WORK IN THE BUSINESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY
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Photography is used everywhere in today's digital age.
Every web site, blog, book or publication needs photographs. Photos are used in marketing materials; they are sold as art to hang on the walls of our homes, and used to record every aspect of our lives, from holidays and weddings to passports and drivers licences.
Most people take their own photos all the time; but when it comes to important photos; they will more than often employ someone to take them Whatever the situation; everyone needs to buy equipment.
Business opportunities exist in:
- Taking photos for people
- Processing Photos for People
- Supplying equipment and materials associated with photography.
Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Starting a Photography Business is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
What Should a Photographer Charge?
You should calculate what you plan to charge carefully; being sure to cover the cost of your time, all materials, and allow for contingencies (e.g. something going wrong, such as illness which may require you to sub-contract part of a job to get it finished on time).
There is no point in doing work if you are not going to make a profit
It is always better to start with smaller jobs, taking less risk; and then graduate to larger jobs as you become more capable of determining the price to charge. There are three different ways that you might determine what to charge a client:
Develop a General Fee Scale
A fee schedule should be upgraded regularly to ensure cost increases and inflationary changes are absorbed.
This type of system will work well for weddings, where a certain price is charged per photo of a certain size, or perhaps with a minimum total charge for photographing a wedding.
Base Fees on Costs
This method is unlikely to fail provided component costs are determined realistically. The first step must always be to analyse the work, and list all components which can contribute towards supplying a particular type of service.
List the following costs then add them up
- Equipment costs (eg. depreciation, wear and tear or hire)
- Materials (eg. film, processing materials etc)
- Power costs (electricity may be significant if using a lot of lighting in a studio)
- Allowances for sick pay, holiday pay, superannuation etc.
- Hire of other facilities (eg. studio, office, etc.)
- Administration costs (eg. phone, letterhead, secretary, etc.)
- Marketing costs (eg. advertising, printing brochures etc.)
- Profit (perhaps at least 10% of everything else)
What Does Your Competition Charge?
If competition is particularly strong - it may be necessary to determine a cost that will compete with other photographers, and then develop a budget which works within that level of charging.
You may need to make compromises and spend less on something to be competitive.
If this cannot be achieved, it might not be viable to do a job.
Remember though; competing for work on the basis of price might not always be the best way forward.
- Some clients will always choose to hire the cheapest photographer; BUT
- Other Clients will always choose the best photographer they can find; and won't care if it costs more.
Time Management for a Photographer
Time management and efficient work scheduling is important to the effectiveness of any business. As a small business operator a photographer needs to work out a system to ensure that:
- Appointments are kept – it is easy to overlook appointments, or follow up discussions with your clients if you do not record them. It is always better to arrive early. Anxious clients may not photograph very well.
- Your time isn’t inadvertently double booked – more then one wedding on a single day for example.
- New work does not interfere with the completion of the previous job; it will a couple of weeks to produce proofs for your clients (in that time you may have shot another wedding) make sure that you do not confuse your priorities!
- Finish the first clients’ proofs before you start on the new clients’ proofs. You will have enough time to work on the 2nd wedding whilst your first clients are reviewing their proofs. Whilst the 2nd clients are reviewing their proofs, you could be working on the first clients’ finished presentation. It takes organisation!
Written work schedules can help to avoid these problems.