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Pricing Photography

In general, pricing for an assignment is determined by five factors:

1. Preparations

It makes no difference an assignment is “small” or “big”, planning is the key to carrying out a successful shoot and post-production work.  Every assignment is different and some of assignments require extensive preparations while others need very modest preparations.

I do NOT charge for the first two hours of preparations (consultation).  Each additional hour is billed at a rate of $350 per hour.

2. Assignment hourly rate

The total cost reflects the time spent on an assigment.  I charge $350 per hour (with a minimum of three hours per assignment).  If an assignment consumes more than eight hours during a single day, an overtime rate equal to 150% of the standard houry rate applies for each additional hour.

3. Expenses

Here is a partial list of some possible expenses for a photography assignment.

  • Permits
  • Hotels
  • Airfare
  • Mileage, tolls, parking
  • Car rental
  • Customs
  • Meals
  • Messengers or shipping
  • Props — purchased or rented
  • Backgrounds
  • Location rental
  • Wardrobe
  • Catering
  • Trailer rental
  • Misc. supplies (e.g., tape, bulbs, gels)
  • Equipment rental
  • Assistants
  • Stylist
  • Models
  • Casting director
  • Hair or make-up artist
  • Location scout
  • Carpenter
  • Set designer

Billing Policy

I do NOT supply clients with receipts for any expenses.  As an independent contractor rather than an employee, I am required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to verify my expenses on Schedule C, and the IRS does NOT require you to maintain those receipts.

4. Post-production

Some clients ask: “Post-production, what is that?  Aren’t all pictures digital?”

The fact is that digital cameras allow us to immediately preview an image.  This is sharp contrast to the days of film cameras which ended about a decade ago.  Back then after an assigment, film was dropped off at a lab and there was a waiting period of a day or two for film to be processed, picked up, examined on a light table to choose the best frames (editing).  The images were then sent back to the lab for prints, and when ready they were delivered to a client or placed in an album.  With a digital camera we can instantly preview shoots, download them to a computer and the process is mostly complete.  However, all those steps may be just the beginning of a larger process more commonly called post-production that can be immense fun but also very labor and time intensive.

Each image needs to be corrected for contrast, brightness, color balance, size, cropped. A caption which describes the scene should be embedded into the image.  These are the basic steps and requirements for event (news) photography.

In the case of Portrait, Advertising, or Product photography there is much more work to be done by applying desired filters and effects to produce the desired image.

In short, post-production is often equivalent to a full day's work done in a “dark room” during the former film era.  Today we have many more options and precise control over the end result, giving us the ability to produce more images with same result at a much lower cost.  In digital post-production it is possible to apply effects that were formerly done on film at the time of shooting, such as applying a soft lens effect, resulting in a lower price per unit.

I charge $250 per hour of post production.

5. Usage or Licensing Fee

This fee is determined by how the client is using the photographs.  Typically, the larger the audience for a specific use, the higher the usage or licensing fee.  For example, a photograph used in a print and web ad campaign for a consumer product would have a much higher licensing fee than a photograph used in a business-to-business company brochure — the former has an audience in the millions, the latter perhaps a few thousand.

The price of a license is not affected by how difficult the photograph is to execute or what the production expenses are.  Those issues are calculated above.  This fee is all about the use by the client.  It is possible for a photograph, executed with minimal expenses or expertise, to generate an extremely high licensing fee.  The point here is the use, not what it took to create the image.

The above rates are informational and intended as a guide for potential clients.  Please contact me for an exact quote.

Public Relations Event Photography - Handouts






 Assignment hourly rate:
Digital proofs:

The rate quoted is for 12 months media usage. The rate does NOT include expenses or preparation time rate.


Travel and Weather Days

Cancellation fees