What to Consider When Pricing Your Photography Services

The pricing strategy may be one of the most important and trickiest aspects of your photography business. Setting a price tag on your work against the market is a strategic move. Check around your area and your specific branch of specialty as well as the photographer’s market and you will be able to establish a base rate as well as a ceiling rate for the type of work you offer against the existing market.

The basic pricing for event or advertising photography consists of a daily fee, creative fee, usage fee and miscellaneous expenses:

Daily fee is the minimum base rate you charge for your time as well as your expenses with substantial revenue for a day’s work.

Creative fee is the amount charged for your talent on top of the daily fee.

Usage fee is an added fee charged for the type of usage required for the images you produce. 

Miscellaneous expenses are the out-of-pocket expenses related to the job you were contacted for plus a marginal percentage added to the price of any items as well as services used for the shoot such as extra gear, props, rentals, stylists, insurance and models.

For commissioned work that requires you to travel, you can add the travel and food costs as well other expenses required for the shoot. These may include accommodations, assistants, stylists, models, car rental, telephone, parking, and the like.

For the images that will be used for commercial purposes, you can include a royalty fee with a one time flat rate fee. These are best represented in coffee table books and magazines. Here an advance may be given to cover expenses and a royalty for each copy sold.

For clients that hire on the basis of retail photography, most photographers are hired with all inclusive rates. Such assignments include weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, etc. You can set a flat rate per hour. Usually you can require a non-refundable down payment to protect yourself from cancellations. You can also set a number on the size and prints of photographs per package.

Stock photographs are priced on a per photograph basis. Perceived value plays a large role in setting expectations for the value of an image and since this is subjective, it can range from a few cents to hundreds of dollars. Some factors that affect the pricing of stock photos are: budget range of a buyer, type of usage, rights upon being sold and the originality of the image. For example, a photograph used for a print advertising for a magazine with a circulation of 3 million will be priced differently from the same image used for a billboard seen on a freeway.

In any case, whatever your field in photography, always make sure that whatever way you price your work, you still make a profit from it. Pricing can be a challenge in the beginning but the more familiar you become with how the market works and how your services compare with those of other photographers, the better you can gauge a reasonable yet profitable price range.

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