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I was recently asked by an acquaintance to do a family shoot. Portrait sessions are not something that I have much experience in at this point in my photographic career, but I know my machine and know how to create a great image, so I agreed.
When it came to cost I thought about it and because of my lack of experience in portraiture, I decided gas and toll money and having them purchase just the images they liked would be agreeable (and it was).
After driving the 120 miles round trip, $30 in tolls, and 4 hours later, I was given a hamburger, a hot dog and $100. OK so the money would cover the gas and tolls, and a touch more for my time. No compensation for gear, the 7 hours of edit time, software, computers, web fees, wear an tear on the van ETC.
But that was OK, they were going to buy prints.
I lowered the prices on the prints giving them the "friends and family" rates, and allowed them to download images to share on social media.
I published their album and gave them access.
They were going to buy prints.
Two days later I got a text stating the prices were too high, and they could get a canvas print with a GROUPON for $39.
Another text stated :
The last two photo sessions we did were XXX's first bday and XXX's wedding. Both times we paid for the photographers time. We used the photos in a printed photo book and to share on social media... Other than that, they are kept on a disk or saved to a photo frame.
They didn't by prints.
Lesson learned, prices will be disseminated beforehand and an actual sitting fee, including travel time will be accessed before agreeing to do any sort of portrait session.
I don't sell prints, I sell what's on them.