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mortalwombat said 6 years ago 5/5/2009 12:37:40 AM EDT

I am trying to decide what to give a client for a photoshoot. I shoot action sports where I will spend half a day or more with them shooting away. I figure this in a way parallels the business model of wedding photography.

After the shoot, how many and what kinds of photos do I give the client? Digitals? Prints? How many of each?

I obviously need to make it all worth my time to shoot and process and send to print, so I need to find the right ballance of what I charge, what work I put into it, and what they get out of it.

What do you wedding photographers give clients?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

kimbomac said 6 years ago 5/5/2009 1:23:37 AM EDT

I work sometimes with a photographer who gives the brides everything unprocessed on a disk for them to do with what they want. That's inclusive of the price, and he doesn't have to do anything after he gets home other than burn it all to a disk. He's not particularly artistically minded, and doesn't really want to spend time at home on the computer, and nor does he have post-processing skills as he is an ex-really-good-film-photographer who just hasn't really updated his skills yet. He's a budget photographer and there is a definite market for that, but it will never earn fortunes. It's also not very time-consuming afterwards, and that suits him.

HOWEVER, we all know that we can produce something much more magnificent with some post-processing, and that putting something out there that has received more care and treatment will not only be usable as portfolio material, but also probably make more onsells possible. Probably be a better money earner too, but will take more effort (no surprises there yet).

I know other portrait and wedding photographers who do some measure of basic post-processing to get the pictures all looking reasonably acceptable, and then put them onto a website, watermarked. Then people can choose which ones they want. Different price points dictate how many they get as prints or in albums, etc. If you have charged a basic price for just the shoot, to cover your costs of being out there shooting and then a bit, the prints or any after-processing can be dealt with separately as extra (or include a minimum output in the 'sitting fee' so that they feel they have got something out of it too if they never ask for anything more)...

You need to decide which way works better for you according to how much time you have. If your business takes off, and you would hope it would, you want your post-processing time to be as little as possible, or you won't have time for the shooting. Any extensive work done afterwards is best done on a commission basis and only on shots chosen by the client that they are prepared to pay for. If you make every shot into a masterpiece, it will take you hours, and they may not want them all. Let them choose and decide which you should spend time on. And then make them pay for that according to their desires.

That's the way I would play it, anyway.


mortalwombat said 6 years ago 5/5/2009 10:33:28 PM EDT

On 5/5/2009 1:23:37 AM, kimbomac said:

Hmm... that is all really good info, but it leaves me even more unsure than before. I want to give them artistic, stylistically produced pieces. I intend to invest an hour or two into processing some of the better shots. I want them to be proud of the photos. On the flipside, I don't want to price myself out.

I was planning on "batch processing" all the photos from the shoot and putting them online in a preview size for the client to choose from, then process those ones. I just want to be sure the client feels like they are getting their money's worth.

I figure 5 photos will give them a good chunk, but would take me up to a full day to process. That, combined with a half day or full day shoot, I would have to charge a hefty fee for the full thing. I am not sure if a client would be interested in paying that, so maybe 3? That just seems like it's not enough for their money.

I am kinda hoping someone would go out on a limb and say "I charge $X for a Y hour shoot and give them Z prints."

kimbomac said 6 years ago 5/5/2009 10:45:43 PM EDT

Your X, Y and Z will be different from mine, and different from someone else's and what is acceptable will be different for one client base and another, and different for the photo application too.

You can't really compare to weddings either, cos those are (hopefully and intended to be) one-off occasions, never-to-be-repeated, and therefore people pay stax for them. Not the same with sport, especially if they are out there every week, getting better and better, and when photos from last month or last year get less and less precious, because there are new and better ones to be had.

So, they might not pay as much, but repeat business would be more likely.

The cash liquidity or disposable income of your target group will also have a big bearing on what you can charge as an ongoing thing. Are they young or old, students, employees, self-employed or business owners? Do they have houses, families, debts and encumbrances, or are they hit-free with nothing else to spend their money on? All things that will impact what you can charge.

The best I could say is to test your market. See what they will pay. Do a few for what you might consider less than optimal, and call it a special opening offer, or a June Special or something. If you get lots of interest at that price, you can up it when the 'deal period' is over. You might feel you have cheated yourself on those few when you realise they all go mad for that price, but at least then you will know. Also, check other offers in your area for the same sorts of services, if there are any...

Just some ideas...


Edited to say that I haven't actually done this successfully myself, nor tried to, but it's what I would try if I was in the position to be wanting to do this.
There are others around here who have done it though, but I answered in the absence of any other input. It's worth thinking about, but my ideas are just that - my ideas.

[Edited by User on 5/5/2009 11:17:11 PM]

secretatlantis said 6 years ago 5/6/2009 2:11:06 AM EDT

I think the June Special idea to test the market is brilliant! You can call it whatever you like but it's a great way to make a first move in any type of professional photography.

northman said 6 years ago 5/6/2009 8:08:06 AM EDT

Check out what other photographers are charging and doing.

I do portrait work and charge a sitting fee depending on how many and how far away we have to go. After the session, I put the photos online for them to order. I just adjusted my price sheet from "packages" to straight ordering for them. If they want an 8x10 it will be so much, etc.

You could quote for the 1/2 day or per hour. Check out what others are doing in your area, even if you have to call to find out. Then, fit yourself in that range somewhere and be confident in your pricing.

kimbomac said 6 years ago 5/6/2009 8:22:18 AM EDT

As a consumer, I know that packages really irritate me, cos the seller can never know what my needs are, and I invariably end up with stuff I don't need or want, just so that I can get the stuff I DO want.

Wrong sizes, or wrong shapes and wrong numbers of them. The kids' school photographs are like that, but because they are done in bulk, I can imagine that there isn't a more efficient way to do it, so that's all there is.

When you are offering a personal service, I think it is better to only do work on pictures the clients want, and ditto only print the images in the sizes they want. Good call, northman.


northman said 6 years ago 5/6/2009 8:34:27 AM EDT

On 5/6/2009 8:22:19 AM, kimbomac said:
When you are offering a personal service, I think it is better to only do work on pictures the clients want, and ditto only print the images in the sizes they want. Good call, northman.

We set it up that way because when I first checked how everyone else was doing their pricing...that's how they did it.

I also decided I'm going to stop putting the little studio logo on the wallet photos. I think it's dumb.

ChronicPest said 6 years ago 5/6/2009 10:56:32 AM EDT

I have 2 different ways of approaching this.

For my market involving musicians and artists and actors and the like, I'll shoot for 1 hour and they get to pick 3 files, or 2 hours and they get to choose 10 files.

I throw up a webpage with their images on it, using Autoviewer, a self-contained, self generating, flash based gallery. I've got it all tweaked so you have to have some web code reading skillz to be able to access the image files so they're pretty well locked down.

This works for them, because they really only need images for their websites and electronic press kits. I don't know one artist who's ever wanted a print, or tried to print something themselves. The odd headshot for the program lobby poster is the *only* exception.

On the flipside I use to sell prints. For events and stuff, and now (hopefully) senior portraits. It'll keep me from having to fulfill print orders myself. For the upcomming round of senior portraits I'll have 2 pricepoints, one for 1 hour one for 2. The 2 hour will get $10 off their total print order. Then they'll get the link to order anything and everything they want.

mortalwombat said 6 years ago 5/6/2009 12:24:51 PM EDT

Great info from everyone here. Thank you so much! I feel like I have a bit of direction now.

On 5/6/2009 8:34:27 AM, northman said:

I also decided I'm going to stop putting the little studio logo on the wallet photos. I think it's dumb.

I think it's dumb too. People want the photo, not your logo. If anything, get a bunch of fancy clear stock stickers with your logo printed in gold or silver on it that you can put on the back of the wallet.