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How Much Should Photographers Charge? (PetaPixel Article Thoughts)

Dollars With Up Arrow An article was recently published on PetaPixel about what photographers should charge. The article has received a lot of negative feedback on Facebook which is typical of social media. It has also received a lot of interesting feedback on the actual article link that you can find here.

Pricing is one of the most controversial subjects in the field of photography. Newbies will buy a camera, put it on auto, get a business card, call themselves a photographer and charge $99 to burn all the images to a CD. A friend of mine knows a photographer that charges $60. At the end of the day, if you are LOSING business to photographers charing these rates, you need to up your game and/or target a different market.

The article has seemed to ruffle some feathers by saying an amateur should charge a certain rate and professionals at different levels should charge XYZ. Then, there are those that say if an amateur is being paid, they are not really an amateur, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah. Then there are comments about not mentioning hourly, per image pricing doesn't work, the article is a waste of time and on and on and on.

I have skimmed the article. I have not taken the time to read it word for word and probably will not because it's so long. However, I will share some of my own opinions about what my own experience has taught me as it relates to the article.

Point 1....
Professional: $75-$250 per hour and Top Professional: $200-$500+ per hour
Some people say don't quote hourly. However, if a company wants me to cover a 3 hour event, I typically say that is ____ an hour and this is what you get for my time. The problem with a flat rate on a 3 hour event is if the client asks for an extra hour at the last minute, I don't want to talk money on site nor do I want to lose money because of a flat rate fee. The client knew coming it to it that my rate was ___ per hour and they'll know what an extra hour will cost. There are situations where an hourly rate can bite you in the butt, but personally, I think that an hourly rate makes sense for corporate events and likely many other types of events as well.

I also know the Raleigh pricing market fairly well when it comes to corporate event rates because I know other photographers in the market personally and I ask my clients/potential clients about other quotes. Therefore, I can honestly say that the guy who wrote this article is spot on for the range. The Raleigh market is typically $100 to $300 per hour for corporate event photography. That is based on fact not speculation.

Point 2....
Local Website Photography: $25-$150 per image
The key factors to this one are what is included in the per image rate, does the photographer have a minimum number of images that he or she will come out for and is there a time limit for the shoot.

Let's break it down a little based on some of what I know about the Raleigh market and not about my speculation.

Home Real Estate Photography In Raleigh
A photographer doing houses in the Raleigh market will not typically get even $25 per image. It's more of a flat rate type service. At $25 an image based on 15 to 25 final images per house, that would be $375 to $625 per house which is far above what the average size home on the market will yield in pay for photography.

Most Other General Website Photography In Raleigh
There are likely exceptions to this beyond home real estate photography, but as a general rule, the range of $25 to $150 per image is a good guideline for local website photography. For example, as of this post (subject to change) I charge $395 for 3 final basic edited images which is based on no more than an hour on site and may include something like 3 individual headshots. That's $131 per image. For higher volume, like 10, 15, 20+ images, I do adjust the per image rate to be less than $131 per image. However, for me, I'm not including our level of retouching and all that we bring to the project for $25 per image. But I'm willing to discuss each project on a case-by-case basis. On the higher end, I have been paid $500 per image. Again, it's all about the project and the need.

In Closing....
Just like my thoughts above, the article on PetaPixel is not flawless. However, it does provide some price point ranges that I think are helpful and applicable to the market that I shoot in. It does give a nice general overview that photographers struggling with pricing can use as one of many resources to help establish their own pricing.

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David Williams

Short Bio About The Author: I'm David Williams a professional commercial photographer focusing on corporate and business clients with some personal branding, lifestyle photography in the mix. My love for photography began in late 1981 while still in High School. I started making money with his camera in 1982. Brenda, my wife, and I started working together in photography in 1988 shortly after we met. Brenda and I married in 1989 and have two adult daughters. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed. Call or Text: 919.723.8453. Please reach out to connect with me on LinkedIn.