For years, I tried to come up with a standard pricing scheme for portrait photography and for years, I realized that it never quite fit the same mold. When I charged hourly, I sometimes got booked to shoot a family of 35 in a one hour session. The results looked terrible, as every background was the same and every shot looked rushed and panicked as each client group struggled to photograph every conceivable combination of people.
Likewise, a model might have 26 outfits that end up getting photographed on the same white background, with the same expressions.
Instead, my current pricing structure all depends on what you will be shooting, how many (looks, people, concepts, etc) and where you’ll be shooting. This last variable I introduced after moving to Los Angeles, as everything is relative to where you’re intending on shooting.
The new 6th street bridge is within walking distance from me, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is perhaps ten minutes, but the Santa Monica pier 45-70 minutes, depending on traffic. These variables end up affecting the amount of time I book for a shoot and thusly, the estimate.
- Knowing what and where and how you want to shoot will dictate everything else, including price. I can’t answer questions like “where do you like to shoot” because the answer is ‘everywhere’, but this isn’t my shoot, it’s your shoot! Anything is a possibility. Where you decide to shoot should be a reflection of how you want your photos to look. Landmarks are alway a possibility, forest shots are always a possibility, the beach, parks, urban, mountains, etc. Have an idea in mind when you contact me in order to make estimating the shoot easier, with less back and forth.
For family photography
- For larger groups, outdoor locations such as parks offer so much latitude. Blue skies and non distracting backgrounds always make a portrait session look great. These I price based upon the location (the amount of time and effort required to get there) or locations and the number of people / shots desired. If you’re looking to shoot every conceivable combination of people, it will take a little longer!
- For smaller groups (including singles portraits, couples’ engagement or wedding photos), there are more location options, including my fully decorated studio.
For modeling / acting
- This is a genre where we may end up shooting in multiple locations, including the studio, so knowing what you’re looking for will ensure we know what time we will end up on location in order to get the best lighting.
For boudoir and fine art nude
- I usually end up shooting these in studio, but my favorite sessions of all time have been outdoor sessions in the desert, the forest, or even the water.