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What's a fair price to charge for creating a photo collage?

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  • What's a fair price to charge for creating a photo collage?

    Hi Everyone!

    I need help figuring out what to charge for the photo collage below. A friend of mine hired me to make it for him and this project has become much more involved and time consuming than I ever anticipated. We did not set a price in the beginning as I couldn't really tell just how much work would be involved and how many of the pictures could really be included.

    All the pictures were cropped, resized, adjusted in contrast and color and made much lighter. Many also had lots of dust and camera noise that was cleaned up. In some he wanted the skin tones adjusted to be less red or yellow, etc. It also took alot of time to come up with the collage design and layout and then to make changes after sending him preview versions.

    I have lost track of just how much time it has really taken.

    The full size is 20x30 and it will cost me about $28 to have it printed

    Any suggestions??

    Diane
    Attached Files

  • #2
    It's a lot easier to make friends of customers than to make customers of friends.

    We recently charged $125.00 for a collage my partner designed. It was smaller, 13" x 19" and had about a dozen photos. We didn't have to scan the photos. We charged about $160.00 for another one on which we had to scan seven slides.
    The first one was just a guy who walked in the door wanting to make one as a gift. He was really nice and we gave him an extra print plus some cut down prints from the proof. The second one was fellow who had heard of us and asked about the collage while contracting for a big digitizing job.

    We have a flat design rate of $75.00 per hour which includes digital manipulation... but we almost always work longer than we actually charge.

    Perhaps you could let your freind know that you've worked much longer than anticipated and maybe give him a chance to make you an offer.

    Hopefully if you give him what he wants, he'll give you what you want. Good luck,

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Chip,

      Thanks very much for the feedback! I like the idea of letting my friend make an offer first and I'm hoping that's how things go. But I'm trying to get an idea of what a fair price would be.

      Considering the amount of work I put in, it seems this piece should be over $200, but is that too much for something like this?

      On the two you did, it sounds like you didn't have to do much retouching on the photos?

      Diane

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't think $200.00 is unfair. It depends on what you started with, how difficult the production was and how much the customer changed the work in progress. It also depends on how close it is to their ideal expectation. This is the toughest part of the job by far, pricing.
        What you have created is a visual memory of the people and a time in someone's life. If your composition strikes an emotional chord with the customer, the dollar value becomes less significant because you can't hang a price tag on memories... that's why wedding photographers are rich and us commercial guys are living on peanut butter. (...Please note, I'm not slamming wedding photographers, they work under incredible pressure and I respect them... I'm not slamming peanut butter either for that matter). Anyway, the idea is, it's the emotional value that sells something like this, not the number of hours you worked on it.
        I bet I just gave you a headache. I tend to do that when I start trying to explain something and just muddle it instead.

        To answer your last question, we did no retouching at all, cropping and contrast adjustment and that was it.

        Again, good luck.

        Comment


        • #5
          Diane,

          Like Chip said, it's not easy to make customers of friends (family is even worse!) - esp. when you haven't set the price up front. If this were not a friend, I would have no problem charging over $200 based on the description of the work you did. Of course, it's difficult to know what your friend was/is expecting to pay. I would definitely mention the amount of time (you'll have to estimate) you put into it so that he knows. If you let him make an offer first, then at least you'll have an idea of what his expectation is and you can start negotiating (if necessary). If he's way low, make sure he knows how much you "normally" charge for such work (even if you've never done it before, you obviously have some idea of how much work you put into and can put a pricetag on it.) Hopefully it doesn't reach the point where you have to decide on whether the friendship or the money is more important. (Hint: if it comes down to that, I'd keep the friendship and chalk up the difference to a "learning experience" - namely that you should always set expectations up front, even with friends. Of course, we all have projects that become more involved than we anticipated. So take that learning as well and be sure to incorporate that the next time you quote a job.)

          Don't know if that helps any. I don't envy the position you're in.

          Jeanie

          Comment


          • #6
            Question of Charge?

            How can you charge anything for the work you did? Especially when there was no agreed upon price before the work began. It all goes to the context of the original conversation you had with your friend. If you two never discussed payment at all and you are really good friends, then I would chalk this up to a learning experience. Even if you decided the money was more importantto you; since there was no discussion about money in the begining you could not recover in court. You could not enforce a contract (oral or otherwise) that was never in effect or agreed upon by both parties. I've been in this situation before, and that is why I never do work for family or friends. It always seems to turn out bad for me. If they insist, I tell them what I charge upfront and if they do not like it then they could go somewhere else. It may sound cold, but I am in this business to make money - not friends! Goodluck!

            Comment


            • #7
              I doubt that your friend will have any idea of how much work and time you've invested in the project. Most likely they have the idea that you can whip these type of things up in a matter of minutes.
              If the friend pops the question, "how much do I owe you?", you might ask them to call around to get an idea of how much a job like this costs, and then make you an offer, with a "friendly discount".

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Vikki
                If the friend pops the question, "how much do I owe you?", you might ask them to call around to get an idea of how much a job like this costs, and then make you an offer, with a "friendly discount".
                Now THAT'S a good idea!

                Comment


                • #9
                  How much would you charge to mow a friend's lawn?

                  If he's really a friend, I'd just ask for expenses and let them know how long I spent on it. This is what friends do. If they wanted to pay something, I'd tell them to buy me dinner sometime.

                  If he's not 'that' kind of friend, hand him an invoice for the full amount. Calculating a discount simply forces you to decide how good a friend he is, and no one should be put in that position.
                  Learn by teaching
                  Take responsibility for learning

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fotofreak
                    How can you charge anything for the work you did? Especially when there was no agreed upon price before the work began. It all goes to the context of the original conversation you had with your friend. If you two never discussed payment at all and you are really good friends, then I would chalk this up to a learning experience. Even if you decided the money was more importantto you; since there was no discussion about money in the begining you could not recover in court. You could not enforce a contract (oral or otherwise) that was never in effect or agreed upon by both parties. I've been in this situation before, and that is why I never do work for family or friends. It always seems to turn out bad for me. If they insist, I tell them what I charge upfront and if they do not like it then they could go somewhere else. It may sound cold, but I am in this business to make money - not friends! Goodluck!
                    Fotofreak,

                    There most definitely was conversation to the effect that I would be getting paid for doing this project, though we didn't get into a specific amount. Early on he even offered to give me a deposit, which I (very stupidly) declined, not yet knowing what amount it should be. Also, as things have gone along, we have "joked" about when we are talking business, and when the business part of our conversation has ended.

                    My friend is a very fair, generous, kind guy and I have trusted that things will all come out okay as long as I do a great job on the project for him..

                    Diane

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Of course, it's difficult to know what your friend was/is expecting to pay. I would definitely mention the amount of time (you'll have to estimate) you put into it so that he knows. If you let him make an offer first, then at least you'll have an idea of what his expectation is and you can start negotiating (if necessary). If he's way low, make sure he knows how much you "normally" charge for such work

                      Jeanie[/QUOTE]

                      Jeanie,

                      Thanks very much for your comments. What you wrote helps and is the approach I hope to follow.

                      Seems what I really should have done was take a $100 deposit right at the beginning.

                      RIght about now, I feel about like the guy on Doug's icon...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Vikki
                        I doubt that your friend will have any idea of how much work and time you've invested in the project. Most likely they have the idea that you can whip these type of things up in a matter of minutes.
                        If the friend pops the question, "how much do I owe you?", you might ask them to call around to get an idea of how much a job like this costs, and then make you an offer, with a "friendly discount".
                        Vikki,

                        This is a very interesting idea. But maybe the way to do it is to tell him that I really need to call around a bit and see what others would charge for a job like this. Then in the meantime maybe he'd also get the idea to call around and he'd get enlightened as to the going rate for this kind of project...

                        Diane

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Diane,

                          My 2 cents ...

                          Now that you have done it, it would take you less time the next time for having the expeirience (including the time it takes to figure out the composition). Tell him how much time it took, how much time it would take the next time, and what the normal charge would be for that time. Then be very happy to take whatever seems fair to both of you. You probably didn't have the practice with this or you would have had an idea as to what would be appropriate to charge - so with not quoting ahead of time your friend might get something for being the test collage and you would get something for doing the job. I feel like I am saying this wrong, but it is not just all about how long it took. Your friend has provided a service that has a value by trusting you with a job that was new to you ... am I making any sense?

                          Hope this helps,
                          Roger

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Roger,

                            Thanks for your input. You're right that I had very little experience doing this kind of collage before. I'd seen a magazine ad and got the brillant idea to do something similar for my friend...

                            Which gets me to wonder if there is a better way to have done this collage than how I did it. But I'll start a new thread for this...

                            Take care,
                            Diane

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Everyone!

                              Just wanted to post an update: I did get paid by my friend and it was a very fair amount considering all the time that was involved in this project and all the changes he wanted. I gave him an idea of just how much time it had really taken and then he came up with a price by calculating it at a fair hourly rate. He was a real mensch about it...

                              Thanks again for all the advice on this one!
                              Diane


                              Comment

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