How much do you charge for product photography?

juledurjuledur Major grinsPosts: 287Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Major grins
edited October 7, 2014 in Mind Your Own Business
I do product photography on a relatively small scale - generally table-top shots for people's web sites. I've been charging an hourly rate, but am wondering if it would make more sense to charge per image.

My current rate is a $50 setup fee, plus $25/hour for both shooting and editing time. I worry about charging too little, but I don't want to alienate potential clients, either.

Comments

  • angevin1angevin1 Performs as designed Posts: 3,403Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 8, 2010
    juledur wrote: »
    I do product photography on a relatively small scale - generally table-top shots for people's web sites. I've been charging an hourly rate, but am wondering if it would make more sense to charge per image.

    My current rate is a $50 setup fee, plus $25/hour for both shooting and editing time. I worry about charging too little, but I don't want to alienate potential clients, either.


    You didn't mention licensing fees?

    Seriously. I can see how you might worry that you're giving it away and yet there's that other side: Uh-Oh! Lost another client!

    An hourly rate seems appropriate if they have so much stuff that needs photographing and of course editing those photos too. If you're comfortable, happy and making a profit, what is the down side?

    The only little fly I wonder about is licensing...and whether you charge for it or not, it ought to be in writing that you are licensing those photos to such and so, for a given length of time, and only to be used for their/that purpose by them.
    tom wise
  • chrisjohnsonchrisjohnson Major grins NetherlandsPosts: 769Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 8, 2010
    juledur wrote: »
    I do product photography on a relatively small scale - generally table-top shots for people's web sites. I've been charging an hourly rate, but am wondering if it would make more sense to charge per image.

    My current rate is a $50 setup fee, plus $25/hour for both shooting and editing time. I worry about charging too little, but I don't want to alienate potential clients, either.

    This is very cheap. I buy product photos on occasion and expect to pay $2000 at least. When it is for a consumer campaign - car, tv or similar then the bill will be in the tens of thousands. Whatever the product, taking the photo is a speciality. Not every pro can do it. Think what is involved:
    - the client briefing. What is the message? Where will the images be used (web, ppt, show stand artwork, print, press, etc). Usually several versions are needed
    - agree the brief. In writing plus contract.
    - the shoot. Background, lighting, even making sure the products are on-hand. Often they are prototypes so may need makeup. Models? It is always technically challenging.
    - post
    - getting the client acceptance and maybe making changes
    - delivering the final work in various formats

    Everybody I have worked with charges by the job. As a buyer, I don't care how much time you take to deliver a good result, I just know what my budget is.

    Your rates are so low that I would not spend my time to discuss with you because likely you do not know what is expected. So you would be alienating me because you are so cheap. When you are good at product photography - a special skill - you need to move upmarket. There is plenty of opportunity. You are in Austin? Go talk with a product manager at Dell. They are very approachable and will tell you in no-time flat what you need to be doing.
  • juledurjuledur Major grins Posts: 287Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Major grins
    edited September 9, 2010
    Solid advice from both.

    My first client, a shoe store, initially hired me as a part-time employee, which is why it started as an hourly rate. This year, I decided it would be better for me to be a contractor, and raised the hourly a bit, but not as much as I might have since we had two-year history already.

    Second client was acquired this Spring, and I just continued with hourly, but at a slightly higher rate. With this client, I do have a specific contract with them that indicates all expectations and permissions. Most of those products are decorative candles and party favors.

    I like the idea of charging by the job, but so far, my projects have been ongoing for months, with no clear indication of how many products there will ultimately be. That makes it a little hard for me to estimate, hence my question.

    I'm interested in more feedback, too, if anyone else has suggestions.
  • ColoradoSkierColoradoSkier Major grins Posts: 267Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 9, 2010
    I do a flat $75/ hour.
    Chester Bullock
    Lakewood, Colorado, USA
    My Pictures | My blog
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  • chrisjohnsonchrisjohnson Major grins NetherlandsPosts: 769Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 12, 2010
    juledur wrote: »
    Solid advice from both.

    My first client, a shoe store, initially hired me as a part-time employee, which is why it started as an hourly rate. This year, I decided it would be better for me to be a contractor, and raised the hourly a bit, but not as much as I might have since we had two-year history already.

    Second client was acquired this Spring, and I just continued with hourly, but at a slightly higher rate. With this client, I do have a specific contract with them that indicates all expectations and permissions. Most of those products are decorative candles and party favors.

    I like the idea of charging by the job, but so far, my projects have been ongoing for months, with no clear indication of how many products there will ultimately be. That makes it a little hard for me to estimate, hence my question.

    I'm interested in more feedback, too, if anyone else has suggestions.

    Having ongoing customers is great business. Raising prices with existing customers is always difficult until you have other customers paying at lot more, also ongoing. Until then, do not rock the boat. I would target a new customer with a new (and significantly more expensive) value proposition. Now you have a portfolio so you can get selling! Good luck and let me know how it goes.
  • msfmsf Major grins Posts: 229Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 16, 2010
    This is something Id like to get into, but I dont really have a clue about this side of photography. A local photographer that I was talking to has been getting $500 for a single item shot, I didnt even think that was possible in this area.
  • msfmsf Major grins Posts: 229Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 16, 2010
    Anyone got any advice on what sort of stores that each small town usually has that would be good for product photography? :)
  • beauc1ksbeauc1ks Beau Posts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited October 7, 2010
    I charge between $40 and $50 per shot for average products but if the product has reflective qualities like lets say a watch then I charge between $80 and $90 per shot. These prices are all relative to the client as well. If it is a big company then I tend to bump my prices up but if it is a new start up company then I try to give them a better price.
  • dubaifordubaifor Big grins Posts: 12Registered Users Big grins
    edited November 2, 2010
    I would say charge for your time whatever you think makes it worth it for you but don´t sell yourself too cheap just to get into the business. It´s not good neither for you nor the others. Then charge per image selected so your client don´t try to get as many shots as possible in the allocated time at the expense of quality. This way you can concentrate on lesser ammount of final shots and you can put more time to thinking rather than clicking away mindlessly. It would also help not having to edit 500 shots of which 480 won´t be used, your client pays for what they actually need and you don´t have to work on unnecessary images.
  • wildviperwildviper Major grins Posts: 559Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 8, 2010
    I typically quote based on a $100 per hour rate with a minimum of 2 hours plus travel and other expenses borne by the client. Caveat: If I feel that my quote is sky rocketing for the job is, I would adjust accordingly then.

    One of the things that I have started doing is asking lots of questions via email about what the job is and what expecations are. They will never get around to writing you an email back..but, they will start to have an idea on how complex a shoot could be. When dealing with smaller companies, they have no idea how much it should cost. They all think it is pretty much...Buy a camera at Best Buy..shoot and Voila!

    I am like you..have started doing this recently, but I have stood confidently behind my quotes and they get accepted. Some don't...but then I see that as more time for me to practice!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    WildViper
    From Nikon D70s > Nikon D300s & D700
    Nikon 50/1.8, Tamron 28-75/2.8 1st gen, Nikkor 12-24/4, Nikkor 70-200/2.8 ED VR, SB600, SB900, SB-26 and Gitzo 2 Series Carbon Fiber with Kirk Ballhead
  • rebphotographicrebphotographic Beginner grinner Posts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited October 3, 2014
    This is very cheap. I buy product photos on occasion and expect to pay $2000 at least. When it is for a consumer campaign - car, tv or similar then the bill will be in the tens of thousands. Whatever the product, taking the photo is a speciality. Not every pro can do it.

    Your rates are so low that I would not spend my time to discuss with you because likely you do not know what is expected. So you would be alienating me because you are so cheap. When you are good at product photography - a special skill - you need to move upmarket. There is plenty of opportunity. You are in Austin? Go talk with a product manager at Dell. They are very approachable and will tell you in no-time flat what you need to be doing.
    ...

    I am a product photographer that has worked in a high end photographic studio doing fashion and product photography. Price is generally relative. Product photography is an art form - there are many components and each one has to be technically proficient - styling, lighting, shooting, retouching.

    I have gone freelance recently and am reconsidering my fees. I would be interested to know, if you would be kind enough to give me an opinion on what you might expect to pay, considering my experience. (7 years studying fine art with photography at a highly renowned art institution in the UK, just over 4 years professional commercial experience having shot for some high-end well known brands and been published in magazines, and now work as an ambassador for The Prince's Trust giving talks on photography and creativity UK wide. I don't want to sell myself short either, but compared to my employed salary, I think I should charge more as freelance. www.ruthellenbrown.co.uk
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 3, 2014
    ...

    I am a product photographer that has worked in a high end photographic studio doing fashion and product photography. Price is generally relative. Product photography is an art form - there are many components and each one has to be technically proficient - styling, lighting, shooting, retouching.

    I have gone freelance recently and am reconsidering my fees. I would be interested to know, if you would be kind enough to give me an opinion on what you might expect to pay, considering my experience. (7 years studying fine art with photography at a highly renowned art institution in the UK, just over 4 years professional commercial experience having shot for some high-end well known brands and been published in magazines, and now work as an ambassador for The Prince's Trust giving talks on photography and creativity UK wide. I don't want to sell myself short either, but compared to my employed salary, I think I should charge more as freelance. www.ruthellenbrown.co.uk

    Hi and welcome to Digital Grin.

    I viewed your website and yes you are talented and competent. Your photography is solid.

    Now as to what to charge based on your education and experience.................Disclaimer, this could be my opinion only or an American view not held in Europe.

    While your education and experience is nice and will absolutely open doors it doesn't set any real criteria for pricing. The quality of your work does that. Getting hired, and setting the price is based on your photography, and your presentation as well as local business / economic conditions.

    Yes you should be charging more that what your salary was as an employee.

    Now as to your about me. First you are a nice looking intelligent articulate young lady, but I would highly recommend you redo your video and stop your gaze and eyes from wandering all over the place. This is really distracting and I know you can do way better than that!

    Research what others are charging. What were the rates of your former employer? That will give you an idea of the market price range, and from there you need to be as objective and honest as you can and set your prices. My guess is your pricing should be in the top 10% or 15%.

    Sorry I can't help with specific prices.

    Good luck and keep us posted. :D

    Sam
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 3, 2014
    juledur wrote: »
    I do product photography on a relatively small scale - generally table-top shots for people's web sites. I've been charging an hourly rate, but am wondering if it would make more sense to charge per image.

    My current rate is a $50 setup fee, plus $25/hour for both shooting and editing time. I worry about charging too little, but I don't want to alienate potential clients, either.

    Your website quotes a per piece price schedule?

    I prefer and think clients prefer to see some sort of set price. They know what their budget is but have no way of knowing what the cost will be with an hourly rate. Are you fast and efficient, or a slow poke. Do you really care how long it takes to make your pizza or do you just want to know what the cost will be.

    I like your product shots, clean bright and some nice subtle staging. Your due for a camera upgrade. :D

    Keep us posted!!!

    Sam
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 5, 2014
    Sam wrote: »
    Your website quotes a per piece price schedule?
    Your due for a camera upgrade. :D

    Keep us posted!!!

    Sam

    No Doubt some things like the pricing and the OP's camera have been updated.

    Yeah, keep as posted as after 4 years since the original post some people may be interested in an update. rolleyes1.gif
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 6, 2014
    Glort wrote: »
    No Doubt some things like the pricing and the OP's camera have been updated.

    Yeah, keep as posted as after 4 years since the original post some people may be interested in an update. rolleyes1.gif

    This comment was for rebphotographic who posted on 10/03/14.

    As to the OP...........my bad.

    Sam
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 7, 2014
    Sam wrote: »
    This comment was for rebphotographic who posted on 10/03/14.

    As to the OP...........my bad.

    Sam

    That's not who the comment I quoted in post #14 was directed to at all but whatever. rolleyes1.gif
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