me, I do photos for free so I can't give you advice on rates.

Cheers!

Jan 01 13 07:20 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12835

Atlanta, Georgia, US

I would suggest its more complex then others have hinted at. You have to set a prie that represents a good value to YOUR customer.  Without first defining that you may as well try to compete with the Craig's list $35 for a cd crowd (or the equiv for your area).

Jan 01 13 07:30 pm Link

Photographer

Chris David Photography

Posts: 477

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Events & Functions (except for weddings) I find its best done on an hourly rate.
Portraits/Portfolios work better on a project/package rate and it should be realistic in pricing.
Learning the craft well and how to be more efficient along with the business side helps a lot when it comes to making a profit. Your average non-commercial client would expect to spend the same on a high quality image whether you spend 5mins in post production or 5 hours.

For project/package rates you have to add your average shoot time/post production time and times it by an hourly labor rate(be realistic). Then add costs like fuel/materials/wear and tear/insurance and you have your cost price - charge anything below this and your losing money. Times your cost price by at least 2-3 and you have a starting point for pricing. Other industries can charge 6-8 times costs but with photography being competitive as it is - charge too much and you won't get any business. Charge too little and they won't take you seriously.
Also don't pay attention to those ads on gumtree/CL as they are more hobbyist then business and more so tend to do things at a loss. The clientele you will get there will want almost everything for free so would not even be your desired target market.

Jan 02 13 12:33 am Link

Photographer

kevinLi

Posts: 214

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

retail work, per package + extra print,

for commercial, photographer rate + production cost*130% + useage

Jan 02 13 02:47 am Link

Photographer

KModel Photography

Posts: 215

Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand

There is no simple answer.  Its not a matter a hanging up a sign that says open for business like a petrol station or McDonald's.  Its extremely competitive, everyone is a photographer.  Plenty are prepared to work for free just to build experience and network.  Clients actively try and get people to work for free for them.

Plenty of starting photographers I know have gone bust, mostly because their expenses far exceeded their receipts, just bad financial management and unrealistic expectations.  The ones that are making money, photography is a small part of their overall business.  They are selling something more than just photos.

Jan 02 13 03:23 am Link

Photographer

Fred McKie

Posts: 46

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Rodrigo DD wrote:
Standard rules of market apply, if you go too high you'll get none, if you go too low, you might be overwhelmed or seen as low-end.

Thanks mate, this makes complete sense. Just not sure even what the ballpark figure should be yet.

Jan 02 13 01:20 pm Link

Photographer

Fred McKie

Posts: 46

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

AJScalzitti wrote:
You have to set a prie that represents a good value to YOUR customer.

This is a very good way of looking at it; it doesn't matter much what I want to charge if others aren't willing to pay it.

AJScalzitti wrote:
Without first defining that you may as well try to compete with the Craig's list $35 for a cd crowd (or the equiv for your area).

This is exactly what I want to avoid. I want to set myself up to succeed not fail.

Jan 02 13 01:23 pm Link

Photographer

Fred McKie

Posts: 46

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Chris David Photography wrote:
Events & Functions (except for weddings) I find its best done on an hourly rate.
Portraits/Portfolios work better on a project/package rate and it should be realistic in pricing.

Chris, thank you for this and all the rest of the advice you offered. I really admire your work, so indepth input such as this from a photographer such as yourself who's obviously skilled and successfull is invaluable.

Jan 02 13 01:52 pm Link

Photographer

Fred McKie

Posts: 46

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

kevinLi wrote:
retail work, per package + extra print,

for commercial, photographer rate + production cost*130% + useage

Thank you for your input. Seems like a decent formula.

Jan 02 13 02:00 pm Link

Photographer

Fred McKie

Posts: 46

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

KModel Photography wrote:
Plenty of starting photographers I know have gone bust, mostly because their expenses far exceeded their receipts, just bad financial management and unrealistic expectations.  The ones that are making money, photography is a small part of their overall business.  They are selling something more than just photos.

Thanks for your input. What do you mean exactly by "selling something more than just photos"?

Jan 02 13 02:01 pm Link

Photographer

JimmyAmerica

Posts: 29

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Pricing is the most difficult part of running a photography business. I've tried charging a little, charging a lot, showing my prices, making it so clients have to contact me to get a price and it's all a big pain in the butt.

In the end my girlfriend said, you take good photos, charge accordingly, and I listened. If you have a good body of work and can show why you're charging what you're charging then clients will pay it unless they can't afford it, in which case you can either offer less or wish them luck.

You seem to be after a dollar amount. As an example I charge $300 for corporate head shots. This covers a 30 minute to 1 hour photo shoot, some shots on a white/black/other backdrop and some out at a location. They get a password protected gallery, they can choose 3 images for me to retouch, I spend about an hour on each photo and if they want more photos I charge on a price-per-photo basis. I e-mail the retouched photos to them to get approval, once they are happy I mail a CD to wherever they want. I live in the city and shoot out of my apartment and if I have to travel outside the city I charge a transport fee. I also bring my girlfriend/business partner as an assistant. If they can't afford my rate I offer them less retouched photos and I also offer discounts for shooting multiple people on the same shoot, so if they can get a friend who wants head shots done they come together, a little bit more work for me, less cost individually for them but more money for me in the end.

Offer great service, do great work and as your reputation builds you can either raise your prices or bring in other photographers for a cut and do less work.


A lot of photographers don't like to share their prices for fear of being undercut, but I don't think that helps the industry. You have some great shots by the way! I particularly like:
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121216/13/50ce39499ac1b_m.jpg
and
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121214/17/50cbd4605e8e3_m.jpg

www.JimmyAmerica.com

Jan 02 13 07:27 pm Link

Photographer

Rodrigo DD

Posts: 70

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Fred McKie wrote:

Thanks mate, this makes complete sense. Just not sure even what the ballpark figure should be yet.

The minimum you need to charge has to cover actual expenses, asset depreciation, your time (during preparation, shoot, and post production), taxes, any insurance (gear, liability, etc.), etc. that will give you the lowest you should charge, those expenses will be different on each occasion.

As for the margin (e.g. profit), that will depend on the client (corporate, personal, ...), use (exclusive use, licensed, etc.), considering any future opportunities with the same client, etc.

Best of luck!

Cheers!

Jan 03 13 01:37 am Link

Photographer

Glenn Hall - Fine Art

Posts: 450

Townsville, Queensland, Australia

I charge an hourly rate for time spent on location. That hourly rate includes time spent processing images back in the office. I also guarantee a set number of photos for each hour I am hired.
I do not use "packages" and I am a Portrait Photographer. Works for me and may not work for you. Customers are happy with my method, as they feel they are not being ripped off with the current mentality of local wannabe photographers costing "packages" at unrealistic prices.
As for deciding what price to set, you will need to target your market.
You obviously won't be charging an arm and a leg, if the town you live in and service is full of Blue collar workers. Conversely, if you live in a Middle Class area, you won't be charging Mates Rates as the value of your product will seem inferior. Strike a balance with your price and get some feedback from people down at the local pub or have a yarn with your mates to give you a fair idea of what to charge.

...and sure hope it cools down up here tongue

Jan 03 13 04:51 am Link

Photographer

Glenn Hall - Fine Art

Posts: 450

Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Fred McKie wrote:
Thanks for your input. What do you mean exactly by "selling something more than just photos"?

I believe that may be necessary if the local market is flooded with wannabe photographers charging insane cheap prices for shit work. I actually see these noobies charge from dirt cheap to insanely expensive - go figure. I am looking into expanding and offer other services to counteract this...I am not unique in this and see it is global phenomenon since the advent of digital....where everyone with a DSLR is a pro photographer.
You simply set up your photography business and have a lingerie or beauty (makeover etc) business or something similar that compliments your photography and draws customers to it. I have seen a few come and go bust. Avoid franchises as they will take most of your profits and bust you.

Jan 03 13 05:06 am Link

Photographer

Fred McKie

Posts: 46

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

JimmyAmerica wrote:
You seem to be after a dollar amount. As an example I charge $300 for corporate head shots. This covers a 30 minute to 1 hour photo shoot, some shots on a white/black/other backdrop and some out at a location. They get a password protected gallery, they can choose 3 images for me to retouch, I spend about an hour on each photo and if they want more photos I charge on a price-per-photo basis. I e-mail the retouched photos to them to get approval, once they are happy I mail a CD to wherever they want.

Thank you so much mate, this is fantastic stuff!

JimmyAmerica wrote:
If they can't afford my rate I offer them less retouched photos and I also offer discounts for shooting multiple people on the same shoot, so if they can get a friend who wants head shots done they come together, a little bit more work for me, less cost individually for them but more money for me in the end.

Brilliant business sense!

JimmyAmerica wrote:
You have some great shots by the way!

Thank you - very kind! smile

Jan 04 13 02:11 am Link

Photographer

Fred McKie

Posts: 46

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Glenn Hall - Fine Art wrote:
You simply set up your photography business and have a lingerie or beauty (makeover etc) business or something similar that compliments your photography and draws customers to it.

Makes sense. Will have to put my thinking cap on! Thanks smile

Jan 04 13 02:12 am Link

Photographer

Fred McKie

Posts: 46

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Thank you again everyone for your input - it has been greatly appreciated.

Jan 04 13 02:12 am Link