A Photographer’s Guide to Rates and Pricing

Time Related Costs

Any time that you work in post-production must be taken into account. If you are taking photos in RAW you will no doubt be putting in some time to processing and converting the files to a popular format for your clients. Selecting the best shots and basic processing doesn’t take much time if you know what you are doing so it shouldn’t add too much to the price but must be included. It is, after all, your time and therefore a cost. The rate that you use for processing doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as your charge out rate but it is probably better to stick to a standard.

Activities that you should be charging for include:
• Selecting and basic processing of colour images
• Advanced editing and retouching
• Conversion of images to black and white
• Compressing the images for instant sharing

The easiest way to work out the rates for this would be per photo supplied.

Let’s say you are able to convert a photo to black and white in about y minutes and your rate is z per hour.

x= (z/(60/y))/y


Converting to B&W

y= 1.5 minutes per photo (90 seconds)
z= Rate of 400/hour

x= (z/(60/y))/y
x= (400/(60/1.5))/1.5
x= (400/(40))/1.5 (This shows that you are able to convert around 40 images per hour. It can be reduced by batch processing.
x= (10)/1.5
x= 6.67 per photo

Once again this must be repeated for each activity. Your client does not need to see any of your rates but you need to be sure that every cost is accounted for.

You also have costs associated with the computer and software that you use. It is a good idea to add these costs into this section

Output and Printing

Supply on Disk
If you supply the photos on disk you should include a rate per disk supplied based on the cost of the disk and any time you would take writing it and printing on the label. This is really quiet insignificant on a quotation but it is a cost so it need to be included. If your client wants 100 copies of the disk, it becomes significant and you don’t want to have to cover that cost out of your profits.

If you intend supplying prints to your clients you could do the printing yourself or use the services of a printing company.

Printing yourself can be very expensive you need to consider the cost of the printer, maintenance, paper and the ink. It is not always easy to work this out mainly because the ink cartridges are the biggest cost and every photo uses different amounts of ink. The manufactures estimates on the number of print you can get out of a cartridge is always unreliable. It is however a convenient service to offer.

On the other hand, printing companies will charge you a set price per print which usually works out a lot less expensive and you don’t have to cover the cost of the test prints. Then you have to consider that your client would have to come back to collect the prints at a later time and you will incur travel or courier costs to collect the prints. The more you get printed the less your extra costs will be per print.

As with everything else, as long as you know your costs you should be fine. Photo printing is one area that you can look at other people’s pricing in your area because it is quite easy to work out. The printer charges you x, you add on y and that’s your price. This is a supplied service so you can add a reasonable mark up and/or profit straight onto it. If you do, make sure you exclude it from the profit mark up at the end.

3 thoughts on “A Photographer’s Guide to Rates and Pricing”

  1. I am a hobbyist and have been approached for a few jobs, and have worked out pricing similar, but had not included school fees, will include going forward, so thank you, and the article as a whole I found very informative.


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