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Duck
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How do you handle transactions

Postby Duck » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:43 am

I have been a commercial artist all my life. The majority of the work I have ever produced has been either commissioned pieces as a freelancer or commissioned pieces as part of my job. In short, when I was done with a piece of artwork I released ownership. There was no need to track licenses, usage rights, syndications, distribution numbers and everything else that comes with the territory of commercial work. Some of you may cringe at the thought but it has worked for me quite nicely and I have built up a good reputation at producing good work while maintaining reasonable prices.

As I move more and more into commercial photography I find that I am staying with a formula that has worked for me in the past. Most of my clients are small business owners with limited budgets but are willing to establish a relationship. I figure it's better to have long term customers that pay a little less than the occasional one-time customer at higher prices. For the most part I don't mind working like this as all I am is a hired shooter. However, I realize that this business model is not the most profitable or the most viable method of doing business. Specially as I find myself being pulled into non-commercial forms of photography.

So, in the spirit of teaching an old dog new tricks I want to try to get a sense of other methods of handling this crazy business called photography. In particular, as I hang out in the portrait boards I hear people talking about package pricing, sitting fees, charging for this, charging for that, sacrificing product B in order to guarantee sales of product A, and so on. I am a rather lazy business person. I would rather spend more time on the creative end than the book keeping end and that is why 'work for hire' fits in well with me. Any suggestions, hints and tips are appreciated. I basically want to start looking at other options and possibilities.

Thanks in advance.
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Onslow
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Re: How do you handle transactions

Postby Onslow » Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:17 pm

Well, I don't know about others but this is what I do.
For event hire, freelance commercial work that I do, it's relatively straight forward.
$250/hr
1/2 day rate (4hrs) is $670.
Full Day (8hrs)

For portrait sessions it's a bit different.
Portrait / Family Sessions
I charge a $150 session fee.
I sell prints of the images only.
My prices are
Large prints are priced according to size.
An A2 print is $150 (Maximum image size is 575mm x 400mm, depending on the crop)
An A3 print is $80 (Maximum image size is 280mm x 400mm, depending on the crop)
An A4 print is $40 (Maximum image size is 280mm x 190mm, depending on the crop)
A 5"x 7" print is $25 (Maximum image size is 5" x 7", depending on the crop)
For each print I sell, I also include a social media sized copy of the image, this will be sized at 1920 x 1080. It will include my watermark. If the order for prints is over $600, I apply a large order discount which means I do not charge the session fee.

I also sell landscapes that I have done in my region. Depending on size, $400 up to a bit over a thousand for a few that I have sold now.

I have done a few small weddings for couples on their 2nd go around who have already had the big weddings. Big ones are not for me. Small, intimate and realtively basic weddings are for me. For those, I will charge a basic fee but my prices for images are as my portrait pricing. Going into it before the wedding the couples were happy only planning to buy a few prints. This suited me, however, once they came to my house to see the images, (they had already seen examples of my work and printing abilities) they ended up spending several thousand.

In my case, these are not everyday occurences. My prices and packages are very uncommon where I live. Not releasing a CD with all of the images on was basically unheard of until I started doing my packages. One thing I have done to good effect was to have a good quality file printed under my control on my printers and have three others from the three local walmart equivalent stores. There are marked differences in the 4 prints side by side. I show the people this to show them why I want them to have printing done by me. Once they understand this, I generally have no problem. However, I have a large number of cheap photographers who do shoots and a cd for less than the prce of one of my A3 prints. So, sticker shock can be a problem overcoming. So far though, I do ok once I can get them to see my examples, until then though...

Hope this helps?? :)

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Bobby Deal
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Re: How do you handle transactions

Postby Bobby Deal » Fri Dec 19, 2014 2:17 pm

Pricing is subject to so many regional variables from one market to the next I won't even attempt to go into it. What I got from your post Duck was "How do you handle getting paid?"

I use PayPal for everything, all sales run through my business paypal account. I have their Business Debit card and PayPal Now let's me accept credit cards, checks or cash though I do not accept checks, I find that in Las Vegas too many people run out of money long before they run out of checks and they never seem to run out of ink. So cash or credit only in my shop.

With PayPal I can download very detailed reports of not only my income ( I invoice via Pay Pal Too) but also my expenses as I use the PayPal Debit card to pay for all business expenses including my own salary and monthly business profit payments which is the only time I actually move money from PayPal to the Bank. The rest stays in PayPal as operating cash.

Come accounting time I just send the income and expense reports to my accountant and he inputs it into QuickBooks online for me and sends me a monthly summery of business.

All in all it is a neat and trim system. Yea I loose a couple percent to PayPal letting them handle the money but at the end of the day it is still a value oriented convienace for me to Handel it this way. I have instant access to all payments and instant access to balances, reports or any fin ail info I need from any web enabled device.

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Duck
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Re: How do you handle transactions

Postby Duck » Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:46 pm

I guess that wasn't the best choice of title. I originally had "How do you handle transitions" but at the late hour I was writing at it sounded strange and I changed it. A better title would probably be, "How do you handle business transitions from one business model to another".

Sorry if I was a little unclear.

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