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The senior portrait is a traditional rite of passage for a high school student. But senior portraits aren't what they used to be: staid, format portraits shot in front of a mottled gray background. These days, an effective senior portrait conveys the personality of its subject, and is often shot on-location or outdoors.
In this course, photographer and educator Derrick Story details the art and the process of modern senior portraiture, from working with the subject and his or her parents to plan a shot list, to shooting indoors and out, to delivering the final shots. Along the way, he examines gear and workflow considerations, including lighting, sharing proofs, and post-processing.
And because senior portraiture is a potentially lucrative business, the course concludes with a discussion of various business angles, including developing a pricing strategy, connecting with local high schools, marketing through social media outlets, and more.
Let's talk a minute about the p word. Yeah, pricing. Now, you may not be charging for your work right now. But who knows? You get a couple good shoots. And the next thing you know that you may think about, this is not a bad way to go for a little freelance business. Helps you buy your equipment, a little extra spending money. Now a lot of photographers have a hard time with pricing, and I think they tend to undervalue their work.
So, I have a little formula, I want you to think about; when it comes time for you to price a simple job like this, a portrait shoot. First off, think about your investment, your investment in yourself through training, workshops, going to college, things like that. You've had to learn your craft. You have spent time doing that. You also have an investment in equipment, the camera, the lenses, the lighting. All of those things costs you money. You spent money, so you have made an investment in your ability to do this photo shoot.
So, that investment should make you work a certain amount of money per hour. And, again, a lot of photographers I feel like sort of undervalue how much they're worth per hour. So, I'm going to put a number out there. I'm going to say that your worth right now, I don't even know you, but I know that you're worth $50 or $60 an hour. Just, off the top of my head, you starting out doing portraits. Now, think about how much time are you going to spend on this project.
It's not just the time that you're out there taking pictures, yeah, that's probably an hour. But you're going to spend some time beforehand, getting the paperwork together. Meeting with the client. Talking about the shoot. There's an another hour. And then I guarantee, you're going to spend at least an hour after the shoot, going through the photos and getting the ones, that you like looking as good as possible. And I will say that probably an hour is conservative. But just for the hack of it, let's say an hour before, an hour during and an hour after.
Let's say three hours for this senior portrait shoot. And if you come up with a number that you're worth, let's say, $60 an hour then you should be able to look that person in the eye and say, this is $180 to do the shoot and it's a good value. You're going to get your money's worth, and I'm pretty sure you're going to be happy with the photos. But the trick to pricing is that you have to believe it in order for it to work. And the way to believe it is really look at the investment that you've made in this project.
If you do that, then I think you'll be very confident when you talk numbers with a potential client.
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