It’s straight up 11:00 o’clock and I just walked in the door from a shoot. Four and a half hours earlier I was sitting here half awake double checking directions and making sure everything was packed and ready to go. I finished getting ready, grabbed my gear, and then hopped on the metro. In the last four and a half hours I spent maybe 20 minutes taking pictures, maybe.
If you must know, I was shooting four corporate headshots, but that’s irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that you have to account for a lot more than the time spent shooting photos. Time is time. Whether you’re taking pictures, writing a contract, or doing the dishes, everything takes time. More often than not your time as a photographer is eaten up by what happens before and after you hold the camera in your hands.
So next time you are asked to price an assignment consider all that goes into it. Time spent packing your gear, picking up rental equipment, traveling, setting up for the shoot, editing (of course), managing the files, creating and sending invoices, depositing checks at the bank, blogging about the shoot and uploading pictures to Facebook, etc… Don’t forget to include the time you spent estimating the price and corresponding with the client in the first place.
Everything that requires your time means you can’t spend that time doing something else. Is it worth the trade?