How to Charge for Your Freelance Photographer Work

Being a freelance photographer means that you're in charge of your own business. You create your own price range, negotiate, select gigs, send the bills out, and cash the checks.

Step One - Set a Price

Now that you're freelancing, you need to accept the fact that you don't always get to work five days a week. Sometimes you will, and other times you'll have a couple of weeks with no action. So how do you determine your rate?

First of all, you need to find out what other photographers are charging. You're new and they're the established competition. Your prices can't be higher than their prices, but they also can't be too low either. Pick a price that makes you more attractive than your peers while being able to pay for new equipment and your personal finances. As your business grows, so can your rate.

Even though the daily fee you're going to charge may seem like a lot of money ($500/day is a good start), you're not going to be working five days a week. For the entire year it may average to three or four days a week. Sometimes you'll be super busy and sometimes business will be super slow. Don't spend any extra money you make; save it for a rainy day.

Step Two - Negotiate

Another fact you need to accept about freelancing is that the person on the other end of the phone booking you is going to try to get you for as cheap as possible. These people are working in a budget and only have a certain amount of money for a photographer. Some people will be honest and tell you upfront what they are willing to pay. Others will ask you for your rate and hope it's lower than their budget. Always ask for more money than you want because if worse comes to worse, you'll get close to your asking price. Also, make sure you get a rate based on hours instead of a flat daily rate because there are people who will take advantage of that and schedule 20-hour days.

Step Three - Choose What Jobs To Take

There are all kinds of different gigs out there. Some pay very well and expect top-notch quality work. Others might not pay well at all but may be a great opportunity for future business. Then there are those occasional jobs where you got a feeling that they don't know what they're doing, they want your services for much less than a living wage, and you're not even sure their check will even clear.

Know When To Walk Away

You worked hard to get your equipment and to acquire the skills needed to be a great photographer. If the rates are not good enough and the job seems like it will be hectic, then walk away from it. Don't let people walk all over you and make a profit at your expense. Set your price and stick to it.

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