There are a lot of photographers out there these days, and an increasing number of them are dipping their toes into the waters of professional assignments. Maybe it’s shooting a wedding for a friend, or creating baby photos of your cousin’s new kid, or perhaps going so far as to establish a web site and hang out a shingle for shooting commercial assignments and events. Whatever kind of photography you’re going to charge for, there’s one important factor that many photographers don’t pay enough attention to: how should you charge?
I like to boil it down like this: if you’re going to do the work of a professional, you should price your work as a professional would too. That doesn’t mean you need to charge as much as an established pro would. It just means that you need to understand the ins and outs of assigning appropriate fees. To that end, this story from New Media Photographer illustrates a great point: price the photographs, not the intangibles. There was once a fairly standard industry practice of charging by the hour. Then photographers who were really good and worked efficiently realized they were being penalized for their skill. So a more fair pricing standard—one that charges based on the type and number of photographs to be created—has emerged. It’s better for clients and better for photographers. The key is that new photographers understand how to price their work fairly so that they won’t be taken advantage of. And this story is only the start. There are countless resources online for photographers looking to understand pricing for professional services. For a good start, check out the ASMP’s Paperwork Share and other resources for professional pricing guidance.