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I've been thinking and researching about this for weeks now. I went through some similar posts like How much should an amateur charge for a portrait session? or How do you determine how much to ask for when someone wants you to photograph a wedding? or How should I price my first paid event shoot? but I still can't find the answer to this question as it seems to be a bit different from the other ones..

I am about to start shooting photos of groups of mainly school children that are coming to an outdoor training center for several activities such as climbing, canoeing, archery, and a few more. They have several groups coming every week, either for a day visit or a weekend/3day stay. So the work load is unpredictable at this stage as we don't know how interested schools would be in requesting the service.

And given that it's complicated to go through every parent's permission to shoot individual photos of the kids as well as convincing them to pay!, we decided that we send flyers to schools for group photos at a cost of for instance €100 which would make sense for the school as it would be split among 20~40 students and it would be school's responsibility to deal with charging the parents individually.

The problem here is that at the moment the outdoor center is asking for a 30% commission for each of the first two photos and 20% of each photo afterwards.

There are two issues with this:

  1. Going through the sales tax, costs of commuting to the center and back, etc. etc. it leaves me quite little for all the work that I should do. Is there a norm or standard on how much organizations would charge for commission when they provide the opportunity for the photographer to shoot?

  2. I'm not sure if charging them per photo is reasonable or not. I was thinking of maybe providing 2-3 groups photos of the kids while dressed for different activities at the base price, and then ask for extra €10 or so per extra photo they may want to shoot.

But then again, it's not clear to me how to provide the final work. Is it going to be only the digital copy? Is it an average-sized print (e.g. 6x8") which won't cost me much? Or ...?

I would highly appreciate any help with this, as I'm completely lost and don't know how to start.

I would also like to mention that there's almost no competition in this work.

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    Is the reason there is almost no competition possibly related to the fact that no one wants to spend more to do work than they take in as a result of the work? – Michael C Jul 11 '16 at 14:24
  • @MichaelClark The main reason is that it's a quite remote center and when the schools bring in groups, they don't think about having kids photos added to the package, and apparently no-one has offered this before, so the center is quite enthusiastic about it, and they won't go and find someone else to replace me at this point. – Neeku Jul 11 '16 at 14:45
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    I will curb my desire to offer snarky comments on the greediness of the outdoor center wanting a large commission and just suggest you that you offer to shoot some shots of the outdoor center for them to use for marketing. Be ready to explain to them why a pro photog is worth 500 to 1000 dollars a day depending on time, location and post production, as well as usage rights. – Alaska Man Jul 11 '16 at 19:45
  • @Alaskaman Haha! That sounds like a reasonable suggestions, too. However I'm open to hear other price suggestions for this. Fortunately the outdoor center isn't too dodgy and they were open to negotiations as I mentioned that the 30% is too high. – Neeku Jul 12 '16 at 12:58
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Your competition is not other photographers, it's a teacher with a point and shoot.

Schools care about the quality of the education, and the relatively minor quality difference in a staged group shot is worth very little to the school. The school may use it for their magazine or website, but they're working on a shoestring. They may pay for 1 or 2 images.

Parents aren't normally interested in group shots, they want a photo of their child, bonus points if they're doing something interesting, look happy and you can clearly see their face. They may pay for individual shots like this, but getting good coverage of a school group is hard work. You'll have to work out by yourself what percentage will pay, and take a gamble.

Children are normally interested in shots of them with their friends, bonus points if they're doing something adventurous, but they don't care about quality. A rubbish point and shoot in the hands of the average squirrel will get something they'll share on WhatsChat or SnapBook, so they won't pay for images.

Charging enough to cover your costs will likely price you out of the market.

I've worked in outdoor education for sometime, with children of all ages, the only time I've ever seen a paid photographer involved was when they we're deliberately there to create stock promotional images.

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