Commercial photography is all over the place in terms of pricing. Some commercial photographers charge upwards of $1000 per day, while others work for even less than that on a shoot.
Knowing how much a commercial photographer’s charge will depend on two things: what type of commercial photographer you are and where you are.
However, If you are a photographer who has been doing commercial photography for any length of time, the question of how much to charge may have crossed your mind.
We will address this by looking at how to determine what type of work is being done and then looking at rates from other photographers in that niche.
Why charge for commercial photography?
There are a couple of reasons commercial photographers charge. The first is to make money by selling photographs.
There was once a commercial photographer that I worked for who went from job to job trying to get the lowest possible rate so he could maximize profit, and then he’d work 100 hours per week. His photography was amazing, but his life was not.
How to calculate a rate for commercial photography
Commercial photographers who work in a more traditional commercial setting will typically charge by the hour.
However, commercial photographers who work on their own often do not want to track hours, so they will instead charge a flat rate for the shoot/project.
What to include in your package?
Pricing commercial photography can be a little more complex than pricing editorial work because commercial photography usually consists of two jobs: purely commercial jobs and those that have commercial components.
The former is generally what commercial photographers will charge for the project, wherein commercial photography itself remains as part of their overall billable hours, usually at a percentage of the commercial photography work done.
The latter is often what commercial photographers will charge an hourly rate for, wherein commercial photography remains as part of their overall billable hours at an hourly rate.
Pricing examples and what they mean
You’ve talked about commercial photography rates for commercial photographers who sell their skills to other retail companies, but what can commercial photographers charge if they are being paid as photographers? The answer is an hourly rate.
Pricing by the hour
If you’re doing commercial photography work and you’re not getting paid a flat commercial photography rate, commercial photographers will charge by the hour.
Examples of commercial jobs that commercial photographers often charge an hourly rate for include: commercial stock photography, commercial location scouting and commercial on-location shooting (as opposed to working from a studio), assisting commercial photographers on commercial projects, etc.
However, to determine how much you need a commercial photographer to charge by the commercial hour, commercial photographers need to know their commercial shooting time and how much commercial photography needs to factor into that commercial shooting time.
What commercial photographers should know about commercial photography contracts
Commercial photography is becoming more and more commercialized; commercial photographers are being asked to do things that most commercial photographers never got asked for before.
Examples of these new commercial contract clauses include. All work must be done in the commercial photographer’s studio or on a location provided by the client (where commercial photographers previously would use their photography studio), with commercial non-compete clauses and the like.
However, all is not lost for the commercial photographers with these types of new commercial contracts.
Commercial photographers should still be commercially free to do commercial work for other clients as long as those shoots are done in a commercial photography studio.
How to determine the value of your commercial photography work
If you’re a commercial photographer, the chances are that over time; you’ve shot at least one job where someone asked how much your commercial photography was worth.
Chances are also good that when this question comes up, commercial photographers do not have the answer.
Most commercial photographers cannot determine the value of their photography because of their personal experience.
Most other commercial photographers include only a tiny percentage of what they’d need to know to determine the value of commercial photography.
That’s why the best way to figure out how much commercial photography is worth is to look at professional commercial photographers who are shooting similar types of commercial projects that you will be doing and learn from their experiences.
Tips on negotiating a price with clients
Many commercial photographers offer commercial photography.
As a result, commercial photographers need to keep their prices competitive to get as much commercial work as possible. Clients appreciate knowing that when they hire you, they will be paying competitive rates.
Professional commercial photographers know how to negotiate rates with clients.
Suppose you are just starting out as a professional commercial photographer. In that case, there are several things you can do to make sure that you are charging reasonable rates for your work.
One way to eliminate the risk of lowball bids is to offer your services for commercial photography at a flat fee. It eliminates any question of how much you’ll charge for your services.
Though the benefits of a flat rate are many, there is one drawback – clients may not want to pay such a flat rate.
If that is the case, you can always offer to do all of the work at your regular rate and then suggest a lower “online” rate if they are willing to pay for it.
Another approach is to charge a rate for the first few hours and then lower your rate if the client wants more time.
The bottom line is knowing how much you should charge for various types of commercial photography, keeping an eye on other professionals in your field, and knowing how to negotiate.
You will be able to offer competitive prices for your services and still make a good living.