How Much I Charge for My Photography

This is a bit of a taboo subject among photographers, but in this video, I look back at my work and how much I charged and what validated that rate at any given point in my career through to today.

Starting out at £150 per photoshoot and moving through to charging large creative fees, licensing, production costs for retouches, digital techs, assistants, stylists, background sourcing, prop stylists, and producers involves a lot of changes that can only happen with time. In this video, I look back at my very first images and their financial value. I then go through the progression of my work, looking at who my clients would have been and how much I would have been billing them. As well as this, I go through three key points in my career, looking at the quality (or lack thereof) in the work, my mindset at the time, and what I thought was good.

Photography is very subjective, and I think the subjectiveness also morphs throughout our journey. I show my first drink photography and then compare it to a plate of spaghetti. At the beginning of my journey, I would have thought the drink photograph was a better image. However, over time, my understanding of photography changed, as did my perspective. My pricing also reflects this.

Something that I didn't mention above was the usefulness of the A.O.P. calculator. When I am talking about fees, this is what the industry uses to find an approximation of what the usage is worth. Sometimes, you charge more; sometimes, you charge less.

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11 Comments

I thoroughly appreciate your transparency in these videos.
It is useful to note that things like restaurant food photos and real estate photography are two fields that offer good starts into higher end food and architecture shots.
The difference in both those fields from the former is that each shot now takes a lot more preparation while the lower end shoots often have a client tapping their toes till you are done.
I know you are not in what some feel is a major market but it also serves to demonstrate that a client who demands your work will travel to you.
I have been fortunate to have a good paying career with jobs in the high mid-range but without the need for all the trappings of assistants, stylists, studio managers and gear rental. For me the freedom of a simpler life is worth it.

BTW if you are American and 70 years or younger Spaghetti-Os were a part of your lunches and many dinners.

I think once the market opens, prices for photography services will take a large tumble downwards as there will be a huge amount of photographers hungry for any work. lets wait and see.

Scott Choucino's picture

Yeah its going to be super interesting. I am just in pre production phase for three big jobs for once lockdown ends. Will try and put something together once I feel I know more about how things are panning out.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

It might be too slow of a restart to bring enough income for many. I mean undercutting may not be worth the effort and investment vs getting a daily income even with low pay.

"I mean undercutting may not be worth the effort and investment vs getting a daily income even with low pay."

who knows. in times of survival, uncertainty and even panic, people will do anything to get some money. thats your opinion and thats fair. we can only speak for orselves but not for the masses.

im going to guess that many may find some other work other than photography and supplement with photography work and will drop prices just to get anything in their very thinned out wallets.

more then that that, I think there will be a lack of clients demanding jobs by photographers. this is my opinion only but fear forces people to give up on many unnecessary things.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I don't disagree at all. For established photographers I do not think this is going to be a problem at all. Nothing changed for me in 2008 and I am expecting my clients to want a fast restart with limited risks.

fingers crossed I hope for you buddy you go back to your norm as it was before covid.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I actually have money out due but some clients only paying at 90days. So I am hoping to not face any client filing for chapter 11 or 13. For us small suppliers it can mean 100% loss

Benoit Pigeon's picture

And by the way, never leave any equipment of value overnight at a client if you can avoid it. This, no matter how well you know that client for the same reason, 13, foreclosure...

it never happened that I left equipment anywhere. im hoping for your sake they are able to pay. I know rent this month went smooth for me, but next 2 months I may just pay half so I can have extra money in pocket for unexpected emergency should the need arise. you never know. nothing is stable now. I have very little work going forward, its like a tornado this situation.

Nada Ivanova's picture

photography is art , and you can charge what ever the customer is ready to pay.for newborn photography i started long ago at something like 100$ and now i am at 220 or so.There always be people thinking photographer A and photographer do the same , and they will just try to get the cheapest.For them , photo, potatoes or computeur its all same , they take the cheapest.then you have people you go for some qualitie or they want work with "eye". they like this and dont like that.they are ready to pay an extra to have the work they wish....