That’s often the first question a client will ask.
Well the answer to that would obviously depend a number of things, some of which one may be able to estimate beforehand, especially if it was something that you could totally control. However, when it involves shooting a subject where many things are possibly beyond your control, like the weather for example, then it’s not so easy.
Charge for ‘your time & expenses’, is often what you will hear other photographers say – but how much is that really worth to your client, if at the end of the day, they are not happy with the results and don’t really want to use any of the images that you have taken ??
In other words, is one image which may have only taken you a second to capture – which they do actually want to use and use a lot – worth more to them than 1000 images they don’t want to use at all ?
And if it’s an image they want to use a lot, rather than one which they don’t want to use very much, is that then worth more to them or is it still only worth the same amount as the time it took you to take it ?
Questions I’ve asked myself many times over the years, as well as asked other like minded photographers too – as the difference between being asked and not being asked, often comes down to how one answers these type of questions… right at the start.
Because if you get it wrong, then you may not get the opportunity to show what you can do or you may not be able to afford to do what you would like to do, if you had the money to do whatever it takes.
Which brings me to this latest assignment which I did this week – which on the face of it, sounded liked an easy one – as it was just a couple of exterior shots the client wanted taken.
Sure anyone could do that – so why he asking me ? – because it’s not like I’m the cheapest guy in town or that I even live in a town close by – quite the opposite in fact.
Anyway, according to Wiki:
A photographer [the Greek φῶς (phos), meaning “light”, and γραφή (graphê), meaning “drawing, writing”, together meaning “drawing with light”] is a person who takes photographs.
And so that was what I had be asked to do last week, i.e. take some pictures of their castles.
Having recced them both the week before – and keeping in mind that it rains here in Ireland, over 250 days a year – I knew it was all going to be about timing, i.e. being in the right spot at the right time – as that’s what exterior shots are all about.
Anyway, the first was Bellingham Castle in the heart of the medieval village of Castlebellingham in County Louth – which I knew needed to be an early morning shot – ideally ‘first light’ as it’s know in the business. So was up at 3am to be sure (to be sure) I was on location and in the ‘right spot’ to capture that perfect moment.
At 5:30am it looked like this…
.. by 6:30am it looked like this…
.. and by 8am it was a rap…
.. as they would say in the Movie business – as even their Irish Wolfhound posed to perfection around about then too :)
Then it was over to Cabra Castle outside the town of Kingscourt in County Cavan – where they had closed off the parking area in the front of the hotel, to ensure it would be ready for me to shoot at 2pm – which was the time I reckoned the light would be ‘just right’ here.
So at 1:45pm it was all hands on board as the light came around onto the front of the Castle…
.. while I took the first few shots from the Cherry Picker they had hired – and by 2pm it was all over…
.. due to perfect origination and preparation by Howard and his staff here – as well as their Irish Wolfhound too of course, who posed like a pro :)
And so that was it for the day – lots of pictures taken but only 2 images created, to tell the story using light – which in this case, was all done by the Big Guy up above.
So how much does it cost to take a picture ?
Well the answer could be ‘not very much’ – but if you were to change the question to: ‘How much would it cost to produce some images that I would actually want to use and use a lot’ – well then the answer to that could be very different, as that may be a lot harder to achieve.
Anyway, I must have done something right here, as they do want to use these images for at least the next five years in multiple media throughout the world, so a great result for everyone in the end – as they got what they wanted and I achieve what I wanted too :)