SL Photography: A Guide to Keeping Your Prices Fair

How many times have we heard “How much should I charge for…?”.  If you are not sure how much to charge for photography work in Second Life, here are some guidelines we have compiled from experience and research:

Service Sitting/Event Fee
per person/group
per photo & up to
per photo & up to
per photo & up to
Profile Photos 300L – 500L 50L 100L 500L
WeddingPortaits 1000L – 3,000L 100L 250L 500L
Wedding Day/Event Photography 1000L – 10,000L 100L 300L 500L
Couples Portraits 500L – 800L 75L 200L 600L
Merchandise Photography 100L – 1000L 50L 150L 250L
Fashion Photography 500L – 3000L 100L 300L 500L

Sitting fees: It’s up to you to decide whether or not to charge a sitting fee for your services.  Sitting fees are a compensation for your time whether or not your customer decides to purchase any photographs or not.

Pricing your photos and packages: Price your photos according to the level of effort you put into finishing the photo.  Now if you are very experienced with SL lighting, windlight and other elements of in-world photography and are able to get the perfect shots in with little or no postwork, then you should definitely price your sitting fees and/or portraits according to your level of expertise.  Especially if your finished portraits are exceptionally pleasing to your customers.

This is why photographers with better PC graphics are able to charge more  They can take advantage of the more advanced lighting and graphics settings which allows them to do less postwork.

The prices above are up to the amount shown.  It’s fair for an ametuer photographer to charge up to 50L for one profile photo.  This means anything less is comfortable.  If you feel that you want to charge more, go for it!  But just remember that your reputation is dependent upon word of mouth.  Sometimes it’s necessary to start by charging less (and often free) in order to get customers to rave to others about your work.

Another great idea is to sell your finished portraits in portfolio books.  You can make them copy only for individuals or transferable for models.   You can of course charge more for copyable/transferable portfolios.

An ametuer photographer in SL is someone who may not have developed the postwork skill needed to be considered more advanced.  An ametuer is familiar with basic SL camera controls but needs to grasp the concept of lighting, windlight, and graphics settings in SL.  If you are an ametuer,  you can increase your experience and skills by taking more photos, gaining more clients, getting repeat clients, and taking some classes in SL on the different topics of photography.

An advanced photographer is familiar with most aspects of SL photography and is “comfortable” with their postwork process.  They have an established customer base and an established portfolio or gallery.  Advanced photographers become gurus by gaining more experience, clients, and by becoming well known for their work in various SL communities.  Others respect their work.

Photography gurus not only have a firm understanding of SL photography, they are able to teach and share their methods and theories with others.  They can be noted as gurus also by the amount of photographs they have on display and by the wide variety of their customer base.  Gurus are skilled in windlight and SL lighting and have most likely mastered their postwork procedure using a variety of filters, macros, and other helpful tools that get the job done quickly and efficiently. 

So which photographer are you?  Ametuer, Advanced, or Guru?  Or are you somewhere inbetween?  Do you have some helpful advice for others who are trying to establish themselves as SL photographers?  How much do you charge per session and per photo?  Do you sell your photos in sets?  How do you let your customers choose the photos they want to buy?  Let us know by leaving your comment below!

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