At the core of the housing crisis right now is one simple fact - people were buying houses they could not afford. Now, you can lay the blame on the banks who told people what they could afford, or the elected officials who bent the bank executives over and got them to loosen credit requirements, or you can lay the blame on the people themselves.
Consumerist (Former Treasury Secretary Says He "Forgot" That People Had To "Afford Their House", 12/22/06) cites the New York Times article:
“The Bush administration took a lot of pride that homeownership had reached historic highs,” Mr. Snow said in an interview. “But what we forgot in the process was that it has to be done in the context of people being able to afford their house. We now realize there was a high cost.”How does this apply to photography?
Before you can know what to charge, you must know what it costs to be in business. If you are charging $X and you don't factor in costs like depreciation, or the fact that you will be paying between 40 and 50% of your profits to the government, the sentence "I forgot to include the cost of my cameras in my cost of doing business", or "I spent all the money that came in. I forgot that I had to pay half that to the government."
Forgetting these things is unacceptable. Here's a re-wording of the quote above:
“John Doe Photography took a lot of pride in his photography and how so many people were hiring him for assignments,” Mr. Doe said while in line for his welfare check. “But what I forgot in the process was that the business of being a full-time photographer has to be done in the context of charging more than it costs to be in business. I now realize there was a high cost that wasn't reflected in what I charged my clients.”
Do not be like a starry-eyed Doe in the headlights. Determine what it truly costs for you to be in business, and take that into consideration when setting your rates. Check out the NPPA Cost of Doing Business (CDB) Calculator to get a start.
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