View Full Version : Photography question??

17-09-2009, 10:44 AM

Quick question – not really about jewellery but I thought someone might have experience and be able to help.

My OH was made redundant from this job as a cameraman three months ago. Since then he’s been doing freelance shifts for other TV stations but he is also trying to build up a photography business. He has gotten a job (a contact of my mum’s) photographing “baby bling” (glittery shoes, dummies with Swarovskis on and the like). It’s the same technique as photographing jewellery – in light box etc – which is why someone here might be able to help.

How much should he charge?? He’s already done a full day and is doing another full day of photography today and will then need to do post production work on the photos. I thought if someone here has had a pro photographer do their photos they could give me an idea of how much they paid.

He’s looking on this as a good opp to get more businesses (hoping she’ll tell contacts about him) so he’s reluctant to charge a lot – in case he loses business (sound familiar to any one here???) My fear is that he’ll under-price himself and then can’t shift his rate in the future.

I said that he should base it on the shift rate he gets for doing freelance camera work and charge her no less than £200. But I still can’t help feeling he might be undercharging. What do you all think???

17-09-2009, 10:52 AM
To be blunt - I think he should have agreed a rate before he started the work - and set up a contract, if only an informal one, for it - so prices and payment terms are laid out in advance.

I can't suggest a figure as it's years since I hired a pro photography and the photography work I do is usually part of a contract for other work, but I worry that if it's a family type contact, they may be expecting it as a favour or for 'beer money' - I hope he isn't going to have a problem getting paid at all.

17-09-2009, 11:22 AM
Boo's right, it always makes things a lot less uncomfortable if the rate's been agreed upfront.

I haven't commissioned any photography for a long time, but I would expect to be looking at a minimum daily rate from £250 to £500, with either a fixed rate or per image fee over and above that. Plus an hourly charge for post production.

Nothing wrong with a 'mates rate', or an introductory special, but it might be worth having a look at other peoples' freelance rates in your area and putting together a simple rate card to help manage expectations for the future.

17-09-2009, 11:30 AM
Apologies, I was typing one-handed whilst hanging on the phone and in being brief, it did sound blunter than I intended.

Photography is a potentially tricky issue as copyright and future use implications come into it as well as a daily rate - the client isn't just buying a one-off days work. A contract should really settle such matters before work is started.

I'd ring round local photographers, or visit their web sites to see what the going rate is. I do work for a photographer and his studio rate would probably be something like £600/day with various per image fees on top of that. But his work is incredible and he has a very, very well equipped and dedicated studio premises to fund.

17-09-2009, 11:38 AM

You're both right and normally he would (he has done so with a golf course he's doing a job for and a wedding later in the year - but again I think he's undercharging himself). Background to this is he was basically caught on the hop - was called out of the blue first thing in the morning and asked to do the job that day because she needed the photos for promotional cards that needed to go to print that afternoon (that's where my mum comes in - she's the printer and referred her to him). He said "yes" without thinking because it's work and he's unemployed. Ideally he would have had a rate sorted but he didn't. He's new to this and is still feeling his way - a ring around of local photographer is on the agenda he just hadn't got there yet!!! I think he just fears turning work away in case the chance doesn't come up again!!

Correction: He's not unemployed - he's just gone self-emloyed. Just the bank balance that feels like he's unemployed at the moment!!!

17-09-2009, 11:56 AM
My own approach in such situations is to adopt the air of someone who does it all the time and is totally at ease with my prices etc. He should present his bill/price with total confidence and without any hesitation or unease with the price - once he decides on what that is. Don't let them know he's unsure of what to charge.

If he approaches it with a hesitant "would £200 be okay?" they're going to immediately haggle for something lower. If he normally gets £200/day working on someone else's premises, then setting things up himself and using his own gear would secure a higher fee. And this gives him the argument to justify it.

I often quote this as it's a good lesson - I saw a locksmith on TV relaying this tale of how he'd done a five minute job sorting out a woman's lock or cutting a specialist key or something and charged her £45 - she exclaimed that it had only taken him 15 minutes - his response was "yes, but you're paying for the 40 years of experience it took to get that fast". :)

17-09-2009, 12:10 PM
Thanks Boo. You're right - an outward air of confidence is the key even if you don't feel that way inside!

17-09-2009, 01:05 PM
It depends on term too, such as who retains copyright. I would expect £300 for 3 hours for full copyright, plus model and makeup fees (bearing in mind that make up and hair usually takes an hour, the photographer would be contributing but not photographing, so I would expect solid photography to be more). That is a reputable, established photographer. A new one should be less. Depends on your market too if you want to attract students you would charge less. Also depends on your equipment set up / rates etc. best thing is do some research in your local area, see what competition is and what they are charging.

17-09-2009, 03:52 PM
My photographer usually charges me about £350 to do as many pieces as I like.