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Stop! Don’t Do It! $20 An Hour Is Not The Way To Run Your Photography Business

Idiots 2I don't mind putting it bluntly that this is one of the many DUMB requests that come through Thumbtack. Sadly, there are photographers that will quote on this and think they are making $20 an hour which will not sustain a full time business. Anyone wanting to make $20 an hour, should deliver pizza because it's not going to help very much in a photography business paying for gear, overhead and everyday living expenses. FYI, overhead doesn't have to be a studio. It can be transportation, cell phone, insurance and other business expenses.

Anyone working as a self-employed full time photographer cannot sustain a business at $20 an hour unless he or she wants to work for less then minimum wage after all the expenses are taken out: taxes, gear, insurance, transportation and other normal operating expenses.

Here's a look at the short version of being a full time self-employed photographer:

Even if it's just the photographer, it's hard to live off of $20 an hour if the photographer is trying to be self-employed and run a business. Think about it! There is the cost of living (mortgage/rent, food, utilities, transportation, insurance and more) unless the photographer is still living off mom and/or dad or other relatives/friends. Then, there is the gear that is needed to operate as a photographer not counting necessary business expenses like taxes, etc.

Any photographer that takes on a gig like this should be part-time, trying to build his/her portfolio or simply clueless about what he/she should charge (Hint: It's more than $20 an hour) for photography services. Does this client expect edited images or unedited images.

In closing, some direct words to YOU the reader:

If you are a photographer, don't take on 10 hours for $20 an hour unless you truly need the work to eat your next meal, really want to build your portfolio with the project or there is something else in it for you because it's sure not the money at $20 an hour. The $100 an hour events are no harder to work than the $20 an hour events. Guess what, sometimes the $20 an hour gigs will work you harder. STOP THE MADNESS! Let some other photographer do it because there is always another photographer who will.

If you are NOT a photographer, please don't put a request like this online without adding something like, "We are broke and cannot afford to pay more than $20 an hour. We are hoping their is a new photographer out there that would like to help us out while building his or her portfolio and making a little money at the same time."

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David Williams

About The Author: David Williams is a professional still photographer and videographer focusing on corporate and commercial work. His love for still photography began in 1982 while still in High School. David started making money at photography in 1982. David and his wife Brenda started working together in photography in 1988 when they met and were married in 1989. Brenda is the photo editor for the business. David and Brenda have two daughters in their 20's. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed: our goal is to respond as promptly as possible. You may also call David direct at 919.628.2902. You may share this content using the larger social icons above this bio section. You may find David on various social platforms by clicking the smaller icons to the left of this paragraph under David's headshot. Please visit our home page as well.