Photography jobs

This is what you should charge for your photograph

“What should I charge for my photograph? “” Where can I find the amount to invoice? Long-time business photographer and educator and mentor Don Giannatti says of all the things he’s asked about photography before, pricing questions are by far the most common. It says it like in this video on how to approach pricing your job.

There’s nowhere to go, it’s as wacky as you think

– Don Giannatti

Don says that contrary to popular belief, there is no single pricing structure, especially for commercial photography. He gives an example by saying that a portrait photographed today by this photographer could cost $ 350, while someone else takes another portrait and could earn $ 25,000.

How is this possible you will ask me? They’re both headshots! How can one photographer charge so much more than another? The answer seems to be a bit complicated. According to Giannatti, when you change the way you think about “how much should I charge?” To “What value is that to the customer?” You begin to understand how it works.

Don calls this “sustainable pricing,” explaining that this is where a photographer earns enough money to thrive. “That means you cover your expenses, pay your bills, put some profit back into the business, and the customer is spending enough to get what they need to grow their business using your images.

Don goes to great lengths to state that sustainable pricing does not “overtake your customer”, or that you feel ripped off by your customer. It’s always a win-win where you both come out on top.

Don says the prices are not based on what we do as photographers. In fact, he even goes so far as to say that a traditional operating cost calculator rarely benefits a commercial photographer. That’s because he says that’s not the way photography, advertising, and marketing work.

Don gives the example of a new model who comes to you for a photo from his modeling agency’s website. You could charge $ 350 for this. Three weeks later, the model agency calls to say that Maybelline has seen the image on their website and wants to hire you to do essentially the same image with the same girl to launch a new product. Are you still going to charge $ 350 for this? No of course not. This image, if placed in 11 glossy magazines and used internationally, could net the company over $ 800 million for a new product launch.

You are most likely going to charge in the region of $ 20,000 for this image. Same model, same lighting, same camera. Different objective and therefore different value for the customer. This is why, according to Giannatti, a CODB calculator cannot work.

So what you need to do, says Don, is find a place where you can balance the value of what you do for the customer and the value of what we do for us. The price on our side can vary greatly. What usually doesn’t vary much is the amount the customer spends on their images in each case. Don says this is where you need to do your research and find out what they think your image will do for them. This is where the perceived value lies. If you have great perceived value then the customer will be willing to pay whatever it takes to get that image.

Don also gives an example that destroys the myth that the lowest bid always wins the job. With big budgets at stake, clients and agencies that hire photographers are generally more concerned with a job well done than they are with the lowest possible offer. By setting prices appropriately, you show that you’ve done your homework, that you know what the job involves, and that you’ll take it seriously. If they think the value is there, then the job is yours.

The other thing Don recommends is setting your own minimum rates for particular types of jobs. This way, you can give relatively quick and informed responses when customers ask you what your price is, and it gives you a good starting point to add and negotiate the offer.

Pricing your labor is never easy, and even in the best-case scenario it may seem like a stab in the dark, but using a value-first approach will help you establish an appropriate price for the work.