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What should my rates be?

Rob Hudson

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Hi everyone!

I have just got a one-time taking photos for a company I occasionally work with as a drive, they only require one image to be taken and I am struggling to work out how much to charge?

I'm starting out as a self-employed photographer and I am used to charging by the hour, or per job. I am also to see how other people work out their rates (per photo/hour/project? Do you take other expenses into account?)

Hoping for some help!
 

Snips

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Oh golly, how long is a piece of string? I have my standard prices for event photography but when it comes to a one off I do charge by time. And enjoyment - the more fun I have the less I charge. I was asked to photograph a sort of small seminar do, preceded by a photograph of a group of the directors to be used as advertising. I took around 10 of the directors, was told 4 hours for the seminar so said £150. In the end I was at the seminar for 3/4 hour so charged £75. Then they wanted me to travel for 1/2 each way to photograph a new member of staff so just added £15.

On the other hand, I photographed some office staff in London (3 hours by train each way with 6 hours of setting up lights, photographing and clearing away) and that was £1,000 per day.
 

Rob Hudson

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Hi Snips,

Thank you, this is really helpful! I'm going to take your advice and charge per hour, then hope that one day I can make a thousand pounds haha!

Ironically I'm vegan and they want me to take photos of meat products! I'm wondering if I should charge an extra fee and then send it to some environmental charity... I'm just kidding, but it's tempting haha!
 

Snips

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Hi Snips,

Thank you, this is really helpful! I'm going to take your advice and charge per hour, then hope that one day I can make a thousand pounds haha!

Ironically I'm vegan and they want me to take photos of meat products! I'm wondering if I should charge an extra fee and then send it to some environmental charity... I'm just kidding, but it's tempting haha!
On a lighter note I was once told, if you give a price and they shout, rant and threaten you physically, you've gone too high. If they remain quiet or say that's good value you've gone too low. If their eyes start watering you've got it just right :D

Pricing of anything is really difficult and this is why I'm really flexible with my prices - I make a judgement and see what happens. I bear in mind that low prices = cheap and high prices = quality so my judgement is on the sort of customer that I'm dealing with and, more importantly to me, how comfortable I am with the project in question and knowing if I can create the high quality they may be looking for.

I photograph horses for a living but competition, e.g. show jumping, point to point and so on. If someone wants a personal photoshoot with their horse, yes I can do it, but I tend to run away as there are others near me who create lovely shots that I cannot. On the other hand, with my recent wedding they said they were looking for an equine photographer and not a wedding photographer and they knew me - that makes a difference. I charged my top price (I knew the bride is a vet so not on £2k a year, this time the price was over £1k lol) and they're really happy with the results.

Next weekend I've another wedding but am not charging as much as the venues just aren't lending themselves to nice backgrounds so I won't be comfortable in charging top dollar and when we discussed pricing I could read that my top price was too much - I'd much prefer to get the job and be paid as opposed to not getting the job and have no income at all so I dropped it purely because we were beginning to like each other socially and also I wanted to make sure it was me photographing and not a competitor.

Finally, putting numbers on it, with horse competition photography there's a standard rate of £10 per hour or £100 per day - rather different to weddings :D
 

Activ8

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I am a commercial product photographer and you always charge by the time needed to finish the project. For me it is easy as I charge a daily rate with a half day being 60% of a full day. Sometimes I only supply the client with a single image but there may be 2days work that has gone into it. Travel, set-up and finally post processing that can actually take me longer than taking the photograph in the first place and may go through several revisions before the client is satisfied with the image. You need to work out an hourly rate you are happy with and don't underestimate your costs. You need to be looking at between £20-30 per hour plus travel expenses minimum as you will only average 5 billable hours per day across a 240 day working year if you are maxed out and this would only gross you turnover £36,000 per year without taking overheads into consideration.
 

Skyshot

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When considering your hourly rate, base it on £1,000.00 per day minimum.

Any job should always be plus expenses.

Anything less, you're not a photographer - you're just a bloke with a camera. ;)
 

Mike Singh

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Ironically I'm vegan and they want me to take photos of meat products! I'm wondering if I should charge an extra fee and then send it to some environmental charity... I'm just kidding, but it's tempting haha!
Interesting conundrum! Common sense is better than spiritual sense.

I’m a Hindu vegetarian and generally won’t photograph meat or animal slaughter or selling. But that’s just me.

I did photograph a village fish seller last year though.
 
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