How to Set Professional Photo Editing Rates

When you take a professional photo for a client, you may be expected to do some digital editing to create the best possible final product. For headshots, the subject is usually interested in getting the photographer to remove blemishes or to touch up makeup. If you are photographing landscape and exterior venues, you may need to figure out how to remove water spots. In either case, if you are going to delve into the domain of photo editing and touching up photographs, here is a quick guide on how to set your rates!

Materials You Will Need

  • Calculator
  • Pen or Pencil
  • Piece of Paper
  • Expense Sheet

Step 1 - Determine the Scope of Your Editing

You do not need to give a price list of a fully exhaustive editing list. Determine what you are and are not willing to do. For example, if you primarily work on photographing headshots, determine whether you are willing to do light retouching, makeup retouching or removing blemishes.

Step 2 - Determine Your Hourly Rate

On a piece of paper, write down your hourly rate that you would charge for your services. Be realistic and try not to over exaggerate your estimate of hourly charge.

Step 3 - Match Your Editing List to Hours

For each of the items or subjects you feel you have great expertise in editing, match them up with the number of hours (or portion of an hour) you expect to take on the tasked item. Please note - the best way to estimate this is based on your past experiences in the realm of photo editing. If you do not have any past experience to gauge, then take your best guess.

In order to match the 2 components together, take a lined piece of paper, write out each service you are willing to perform in a list-like format. Next, draw a vertical line down the page and write the number of hours that correspond to those services.

Step 4 - Determine Your Hourly Rate

On the same piece of paper, multiply the number of hours by your hourly rate (determined in step 2). The answer to this calculation, for each service, should be noted on the same line, in a third column.  Now you have developed your price list based on your hourly rate.

Step 5 - Monitor and Update

With time and experience, your hourly rate will increase and you can adjust your prices upward.  As you spend more time editing photographs, you will need to remember to keep track of your time on these activities. By keeping track of your time, you start to develop a track record. The track record tells you, on average, how long you spend on a certain task.

Remember to pull out your price sheet development page and compare your assumptions and numbers against reality. Keep in mind that sometimes you will be high and other times you will be low. You need to always be conscious of your averages in order to update and tweak your pricing list.

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