Help me price a photography job, please!!
August 19, 2006 10:48 PM   Subscribe

how do i price a digital photography job for a website?

I am in need of a photographer's help. my boss asked me to take photographs for a website he is having built. i am educated as a photographer, and have done some fine art work, and a tiny bit of commercial work (friends weddings and the like) but i am not a working photographer, though my images are definately professional quality. i shot roughly 70 good images, he is using about half. i am the sole photographer for this site. i have been on-site 4 times, and including editing have about 45 hours invested. i will retain ownership of the images, but am giving him carte blanche to use the shots however he likes. he is also giving me credit on the site with a link to my website. he is a fair, kind and honest businessman, and i know he wants to pay me fairly. this is not a small business, and it will simply be a business expense for him. i have no interest in ripping him off, and frankly would have done the job for free for the experience. i know, however, that he is happy to pay me whatever the job is worth. i just don't know what that figure could possibly be!!! anyone?
posted by metasav to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
Stock Photography sites like and charge $399.00 a year for using the images and there's a ton of restrictions on those. You may want to negotiate a flat fee for each photo (something reasonable - $20 an image, for instance) while making sure he can't go and use them again in print, etc without your permission, or offer to charge him more and allow him to have the complete rights for print, etc. With something like that, I'd not balk at charging $50 an image.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 11:02 PM on August 19, 2006

Charge per image, or by the hour. Your call. Per image seems to be more common with stock imagery, especially if you are 'licensing' the photo to him to use for one specific content type.
posted by SirStan at 11:11 PM on August 19, 2006

Pros on custom shoots charge for both. Charge for your time to actually produce the photos (45 hours), then add a license fee for each image they use, depending on how it's used. It's like portrait photographers have a (often cheap) shoot charge and a (often expensive) print charge. Deduct an amount for the link, if you think it'll generate business for you.

For your records, I charged AU$175 for snapping and licensing two 100x100px b/w shots of a person for a site, no credit, and I have no formal training (I went to a course on how to become a pro photographer though!). The clients don't have print quality versions.
posted by cogat at 2:52 AM on August 20, 2006

This isn't specific to photography, but this previous post on setting rates summarizes some information on how independent consultants can set rates. As a photographer, you're technically a consultant and thus these recommendations may still hold for you.
posted by acoutu at 8:59 AM on August 20, 2006

I don't think that the stock photography prices are relevant -- stock photography makes money by selling the same photos hundreds of times. This is custom work.

If nothing else: Take a good professional hourly pay rate. Multiply by the number of hours you worked. Add all expenses.
posted by winston at 12:42 PM on August 20, 2006

You don't have a location in your profile as far as I can see but here's some UK info:

National Union of Journalists guide prices

Also, if you plan to go down the licencing route, here's some info from the Association of Photographers.
posted by dogsbody at 7:12 PM on August 20, 2006

There are a lot of ways to arrive at a price for this sort of work, and I'm afraid they should all be done before the work even begins. But, the usual way of charging for a corporate job is to start with your day rate. This can be taken down to a half day rate, but I've never used nor heard of people using less than a half day rate. Certain (dangerous) situations call for a double day rate, but that doesn't apply here. Then, you need to consider the licensing of the images. Licensing depends on how the images will be used and for how long. Pictures for press kits might be less than pictures for websites which are probably less than pictures for annual reports which are definitely less than pictures for advertisements. And all of these cost more to the client if they'll be used for five thousand copies instead of one hundred (or hits on a website, for instance). On top of this, there's all of the work to be paid for. Some photographers I know charge a per image capture fee. If you're using film, that's a per roll fee in addition to paying for development and printing. There's usually a per hour editing, toning, processing fee. There's also usually a flat fee per delivered cd. If you're scanning film, you might add a per image scanning fee or bill that into your post-processing time. Also take into account your expenses (gas, food, and lodging). Figure out all that. Then you quote an estimate and then you negotiate. But you've already shot the pictures and don't have much room to negotiate. Day rates vary wildly depending on quality of photographer and reputation of photographer. Of course, I'm sure the next guy down the line "frankly would have done the job for free for the experience" like you said, which makes it hard for everyone else who tries to make a living at this sort of thing. The basic rule of thumb is that if you're charging for your time, you don't know the value of your images. If you're charging for your images, you don't know the value of your time. With assignment photography, which is what this was, you need to charge both for the images and for the time.
posted by msbrauer at 7:42 PM on August 20, 2006

um, thanks for all your help, but i was really hoping for, ya, know, a figure? $$$$$. what is the deal?
posted by metasav at 8:17 AM on August 21, 2006

This appears to be the unanswerable question: MetaFilter can answer everything except "how do I get to a dollar price for photogaphic work".

posted by baylink at 3:40 PM on August 24, 2006

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