This is a question I was asking myself a lot when I started taking photos. When I decided I wanted to turn my passion into a job, I had no idea IF and WHEN and HOW MUCH I was supposed to get paid. At the beginning what was more important for me, was creating images and get better! I wanted to reach a certain level so that I could start to get paid. I felt like the economical and business side of it was going to come after, however you do not make a living out of it and if you need to pay bills, it is not very convenient.
So the question is...when do you understand you reached that level?
Answering can be easy and tricky at the same time. You see, I have noticed there are photographers out there that are creating amazing photos and still think they need more experience to get paid and other photographers who are taking average images and get paid a lot. It does not make any sense and at the same time, it does!
You start charging money for your services,
once you feel confident about the work you are providing.
As you might guess, it is a very personal decision, however you should be able to feel it when you are proud of your images and when you think if you were a client you would be satisfied of the result. We can be so critical towards ourselves and our work and we constantly try to improve and get better that we might forget to appreciate our little accomplishments and the goals we reached along the way. Trying to appreciate little milestones we set for ourselves can help improving self esteem and being confident of our work will make us start earning money, the earlier, the better!
Personally, the transition from my hobby to the real business, has been done gradually and at first I started working part time. I still remember the first paid jobs and the enormous satisfaction I got after receiving the money my work was worth of!
If you are starting out and you have to set your prices and you want to discover my experience and what I have to say about this topic, you should check my podcast!