What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
My standard rate is $50/hour and many projects can be completed within that hourly range. After get an initial understanding of the scope of the project, I can generally guarantee a firm price. If the project involves changes from the original specification, I'll work at the hourly rate until the job is finished and approved.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
It's best to get to know a bit about the people and the project before I start. Knowing the expectations of the client is very important and needs to be understood completely. Every job is unique and requires individual approach. There are no cookie-cutter projects. It's also important to get the pricing right out in the open so there are no surprises for either the client or myself.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I've been working with both photo and digital images for decades now. I've worked with Adobe Systems engineers on both Photoshop and Premiere Pro. I'm a Certified Color Management Professional and Photoshop Professional. My training includes courses from Eastman Kodak, EFI, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Apple.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I started my career in the publishing industry preparing images for high-end real estate and tourism brochures and catalogues in South Florida. I eventually opened my own studio and photofinishing lab. I worked in the professional audio industry for years and started producing animated videos, including services of audio mixing and voice overs. I now work exclusively with digital images, both photo and video.
What types of customers have you worked with?
My customers range from individuals with small budgets to major industry giants including Time Magazine and Architectural Digest. Every client, regardless of size, gets my very best efforts.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I shot a family reunion over the holidays that turned out extremely well. I had free license to shoot candidly throughout the afternoon. Lots of telephoto shots from across the room to be inconspicuous. I mixed with the family members like I belonged to the family and in the process, captured over 700 images. Because the shoot was a casual/candid assignment, we ended up with an amazing variety of personal interactions. We culled the images down to the top 200 and made memory books for each family. The photography took three hours. The post editing took another hour, and the books were produced and delivered within days. Total success for client and photographer. Everybody was happy.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
First, and maybe most important, don't let price be your only qualification. In most cases, the lowest price service has a reason for being a low-price service. If you are looking beyond your own capabilities, look for someone who is confident about his work, has a proven track record, has the experience to produce professional work, and one who loves what he/she does. Sometimes the lowest price indicates a lack of experience or capability. Good work, produced on good equipment, produces good results.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Very important question. As a customer. Can you articulate your concept clearly? Do you understand the process/scope/complexity of your project? Is price your only consideration? Real professionals always charge more than amateurs but they produce professional work very efficiently, saving you money and heartache.