Whenever I take on a shoot I carry out a costing exercise to discuss with the customer. I charge myself out at an hourly rate (based on what other photographers are charging in my area- this is easy information to obtain) and charge for the number and size of prints. I also re-charge expenses including travel, accessory hire and consumables. In addition to this, I also charge for time spent in front of the computer editing and I do this based on the number of prints the client wants.
I am not a great fan of haggling, it is something I don’t really like doing, however I have found it essential to be willing to negotiate when costing shoots. In the early days my price was my price, and I lost a few shoots because I refused to budge or compromise. I quickly learned that if I was willing to bend on a few things, keep records to show the actual time I spent, the actual expenses I incurred etc. and willing to discount prices or do add more prints at slightly cheaper prices I not only got more shoots but also made more money selling additional prints and the like. It’s strange but I find that if I am willing to charge a little less for additional prints the customers won’t mention my hourly rate (which is where I make most money of course).
Pricing up the cost of prints, photo books, cards etc. is easy, it is deciding the hourly rate where things get tricky and I have differently hourly rates depending on the shoot. For example, I have one rate for family portrait photography, another rate for pet photography and another rate for wedding photography. The rates I charge are based what other photographers in my local area are charging, and I keep an eye on what the competition are charging to make sure I am not charging too much (and likely to lose out on future shoot) or too little (and make less profit than I should be).
Photography rates vary from country to country, region to region and even city to city so when setting your hourly rate you will need to do some homework and research about your local area.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.