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  • Am I behind before I even start?

    There are couple of new photography businesses up here that offer all photos taken at session (approx 100-15) edited on disk plus photos printed starting price $100.

    My price atm is $200 for a 2hr session, 15 photos fully edited on disk. Me taking in editing time, photo session I'm not working for much more then $25-$30 per hour. But I'm not getting the work because this photographer is grabbing it all with her 'bargains'.

    She seems to be so busy, I just don't see how she is pulling off quality...it just gets me down a bit. I've been thinking I can't go any lower with my prices. So I'll keep plodding along...use this time to get better at my craft so I keep supplying quality solid pieces.

    Anyone else had this type of trouble with other 'togs in their area?

  • #2
    the difference is quality V quantity.



    Personally I would never offer ALL photos taken. I use the words "studio acceptable"



    very hard one manda; there is always someone doing it for less. The public are so brain washed with "get it cheaper" by the media that quality is becoming a lesser importance; and not just in photography.



    You have to out "shoot" them with service and quality like EM does. No; cannot do what he does either but you can get some one on one training to learn.



    I would have to suggest you are both under pricing your work but so are most these days.



    Try to get some "free" local news paper exposure. Offer some sort of photography prize in a comp. I got a lot PR via news papers in the early days by supplying photos to the paper. only condition was I got a by-line under each and every photo they used.



    I did a photo thing of the volunteer fire brigade members in their work place as a "thankyou to the employers" for allowing them run out of work at any time. The paper was so impressed I got two full pages of photos printed; or two full pages of advertising. I sold very few photos but......... Most of the photos had the employers name in the photo. At the time I had a main street shop front and the photos where on display in the window which attracted a lot of attention. You could find some to lend you a window.
    Cheers for now, IanB.
    Photos by Ian Browne on Facebook

    Comment


    • #3
      It is difficult to compete with those prices, and the fact you are in a smaller town could go either way. Have you done a cost analysis to establish what your daily cost of doing business actually is. If you are wanting to run it as a business this sort of info is fundamental to ongoing success, otherwise you will be losing money every time you shoot. That is why so many operators don't last the distance.

      I created a spreadsheet so I could work it out, what I did was include how I want to be living as my figures, for example as a sole operator I wanted to include a savings plan in the event work slowed up so that went into the figures, I also included a superannuation contribution as I would no longer have an employer to contribute for me. I was pretty surprised at how much it ended up. I also did another model which included my current salary as supplementary income and attained a figure from that. It makes quoting jobs so much easier as I just need to consider how long the job will take - lets say it took 2 days for planning, shooting, post processing etc - the formula is very simple:
      Quoted Price = (#days x DCODB) + Production costs + markup%
      then if they want to negotiate on price I have my markup% to play with - or we can negotiate on production costs by excluding some of those items.

      The main upshot is that since implementing this methodology we can be certain that we will be able to maintain our current "lifestyle" as long as we were recovering our DCODB + production costs. You do need to be disciplined in maintaining this pricing model as it is so easy to compromise and slip into old habits. Our thought process has always been to treat the business as it could be and you will attract the type of customers you want to be dealing with.
      Cheers
      Darren
      website

      Comment


      • #4
        Manda, it also happens the other way around.. i offer all photos on a disc (i don't say a number or all, i just say your sessions images, but they get around 70+) there has been a HUGE influx of wannabe photographers (though some are just out of tafe and pretty good, but mainly backyard bobs with terrible photos, no editing skills, who claim they do professional editing ) in my area and are charging the SAME price as myself or more, but only offering say 15 images.
        Or there are those charging MORE and less images or high priced prints and have low quality images (oof, same actions run on all the photos etc) but are still getting the business.... it really does puzzle me. People ie: the public/non photographers i think are getting ripped off by these other people and dont know any different.

        there are a couple of professional photographers in my area, who do gorgeous work, charge thousands and still get the work, though i do think they are also loosing out because of these people with cameras.



        i agree with Ians Promo stuff, get your name out there, when people know of you they will come. I usually travel an hour to go to my clients which eats up allot of my profits, but where i live there is maybe 2 or so established photographers, and a handful of newbies, but my partner has told me some stuff about them he hears at work who have gotten photos (they didn't know i done photos), and its not good, the people don't like the work etc so i contacted the Miss Country Girl Australia model search that's on in my area tomorrow/Sat and offered sponsorship and a free shoot to the winner. i am hoping this will be a good free advertising thing for me for the area where i actually live so i wont have to travel. So perhaps if there is something similar in your area, offer your services free. But don't let people take advantage of you (like i did with other model comps, lesson learnt) another good way is WOM.. do a competition for a free photo session and use those photos to promote, the persons friends will see and so on
        or ....?

        Comment


        • #5
          Wowzers this got complicated didnt it!. After my posts in some other threads i think i might be over thinking things.
          Are you well known in the area? Without even seeing the other persons quality you cant say its quality vs price.
          If your not well known i would be lowering your price to compete because the person you are competing with is only going to get better, But hopefully not as much as you will, either that or they are bad at their craft and wont improve at all which is a gift.
          Let us know with what you decide because this one is close to us all i would think.
          Its not paranoia if everyone is actually watching you
          MY Flickr
          Scotty's Place

          Comment


          • #6
            You can't compete with everyone Scotty - lowering prices based on whether you are well known or not is not exactly good advice - you are not going to get every job, decide what market you want to be in and aim for that. More importantly do the cost analysis first to see what you can afford to charge (if you want to make a business out of it).
            Cheers
            Darren
            website

            Comment


            • #7
              be aware of your competition but don't get caught up on what they are doing or how "busy" they might be. Get out there and market yourself, put your energy and faith into that.
              Cheers
              Darren
              website

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Manda, I know exactly what you are going through. I spent a couple of years building up my name where I used to live, due to unforeseen circumstances we had to move - all my advertising paid off after I moved and I was starting to be contacted regularly for work (although for a 2-3 hour round trip in good traffic the jobs weren't really worth the time and cost to me).

                I have now moved to an area that is very saturated with photographers and have to start again. I also get frustrated that the quality of a lot of the photographers is not that great (in my opinion) and what they are charging is something I cannot compete with. My option now is to rethink my business plan and come up with something unique to the other photographers (my USP - Unique Sales/Selling Position). I refuse to price lower (I am probably mid range) because there is no way I could afford to live if I charged lower - with advertising / insurance and all other business costs.

                Just think though say the other photographer is charging $100 as you said - she does 5 sessions a week (so a session a day) - she has charged out $500 - then she has to take out the cost of the disks, the cost of printing photos, petrol & car expenses if she is travelling to these locations, insurance, business registration, website, advertising etc so say $200 of additional costs (not sure how many photos she prints out etc) - she is then left with $300 per week - say she does 4 hours per job (includes travel, session, editing, picking up prints) - that's 20 hours per week / $300 which means she is working for $15 per hour, so although she appears busy she is not making a lot of profit - I don't think it's worth it do you?

                I think, stick to what you are doing, it will take a while but your hard work will pay off eventually - I don't however recommend moving just after that hard work starts to pay off though

                Linda

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hehe A good book based on this if you like to read stuff like this is Visionmongers by David De chumin. I thoroughly enjoyed it and its the first book ive read in years.
                  And really good advice coming from alot of people here.
                  Keep it up!.
                  Its not paranoia if everyone is actually watching you
                  MY Flickr
                  Scotty's Place

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    +1 for visionmongers - awesome read
                    Cheers
                    Darren
                    website

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks everybody, you guys are truly awesome It was my own fault. I logged into facebook and got caught up with the whole thing. I hadn't been thinking about it before I logged back in. I have tried doing a cost analysis..haha but it's too scary. I don't think I'll ever get work. lmao. I will do it again though.

                      I need to be strict in my pricing. I am well known in my town. Which works against me and for me some ways. I can't do the whole cheaper for friends thing, because I know everybody. lol I think I'm getting my name out there. I do free photos for my mothers group and then will sell the disks to the Mums for a reduced price. I also do events, I just need to get more organised in my handling of business cards etc. I seem to have a few enquiries, but when I send them my prices they don't book me. I've just sent in some of my photos from my sons soccer carnival to the paper hoping they will get used.

                      TBH about the quality of this ladies work. She has some 'ok' shots. I just don't see how she can do a session this morning, go home and edit over 80 images in one day? Linda the way you put it made so much sense. I would rather do less sessions, and same or more money. I have to believe in my quality..I have to believe that I am worth this.

                      I value photography. I value it so much my husband and I paid over $5 000 for two mounted foam core images (big ones) plus another $700 for frames. Five 8x10 printed photos. We aren't rich, we are very much working class. Would I pay that now? No way, because I feel I could do it myself. lol I have no idea what I'm trying to say. But I appreciate your words. I'm going to put my energy into learning my craft. Building my business and not worrying about others businesses. I would rather work slowly and steadily and get a nice stable base of clients.

                      Oh by the way..I have no idea if the image I'm about to talk about is from this one photographer. I just had a client. WOM. She just had a bad experience from a tog up here. They provided her with all her images on a disk edited. She ended up with over 160 photos, but only 6 images that she could use. My client emailed me a photo from the session that she was given on her disk. It was her newborn baby, not my style blanket etc...black background...in the corner crouching was the body of the 'assistant photographer' . I mean there was no head, just arms, legs, body crouching in a not so nice position. This was given to the client as a photo to print???? This is what annoys me..how does she get away with this? She's made her quick money...provided crap..but is getting all the work? But I won't dwell on it. The client that had this bad experience loves the images that I did for her..and bought the 15 extra. Thats what makes me happy is my clients happy.

                      I'm about to google that book. I wonder if my library has it? I will find it and read it though. Thanks

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Oh and please don't think I'm a photographer who whinges and complains about wannabe photographers. Because I'm not. I'm a wannabe. But I feel the differance between me and this photographer is when her client wasn't happy she didn't care. She wouldn't reshoot. She wouldn't refund. I promised my client quality. I told her I wasn't happy unless she is happy. Her baby had colic, so I didn't do any proppy shots with him. So I concentrated on just beautiful portraits. She missed the newborn shots with him because she trusted the other photographer. Which made me feel sad for her. But yeh I'm not a bitch...or jealous. I appreciate good photographers. I didn't want anybody getting the wrong impression of me.

                        Angel I think you are selling yourself short. Your images are fantastic. I don't think you should be providing them with so many....unless they pay for the extra's. Just my opinion though.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i hope you don't think i am one of those people who whine about wannabe photographers... cos i am.. haha nar just kidding. i appreciate photographers who are honest, and doing their own thing and happy to help others and talk to you like a normal person. But those who bitch, and steal others ideas and if the wind blew their tickets would fly away..i have no time for. i think because i have had allot of trouble when i first started with someone like this (long story)
                          thank you for your lovely comments, yeah i probably shouldn't... but will be having a price change soon, just have to work out all my details.


                          great advice from Darren on not getting caught up in others stuff (i know its hard though) cant believe they would leave an assistant in the photo.. WTF..?? lol
                          or ....?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I often visit this site for a bit of a laugh. It can be a bit harsh but the people featured are posting this stuff as their portfolio work and probably taking peoples money to produce work like this.

                            To everyone that does photography as a living - I wish you guys all the best, it is a hard market to try and sell yourself in and i don't think it will get any easier over time. You need to stand out from the crowd and that isn't easy to do.
                            Adrian

                            Gear List

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You sound like you've got the right idea there Manda. I'm no expert but I've found that those who value their work correctly and can come up with the goods will win out eventually. This seems to be the case with almost any business. I work in transport and the last 3 employers were all top end chargers. There's always guys who come in and undercut but eventually they just run themselves into the ground and fizzle away while the ones I've worked for just go from strength to strength. I think you're work will eventually win out. Its just a matter of hanging in there.

                              Cheers Mick.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Hey everyone. I'm new to the forum and haven't been up to date in the last few months with posts. But I've just been reading this particular post as it's somewhat relevant. Firstly I like the honest feedback and advice given. I also feel and understand where everyone is coming from and really couldn't agree more with everyone's comments.

                                I've mostly been doing to events myself as a freelancer, promoting and selling and growing and getting my name out there as much as I can. Until now I've done it all under my control and direction and risk, meaning I take photos, get my name out there through the events, go home edit and post to y webpage and social media outlets to the relevant events i just completed. Selling and pricing have been easy as it's cost per photo and/or event disc per customer.

                                However I'm now in a possible position where an event club organizer wishing to hire my services for event photos and I am having some trouble figuring out what the going rate would be for similar events. I don't want to outprice myself so high that they'll say WTF are you kidding me? nor the opposite where I've quoted much less than what I should have at least started asking for.

                                The event(s) are 4 days per week, roughly 3-4 hours per event. Final outtake is 20-30 photos per event to both personal use (customers) and editorial/promotional use (national media newspapers and magazines).

                                1. The club organizer has stated the media outlets don't pay for photos (to them or the photographer) as they get these for free (I've been consistently told this but i think it's hog wash to hear media outlets get it all for free).....thoughts?

                                2. What would an appropriate ballpark figure for service fees per event that I can start basing my quotes off? $10 per event vs. $100,000 event? Obviously I'm kidding but really I don't have a starting point. Any number suggestions?

                                Thanks in advance....ps. sorry for the lengthy email.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  G'day mkfotos

                                  If in doubt about something like this - take as your guide the rates from the local washing machine repairs fella

                                  $$ so much to attend the job
                                  $$ so much per hour at the job
                                  $$ so much per hour off the job with post processing
                                  $$ cost of media or printing

                                  and put it all together as your quote

                                  In doing this as a starter you'll realise that your costs are not excessive and whatever it is will keep you going - as it does for the washing machine fella

                                  The b-i-g trouble these days is that too many people want phone-snaps from dSLRs and reckon that 'any fool can do it, you should be able to do it for free - and if you won't do it for free, they'll get someone else'. When I meet this logic I turn to walk away and then ask them about their doctor or dentist or chemist ... can 'they' get those professional services from anyone in the street ... as your services are just as professional as those mentioned

                                  I have a friend in north Qld who is constantly asked to cover various local events - and often is offered "exclusive" photo rights to an event, so long as they provide the organiser with a CD of 200 images, camera-quality, fully pp'd ... and all for free. The organiser then wants to put up onto their web site that they have these images for sale - to fund the organiser's activities

                                  My mate says "ha ha ha" or some such and walks away from the "offer"

                                  Phil
                                  __________________
                                  > Offers Digital Photography workshops in outback eastern Australia
                                  > recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18

                                    Originally posted by Ozzie_Traveller View Post
                                    G'day mkfotos

                                    If in doubt about something like this - take as your guide the rates from the local washing machine repairs fella

                                    $$ so much to attend the job
                                    $$ so much per hour at the job
                                    $$ so much per hour off the job with post processing
                                    $$ cost of media or printing

                                    and put it all together as your quote

                                    In doing this as a starter you'll realise that your costs are not excessive and whatever it is will keep you going - as it does for the washing machine fella

                                    The b-i-g trouble these days is that too many people want phone-snaps from dSLRs and reckon that 'any fool can do it, you should be able to do it for free - and if you won't do it for free, they'll get someone else'. When I meet this logic I turn to walk away and then ask them about their doctor or dentist or chemist ... can 'they' get those professional services from anyone in the street ... as your services are just as professional as those mentioned

                                    I have a friend in north Qld who is constantly asked to cover various local events - and often is offered "exclusive" photo rights to an event, so long as they provide the organiser with a CD of 200 images, camera-quality, fully pp'd ... and all for free. The organiser then wants to put up onto their web site that they have these images for sale - to fund the organiser's activities

                                    My mate says "ha ha ha" or some such and walks away from the "offer"

                                    Phil
                                    yep happens to us all, what I do in the case of an event wanting a CD etc is charge them a flat rate, take laptop there burn CD\DVD straight from camera, no PP or cropping exchange monies
                                    cheers
                                    Rod
                                    Wacko-Ocker Photography

                                    I shoot with a camera until I get paid to say other wise

                                    www.wacko-ocker.smugmug.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      What an interesting read this has been. I am so glad that I have not got any intentions into head down the path of what this is about.
                                      But I say thank you for a good wake up call and a very good insight into this form of income.
                                      I wish all those who have a running photography business all the best.
                                      And say that I am glad its not me.

                                      Comment

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