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Looking for professional advice on shoot
Old 09-22-2005, 06:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi everyone,

I've been offered an opportunity to shoot black and white portraits of about 30 dance teachers from a local Dance studio. They will want both electronic versions for thier web site as well as 8x11 prints possibly more.

We scheduled it over two Sundays.I figured it would take two full 8 plus hour days and also make it more convenient for everyone. This should allow me 20 - 30 minutes with each person. The studio has a MUA to do the make up so I'm not responsible for that.

This will actually be my first "paid" shoot. I've been doing a lot of shooting for friends and as a result was recommened by one of the dance teachers. I was planning on shooting with a white paper background.

My question is what do I charge them. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Luis



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Re: Looking for professional advice on shoot
Old 09-22-2005, 07:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Luis,

Charge what the market will bear, in my area the price range for corportate headshots are from $75-$100, prints are extra, here the price rage for one print is between $25 & $35 and you could modify for a bulk rate.



I am dealing with bankers not dancers.

Hope this helps.
Ron
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Re: Looking for professional advice on shoot
Old 09-22-2005, 07:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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In 1976, when I was a graduate student, my adviser once remarked that he was being paid $500 to spend a day consulting for a company. Since $500/day (in 1976) seemed like a sweet deal to a $365/month graduate student, I asked how he set the price. He said, "Figure out how much a day you think you'd want to be paid to do a difficult task, then ask twice that."

The relevant point here is the "paid to to a difficult task" part. Yes, you're flattered, proud, etc., to be paid to do something you love for someone else. But time you're working for them is time you aren't working for yourself, for your career, or for your personal craft. As an amateur it is not my opinion that you should charge competitively with the local pros. Cartainly you want to cover the costs of expendibles and such expenses. But further you shouldn't give your skill away too lightly without realizing what you're doing.

More pragmatically, I just wrote a check last night for my son's "school photos." $26 for, as I recall, the "special" backdrop (mottled blue instead of mottled gray), 2 8x10's, 2 5x7's, and a (small) number of smaller sizes. Of course, that's the ultimate assembly-line photography.

Good luck, and have fun with the shoot.
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Re: Looking for professional advice on shoot
Old 09-22-2005, 07:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Here are some truisms I have found I need to keep in mind. Some have been learned the hard way, others have been learned by actually making myself listen to great advice here [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

<ul type="square">[*]With 30 people crammed into 20-30 minute groups, you need to plan spill over time. It will take longer than you expect. People will be late. The MUA will take longer than expected. Etc.[/list]<ul type="square">[*]Also, there will be some of that 30 who cannot make it to their assigned time due to illness or other issues. If you have to get all 30, plan for a way for make-ups.[/list]<ul type="square">[*]Don't get so busy that you forget fundamentals like making darn sure your lighting and exposure settings are correct for where you have the latest subject. Even a small change in seating location can spell disaster. It's really embarrasing to have to reshoot. Don't ask how I know [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img][/list]<ul type="square">[*]Don't forget to take care of yourself. If you are planning on long days, have healthy snacks and fluids available for yourself and use them. You'll need to maintain yourself if you want to be as chipper with the last person as you were with the first person.[/list]
Ok, that's my $0.02 worth.

Greg

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Re: Looking for professional advice on shoot
Old 09-22-2005, 08:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Congratulations, Luis!

I agree with everything the others said. To take a different take on one of Greg's points, if you've planned 20-30 minutes with each subject, plan on getting 10-15 minutes. Time has a way of getting lost when you shoot a long line of people. On the other hand, if the lighting is consistent, 10 minutes hsould do it for ordinary headshots.

Make up a professional looking log, and know who's face is on each exposure. Write that info on the release, too. I just did a before/after shoot at a hair salon, with about 20 customers, and keeping track of everyone was a trick.

Here in Frederick, I charge $20 for an 8x10, $10 for duplicates ordered at the same time. The "sitting fee" varies, but I'm generally trying to make it worth $100 for each hour I'm there. I charge more if I have a lot of travel or a lot of gear to carry, less if it's for a big block of time and it looks like I'll sell a lot of prints.

Strong agreement with Greg about taking care of yourself. It's tiring to be Mr. Happy photographer for 8 hours, and a little break and plenty of fluids helps to keep me going. I usually have a lot of sore muscles after a shoot, too...I guess I need to start doing warmups?

Good luck, have fun! It's not the same as shooting fish, is it?

Bill
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Re: Looking for professional advice on shoot
Old 09-22-2005, 10:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You didn't mention what assistance you will have. Besides any photographic assistance I would budget for an administrative assistant. You are going to be very busy doing the shooting and making sure you capture the best images you can. Have someone that can manage and keep the work moving smoothly. It will make your photography a lot better because you can concentrate on it. A project of this size is going to have a lot of administration.

Tom
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Re: Looking for professional advice on shoot
Old 10-01-2005, 08:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ron,

Thanks for the advice. This helps a lot. I've also checked local prices and it's very close to that.

Luis
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Re: Looking for professional advice on shoot
Old 10-02-2005, 01:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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John,

Thanks for the advise. Interesting method of calculating cost. I'll have to try that one day.

It should be fun.

Luis
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Re: Looking for professional advice on shoot
Old 10-02-2005, 01:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Greg,

Your insight is much appreciated. I appreciate you sharing your experiences. So far not all the teachers have signed up so the days will be lighter then I thought but I'm sure you are right it. There will probably be some delay out of my control.

Wow... Never thought of those last two. Good points. I'll definately take them to heart and pay attention and take care of myself.

Thanks,

Luis
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Re: Looking for professional advice on shoot
Old 10-02-2005, 02:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey Bill,

How are you doing? Thanks for all the advice. I will definately take advantage of this great info. My wife will be assisting me helping to keep track of people and keep it moving. The number seems to have gone down from the original 30 or so but we'll see. People may just show up. The pricing info was very useful. I've checked around here and it is very similar.

Thanks again,

Luis
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