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I am I in the wrong price range

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Old 05-01-2007, 11:37 PM
Dsharlow313 Dsharlow313 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1
I am I in the wrong price range

I think I am not charging enough.
I do work for Photographer in my area of Michigan. I was talked into $1.75 per image. Now this is for senior portraits. The standard retouch is smooth out the skin, lines under eyes, and stray hairs. He (the photographer) thinks since it doesn't take me long I should not charge what I belive I should. I have been doing this for 6 years and I know I am worth more. I just don't know what Other options I have. He is one of my biggest customers. I also do all the Copy and resto work. Build matte's Swap people change backgrounds. For that he will give me $15 per hour. Any input would be nice. Thanks in advance
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Old 05-02-2007, 12:58 AM
BillFrey BillFrey is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 209
Re: I am I in the wrong price range

I'm from a high priced area, so my experience might be different. You should research your area and the going prices.... but.....

You prices sound low to me. I also notice that you're on the defensive by saying "I was talked into," "he'll give me," "he thinks".

When you are self-employed it's up to you to give yourself a decent living. You determine your rates.

I would start looking for more customers and charge a more appropriate rate. At some point this customer won't hold your life in his hands and you can tell him your rates have changed. He can then decide whether he wants to accept that or not.

Good luck

PS: You already know you're not getting a fair price because you've posted here.

Last edited by BillFrey; 05-02-2007 at 01:02 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-02-2007, 04:32 AM
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pixelfinity pixelfinity is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 39
Re: I am I in the wrong price range


Always make sure you are happy with what you are getting paid - yes, if you build a good relationship with a photographer that give you lots of work, give them a good rate.

Something to consider is, what other job you could do and get $15 per hour! - dont sell yourself short for your skills.
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Old 05-02-2007, 05:48 AM
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NancyJ NancyJ is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 729
Re: I am I in the wrong price range

How long does doing one of these images take? Even at my max discount rate, thats about 2 minutes of my time.
However, everyone's circumstances are different. What do you think is a fair wage for you? Your operating costs are, presumably, pretty constant regardless of whether you're working or not. Charging a higher rate may not necessarily work out for you - if this client drops you, can you afford it?
My advice is to start looking for higher rate jobs (MUCH higher rate) I'm guessing you're spending probably 5 minutes per image? I'd start looking for jobs paying $8-10 per image, and if you can get a fairly steady stream of those (remember you only need about 1/5th as many of them to make the same money) then start pressing your client for a better wage. If he drops you then you've still got the same wage coming in from other sources and you're not having to work as much.
Raising your prices can only work if there is enough demand for your services and a limited supply of competition. If he can replace you in minutes with someone else who will do the job for $1.75 then you're shooting yourself in the foot trying to raise your fee. If theres no competition then you can set your prices as high as you like, he'll have to pay if he wants the work.

Always have a backup plan. Get in touch with other photographers and offer your services. You are getting ripped off, $1-2 is the amount you'd pay for a batch process colour/contrast/levels corrections not individual portrait retouching. Look at prices for b2c portrait retouching prices vary but in general, for moderate retouches - you're looking at around $10-30, b2b obviously expect a discount for bulk purchasing and regular work and I think 50% is more than fair.
But look at his price list - subtract printing costs and ofcourse your retouching fee and then figure out how much he's making per hour - you're entitled to the same, your work is as important as his, else he wouldnt pay a retoucher at all. You make his subjects look good and thats presumably a major selling point for him. If he's charging $150 for a 90 minute session, he's making about $1 per minute (if you subtract expenses and admin time) you're entitled to the same. At that price, he can afford a $3-5 price hike. Ofcourse if he's really cheap, then you will have to be too because he wont have the margin to absorb the price increase.

I guess what I'm basically saying is - find out how much he's making per hour and alter your rates to match. If thats already the case and you just cant work at those low rates then find a photographer who charges more - likely they'll be able to pay more. Dont drop your client untill you've found a reliable, alternate income source.
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