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Are You A Photographer Worth Six Thousand Pesos???

Sep 27, '10 2:03 AM for everyone

The business of Photography offers a lot to those who seek to make it their source of income - be it the ONLY source or on the SIDE. But many, and I know a few, who does not seem to know the worth of their own services.

Not knowing the worth of your own services is like punching a hole on the hull of your own ship. Eventually, rather than float, you sink.

I say eventually, because no matter how low you price yourself for the unreasonable sake of getting even more clients will end up as an exercise in futility. I'm sure you'll end up with broken equipment and have no money to replace it.

Goodbye clients.

If you have been doing this business for a period of time and seems to have gone nowhere, or haven't saved enough money for the lenses you NEED, then this thread is for you.

Pricing yourself is important. Business is all about money. Don't get into any business if you intend to lose. Be it your money or your time. So know your own rates.

My dear photogs who have convincing words to tell fellow photogs not to low-ball their rates, let us raise the flags that bring us the food!

1. Price your self like there's no tomorrow. You are a valuable addition to society. Your eyes, your skill, your passion, your taste. Everything about you and your photography is a tangible result that is required and sought after by many, who either does not have the talent or does not have the time. This is an opportunity. So grab it and sincerely lay your cards on the table.

2. Price your self like you would go to a war - and add insurance. you'll never know what you're getting in to, where you're going, what you will be shooting and how you will be shooting it.

3. Price your self the way your clients want you to price them.

All clients requiring photography services have an allotted budget to it. It may be considerable, or money may not be an object, or it may be within reasonable bounds.

Ask. that's all you really need to do.

And it will be given to you.

4. When you don't know how much to charge, let your wife do the talking. If wife was unable to land the project. The client is just going to waste your time. Better spend that time with her.

5. When you think you've overpriced a client, having fluently told them how much you want to be paid. Just SHUT YOUR MOUTH and let the

silence do the computing. The client either thinks you have too many clients to take care of, or you do great work, or your a con man.

Don't worry too much. The next photog that the client will go to has read this thread anyway, chances are, he'll over price just the same.

The thing is, as Dominique James would have it his way, compete on QUALITY. Never on PRICE. Do not disgust your fellow photogs. Respect is supreme.

6. An accountant will charge you P30,000 for his signature on an audit and financial statements for 2 hours work. I suggest you START your rates that way too. I did not say END okay. Because a wedding lasts for at least 8 hours. A concert event for at least 5 hours. A product will be advertised for at least a year.

7. Ever wondered why you, who kicks your own ass, pushing the limits of your own style, giving the clients what they want for the prices that they want it, turning night into day, burning the midnight oil for them, and yet find it hard to upgrade your equipment? or worse, can't afford the pro bodies you SHOULD have because you're a pro?

Then you must be salivating on them that works 10-6 on weekdays only with secretaries and post-processing staff that makes their business worth every lift of their muscles and clicks of their shutters?

Your rates my friend. Change your rates. Follow the pattern of the oil companies' costing strategies. Continually increase, and partially decrease.

8. Ahh, my favorite number. So i'll let you in on a favorite computation.

Who doesn't want a rate that anyone would be comfortable with? The thing is EVERYONE in the business NEEDS to earn, either to spend it for overhead, or capital build up, or equipment upgrade or a vacation or what have you. There is a key to earning RIGHT. Here's an example.

For a wedding project : 8 hours minimum. 14 hours max. Pre-nuptial until event coverage.

Cost of YOUR SELF. Your take home pay : P30,000net Cost of 2 lighstmen : P8,000 Cost of 2 assistant photogs : P18,000 Cost of transport : P3500.00 Cost of deliverables : photobook, 40 page, 11x14 : P10,000

Subtotal : P69,500.00 Add : Percentage amount for equipment depreciation (12% of subtotal) P8,500 Add : Percentage amount for reasonable income for the business (30% of subtotal) P 20,000

Total price before taxes : P98,000.00

Turns out, a wedding project would be somewhere in this vicinity, while you were "unilaterally" charging your clients P30,000 for an entire project like this and you thought that was enough?!!

Of course, provide discounts. Clients would love you for it. But DO UNDERSTAND, that the discounts you give WILL BE DEDUCTED from YOUR take home pay and not from the studio income or the other items above. This drastically reduces your opportunity to save for upgrades or repairs when the time comes.

When you low ball your rates, you end up having no more money for upgrades and repair. If you break your equipment. You lose your clients.

The idea of GAINING clients when lowballing on costs eventually leads to LOSING them all.

9. Substantiate your increase with your output

10. If you can't do business like a professional, try not to offer your services at all unless you explicitly inform your client that you're really just performing a paid practice session. Price wars only benefit the customer and not the supplier, and business should always be a 2-way street.

There is no harm in earning right. And no harm in admitting you have long discounted your self.

11. The issue of pricing is directly proportional to the issue of delivery.

When you DELIVER results, and clients are satisfied, they "realize" the meaning of your costs. The next project that they give you then becomes a natural reaction to the proportionality equation. When you INTEND to deliver some more, and make the same client SUPREMELY SATISFIED, then you again apply the proportionality equation and INCREASE your rates some more.

This will go on and on and on.

12. Loosing clients based on cost structures are inevitable, BUT temporary. Loosing clients based on poor performance are deliberate AND permanent.

13. You know you're good, and you know you can improve some more. So you save a couple of thousand pesos or dollars and improve on your craft. You search for just the right seminar-workshop. You search for some more discussions and tutorials online. You search for the right inspirational books and self-help textbooks. You search and pick up bits and pieces of information on forums like this we have. You search for even more information about products and equipments.

You INVEST in your SELF.

All investments have returns. Some relatively faster than others, but still, with returns.

Invest wisely, and receive the returns tenfold!

14. You don't have enough money to start and make photography as a business, but every cell in your brain, every nerve in your system, every muscle in your body WANTS to be a photographer.


A business anchored on money will fall. A business anchored on God will fall last.

15. When you make a change, DO NOT do it overnight. Do it over time. This ensures you of a consistent, reasonable, attainable and positive growth.

One of the things ANYONE dislike is "change."

I know no car owner who is not pissed off with the increases in fuel costs, or the decreases in time deposit interest rates.

Change - up or down, positive or negative, left or right - is usually received with much angst.

If you have rated your self REASONABLY RIGHT from the start. You wouldn't have all these problems at all.

16. When market forces are at play - the law of supply and demand suggests that when supply is greater than the demand , prices go down. When demand is greater than supply, prices go up. No one is above the law except our friggin' oil companies.

So naturally try to create demand by marketing campaigns, this will cost money but No.13 teaches us to make the right investments for an equal or greater amount of potential returns.

When an oil company knocks on your doors, rate your self right, and let me tell you this. They have ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD!

17. Keep your day jobs.

18. The lower you price yourself, the harder it becomes for you to comfortably and professionally finish your deliverables. When it takes you six months to finish an album, that's NOT nearly close to being professional - thats something else. Somewhere between ripping off your clients and taking care of your clients at your free time.

That is NOT the way to take care of business or Photography as a profession.

19. The only reason you can price a wedding coverage package at P25K is when you are using UNLICENSED software.

You should be ashamed of yourself for earning with the wrong business ethics. Lowballing the industry is already an offense. Being a pirate on productivity softwares is a disgust.

If you are using software you do not own or purchase, then you must understand that you are not supposed to make money out of it. A pirate STEALS. A business is for a living, you should not STEAL for a LIVING.

Marking up your photography service fees means you are able to save money to purchase your own license. If you are adamant or shy in explaining why suddenly you have increased your rates, then just plainly tell them that LICENSE fees has increased too. Educating the clientele is SERIUOSLY IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US.

It is just a matter of time when the NBI and BSA gets the manpower they need to bust your ass for using billion-dollar softwares you continue to steal.

And you LOSE everything you worked hard for.

Don't you just love it when you can straighten your neck and look fellow photogs straight because the playing field is level?

This is important too so think about it.

20. Photography is NOT a basic human need. When the economics of cost dictate on us negatively, then everyone and everything is switched to "survival mode".

When on "survival mode", spending less is the name of the game, thus, agencies cut on staffing expenses and as you say, companies cut on expenses themselves.

However, cutting "marketing" expenses means reducing exposure which eventually leads to reducing recall which eventually leads the company to lose customers which eventually leads to lesser and lesser revenues - which IS NOT the name of the game of business. Too many companies have grown so large because the bosses have the RIGHT AND REASONABLE MIND not to cut expenses that MAKE the money.

The Photographer here should see the opportunity. So do not despair.

Cutting costs IS NOT the solution to remain in business. MAINTAINING and IMPROVING quality is.

21. Know what kind of photographer you are in the business sense.

a. Professional. b. Part time. c. Hobbyist.

To sustain the stability of the industry. It pays to be honest to your client FROM THE START. If you are a hobbyist - and you got chosen to shoot for whatever reason, be it by affinity or consanguinity, by referral, by your multiply site etc, just tell them you're a HOBBYIST PHOTOGRAPHER, by this you meant you need not get paid and that you are doing this for any other reason EXCEPT money. If they give you a dole out, gracefully accept. It is NOT your professional fee. It is a TOKEN of appreciation. If your work gets published - congratulations. But understand that some other people does what you just did for a LIVING! When people like you multiply, like today, those other people will starve to death.

If you can accept that, then you can go to hell!

22. Perfection comes at a steep price. - NC08

23. DEFINE your target market. - DT.

24. If you CAN'T do it. Think first. If you don't want a challenge, learn to say no. If the project is an untried style yet belong to your core photographic competencies, then give yourself a day to decide.

It may pose as a serious challenge to your capability and you may want to push the limits, but do so only if your instincts tell you that you can do it. If you will still figure out if you can do the challenge, then you can't. Pushing your self to the limits is the one thing that separates the professionals from the rest - learn it.

Learning to say no without shooing the client away to the next photographer is an easy art. Either you have prepared a recommendation for another photog, or you are thinking of asking this photog to work WITH you or FOR you. Working with a fellow photog on a project is normal. Explore it.

25. If you want to win. You have to let others win too. And you can't win by low-balling your price. You lose the price, YOU LOSE THE PRIZE.

Some photographers may be in a better position than you, you ask yourself how they are able to pull it off, always remember, these are WINNER PHOTOGRAPHERS. They are there because they WIN the prize. You can BE in that position when you begin to BE a winner.

26. When you want to get noticed, make your own style. When you have your own style, you will get all the notice you want. Be the boss of your own style. Do not remain a copycat, be a boss.

Money is dynamic. It never stays in one place all the time. It may stay there for a long time, but eventually, it goes somewhere else.

When money finds your doors. Be ready. Because it may leave without a moments notice. What is it looking for? Money looks for a boss. Someone who is able to make it grow and tell it what to do. It doesn't like to be a boss , although at times, you can really feel its teeth, but money moves around, searching, looking for its potential boss. The boss has an open door, when the boss closes the door, he opens the window, he knows its just a matter of time when money finds him.

So be the boss. Be your OWN style. And money you will have.

27. To get the money. Look like you don't need it. Dress properly and clean yourself up.

When talking to clients, good breeding AND grooming pays. And it pays handsomely. When shooting for a wedding. Wear what everyone else is wearing. Do not wear that very expensive Columbia Photographer's pocket shirt while everyone else is wearing a Barong Tagalog. It may be expensive, but you'd look like shit.

Looking like shit IS NOT how you want all those potential Barong-clad clients see you, else they think your the 6k photog.

Trim your nails. Get a new haircut. Ask for an invitation to the wedding. BE PART of the event. Be like a guest who holds a camera, and damn, hold the BEST camera you have in your arsenal. If you have other photogs with you, teach them weeks before how you want the event covered, so you can shake hands with your fellow guests, and leave a mark AND a business card while talking to them, while your assistant continue to shoot. As much as you can, be NEAR the couple, but be smart. You're being paid to do a job, of course, it wouldn't hurt to give out a few business cards. But hell, don't give out ALL of it. you'b be worse than shit, you'd again become the 6k photog.

28. If you've been charging 6k all your photog life, you will realize that 6k ain't no different from 20k or 30k at that as a take home fee.

Both rates came from your mouth. Both rates your client will pay. The difference between both is the NEW output you will provide and the extra effort you will deliver.

The extra effort is not too tasking on you anyway, because, to begin with, that was how you intended to do your work. More professional. Only this time, you're happier, and the money coming in allows you to smile more because you get more for almost the same effort. Now you are happy, and because you're happy everything you touch turns to gold. It's a positive thing.

Later on, you can afford a secretary or a studio or perhaps an in-house assistant photog. You WILL be able to afford these when you begin to up-rate your self. Remaining to be a 6k photog degrades you and your output in time.

29. Say it loud. "I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER!"

Study and learn. Keep studying your homework. Keep learning. Keep pushing the curve. Be proud of your work.

30. Price yourself based on YOUR time and skill, not how much others are charging.

Do not insult yourself by pricing yourself too low. - DT

31. Stand proud, and respect each other and support each other.

If we respect ourselves and our fellows, then respect it is that we will get in return. - DA

32. When the going gets tough. The WINNER PHOTOGRAPHER gets going.

When hurdles are on your doors. Jump!

33. Lowballing doesn't always gets the job and it may even give an impression to clients that you're pricing your services that way because you can only produce LOW quality output (which isn't always true for everyone). And even if you get the job, it's hard to charge higher for succeeding projects with the same clients. - CA

34. The road to a bountiful harvest is a bit steep. But the road is there for anyone to take. Take it.

Do not allow others to influence you at how little you can do or how you belong and should remain little. The wise is courageous. The doubtful photographer discourages.

35. The lucrative result that you want can be achieved. It HAS been achieved by photogs before, it can be achieved again after. Make yourself a WINNER PHOTOGRAPHER.

No one among us can tell what tomorrow will offer, so the best way to win the future is to win today. The photog that holds tomorrow's promise is the one that sends out the invoice today for the hard work done yesterday.

Procrastination delays success.

36. In a community that has one flag, it makes little sense to know which is the wrong side, or which is the right. It makes sense to raise the flag together.

When you have touched the sensibilities of your fellow photogs. Apologize.

37. Photographers CAN work WITH photographers.

Get help from more established photographers. -HC

38. Greater things CAN be accomplished when we understand each other. When we are united. When we find time to discuss our own issues and learn. In the end, we realize the importance of each other.


"Knowing what you can do and cannot do is the easiest among the things you need to know since you are the only one who can clearly gauge yourself if you really can deliver in terms of photography, logistics and time."

Know how your competitors would do their best to get the opportunity away from your reach - TG

"In the business world, you have to compete. For every piece of opportunity out there, most often, you will have to outdo your competitors. Else, you will be left out to dry. "

40. By all means, use your advantages to the maximum. - TG

"You will have the capability to bring down prices. But dont overdo it. Be selective. But It doesnt mean you have to cut down on quality and delivery too, so if you can maintain the same high quality, well and good. If you cant, you are doomed."

41. You have to gamble and lose money to gain something in exchange. -TG

"I know you will hurt your competitors in the process, especially if you succeed on each and every way you get into, but mind you, if you dont do this, others will and you will be left out with nothing to gain."

42. By pricing your product low, you may have a better chance of getting a share of the market. -BB

43. If the pro charges 60K for a 60K project and you just charge 6K because you think you're just a newbie (put here all your excuses/reasons) then this thread is for you. You could have charged 50K and still beat the veteran pro photographer. - MP

44. The photog has to know how to use the calculator and punch in the multiplier for profit over known cost. It doesn't have to anchor its pricing on the pricing models of the bigger players. It doesn't mean he has to lose money. - TG

The 6k photog trend has opened new avenues that anyone can explore and challenge. It has given customers more options in terms of afordability. 6k photogs has created more reach for this industry and has created awareness that high end photography is reachable nowadays. -TG

- Compiled from Digital Photographer Philippines Forum under "Show me the Money Thread" as posted by the thread starter Marlo Moya. Visit the thread and see other photographer's reaction and say regarding this at

-------------------------------- WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Tags: photography, business, pricing Prev: Xdeals and TFCD/TFFD Shoot Terms


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Get your own website with your own web address, emails and hosting all in one Reliable on-the-go flashlight powered by package! Loads more features for this limited LED technology. Stow it in a pocket or offer. E-Commerce packages also available! purse. Ideal for PC Repairs, Car troubleshooting, Medical inspection, ETC. 32 CommentsChronological Reverse Threaded reply paulrimando wrote on Sep 27, '10 TFS sir... this is such a big wake up call to many doing the craft we do... permission to share this post sir. tnx again. reply mrordaz wrote on Sep 27, '10 TFS. Very enlightening! reply sabogangmundo wrote on Sep 27, '10 paulrimando said TFS sir... this is such a big wake up call to many doing the craft we do... permission to share this post sir. tnx again. sure, no problem. tnx for dropping by. reply sabogangmundo wrote on Sep 27, '10 mrordaz said TFS. Very enlightening! you're welcome. reply operau wrote on Sep 27, '10 well said..thanks! reply boazphotography wrote on Sep 27, '10 Very nice read. Thanks for sharing. Hoping that all photographers will be able to read this thread. I'd like to share this as well. May I? reply stereochrome wrote on Sep 27, '10 Great post!!!

reply iscobalatico wrote on Sep 27, '10 This really is enlightening! Very well explained. Thanks for sharing! reply 49kgolfotog wrote on Sep 27, '10 nice one...very informative.....

reply jnbleejr01 wrote on Sep 27, '10 yan ang tama sir....well said....... reply sabogangmundo wrote on Sep 27, '10 boazphotography said Very nice read. Thanks for sharing. Hoping that all photographers will be able to read this thread. I'd like to share this as well. May I? sure! reply gilbertcorcuera wrote on Sep 28, '10 Nice article! Dapat ganyan talaga! In my case, kasama pa ang video. Mamumulubi ako pag ganyan lang ang presyo ko.Abunado pa ako sa kita ng mga tao ko. reply menicedknz wrote on Sep 28, '10 Nice Article, Para hndi macra ang Industriya ng Photograpiya..... reply sabogangmundo wrote on Sep 28, '10 i was actually browsing some online ads and saw photographers offering a full wedding coverage with prints priced at around 10k-15k and im wondering how they earn from it... hmmmm...

reply banduyon wrote on Sep 28, '10 I admire this post..for teaching how photographers can help each other...asking your price is simply selling yourself... =) reply sabogangmundo wrote on Sep 28, '10 banduyon said I admire this post..for teaching how photographers can help each other...asking your price is simply selling yourself... =) you're right. pricing yourself and your services is like gauging your skills and by pricing yourself too low, its like saying you're not really that good when it comes to your craft. reply gosyante wrote on Sep 29, '10 nice one... reply sembranorj wrote on Oct 3, '10 sapul na sapul po ser...we all end up hurt by clients thinking that good photography can be done by a price of P6,000???ang sakit marinig na "bakit ikaw mahal samantalang si ano ganito lang mag-presyo?" i lost the bid for the shoot but hell knows what happened to the photoshoot.nice one,and eloquently phrased.very enlightening! reply sabogangmundo wrote on Oct 5, '10 sembranorj said sapul na sapul po ser...we all end up hurt by clients thinking that good photography can be done by a price of P6,000???ang sakit marinig na "bakit ikaw mahal samantalang si ano ganito lang mag-presyo?" i lost the bid for the shoot but hell knows what happened to the photoshoot.nice one,and eloquently phrased.very enlightening! they can always find someone cheaper. but the question is, will it be better? well..... who knows! reply bryanideas wrote on Oct 5, '10 can i repost it:-) very nice article..

reply yhenggalvez wrote on Oct 5, '10 ...tnx for sharing this article... reply jersdigitalgraphics wrote on Oct 5, '10 thanks for sharing this very informative articles...

reply kuyaardy wrote on Oct 5, '10 although I charge a minimum of $500. per shoot ( services only ) I'm still under-charging my clients. I know other photographers here in my area charges more than I do but they offer more than I do. reply sabogangmundo wrote on Oct 6, '10 bryanideas said can i repost it:-) very nice article.. sure! reply cutelildemon07 wrote on Oct 7, '10 cool reply anyform wrote on Oct 8, '10 good one... i'll be posting ur link in FB...

reply crystalimage wrote on Oct 17, '10 very nice article and very informative too... reply acemalanog wrote on Oct 19, '10 oh damn! this is so helpful bro! i've learned that pricing myself is important and i don't have to be so shy with it.. :D :D :D thanks bro! :D reply mlagundino wrote on Oct 24, '10 This is so great Sir.... A true blood photographer.... reply gilbertcorcuera wrote on Dec 10, '10 namputsa! Yan ang mga nanunulot sa mga clients ko!