Potential Client Request

Malial6Malial6 Los AngelesPosts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
Hi Everybody,
I'm a photographer with some experience in portraits, weddings and travel photography. I wouldn't consider myself an amateur, but not a Pro either, somewhere in between. I have charged for my work, but I always find it hard to price it. I have a potential client who reached out to me for a product photography job, specifically shooting hotel amenities, like small shampoo bottles and such. Which I'm really interested in getting into. I told him I didn't have much experience with product but that I would send him a portfolio with some of my work. I made a soft box at home and gathered my lighting equipment and shot some items I had at home that related to the product that he needs. I made a quick portfolio with those images and the work that I regularly do and sent it to him. He really liked what he saw and asked for pricing, so I came up with a pricing list, charging for a set up fee and then per image, depending on how many he wants. He then asked me if I could do sample shots using their product, asking if I could come to their office, or if it would be better to send the product to me. I am wondering if I should charge him for the sample shots too? I had thought about charging the set-up fee only, or if that seems a little too much for a sample shoot. Also does product photography usually work only with them sending you the product to your studio or does the photographer also travel to their offices to shoot?

Any advice will help! Thank you!

Comments

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,294Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 7, 2017

    Forget about set up fees. That is just a pain in the butt and you'll end up making far more money charging by the piece or by the hour. Catalog style shots are quick. If your shooting ad shots (also known as Hero shots) you'll charge by the hour or campaign. Large clients expect campaign fees. Small and medium usually want to save some dollars and you'll end up making more by charging by the hour.

    Of course all of this depends on if you are properly charging for your time.

    When starting out, you'll almost always end up doing some "test" shots for a potential client. Usually this will end up being only a couple of pieces, so an hour fee should be more than enough. If they want you to go to them, travel time (at your hourly rate) should be included into that fee.

    As far as getting items shipped or going to the client, it works both ways. Larger clients will almost always have you at or near their location as there ends up being a ton of people at the shoot. The exception to that is if the work is standard catalog shots. Clients aren't going to waste the time to come out for catalog shots, so they will end up shipping everything to you.

    Since you are new to this, there is a HUGE difference between working for an individual and a business. You lose a clients merchandise, break it, mess up the shots, fail to deliver on time, etc. and you're going to wish that you had never heard about a camera.

    If you're seriously looking into doing some commercial work, I would highly recommend that you do a ton of homework, make sure that you have your stuff together, get all the necessary gear, insurance especially indemnification insurance, and have a lawyer on retainer. Not just to protect you should you mess up or a client messes up, but to do 100% of all your contracts. Never, ever write your own or grab one off the internet. Contacts are legally binding and should only be written or checked over by your lawyer.

    Don't get me wrong, commercial product work is in my opinion the absolute best of all the photography business, but it is not for the weak and it is not for the ill prepared.

    Steve

    Website
  • Malial6Malial6 Los AngelesPosts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
    > @"Cygnus Studios" said:
    > Forget about set up fees. That is just a pain in the butt and you'll end up making far more money charging by the piece or by the hour. Catalog style shots are quick. If your shooting ad shots (also known as Hero shots) you'll charge by the hour or campaign. Large clients expect campaign fees. Small and medium usually want to save some dollars and you'll end up making more by charging by the hour.
    >
    > Of course all of this depends on if you are properly charging for your time.
    >
    > When starting out, you'll almost always end up doing some "test" shots for a potential client. Usually this will end up being only a couple of pieces, so an hour fee should be more than enough. If they want you to go to them, travel time (at your hourly rate) should be included into that fee.
    >
    > As far as getting items shipped or going to the client, it works both ways. Larger clients will almost always have you at or near their location as there ends up being a ton of people at the shoot. The exception to that is if the work is standard catalog shots. Clients aren't going to waste the time to come out for catalog shots, so they will end up shipping everything to you.
    >
    > Since you are new to this, there is a HUGE difference between working for an individual and a business. You lose a clients merchandise, break it, mess up the shots, fail to deliver on time, etc. and you're going to wish that you had never heard about a camera.
    >
    > If you're seriously looking into doing some commercial work, I would highly recommend that you do a ton of homework, make sure that you have your stuff together, get all the necessary gear, insurance especially indemnification insurance, and have a lawyer on retainer. Not just to protect you should you mess up or a client messes up, but to do 100% of all your contracts. Never, ever write your own or grab one off the internet. Contacts are legally binding and should only be written or checked over by your lawyer.
    >
    > Don't get me wrong, commercial product work is in my opinion the absolute best of all the photography business, but it is not for the weak and it is not for the ill prepared.

    Great! Thank you so much, I appreciate it! I think this gives me a general feel of what I should be working on.
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,294Registered Users Major grins

    One more quick thing.

    If doing catalog shots (item on one color background) use a minimum fee. This will make sure that you have a profit for small runs (anything under 100 items). Just keep in mind that most clients will expect that you'll be able to do quite a bit in an hour. This is where your hourly rate can make a huge difference if you're charging properly.

    Charging by the piece sounds good, but 99.9% of the time an hourly rate will serve you better.

    Steve

    Website
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