A Complete Pricing Breakdown of a $17,000 Photo and Video Project

Have you ever seen a photographer breakdown his or her pricing for a decently sized project? Me neither, so here's one.

I'm never sure if it's just us Brits that find the discussion of money so very gauche, but I avoid it like the plague. Even my closest friends will never hear about how much I charged for a job or even how much I spent on something; it's just not a topic I want to have. However, there is value in talking about money, particularly in business. I remember when I first started my business I was looking all over for how to price different jobs I was being offered and found nothing relevant. Instead, I had to assign rough costs to my time and expenses and offer that as a quote, which ended up being much lower than it ought to have been. A learning curve we must all traverse at some point.


In this video by Atlanta based photographer Evan Ranft, we get a thorough exposition of how he priced a $17,000 lifestyle job for a client.

Pricing is difficult, particularly for people new to the business, so what's your best tip? Leave it in the comment section below.

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Tony Clark's picture

Good video, I find that pricing can feel like the Stock Market at times. You gather information, try to decode their standard level of quality, what they're actually asking for and what their budget is while keeping a straight face.

Dana Goldstein's picture

You've never seen that? Then you've never watched Fstopper's Monte Isom tutorial series, which is FANTASTIC and all about this. Highly recommend. Maybe the guys could comp you one. ;)

Tony Clark's picture

You're surprised that I haven't seen this video before? I've seen a couple videos Monte has posted but I don't normally buy video series but I have numerous books on the subject.

Dana Goldstein's picture

I have no idea who you are. I was addressing the author.

Robert K Baggs's picture

Ha, a good point, Dana! I have of course seen it. What I was getting at — but didn't come close to explaining it well enough — is I've not seen someone give it away for free and that isn't at the top of their field already.

John Barbiaux's picture

Price a project based on what will inspire you to do your best work and don’t be afraid to lose a commission. Also, don’t expect to make big bucks if you’re simply recreating the wheel. Landscape photographers have the toughest job of all considering everyone and their sister has probably been where you are going before you...

Percy Ortiz's picture

past 8 minutes and Evan Rant... err i mean Ranft still hasn't said how exactly he came with the prices he sent... I absolutely hate when it is clear that the intention of the person that makes the video is not necessarily to educate but to get past the 10 minute mark so he can get paid

Mike Ditz's picture

Evan do you only charge for use?

Was that for a one day shoot? Do you charge for production expenses like assistants, prep days, grip and camera rental, location fee, lunch or post processing? Did I miss that part?
Are jobs just flat rates now? (serious question, I have been shooting for the same clients for like 12 years lol)
Most of my clients want to have some idea what they are getting for what they pay. That is so the above the line and below the line costs can be compared when in the bid situation.
This way of pricing is different than the fee/usage + expenses ( or + usage if broken out from the fee) formula that I use. But may be better if they can't pick at different line items.
What do you mean that licensing longer than a year you can "lose control" of what? Longer license is more money...

it was a bunch of good info, it would have been nice to see what $17k gets in Atlanta.

ETA the classic formula for large productions often worked out to be 1/3 fees and 2/3 expenses but this invoice seems to be all fees.

AC KO's picture

The video is very helpful in explaining how to negotiate licenses and be profitable! However, if you’re licensing your images & videos to clients, then those works should be “timely” registered with the US Copyright Office (USCO). Otherwise, there’s a disconnect.

It’s not necessarily that your client will breach your one-year licensing agreement, but rather third-party infringers who may exploit those posted works. Your timely registration gives you leverage to protect/enforce your hard work and licensed media.

Searching the USCO’s Public Catalog, I didn’t see any creative works registered under Evan Ranft’s name.

BTW, how do you prove (to a federal judge) that you actually created (authored) your photographs and video, and not the client (the negotiated license allowed Evan Ranft’s client to retain copies of the RAW files/video footage!). By quickly registering your copyright claims, the copyright statute grants you “presumptive legal” proof (prima facie evidence) that you have a valid copyright, and the facts stated in your copyright registration application (who’s the copyright author, copyright claimant, year of creation, year of first-publication, etc.) will also be deemed valid unless disproved: See 17 USC § 410 (Registration of claim and issuance of certificate); and 17 USC § 506(e) (False Representation).

In short, the court really, really needs to see your issued copyright Certificate of Registration to have legal standing and to accept your copyright authorship & ownership claims!

Watch just the first 20-seconds of this YouTube video to understand my copyright registration points: Joshua Kauffman is a seasoned Washington, DC copyright attorney litigator: https://youtu.be/cBOKkrleY3Y