Archive for church directory
Pricing products and services is indeed a challege in every business. Simply copying someone else’s price list is a dangerous idea. Each individual business has its own unique overhead, expenses, and goals. But let me see what I can do to get you started.
First of all, when ever you photograph an event like a church directory, school dance, or a Christmas party typically there is no session fee or a charge of any kind to the organization who hires you. I am not saying I agree with this or that you should not do so, but it is customary that the photographer sells images to the participants in enough volume to make a profit.
In some cases, the host will accept, ask for, or require a percent of the sales to come back to them as well like in the case of a fund raising opportunity. Be sure you keep this in mind and are on the same page with your host.
We all want to make a profit on all of our jobs we do. But if you are new and end up under pricing yourself you can look at it in a couple positive ways. You got some great concentrated experience. Paid training. You will still have names, addresses, and emails of all the people you photograph no matter how much they purchase to follow up with.
Make sure you make the best use of the names you collect and market to them smartly with the right message at the right time. And stay with it. Sometimes it takes many years for someone to feel they need our services. Every event or marketing piece I have done eventually pays for itself even if at the time I felt like I was wasting my time.
So how do ensure you don’t loose money if you don’t charge the church for your time? You can’t really. That is the down side of photographing on speculation. It is difficult to know without having a track record with this group and knowing what they typically order. I can not simply tell you what to charge either because every studio’s overhead and expenses and financial goals are all different. In a one on one coaching situation, I could do that.
What you can do is educate yourself first. You can do some research as to what church directory companies typically charge and compare that to your own business objectives.
Do not be afraid to charge what you are worth. It is so easy to undervalue ourselves for fear of not getting a job. This is why you need the research on what is currently going on in the market and what your per hour rate needs to be.
Here is a list of some other key things to consider:
- First of all you need to know how much per hour your studio needs to produce to be profitable and meet your strategic objectives. What is your typical hourly rate?
- Are you going on location to the church? Is there proper space to work?
- How many families in the church to be photographed?
- Next, how many families per hour can you photograph? A beginner may need 15-20 minutes per family. That is three to four families an hour.
- Are you going to do one pose and shoot x number of shots?
- Then you need to estimate how many hours of photography it will take to do the number of groups in the church directory.
- If a family misses an appointment or wants to reschedule, does that end up costing you more? Are you going to lug gear back to the church for one or two families or have them come to the studio?
- Are you going to take any assistants with you, what is their rate?
- How many office hours in downloading cards, editing, filing.
- Are you going to retouch images before they see them, after they place an order, or not at all?
- Are you going to proof one image, proof all of the images, print an entire package on speculation like Lifetouch does (I don’t recommend that.), show them digitally. What are the costs for doing this?
- How much time organizing the orders after they are placed?
- How much is the printing for the directories?
- How much will the packaging materials, folders, mailers etc cost to deliver the images?
- Now you have a base price, you need a price list. Keep it simple! A confused mind does not purchase.
For example, if you determine that your studio per hour rate needs to be $50 per hour to keep your doors open and pay yourself, by shooting four families an hour, each family needs to order $12.50 plus all of your other costs from the list above you will incur.
In a typical church directory project I don’t see them ordering everything for their home, family, and friends. Some might. But lets say everyone just politely buys only one thing, an 8×10. What is the minimum price you need to charge?
If (this is just an example) an average church directory purchase ranges from zero to two hundred dollars, can you live with that uncertainty? As a beginner, some paid training is better than no training. You will learn a lot working with that number of people so go for it. You can always increase your price the next time.
Personally, I would simply take my regular studio rates and take off 50% and call it good. Since I know my studio rates are right for me, shooting a volume of four families an hour I would do fine.
As you can see, what to charge is so different for everyone. Each part of the country, even town to town, your overhead needs, how much you value your personal time, if you have staff, your expenses, and your experience are all pieces of the puzzle. Ultimately your skill in marketing and sales coupled with photography that pleases the customer will make you profitable. Don’t undervalue yourself!
Follow up! Keep marketing to the list, let them know they can reorder, let them know about your other services and you will see a return in the future.