Business / Photography

How to Price Your Photography and Start Making Money

I’ve definitely been there, feeling like you’re almost loosing your mind about how to price your photography.

You’ve finally got a portfolio of images that you’ve worked hard for. You’ve made some industry contacts, and people are starting to become aware of your work.

And you’ve finally worked up the courage to start charging people for your photography. But… where on earth do you start?

Pricing your photography is an essential part of running a business, getting paid for your time and eventually earning a living.
But why does no one teach you this in school? Where do you begin? Should you charge hourly or per day? And how much?

Well, this week’s blog post will hopefully shed a little more light on this subject. Even for professional photographers who have gained clients over the years, it can still be a struggle to figure out how to price your photography.

How To Price Your Photography – New eBook!

Before we begin today, I do have some exciting news to share with you all! I’ve written a mini eBook on How to Price Your Photography.

As creatives, sometimes the business aspect of charging for our work seems a foreign concept. I know that this was a very difficult thing to do when I had first started charging for my photography, I didn’t know where to start!

The information across the internet is very mixed, and often not relevant to a specific photography genre, locale or degree of experience. Therefore I felt there needed to be more constructive information out there for beginners on how to start pricing your photography.

The eBook is comprehensive and loaded with over 40 pages of pricing information, (mainly based from my experience as a commercial fashion and beauty photographer, however it does have information that also relates to other genres of photography.)

Topics covered include:
  • How to know when you’re ready to start charging
  • Figuring out your base rates
  • Charging a deposit
  • Qualifying your client’s needs
  • Negotiation & Usage

There are also 3 included free pricing templates available when purchasing the eBook.

  • Yearly Expenses Spreadsheet Template
  • Yearly Targets Spreadsheet Template
  • Quote Breakdown Template for Your Clients

It is available now for $8.99 on my website and through my blog. 😊

Click here to purchase:

How to price your photography

Now, before we start the blog post, I just have to add in a disclaimer here.
It is very difficult to give you a specific number or rate that you should be charging. Everyone is different and is at a different stage of their career. You need to look at your time, skills and experience.

This blog post is going to concentrate on the structure you need to implement to price your commercial photography.

As I said previously, every photographer and every client is different. A lot of people may be surprised to know that I do not charge the same amount to every client that I have.

Now we’re going to go through 4 main important strategies to help you create a commercial photography pricing structure.

Do Your Research

Firstly you must do your RESEARCH.
You need to look locally at what other comparable photographers are charging. (Comparable in the sense of their chosen genre and even experience.) This may consist of emailing them, or even asking a mentor or teacher.
You may even be able to research online and see if there are any photographers in your locale that do have a downloadable pricing list that you can view.

Keep in mind, this is harder to do with commercial photography. You may have noticed that many photographers are close-lipped about their pricing. This is because it can be so different for every client, and it can continuously change. But you must try to do your research based on your locale.

The reason I say to do research in your locale, is because someone in New York City for example, may be charging larger amounts that are very different compared to a photographer living in a small town. This is because they will generally have higher overheads such as rent and other expenses.

Don’t Undercut!

Remember, you don’t want to be undercutting anyone in your area, (even if you are a beginner!) This makes you an easy target for potential clients who maybe don’t understand the efforts that are put into a commercial photo shoot. And in turn, this makes it worse for the entire community.
It can make everyone far too competitive with their rates, therefore making it harder to create a living from your work.

You deserve to earn enough when it comes to keeping a sustainable business. 

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Figure Out Your Base Rates

Commercial photography can become quite difficult to charge standard rates as every job and it’s requirements tend to be different.
Therefore I’ve included a couple of questions below to ask yourself so you can work out your personal income needs.

What Are Your Yearly Business Expenses?

You need to work out what your yearly business expenses are.
So how much does it currently cost to run your business?

In the “How to Price Your Photography” eBook, I’ve included an expenses template to make it easier for you to figure out what they are each month. There are also quite a few examples there for photographers who are new to running a business.

How Much Would You Ideally Like To Earn In A Year?

You then need to figure out what you would ideally like to earn in a year.
And you need to be realistic with this number and take into consideration your experience and content/clients you may have even worked with previously. How many clients are currently asking you for rates?

You need to determine a series of base rates: hourly, half day, full day, retouching per hour/per image, (create a package with these rates if you wish.)

Half day should usually be more than half of the full day rate. This is because it can be generally harder to get a commercial shoot done in 4 hours, but then you’re also getting a decent pay for your time.

It can be hard to book two half day shoots into one day. So this is why I always charge a bit more to cover the fact that a client may have opted for the half day shoot. It’s also good to offer this option as there may be smaller businesses that may not always have the budget for a full day shoot.

Then use these base rates to tailor them to your clients needs, and alter them to fit your business as you wish.

Have You Qualified Your Client

It’s always important to qualify your clients needs when giving them a quote for a commercial shoot.
Ask them a set of questions when determining the quote. You need to figure out how long you’ll be shooting for, how many edited images there may be required, if you need to source anything or anyone for the shoot and the usage of the images.

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Negotiation is perfectly acceptable in this industry. You can use this as a tool to gain jobs that you really want to do, versus other potential jobs that may not be as beneficial for your portfolio and you don’t want to negotiate on.

If I can also sense that there may be a client with ongoing work, I usually try to make my rate more competitive to hopefully gain a repeat client and consistent work.

Realise that your time is valuable, and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your business.

Remember that you need to make a living, and you deserve to. You do not need to feel guilty for charging for your time.

Also remember that the rates you are charging now, will likely not be the rates you’ll be charging in years to come. Inflation is an important factor to consider, and your expenses will rise. Your skills will also become more refined and desirable, so it is perfectly acceptable to raise your rates in future. (I personally find it is a good time to raise them by a small percentage at the beginning of every financial year.)


Usage rates are usually determined by figuring out where and for how long the images will be shown and used.

Some common categories for specific usage include for print/magazine editorial, campaign, billboard, in-store marketing posters, tv and commercial, website, social media, book covers to name a few.

Quite often it is split into both PRINT or DIGITAL or BOTH

Usage is something often that photographers do not consider within their rates for commercial photography. I must stress that this is the standard for any sort of commercial photography.
It is essentially paying for a license to use your images and I have more detailed information about usage written in my eBook.

I hope this blog post has been in some way beneficial for you, feel free to leave any questions below as I’d be happy to answer them! As I said previously, ensure that you are charging enough to make a living. You deserve this, don’t feel guilty about earning an income from your hard work.

Until next time x

How To Price Your Photography

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