Sabine Mueller's picture

How To Split The Cost Of An Architectural Shoot?

Hi everyone!

So I just got hired by a new architecture client to do a photo shoot of an office building and they were asking to split the costs with several parties (furniture supplier, interior designer etc.) that were involved in the project. Up until now, whenever I had a shoot, I charged the client who hired me a creative fee and then a license fee per image. Each additional company that was interested in the pictures, I only charged the fee per image.

How do you go about pricing for several parties that want to split the cost? Would I increase the creative/photographer fee by a certain percentage and then split it between everyone and then add my regular fee per image (depending on what they intend to use them for)?

As you can tell, I haven't been doing this for a very long time, but I appreciate any help I can get and want to do this right.


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Florent LARIVIERE's picture


I'm not a professional photographer, but my common sense from other business type would bring me to split the creative cost in a proportional way than each company participate in the project (based on the total budget on the project). Then add an additional administrative cost for each company (you'll need to issue more invoices, manage payments and so on). Then stay on fee per image for general images (you may include also a base image package with the creative cost - increase the base price as well).

This is also the opportunity to propose to each company involved some dedicated shots focused on their products - bringing that way additional revenue for a fair shared creative fee already paid.

This is only my opinion and my feeling about this :-)

I agree with most of Florent's comments. I would raise my creative fee by 10-20% and divide that by the # of parties involved. The licensing of the images would be by the image and based on the desired use of each client. After that I would add an administrative fee to each invoice of 20% with the understanding that if the invoice is paid in full by the due date the administrative fee may be deducted. Using an administrative fee in this manner has really made a difference in how soon I get paid.

Sabine Mueller's picture

Thanks Kerry! That's exactly what I did. :) I read about the administrative fee in "Best Business Practices for Photographers" by John Harrington and thought it was a great idea.

Yup...that's the same place I "stole" it from. I typically only use it for clients that are out of state and want me to photograph something local. Even had one that paid in less than a week and didn't deduct the fee. I contacted him and he said don't worry about it.

Hi Sabine-
Industry standard (as understood by one who's been in the industry over 25 years) is to add a % to the creative fee for each additional client to account for the additional licensing. If you split creative and licensing fees (I don't) then you'd be increasing the licensing portion. That % varies among my peers between 25% and 40% for each additional party. Then the new total is divided by # of parties.

For example, architect, interior designer and contractor want to share costs. Your fee (inclusive of creative and licensing) is $500 plus $500 in production charges. You are using 25% as your multiplier. So - 1st party fee: $500. 2nd and 3rd party fee (25% of $500) $125 each. Total fees: $750+$500 (production charges)= $1250/3= $416.66 per party. Then you can add your admin fee to that.

Usually I bill each party separately for their portion, using actual totals then deducting other parties' participation from that. Then each party sees the actual total of the shoot, not just their part. I believe it helps to remind them of the actual cost and shows them the value of cost sharing.

Of course, if a party comes along after the shoot and wants images, I license those on a per image fee basis that does not give any kind of break. That encourages them to join next time and reinforces the value to my clients of sharing costs. They are then inclined to do the work of collecting the parties so I don't have to solicit them, and I reap the benefits of higher fees for a shoot.