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Old August 30th, 2010, 09:17 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hollywood, CA
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How much should I charge?

The age-old question: how much am I worth?

I've recently started producing videos for a commercial photographer and his production company and I'm battling with the problem of how much to charge them for my work. One on hand, I'm only 22, still a student in college, and no professional by any means. On the other, my work pleases the clients and I write and record the music for these videos as well. The videos are typically 1-2 minutes long, something short that the client typically puts up on their website as a way to squeeze the most value out of setting up a photoshoot.

YouTube - The Frye Company's Fall 2010 Collection

This is a recent video I did for Frye Company.

The photographer hired me personally, and these opportunities include paid travel to anywhere he is shooting. I owe him a debt of gratitude.

I realize it's a subjective question that depends on a lot of factors, but all I'm looking for is a ballpark. How much should I be charging for my work?
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Old August 30th, 2010, 05:17 PM   #2
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Hi Ben,
I've used this for photography: Cost it out in three or more ways. Highest you think they will go, lowest you would possibly work for, so much per hour plus expenses etc. Average this number and stick with it. There's no right or wrong, but this stuff costs real money to setup so don't give it away.

Edit: Beautiful work Ben, you've got real talent! May also be a good idea to get input on pricing from your photographer friend. He knows the costs of decent equipment and the skills needed to produce. He'll have a good idea of how the end user thinks. If the end user is employing a first class pro, my bet is they will be happy to pay you decent money.


Last edited by Doug Bailey; August 31st, 2010 at 07:15 AM. Reason: Added comment
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Old August 30th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #3
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I checked out your video.

So you are shooting, editing and doing the music as well?

If I were you I would be charging a hell of a lot! This is very nice stuff!
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Old August 30th, 2010, 06:46 PM   #4
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Agreed...the custom music alone is worth a good chunk. It's been a few years since I offered that service but when I was active, just the music for a 60 sec broadcast was $1500-$3000 depending on the markets it would be played in. Now that most delivery is Internet, the market really is world-wide. Gotta keep in mind what the market will bear though. Compared to a few hundred bucks for a Needle drop that your client's competitor could use the same day, a custom created piece is well worth the investment for some businesses. don't be afraid to charge for your creativity!

Video, I have a set rate for a half day and full day shoot. To simplify, the half day is 2/3 of the full day rate.
for certain repeat clients I will do hourly shoots but thats cause they provide me a lot of work. For my half day/ full day rates, I go out fully loaded for a two camera shoot with full audio and lighting support. The hourly shooting is generally short notice "quickie" where I pack very light, one camera, audio and a pair of lights if needed.
Editing is always hourly for me and my "menu" has a few add-ons like 3d motion-graphics, logo creation and a few other things that don't fall under the "editor's" job description.

When I first started out, I called a few freelancers and picked their brains on rates and what those rates included. I then looked at the gear I owned at the time and came up with a competitive price. As my equipment list grew (and seemingly always will) my rates have been adjusted to keep it in line with the rest of the shooters in the area. I have a few shooters I work with in case I need a second set if hands and since our rates are all similar, I know what to charge he client.
Same goes for editing. I checked around and came up with a rate based on what I could offer. I keep the creative stuff separate as I sub out certain things I can't do or don't have time to do.
One of the best things I did was stop renting. Some will say that's a better method of biz but factoring in costs and time to pick up and drop off gear, it made bidding really hard as those were fixed costs. Now that I own gear, I can adjust if I feel the client us going to balk. My gear was paid off within a couple of months.
Once again, don't undercharge for creative! And don't forget to factor in travel and expenses when budgeting a project.
Hope this helps! Its worked well for me!
A7RII, C100, 1Dx, 5Dmk3, 70D, Kessler goodies, Adobe, Pro Tools and more!
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Old September 1st, 2010, 07:49 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! This is very helpful.
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