Pricing Your Kits and Leaflets

For how much is this item going to sell? It has to be enough to cover materials, overhead, and your other expenses. It also should be enough to yield a profit. How does one figure this out?

One way is to look at similar products already in the marketplace. What do leaflets run? Chartpacks? How closely does the printing job/photo/stitch diagrams/chart compare with yours? Working backwards

If you're making kits or leaflets, you need photographs of the finished stitchery. These need to be good photos, too, because a picture is worth a thousand words!

Unless you are a skilled photographer (amateur or otherwise) or can afford to pay whatever a professional would charge to make these still life shots, you probably will do your own photography. Or, at least you'll try before you holler "uncle!"

Some hints:

Other Options for Photographing Models

Hiring a professional has been mentioned briefly. Look in the yellow pages, call your local newspaper (perhaps one of their people freelances), or ask for names of photographers who are skilled with product shots (as opposed to outdoor shots in the park with kids and the family dog).

Ask for prices.

Visit the photographers (make an appointment!) you think might be a good match. When interviewing them, ask to see their portfolios, in particular still lifes or product shots. Indicate that there will be repeat work down the line, which may encourage the photographer to take you on if she knows that once the two of you come to an understanding about what's needed in this shoot that administrative time can be minimized for future projects.

Ask for references and call these people. If possible, get references for past work that is like your own (ex.: not the kids + dog shots). Finding a needlework (or even a craft) photographer would be wonderful, but a long shot unless you live in a city where a needlework or craft magazine is published!

A professional's fees will be high, as befits the quality of the work you'll receive, but this might be more than you can spend, particularly if you are just starting a design studio and are opening on a shoestring.

Go to your local college or junior college and speak with the chairperson of the photography faculty (or the chair of the fine arts department). Ask for the names of several students who have the skills you seek and who might be willing to take on a paid assignment in addition to schoolwork projects.

Sometimes a high school student will have sufficient skill and talent to do the job for you. Call the school district office and ask for the high schools which have photography classes; and/or the chairperson of the fine arts faculty for the school district.

Since you know what a professional will charge you, you will have an idea what the going rate is for the work you have in mind. Thus you can come up with a reasonable fee to offer the student. As before, ask to see items from the portfolio and request references. In the case of the high school student, there may not be any references other than the student's teacher.

You may be able to barter for services: the photographer will shoot for no fee; you will allow the photographer use of the prints in his portfolio and maybe you'll buy a quart of chemicals for his darkroom. Ask. Students know about operating on a shoestring, and if you're honest with each other, this helps set up a good relationship. The student knows that down the road, when your business is going, you'll be able to pay cash.

copyright 1999, Martha Beth Lewis
Contact me about reprint permission.

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