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How Much Should You be Charging?

Lesson 42 from: Filming Families: The Modern Family Video

Courtney Holmes

How Much Should You be Charging?

Lesson 42 from: Filming Families: The Modern Family Video

Courtney Holmes

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Lesson Info

42. How Much Should You be Charging?


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


The Spark That Inspired Me


What Are Family Films?


Gear for Family Films


Camera Settings for Video


Frame Rates & Slow Motion


Picture Profiles & Color Grading


Settings for Audio Capture


Lesson Info

How Much Should You be Charging?

How much should you be charging for these? This is like, the golden question, right? So how much should you be charging? My question back to you is what is it that you actually wanna be doing? And how much of this do you want to be your business? And how much do you want to spend all the extra time on the video editing? How much is it worth it to you to take this time away from your family for this job? What I don't want you to do is go into it charging less than you think you should because you want people to book you because you don't think you're worth it. Don't do those things. Do a realistic check on the take home profit for the hours that you put into the business. Work out exactly how much time it takes you to make a film. Don't guess. Like, actually time it. There is things that I'm sure you can get that help you track your time on your computer. Press it when you start working, press it when you finish. Figure out exactly how much time it takes you to make a film. I think the ...

hardest thing about this work is that it is so much more time intensive than photos. And you know, photography is, I think it's easier to, this is not a moneymaker. I'm not gonna say you're gonna go out and rake it all in through this, but you need to make sure that you're charging appropriately for your time off the bat. So my advice to you would be that you work out exactly how much it take, how much time you spend on it. Make sure that you're making more than minimum wage. It's not worth it just to have the clients if you're hardly making any money off of it, okay. What you're better off doing is making sure that you are doing strategic portfolio building. So you're picking clients, if you're spending time doing work for free, it needs to give you something in return. So don't just go out and offer this to the first person you see on the street. You need to be really strategic about who you are using and who you're offering this to while you're starting out and make sure that they fit your ideal client. First you need to work out who your ideal client is. I could do a whole class on that, okay. Work out who your ideal client is. You need to create an avatar for them. Know who they are, know where they shop. know what they do. Know everything about them. The best way to do this in a quick, quick and short little way is think about who your most, who your favorite client has been. Who's your all-time favorite client ever. That's probably your ideal. So whoever you've connected with the most, use them and start to create a profile around them and that's gonna help you start to narrow this down. But know who that is, and pick people who you think are gonna really fit into that when you do this portfolio building. When you offer this as a, an option to people, so if you're pitching this to someone as a, you're ready to start doing films, so you've done maybe a couple personal projects for yourself and you're ready to start doing this for a family. So you might approach them and make sure that you're very clear that in exchange for doing this, they'll sign a model release so that you can share the work, alright. This is an exchange. I also will have a price that's set and I send an invoice and I have a discount showing that they got 1500 dollars off for whatever it is. So their price is zero, but they see how much it's worth. Okay. And making sure that they're signing a model release. There's nothing worse than doing this for a family and you're putting a lot of effort into it and they're pretty much getting it for free, and you are not able to show the work online. What it goes back to, the more that you do this, the more you learn from it, you get better every time. So you get better when you shoot it then you go and you edit it and you're like should've done this, should've done this, should've done this. So, I would definitely recommend doing at least three to five before you start trying to offer this as a, as a product in your business, alright. So make sure that you're already comfortable with it. Once you do set the price where you want it to end up being, okay. Don't start out with a discounted price as being, okay there's 700 dollars and then try to gradually increase that. If your goal price is that eventually you want to make 1500 dollars from these, say that your early bird price is 700 dollars or whatever your minimum is that you need to make, okay. Say that there's a time limit on how quickly that offer lasts. But they need to know that the in price is actually this, they're getting a good deal, okay. So, my point of this is, is just make sure that you are making enough for it to be worth the time that you spend away from your kids. Or from your family. Or your loved one. Or the things you love to do. Whatever it is that's wonderful in your life, make sure that it's worth your time. A lot of us do this because we love it. Like, it feels good to us to do it. And that it's very easy to think well, but I love doing it so it's okay. But no, it's easy to get burned out like that very quickly, okay. So make sure that you're charging enough. And I can't tell you what that is. Because everybody, it's different for everybody. Your mortgage is a different price than my mortgage, okay. Everyone lives in different areas. I live in Australia, the market is different there than it is in the U.S. Within Australia the market is different in the city versus in the country. So, it is different for every person, there is no right or wrong. It's up to you. Just make sure that you are doing the math, and you know exactly what your costs are of running the business. There's a really great calculator that I've used in the past, it's the Colorvale pricing calculator. You can put in all this information, you don't have to do the math. You can put it all in and work out exactly what you need to make per session based on how much time you have to do them. And honestly, it's an eye opener, okay. Once you do that, you will get a really quick grasp on how much you should actually be charging. That can then be the goal. It's not to say you need to go out there and be like, alright I'm offering family films now, they're two and a half thousand dollars. You know, you don't have to necessarily do that, but have a goal in mind. And work towards it, okay. If you're interested in my pricing, it's all on my website. It's all there for anyone to see, so you can see what that is. All inclusive pricing. So, this is where things are different from photography. Like, you can't go in and shoot a film and then make it, and be like, I really hope they buy it. Right? It's not like photography and doing in-person sales. Like, it's an entirely different thing. So if you're doing in-person sales, there is a way, I'm sure, to do it so that you're maybe, your base price includes the cost of the film and then any of the photos you can do in-person sales with. That's up to you. I like to have it just all be all inclusive. We talked earlier about my childcare situation, about 15 hours of childcare a week, it's just much more time efficient for me to just be all inclusive and I don't have to do any extra sales sessions. It's just done. They pay for it upfront, it's all good to go. They get everything and we're sweet. I do the same thing for photos. It's very, very hard to go all inclusive for photography, it's very hard to go all inclusive straight out of the bat if you're brand new. Especially when it's at a higher price point. And so doing more of like a session fee and a top package is another option to do it. So but what I wanna make sure that you do if you start incorporating films into your business, is make it be all inclusive so that it at least your session fee covers the cost of you making the film. Don't try to make it and hope they buy it, okay. Because it's just a lot of work that might go to waste if they say no. So, they might love it and, I mean, I doubt they would say no, but you never know, right. So you don't want to give that option. Charge well up front, I do offer payment plans. That helps, and also a lot of people will book me so far in advance that they'll split out their payments over the course of the year, and it makes it a lot more affordable for them. And so I think if you're feeling a little bit nervous about having such a high price point for all inclusive pricing, then offering payment plans is a good way to smooth that out, okay. Are there any questions on any of that? Okay so, I'm not gonna tell you what the price should be or how much you should be charging. It should be enough to pay your bills and make a profit and have some savings and be worth the time that you spend away from your family. Right. Otherwise, you may as well go and work stocking shelves somewhere and not have all of this stress hanging over your head of running a business and all of the extra admin and marketing and everything else that you do that feels like it goes unpaid, right. So, think about that.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Shot List Worksheet Template
Shot List Worksheet Example
Ideas for Your First Film
Discount Code

Ratings and Reviews

Adam Nicholls

Worth a watch! Courtney provides a clear and organised class, she is also very passionate about what she does which is always nice to see. She has a great back story which is fantastic. This course is good for beginners who have some knowledge in photography and want to learn more about video. I would recommend that people do not refer this class to the bible of filmmaking as I feel you can expand further on what Courtney teaches. Some useful tips for beginners but some methods I personally feel can be taught differently. I feel a gimbal is a useful bit of kit if used correctly. You can still use a gimbal when in manual mode providing you follow the basics rules! Obviously if Courtney prefers not to use a gimbal then that's also fine but I wouldn't discourage students from exploring useful filmmaking tools. Slow motion can be achieved with 50/60fps however I feel other frame rates should have been discussed like 120fps. I liked that Courtney engaged with the students as it gets them involved and will help them remember what they have learned during the class. Thank you for taking the time to share some of your knowledge

a Creativelive Student

Courtney's work is absolutely amazing and inspiring. I feel lucky that she has chosen to share her process and that this class is available! After watching all the videos and trying my hand at this video thing, I am feeling really encouraged and inspired to do more- both personally and professionally. I appreciate the way that she breaks things down in the video and that she shares her thought process. A really great course!


Courtney’s course completes me! I have storytelling “holes” in my film previously, but this course helped fill those holes to create a flow and a film with emotion. Not only is the course wonderful (and well worth every penny) but Courtney is wonderful as well! I had such an amazing experience at Creative Live!!!!

Student Work