Prijzen van Kunst - Charging clients according to Picasso

Although it only takes a split second to take a photograph and a bit more time to make one, a truly good photograph will be cherished for a lifetime. If we consider an excellent photograph to be art, is it then fair to say that it took one's entire life to be able to create this piece of art and charge the client accordingly? According to the artist Picasso the answer seems yes. But then how and how much to charge?

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Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.” So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?” “Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied. “But, what?” the woman sputtered.

“How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!” To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

Picasso's story about pricing your work gives an interesting view on charging clients by the hour or by the project. Based on the legend it seems that charging by the project is the safest and most honest way of pricing your work. First of all I would give myself a personal bonus when I succeed to efficiently and quickly finish the assignment. Secondly, it wouldn't harm the client if I would need to take more time than estimated. That's a win-win for all concerned!

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