I was recently contacted by an emerging photographer who wanted some advice on pricing a job that he had just shot. He’d actually already billed the job and since the client completely freaked out at his price, he wanted to see what another pro might charge for the same job, both to help him better understand pricing and also to show his client that he was not totally out of line.
The truth is that his price was totally out of line, but certainly not because he charged too much. Although this photographer is just starting out as a full time pro, he’s actually very talented and produces high caliber work. The job was a studio/product gig that took him about a half day between set up, shooting and digital prep time. His fee: $350, which included unlimited magazine and web usage for two years. Yes, you heard right. Two years of unlimited use for $350.
When I looked at the specific parameters of this job and ran the numbers (using Blinkbid and FotoQuote), the figure I came up with for two years of unlimited use was around $14,000. (And the client thought that $350 was too high? ) To be fair, I didn’t know the circulations of the magazines running the photos, but still: at $350 for two year unlimited use on anything, you might as well give it away.
I don’t say this to be mean. I didn’t always price things properly when I first started out, and I still don’t get it right every time. Pricing photography can be difficult, even for established pros. Every job is unique and must be priced as such. Before quoting, check with your pricing guide books and software, post questions on forums such as Digital Photography School’s Earning with Photography message board, or even call up another photographer on the phone to ask for advice.
Even after 15 years, I still do all three and you should too.
Senior contributor Dan Bailey is a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.
Click here to sign up for our weekly newslette