What are my rates?

Just got the following email:


I’m curious to know what your average rates are, and if you bill by the project or by the hour.”

How much a photographer charges – and why – is worthy of a blog entry. Not that it’s not been discussed elsewhere, but hopefully if enough professionals repeat the same basic principles, then it’ll become common knowledge.

So, how much do I charge?

It depends.

The short answer is that I calculate my rates at R500 per hour (of shooting) (that’s approximately US$60), in order to realistically cover all of my overheads as well as the additional hours spent on research, admin, correspondence, image processing and file-handling. That is also what my market can realistically sustain. Of course if there is excessive pre- or post-production I will bill R500 per hour for that additional work. This is what applies here in Cape Town, South Africa – things are going to be slightly different in New York City or Base Station 10, Antarctica.

Certain clients prefer to be billed per time and others per project, but internally I calculate based on what I know my hourly rate should be… it’s the only consistent and responsible way to run a photography business.

Of course I’m flexible, so will happily negotiate fees with clients in a way that satisfies both parties (sometimes that means that I refer them to another photographer whose work in that particular field is of a good standard and who may be willing to offer a reduced rate).

Final usage of the images has a major impact on rates. Clients who intend to use images commercially have higher demands and bigger budgets, whilst private individuals seeking images for personal use are generally working on a more limited budget. It is only reasonable that if a client intends to spend hundreds of thousands, or even millions on the printing, publishing, distribution and promotion of something featuring a photographer’s work, that the photographer be paid a fair percentage.

That’s the basic rate – things get a little more complicated when travel, special equipment, studio or special location, effects and makeup need to be added. If I need to arrange that, then I will have to bill in order to pay the people I subcontract, which would include compensation for myself for the time spent making these arrangements. The use of lighting and camera equipment is included in my basic rate, but I know that many photographers bill clients a separate rate/s for that.


And that’s it, without getting too complicated.

Please contact me if you’d like to discuss your project and my rates (my email and phone details are provided under ‘Contact’ at http://www.cadmusstudio.com).