Keep Headshot Session Fees Simple

Keep the process simple.

When you are doing headshots, in a sense, you are shooting and burning, right? You are delivering a final digital file to them. So, keep the process as simple as it can be. You’re not going to have a doctor want to come in for IPS – they are busy. Headshots are a small purchase.

You have to really understand that this is what’s going through the mind of our customer in this situation. They are thinking, “I don’t have time for your bullshit, photographer. I just want to buy my headshot, put it on my website, and be done. I don’t want to be your friend.” So, keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate it. Don’t add process that doesn’t need to be added. Show them what you are going to offer. It should be clear.

Here’s what Sal delivers: $200 per headshot, beauty retouched. A beauty retouch includes removing of zits, removing shiny skin, whitening teeth, whitening eyes. It’s going to be a fully retouched image. Although, you should not make them look fake. You should not make them look like plastic. You should not remove every wrinkle on a 55-year-old real estate agent’s face. That’s ridiculous, right? You’re going to have to manage that and push back on any clients who request that.

They also get a full resolution color image and a web resolution color image. Why? Because these are business professionals, not tech people. Sal doesn’t want them to have to think about resizing their images for the web, so he will resize them. They also get a full resolution black and white and a web resolution black and white. Why does Sal convert to black and white for them? Because yet again, he doesn’t want them adjusting contrast or whatever stupid shit they’re going to do online to get it to black and white, because then you’ve lost control of that image.

Sal wants to give them everything they need. It is a few clicks to get there. You can even create a preset to come up with your black and white look, and now they’re happy. You’re delivering them everything they need for $200. They will thank you for it.

Get it right in camera

Now little word to the wise: you need to nail your shot in camera, or your retouching costs and time are going to go through the roof. You can send these images a post-production company, like Evolve (shameless plug 🙂 ). If you do choose to go with Evolve, the cost for a typical beauty retouch, like a headshot, is going to be between five and seven bucks. Stop wasting your time. Your time is worth more than seven bucks. This is just common sense. Stop wasting your time doing stupid shit. 

But if hair’s out of place, you need to swap eyes, you’ve got to remove things from eyeglasses, reflections. That shit is going to cost more money. This is why it’s so important to get this as close to right in camera as you can. Pay attention to the details: the hair, the collar, the tie. Make sure the buttons are buttoned, make sure the tie’s pulled all the way up. Hair; make sure for females; hair isn’t like all over the place, in their eye, coming across their face. This stuff is either not able to be edited or it’s going to cost you a lot of money to do it. Or worse, you’re going to spend your own time doing this stupid, menial work that doesn’t need to be done.

Should you do bulk discounts?

Back to keeping it simple. Sal Charges $200 for a headshot. If five people come in, he charges them $1,000; 20 people come in, it’s $4,000. Whatever your fee is, stick to it. When somebody comes to Sal and they’re like, “We’re going to send eight people” Sal says, “Great, it’s 200 bucks per person.” If they say, “Well, we don’t get any discount for eight people?” Sal says, “No, there’s just no discount. It’s 200 bucks.” What he will do is throw in a free team shot for them. There are ways to make them happy without coming off of your fee. The truth is, they’re going to spend significantly more than the $200 per person. If you shoot it right, they’re going to keep adding to what you’ve brought to the table.

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