While you’re trying to find your way in the competitive world of professional photography it can be difficult to figure out how much you should be charging for your work.
When you started out you were probably doing a fair amount of free or low-paid work to build up your portfolio and experience levels, but at some point, your vocation needs to start paying for itself.
So how much should you charge for photography work?
Answering this question is not as easy as giving you a fee table to work off. The amount that professional photographers charge is determined by several variables, including:
- experience levels
- cost of living in the photographer’s location
- the types of images being taken, and what they will be used for
- whether or not the photography requires models, assistants, or special equipment
- the amount of preparation and post-production required for the shoot.
Each of these variables raises pricing questions of their own, and you can easily find yourself doing time-consuming competitor research that won’t really do much to help you establish realistic pricing for your specific services or requirements.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution for pricing your photography jobs.
The cost-of-living equation
Ultimately what your photography costs come down to is how much money you need to make to earn a reasonable income as a photographer who is new to the industry.
Assuming you don’t want to live off ramen in your parent’s basement, you will have some basic lifestyle requirements which your photography will need to fund to be a viable occupation.
The first thing you need to do is answer the simple question of how much money you need to meet these requirements every month.
Once you have done that you need to realistically assess how many days of each month you expect to be busy working on photography projects. This includes planning, shooting, and post-production.
At the beginning of your career, it is likely that you’ll be working on fewer projects and have more downtime. A 10-day work month is a reasonable expectation, with the rest of your time spent on marketing and acquiring new business.
The final step is to divide the amount of money you expect to earn by the number of days you expect to be doing client work in an average month.
So, if your goal is to earn $3000 a month as a photographer, and you will be working 10 days a month, your daily rate will be $300 per day.
If you like you can use this figure to calculate an hourly rate, based on how many hours you expect to put in during each day of business.
Photography fees – how to price photography sessions
It is important to note that your day or hourly rate does not represent what you will charge for photography shoots.
Your day or hour rates are intended to put a price on units of your time and assist potential clients to quickly evaluate how affordable you are relative to other photographers.
However, there is more to a photography shoot than just your labor.
For example, you may need to invoice for additional costs like:
- photography assistants
- equipment rental
- location rental.
Furthermore, additional costs will apply to projects based on:
1. post-production work required, which will typically be determined by the volume of images the shoot is expected to generate and how much editing is required
2. image licensing terms and usage rights.
There is no single hourly figure that can take all the above factors into account whilst still providing a client with a fair quotation.
For this reason, photography jobs are typically priced by photography fees in a proposal.
This will include the estimated days required to complete the project with your daily rate applied to these, along with all additional costs involved in the shoot and delivering the final product.
How to write a photography invoice
Typically, you will need to pay for more customized or attractive templates, but you shouldn’t have any problems finding a template to get you started.
The most important things you need to include on your invoice are:
- the date and invoice number
- your business name, address, and contact details
- the billing details of your client
- the name of the project
- a table itemizing each item and price that comprises your photography fee
- a project cost total with any relevant taxes applied
- your banking details.
There are also a number of convenient data collection tools you can use to optimize booking and scheduling clients, as well as to keep everything well-organized.
Finding photography clients
Once you’ve worked out how to price your photography jobs in line with your income expectations, you’ll face the next hurdle, which is finding clients.
Cherrydeck was designed to give photographers a professionally designed platform to showcase their work to potential clients looking for photography services.
Signing up to our busy platform is 100% free. Once you have signed up with Cherrydeck you’ll also have access to:
- New commissions and collaborations made available on our platform.
- Tools to boost your Instagram reach and following.
- Discounts on software for creative professionals via our Partner Deals program.
- The ability to present your events to our large creative community.
Visit Cherrydeck now to find out more.
Or discover how to make a photography portfolio for a job interview, in this article.