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I have access to a decent semi-pro photographer with digital slr camera but no lights/boards/tripods etc.
What would be the minimum kit needed in this area to for example shoot pictures of furniture being made in a factory? or products in storeroom / shop? estimated start-up costs to buy this kit?
What rates would you charge for on-site photography and creation of product images for use in brochures / websites ? Per image or per hour? Higher or lower rates than web design or programing ?
A basic second-hand lighting rig can be picked on an auction site (of your choice ;)) for about £200-300 - look for minimum of a softbox + slave. The Softbox diffuses the light removing harsh shadows - the slave is used to break up the single light source and makes for more contrast and interesting shots - this can be also used as a 'hair light' for portraits - the slave is usually a flash lamp + silver umbrella.
Light tents for smaller products are easy to set up - making one from coat hangers and canvas takes only a few hours.
For product shots have a decent roll of paper handy to keep your backgrounds clean - nothing worse than editing and cleaning up fussy backgrounds - talk to your local printers they can usually offload a stale reel if you're nice :)
A tripod is essential, there is a lot you can't do without one. Expect to pay £100+ for a decent one - Manfrotto and Cullman are good brands.
As for rates - I usually use the: 'what you think you are worth per hour' + 'a little extra' + 'expenses' equation.
Our studio does product photography, we are passionate about photography, but by no means Pro's - our rate is £35-£50 an hour for product shots and retouching - and anywhere upward of £200 per day + expenses for location and props. It varies from that and is often priced by product/client/brief.
Our contract photographers tend to ask for about £350-400 per day + expenses.