How much should I charge for my food photography?
Sorry, but there are just way too many variables to answer a question about pricing food photography, for a simple answer here. It all depends on how good you are, how long you’ve been doing this, your location, the competition, how much you have invested in equipment, if you’re shooting on location or in the studio, even where the client is from. If I gave you a hard and fast number night now, it would be wrong.
Here is a way I’d recommend coming up with a price to charge for your food photography. First off, if I were you, I’d probably make a call to a few advertising agencies or graphic design firms in my. I’d want to find someone that buys food photography and try to find out what the competition is charging. If I did this this in enough places, I’d end up getting an idea of what the market is in my area. While I’m talking with these people, I’d try to find out which food photographers they were currently working with.
The next step would be to check the webpages of the competition and get a feel for how good they are compared to me. It is almost impossible to really nail down a competitor’s pricing structure exactly, but this would at least give me a starting point.
The magic three words of estimating a job
In case a potential client ever approaches you, asking the question, “how much do you charge”, I have a suggestion for you. This suggestion is something that has made me thousands of dollars over the years and I suggest that you give it a try. When someone asks me how much I would charge for a particular project, I like to respond with these three magic words: “What’s the budget”? I can’t tell you how many times the client has replied with a number FAR larger then the one I had in mind. If the number they give me is acceptable or even more than acceptable, I usually respond with a comment like “that will work”, or “I can do it for that”. If the number is too low, then I usually make a face and hum and haw for a little while, and say something like “that’s for how many shots?” They usually get the idea. At some point though, you have to make a decision and come up with a price.
There will be times when a client will have no idea of what food photography usually costs and will come up with an offer that is way too low to even consider, and you’ll need to tactfully let them know that you can’t do it for that amount. And then there will be time, especially when approached by an out-of-town client, especially when they’re from NY or other large markets, when the rate that they’re used to paying, is much higher than your normal fee. On several occasions, I’ve failed to use those three magic words and have bid way to low. On more than one occasion, I’ve had clients tell me that I need to bid higher, in order to get the job. Yes, higher. One time, I had to triple my asking fee. That was embarrassing, profitable, but embarrassing.
The bottom line is that I can’t tell you what to charge, but in next Friday’s post, I’ll complete this subject by telling you all the things you should consider when coming up with you number. Food Photography pricing is very different than a lot of other types of photography because the job is dependent on so many “others” that are involved in the shoot. We’ll get into all the variables next week. I’m creating a checklist of the things you need to consider when bidding food photography jobs.
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Stay tuned, and leave a comment below!