Photography Rate Details
Three main factors determine fair pricing for commercial photography:
Photographer's Fee + Production Expenditures + Usage = Your Costs
Photographer's Fee: We're not charging for the hours of photography! We're charging for what it takes to make the photography happen. As you no doubt know from managing your own business, there are many costs which must be offset in order to remain profitable. Of course these include studio rental, utilities, insurance, payroll, cameras, vehicles, marketing costs, office equipment, depreciation and the like. Additionally, the hours spent photographing represent only a portion of the time and resource investment required to plan and deliver your project. So... if the few days of actual shooting each week are sandwiched with days of preparation, meetings and a gazillion other activities that are not photography, then these costs must be reflected. Voila! That's the base Photographer's Fee. Ours includes reasonable time outside of the shoot (around 4 hours) after which a pre-post production fee of $75/hour. Speaking of "Father Time..." Other than pre/post production hours, we rarely charge based on time. Many of our shoots involve some sort of disruption to your daily work, or the operation of your facility. You've hired us to make images, and we like to keep the interruption to a minimum. That's our thing. This working style is a benefit to you, since you can then get back to doing your thing as quickly as possible. <...top>
Production Expenditures: In addition to the Photographer's Fee, your imagery will require a few other things to execute. What?!? You want a helicopter shot of your band on top of a mesa at sunset in the rain? Okie-dokey, but the costs for the pilot, rain machine, safety measures, staffing, permitting, insurance, etc will be passed on to you. Typical production costs include things like assistants, makeup artists, wardrobe stylists, set construction, casting, model's fees, props, food, Kraft services, travel, expendables, parking, location permitting, specialty equipment rental, etc. <...top>
Usage: Usage is perhaps the least understood aspect of the photography business. It addresses the manner, frequency and time period in which an image will be utilized. An image that is licensed for one-time use as a 1/4-page ad in local weekly 'zine is priced far less than one licensed for use as a monthly full-page advertisement in a national consumer magazine. That makes sense, right? The person who wrote the jingle for your local furniture store's radio spot probably got paid less for the use of his intellectual property that the person who wrote the "My bologna has a first name..." jingle. <...top>
Photographer's Fee, Production Costs, Licensing Fees = Your Cost.
A note on buyout: Unfortunately, the term "buyout" is not a legal term, is vague, and has different meanings to different people. For some photo buyers, the term "buyout" is interpreted as meaning the client can use the photo for unlimited placements for an unlimited time. This is actually an "unlimited license." Other buyers interpret "buyout" to mean an actual copyright transfer, or outright acquisition of the ownership of the images.
Unlimited usage requests are very costly because we must attempt to determine all the possible ways in which the images we'll be creating might be used. In almost all cases you (the client) know how you'd like to use the images and for how long. In most cases unlimited usage quotes will result in an estimate that far exceeds the buyer's budget for photography. In an effort to keep your costs as low as possible, we only charge you for the licensing that you actually intend to use. If your needs happen to change in the future, additional rights are always available to you! Why would you want pay for the rights to publish the images all over billboards in Germany, for the next 20 years unless you are actually going to do it? Of course, if you'd like to pay for 20-year rights for German billboards, we'd be happy to charge ya for it! :-)