Professional Photography – How Much Should You Charge?

You are now your own boss and you haven’t a clue how to come up with the pricing for you services. The fact is you are the only one who can set these parameters. There are however a few rules of thumb that are inherent in any enterprise as far as pricing is concerned. Overhead and out of pocket cost is the very first consideration. How much does it cost you to take the assignment? After you have answered that question you need to consider in things like time, travel and editing.

As a freelance photographer you may not always make a lot on an assignment. You have to keep your cost competitive. Find out what some of the other photographers in the area are charging for different things. It may be best to narrow your scope at first to only one or two types of projects. Each type of photography has a different rate depending on the services you are offering with the sitting. The three most common types are commercial, portrait and event.

Below is a list of items common to all three:
– Travel expenses
– Equipment
– Labor
– Supplies
– Paid assistant (if applicable)

The very first thing to do is to come up with a base rate for your time. This is your cost for all of the items mentioned above. This will require that you know a little bit about how to calculate depreciation. Spreading the cost of your equipment out over time is a good business practice. Once you have determined these cost, add them together and divide them by twelve months.

Your next task is to determine how many hours of shooting that you can project that you will be able to complete a month. Keep it realistic. Now make the annual cost your dividend and the hours per month your divisor. The sum is the set amount any project will need to cover. Asking for this is just a way to break even, so you may wonder how to make a profit.

It is almost like retail in a way. You can do a markup of the base rate for any percentage you like but it is always best to be inline with others are offering. Go a bit higher than what you really want on your pricing this leaves room for negotiation with the perspective clients. They feel that they are receiving a discount and you still are able to get your base and profit. Some jobs will demand that you rent equipment or even a separate studio. This should be included as added expenses passed along to your client. Be careful not to mark those expenses up because it isn’t exactly secret info.