United StatesHow do I charge for a special event?
Hello all, I have been asked by a local organization to shoot their annual Christmas party in December. I have not done any special events like this so I am completely lost. They are describing to me what sounds like a prom-like situation where I will be taking candid and portrait photos and shots of the entertainment. I can set-up a portrait studio on location but not sure how to go about taking photo orders on a large scale for families and individuals. I did see that whcc.com has a product called pick-a-pack which looks like what I'm looking for but seems like I will have to handle shipments to my customers.
My questions are:
How/what do I charge for the candid and entertainment photos?
Is there a website that I can order prom-like photo packs that will ship directly to my customers?
The event will have 150+ attendees
Location is near
Will have to set-up on location portrait studio with backdrop and lighting
Events are about the only thing I will charge per hour. Start with $150/hr for your time, plus it's a holiday/special event, so make that $200/hr just to show up with a camera.
Then, I'd suggest setting up a site like Smugmug, Zenfolio, MPix etc, where you can upload a gallery, set costs, make packages, and they deliver to your client. All you need to do is upload the pics, make sure people can find them, and your work is done. Perhaps make cheap business cards with a link to hand out. (This takes a bit of prep but it can be worth it) The sites cost about $100/yr to start.
Also, you could suggest setting up a 'photobooth' which you would pay an assistant to run. However if you print on site, people are very unlikely to order anything online. I would bill an extra $300 minimum to set up any sort of studio/booth, plus a fee for the assistant at $50/hr minimum billed.
If you're roaming around as well, 50-60 delivered photos per hour is reasonable. As long as you dont spray and pray.
Like you said you haven't done anything like this before, so keep it simple and only take on what you're comfortable with.
Smugmug allows you to display your images, set a price, allows your clients to order on-line and then drop-ships them to their location. As I understand it, you just get a cheque at the end for your profit. I think you have to have a "pro" account though, and if you don't plan to do this again, it might not be a profitable solution. I have also heard that MPIX allows some sort of thing like this. I am in Canada, so I have not used either of these, but I hear good things about them.
As for charging them, I would speak with your client in a little more detail and get a contract in place. Once you are asking for signature to paper, people think a little more about what they want and become specific and you avoid disappointed clients later. For instance: how many images are you to deliver? Do they expect you to keep track of every single person and ensure that you have an image of each one? Or, are you to simply take images of those that you happen to meet ensuring that you generally cover the event? It sounds like you might be a roving photographer and you want to set up an area that will allow you to take portraits - do you need an assistant even if it is to simply guard your gear? (Google "wedding photo booth" and I am sure you will come up with a number of hits as to how wedding photographers do it.) Do you know what it is they expect at the end of the event?
In the end, you have to determine your expenses (gear rentals, assistant), plus how many hours it is this going to take you (preparation, shooting, editing, uploading, shipping, paperwork). Determine what you want to earn per hour, and there is a good idea of where to start with for your price. It might be scary... :)