Your Rate Card
Every photographer should have a rate card, even if you normally don’t create an income from your photography. If you don’t, and have not thought about it, then you are unprepared when an opportunity arises. Its fine for some to say its only my hobby, and I don’t need to make any income from it, but even for them I would say photography is an expensive hobby, equipment is outdated quickly and I am sure you have at least a few items of equipment or software that you would like if only you could justify it.
In an age when most phones have a camera and digital cameras are becoming commonplace, some may think photography should be free, but the fact that I can buy a cheap tool kit does not mean that I can get my car serviced for free or the fact that we have desktop printers does not mean we can produce magazine runs from our desk.
Establishing your rate card means you are for armed, know the sort of figures that make sense and can confidently expect to get at least this much.
So how do we set our rates, it might be that we start by looking at what the competition charges, it might be that we start by looking at NUJ minimum suggested freelance rates or we could start by working out our costs and then splitting this over time to get rates. Ideally you will want to look at each and then on top of this think about what extra or special skills or situations may add on top.
In a rate card we are looking to put a price on work that is charged by time for different types of work, reproduction charges or licences, and perhaps some special packages.
The rate card is the start price on top of this you may add some extras, extra rights, extended use of photos such as on the web, as well as in print, plus special or one off situations, special skills, special equipment and studio.
Your rate card may have discounts in some form for smaller businesses, or particular areas or classifications. As this is built in you don’t have to heavily discount from your rate card for anyone. Charities that have paid staff should be treated as businesses, small charities as small businesses and large charities as large businesses.
Some people may expect free photos, for example police officers, but a Chief Constable was recently reported as having salary and expenses of £172k a year and all officers were reported as getting £100 extra just for taking a phone call when at home, on top of their large salaries and perks. Even the lowest paid new recruit getting a higher salary than a very experienced paramedic. Councils likewise have the money to spend banker sized salaries to Chief Executives so can pay for photographs they want.
Generally with photography advertising and large or difficult or demanding clients have the highest rates, small businesses, small publications and in some cases editorial have the lowest, with other work in between.
What I would suggest is that you set first your standard rate, applicable to the top standard rate, and then look at the others from this.
What do others charge
You can find out what some have been paid for some commissions from a website that records this (links below), and this will perhaps give a flavour of what has been obtained historically. Remember to note the year of the transaction as prices and in particular costs have gone up year on year. If you are interested in a particular geographic area and within this an area of photography, then you can carry out your own market research. Approach them as if you were a potential client and ask their prices. Its as simple as that, well at least in theory. In practice as they are likely to charge in slightly different ways have different additions and the like, you may find it easier to do a comparison by looking at a specific job and creating a spreadsheet allowing you to record the various options and get a comparable price. What you will find is a range of prices being charged, and if you disregard the top and bottom two or three you will get a better idea of the normal range.
via Your rate card.