Commercial photographers can play an integral role in promoting your business, products and services.
However, it can be difficult to determine what a reasonable rate is when hiring a commercial photographer, as well as what it is that you’ll actually be paying for.
In reality it simply isn’t possible to give a single accurate figure for a hourly or daily rate that you can expect to pay any given commercial photographer.
This is because a number of variables will affect the rate you are quoted by photographers, including:
- the experience level of the photographer
- the city and country they are located in
- what the images the photographer takes will be used for, and how widely they will be distributed
- the brief they are provided with, which will determine whether or not they are required to hire assistants or rent additional equipment
- the amount of pre- and post-production involved in your shoot.
That said, it is possible to establish a wide margin for commercial photography day rates, if you keep in mind that the variables mentioned will impact these rates.
|Experience Level||Rates per half day||Rates per day|
|Specialist||€750 — €2,500||€1,500 — +€5,000|
|Senior||€750 — €1,500||€1,250 — +€3,000|
|Up & Coming||€400 — €600||€800 — €1,200|
With the basic margins established, we’ll now explain the different factors that will influence commercial photography rates and fees and why they can vary so significantly.
Defining commercial photography
Before we go any further we should first establish what we mean by commercial photography.
Commercial photography refers to any photography which generates images which are intended for commercial rather than private use, whether it is promoting products and services or generating publicity.
Commercial photography therefore has a relatively broad scope compared to other forms of photography such as wedding photography.
The fact that commercial photographs are intended for public rather than private use is important, as the extent to which commercial photographs are used in the public domain has a big impact on what you pay for them.
How do commercial photographers charge?
Commercial photographers charge for their services in a variety of ways, ranging from daily and hour rates to the more general but comprehensive creative fees.
Commercial photography day rate
Many commercial photographers will provide a daily rate to potential clients at request, allowing these clients to estimate and benchmark the photographer’s approximate cost for a project.
The daily rate will typically be calculated by the photographer based on their desired annual or monthly income divided by the number of days they expect to be active on paid projects.
This daily rate can be deceptive, however, as it may not include significant additional costs that can be accrued during a commercial photography project. This can range from travel costs to hiring equipment and crew.
Furthermore, clients may expect the rate to apply only to the days that the photographer is active on their shoot, when it may also be applied to days spent in planning and pre- and post-production.
Commercial photography rates per hour
Commercial photographers may also provide hourly rates when requested, also to provide potential clients with a yardstick to determine how expensive their services are relative to other photographers.
However, hourly rates are even more likely to be abstract than daily rates, as very few commercial photography projects will take less than a day to complete. That’s why it’s also unusual to find commercial photographers quoting half-day rates.
Hourly rates will be derived from the same process that photographers use to calculate their day rates. They’re likely to divide their day rate by the number of working hours in their typical work day.
While commercial photographers will generally be happy to quote a daily or hourly rate on request, many will prefer to generate quotes according to a photography fee.
This allows them to quote on the total cost of the project without confusing the client by charging for more days than they will be visibly active on the shoot.
Photography fees also allow commercial photographers to itemize all relevant expenses for their clients, providing a clear and comprehensive overview of what budget is allocated to.
These can include:
- hiring of crew and makeup artists
- travel and accommodation expenses
- prop hire.
The photography fees also ensure that quotations are highly customized to the unique requirements of each shoot and that clients are not confronted with unwelcome hidden costs during a project.
Licensing fees are a critical component of commercial photography pricing, and you should ensure that these are covered in any quotation provided to you by a commercial photographer.
The reason for this is that licensing fees are how commercial photographers tend to scale up their fees for clients with larger budgets, which means they typically don’t include them in their day rate.
For example, a client who requests 20 images for use in a local newspaper advertising campaign and a corporation requesting 20 images for use in a national advertising campaign could easily be quoted the same day rate by a commercial photographer.
However, the photographer would most likely significantly increase the licensing fees for the corporation relative to those charged for the local businessman.
Getting the most accurate commercial photography pricing
Ultimately the best way to get accurate commercial photography pricing is to contact suitable commercial photographers directly and ask them to quote on the project you have in mind.
Cherrydeck was designed to make it as easy as possible to find commercial photographers in your location and contact them for a quote:
- On the Cherrydeck home page select ‘Search’ on the top left corner.
- Enter your location then select the correct location from the list that appears beneath the location search bar.
- Select the type of commercial photographer you are looking for from the ‘Categories’ dropdown that appears on the next page.
- Tell Cherrydeck more about what you are looking for from a commercial photographer including:
- number of followers on Instagram
- experience level
- access to a studio
- availability of post-production services
- availability of videography services.
- Click on the ‘Show results’ button.
Cherrydeck will then provide you with a list of profiles of relevant commercial photographers in your location.
You can then view any of these profiles by clicking the ‘Profile’ button to access more information on them and samples of their photographs.
To send a message to a photographer click on the ‘Contact’ button on their profile. You can also save any photographer profile for future viewing by clicking on the ‘Save’ button on their profile.
For commercial photography inspiration, visit the Cherrydeck blog where we share recent collaborations between photographers and brands on Cherrydeck. For more information on the our services, visit the clients page.