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What Should I Charge?

After reading  another blogger’s story about making a contract with a buyer, I thought , how does one like myself, a relative beginner, determine what to charge for my work? I had a woman buy a photo after endless bargaining for the right size and price. I was hesitant from the start. Originally she just wanted me to “give” her a copy, I was the one to suggest a price after asking a couple of friends what to do and they advised not to give something for nothing.  I gave her  an 8 x 11 image with my signature on it for $40, unframed. After a couple of weeks she contacted me and wanted a larger format in order to see the details that she wanted, promising to return the original image. I sent her the image via e-mail full size, unsigned,after haggling back and forth for a month or two.I have never heard from her again.

Personally I would rather have an image already done  for people to buy. When I painted, I never did commissioned work because it is never going to turn out the way they expect.  To me , it is not worth the hassle. Either like what I have done, or forget it.

Because I am a relative beginner, I checked what some pros charge for one image,then dropped it by 40 % but checking prices on websites reminded me to charge for shooting and travel time, not to mention editing. Also, behind  one good photo may be a dozen rejects, a lot of time and practice, not to mention equipment. I would love feedback from my readers who are photographers about what  and how they determined  a price for their work. Thank you.

The first copy that I sent to her is below.The title will clue you in to what created her desire to have it in the first place. When a group of us were looking at slides, projected onto a large wall, I spotted images in the icicle. Burnt toast, anyone?


The Holy Family

3 responses

  1. Charging is always a dilemma unless you have an established business and a decent reputation in the market place. People pay more from professionals that have a long standing series of sales or commissions. I had one client tell me that I did not charge enough and he would have felt better about me as his architect had I charged twice the amount (hourly rate, which was actually high for our area – working at a firm previously I had a good handle on fees). It did not matter that he (owned a fortune 500 company out of state) loved my work and hired me again for a second home, he just wanted to tell his friends that he paid me a fortune, meaning I was the best in my field. I told him he was welcome to pay me twice as much. So you see a lot is perception and not necessarily talent or product. Especially in the field of photography. There are a number of well known photographers that command big bucks and I don’t see it in their work.

    January 8, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    • Yes, I would let him pay me more, too.hope he brought more business for you. Speaking for myself, I would want to charge more for what I know is a real gem.If I had this to do over, I felt so “iffy” about it, I would just say no .I would rather not be known for mediocre work.Thank you for your comments, much appreciated.

      January 8, 2014 at 7:23 pm

  2. Butch Villeneuve

    Well my friend I don’t know much about that stuff, but I do know its gotta be worth something. I know some reprints sell for a good dollar on the market. All I can say is to make sure up charge for all your expenses. Watch out for the tax man lol they’ll get you to. Take care

    Butch VilleneuveButch’s Consulting Ltd(780) 405-6909

    Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2014 01:39:10 +0000 To: butch_vill@hotmail.com

    January 9, 2014 at 6:00 pm

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