Photography Pricing: How Much to Charge for Your Photography

I’ve done it for more than 25 years, so please trust me when I say that running a successful photography business requires more than just talent. It also takes a lot of hard work, dedication and business savvy.

If you want to make a living with your camera, one of the important things you’ll need to learn is how much to charge for your photography. To help guide you, I’ve outlined some important points in this video.

This video is based on my “How Much to Charge for Photography?” blog, where I detail how to calculate what to charge for your work and what established professional photographers make. I also share tips on how to run a successful photography business.

In this class:

  • What is commercial photography?
  • What is social photography?
  • Photography pricing guide
  • Using external services
  • Example earnings, profits, and taxes
  • Photography pricing plans
  • What do professional photographers charge?

For more advice on how to run a successful photography business, take a look at our Business of Photography course. It covers everything from pricing your work and marketing yourself to growing your business. This in-depth course is specifically designed for photographers, by photographers, as I share my 25-years worth of experience.

Don’t forget to check out How Much to Charge for Photography? too.

Questions? Feel free to post them below.


  1. Mark Gilchrist

    Hi Karl. A question in regards to copyright and one off usage charge. A shot for a local brewery’s website that sells their beer within Canada. Most provinces not all. In your business notes under Copyrighting your images – as the shot is done exclusively for them with their logo etc… No stock resale. ”In these cases we generally just allow the client to have copyright without charging any extra beyond the agreed day rate.” Does this agreed upon day rate include any one off usage fees? Is the day rate actually the creative fee (photographers fee) or simply the base day rate of lets say 1200 with no usage attached.
    Thank You,

    1. Hi Mark, in this situation such as a small to medium company with no national or international advertising campaign around the images then it is simply the supply of product photography at your agreed day rate and any post production work. These type of images also have no resale stock value as they are a specific brand and unlikely to be useful in that respect.

      1. Mark Gilchrist

        Thanks Karl, In this case I should send them my terms and conditions and give them exclusive rights with a clause stating web use only. I’m wondering if i should give them a time limit say of exclusive 2yrs or even possibly just one year so they would have to update the photos which could lead to more work. Any thoughts on time restrictions for web advertising? Also when the times up the renegotiation fee would be the day rate again? Or usage? Or is it safer (to get more work) to give them an unrestrictive time limit (web use only) but not full copyright of the images? I’m reluctant to give them full copyright (never like this idea) as they could use an image indefinitely and not need an update. Seems a tough call and would no doubt be in the negotiations and considering what they are comfortable with as well.

        Thank You,

        1. Mark Gilchrist

          With full copyright they may use the image beyond just web use.
          Does this mean the estimate just has the photography day rate/ post etc… and no copyright/ terms and conditions of usage attached as they would be the owner of the image and could do what they want with it?

          Thank You,


        2. Hi Mark, I don’t think it’s feasible to set a time limit on this sort of shot as you’re only likely to cause friction. It’s important to understand that usage fees are only pertinent to big advertising campaigns where the images are being used across a range of media, across the whole country, print, billboards, web, or internationally or in instances where the spend on advertising space is exceptional in comparison to the shoot itself. You can think of usage fees more as a ‘responsibility’ fee for the photographer in relation the scale of responsibility due to the scale of the project. Small companies and smaller level usage isn’t the same thing, you need to find a day rate (which can be variable dependent on the client/project) that is more in keeping with the clients and your expectations that doesn’t have to include a usage fee and everyone walks away happy. Photographing an individual product that is very specific is also very different from creating ‘concept’ imagery to illustrate and idea. In most cases a designated time period of usage on a product shot is pointless and will just annoy your clients leading to less work. However if the project is very photographer’s ideas and concepts being utilised to illustrate and idea then that is where you can license images for a specific period of time and then make use of the images again later for future revenue.

          1. Mark Gilchrist

            Thanks a lot Karl , makes sense. Should I include a terms and condition (contract) regardless? Giving them unlimited exclusive rights or unlimited web use rights, but retaining copyright? Also giving them file sizes specifically for web so they don’t use the photos in printed media? The contract would also include all the other legal like payment schedule etc…
            Really appreciate your insight.
            Thank You,

          2. Hi Mark, it’s always a good idea for a customer to have your T&C’s but if they are paying your full day rate and expenses then I think they may be annoyed if they can only use the images for website? I don’t know the size of the company but for example if they wanted to use the image in print but only at a local level then they would probably expect to be able to do so. This will really come down to what you think their intentions are and I guess your T&C could reflect that by saying that no usage fees are to charged on local level advertising, however should the images be used on a greater scale etc etc…. Yes the T&Cs should detail your payment terms and also mention interest being accrued on non payment, so for example we have 30 days terms with 5% surcharge on late payments and if the client has signed the T&Cs and don’t pay on time you can add 5% to the invoice accumulative each month.

          3. Mark Gilchrist

            Many thanks Karl, that sums it up nicely for me.
            Much appreciated.


          4. Mark Gilchrist

            The business has a revenue of 4million, give or take, per year.

  2. Hi Karl,

    First I wanted to say that your content is very good, not just images but also from a teaching point of view. I actually assisted commercial photographers and product guys for years before i tried it on my own. One of the people i assisted ran 2 large automotive studios in Detroit and now teaches at a college in Ontario. You explanations are fantastic and spot on nearly word for word what the other photographers have explained to me regarding light and modifiers.

    The number one question from me is, how do you get in front of decision makers? I gave up on photography once i got stuck shooting weddings, I hardly shot any commercial or product. What I have learned over the years is no matter how good you are it doesn’t matter if you can’t show it to the people that matter. At this point in your career you have access to all of this people that make the decisions on hiring photographer, how does someone starting out even attempt to get to these people.


    1. Hi, thank you for your comments but I believe your questions on getting see are covered in several of our other business classes.

  3. Juan99

    Karl, I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to have found you. You are literally a piece of gold in the mud, I am amazed at your level and I am trying to suck in every piece knowledge that you share with us.
    Following this, I am a 23 years old currently, and photography/videography is something I want to get better at and hopefully make a decent living out of it. Unfortunately, I doubt a lot in myself… I have tried to apply for other photograohy jobs, and as an assistant photographer for different kinds of photography just to learn more and get out there but haven’t had much luck. I have some studio photography experience under my belt that has given me some knowledge in portrait concepts such as posing, lighting and such, so I naturally have been wanting to try and be more of an independent or freelance photographer, however I really feel like a fraud and I guess imposter syndrome, and just cannot even begin to imagine charging someone even 200 dollars a day for my photography, specially when I earn like 15/hr with my current photography job.
    I have applied to a bunch of photography jobs and gigs not even expecting a huge pay but just gaining knowledge but I don’t know if it’s the Miami market or what, but it has been difficult for me to find anything.
    How can I work around this? Do I feel like I’m not worth it because my skill my not be up there yet?

    1. Juan99

      I am just hesitant, cause my limited experience in profesional photography has shown me that job stability fluctuates lot and I don’t know if it’s because I’m am still very new to it or if this is just the nature of it. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy photography and videography, but I come from a poor 3rd world country escaping economical instability, and I am trying to create a life for me that does not have that, and I would love it if I can do this to live that life, but if this is the nature I just don’t know if I have what it takes.
      I’m so sorry to vent like this, but I would really appreciate some words from someone like you and kinda an advice you would give to your 23 year old self.

      Also, any thoughts on the future of photography with the new advances of artificial intelligence?

      1. Photography is changing as a service. What we are seeing is a greater amalgamation of services such as photography and video and CGI and probably in the near future Ai too. But images will always be needed as they are a form of communication. 400 years ago those images were done by painters or artists, then photography, then video, then computers and now a mix but images will always be needed as we are a visual species. We have to adapt with the technology and focus on how can I deliver images to businesses that need them?

    2. Hi Juan, you shouldn’t fear charging $200 per day or much much more. Businesses often balk when they see prices of $3000 dollars a day that top photographers might charge but there are plenty of businesses who will happily pay $1000 per day for great photography that will help their own business flourish. But to do this you have to be able to deliver good work and that comes with knowledge and practise and the ability to deliver a good all round service. Over time everyone’s skills will improve and then they gradually charge more money. When I first started my day rate was much much lower than it is now and the type of clients I was shooting for were completely different too, it was a gradual progression but I always looked at my work objectively and compared it to those that were charging more, if it wasn’t good enough I’d figure out how to get better.

  4. Andréanne

    Hello Karl. Thank you very much for your help in this period where I am starting my product photography studio.

    I’m making my business plan and I need to know the average proportion of the advertising budget that is dedicated to the production of images. I can identify the average budget of a marketing company but I can’t find the approximate percentage dedicated to the production of images. Your support would be very helpful to me. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Andreanne, that can vary hugely. For example if it is local, national or international. A photographer might charge £3000 for a day fee to deliver just one or two images for a relatively local area advert, but the photographer might also charge the same day rate for a client that is going to run the images nationally or internationally and that’s where ‘usage fees’ come in to proportionally represent the responsibility and level of the job that the photographer is working on. The usage fees are charged extra to the photography and based on where and how the images will be used and for how long and in which territories. But even the usage fee is dwarfed in comparison to some of the advertising budgets that are spent on billboard space in train stations, highways, print adverts across a whole country, etc etc. So you have many many factors that can inflate the cost of the advertising spend and it is usually the big companies that can only afford to advertise in such a broad campaign level across multiple medias, which is why smaller clients often don’t understand usage fees or won’t accept them because the reach of what they want to do with the images is very small.

  5. Hey Karl! I’m a photographer from Poland.
    I’m having some troubles with pricing commercial shoots. As we know, doing the packshot jobs is a pretty streamlined process that can be easy to justify in terms of the time spent.

    But with the high-end jobs there is much more to consider like concepting, pre-production, collecting props and styling, figuring out lighting on set, post-production etc. So it’s not easy to come up with a price per image. If I say to my customer my day rate is 2K, they will ask me what will I get with that money? What would be the deliverables?

    How would you answer to that considering I’m working directly with businesses?

    1. Hi, yes this is a common question for those photographers moving from bulk deliverables to more ‘creative’ deliverables. The day rate is just your time to do the job and hiring your skill to do it, that is the ability to create lighting and mood based on a concept they require or have specified. That alone is worth the day rate which is why on much bigger jobs with greater responsibility then you will often see usage fees too that far outweigh the day rate but that is really for national and international campaign work. Once you have clarified to the client what a day rate is and why then you can clarify that it doesn’t ‘include’ anything other that your expertise to deliver the job. The next thing is images, so for example let’s say I was commissioned to shoot 3 pairs of sunglasses for Hilfiger, the images had concepts and mood boards presented and everything had been agreed with the client. First of all there would be ‘Pre-production’ that is for me to aquire, build, source all of the necessary backgrounds, props etc etc and this is charged at half my day rate as it is often undertaken by one of my assistants. Then there is the shoot day or two or three, on this job it would only need a day, so we have one day rate. Then the client or art director or whoever is working with me on the job shortlists there favourite images from the day, in this case there was only meant to be three anyway and there would likely only be three but they may be made up of two images or something for example a focus stack or a light had to move for a part of the product so that one of the final images had to be built out of two images or something. Let’s say the other two images were good straight out of camera they just needed RAW processing and some colour tweaking. So all of that work is ‘Post Production’ and is also charged at half the day rate, as an example (as this is from a previous real example) then I have to tell the client how much post production I expect this to be, in this case it was one day of Post Production as these images had to be delivered to the highest standard for show window posters, magazine advertising etc. So on this job we would have had half a day of Pre-production, one day rate and one day of post production rates and the client get’s the three finished images. There are no other images because the job was to create three images to the very highest standard and it took a day to do that. They don’t get any images included because that is part of the ‘Post Production’ to finish the images and if they pay for Post Production then they get finished images. In some cases with big agencies they use or have their own retouchers so it is acceptable to give them the RAW files that they need and then they sort the post work themselves.

  6. Hi Karl! Quick clarifying question. Without going into the math of it, I’ve worked out my day rate to be about $500 per day. Would it be correct to say that is $500 per day, per project?


    Project 1: Product shoot that will take 3 days to shoot.
    Monday = $500 / Tuesday = $500 / Wednesday = $500 | TTL = $1500

    Project 2: Commercial shoot that will take 2 days to shoot.
    Thursday = $500 / Friday = $500 | TTL = $1000

    Weekly Total = $2500

    Is this an accurate breakdown? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi, yes that is exactly the correct calculation if your day rate is $500. You must also consider how many hours is your day rate – it is usually 8 and many photographers will not accept anything less the 4 hours booking so ‘half day’ in your case would be $250 or slightly more maybe $275 because it wasn’t a full day’s booking. You then need to be clear with your clients how many ‘finished’ images are included in that price because each image takes time to retouch. I don’t ‘include’ any images in that price that would be retouched, the client would then pay for retouching their selected images at another retouching per image charge based on how much work they wanted done to an image.

      1. Awesome, thank you. The way I broke it down to a client recently is there is a four hour minimum charged at the half-day rate and 5 to 8 hours is the full day rate. And anything past eight hours is basically time and a half. OK, having a separate per image price does make sense. Otherwise, I could easily see a client ordering way too many images for a subject matter that it’s not needed for. You’re the best. Thank you!

  7. Hi Karl,

    Looking for some help here in your classes but couldn t find.
    I have a client, an interior design company from Hong Kong, asked me to shoot around 60 images from a hotel/resort property they did, I gave them the quote with their usage rights for them, all good. But now the hotel property also wants to have usage rights for their own usage of the images. And my client is asking me to add the rights for the hotel usage, but Im not sure, what should be charge in a case like this, considering the hotel is for commercial use. Could you give me some help on this? Should I charge a % of the total quotation or is there another way to do this, considering I don t want to loose the job. Thanks a lot in advance. Carmo

    1. Hi Carmo, yes sometimes it happens that 2 clients want or try to share the costs on a project but it is also fair for you to ask for an increased fee for them to do so. In this instance you might find that adding 50% to the total is acceptable and affordable to both clients.

  8. Hector2683

    Got contacted by a Small Agency. They have a project where I would have to shoot a Medical Device in macro. They told me it would take a full day of work.
    Clients and Art Director would come to my studio because “it looks good and confortable for the client) (thank God I created a client small lounge).

    I’ve watched all your videos about Business. Still, I have no clear idea of what to charge them. I’m tempted to charge them 2000 USD, plus an assistant fee… They want to own the images fully. That also makes me a bit nervous.

    Is there a way to know if my pricing is correct?

    About the Images Buyout I have no clue what to do… I used the AOP usage calculator, but it does not have a full ownership transfer option.

    Any help would help.

    Thanks in advance Karl!

    1. Hi Hector, you have to base your day rate on what the rate is in your country and that are similar to your standard of work. The calculator won’t have a full ownership transfer because that is very rare but also it’s unlikely that ‘Usage’ would be charged on something like a medical device as I’m guessing that the image is not going to be used on a broad national campaign? Unfortunately I can’t tell you what your day rate should be I can only give guidance as in the course to day rates in a european/UK/USA context.

      1. Hector2683

        Hi Karl

        Thanks for the reply! Much appreciated.
        I’m based in Northern New Jersey, right by New York.
        Does that help with the day rate? I would like an opinion of how much could I charge so I don’t lose the client to sticker shock.


        1. Hi Hector, well I’d say that $2K sounds about right if your work is up to scratch. But you really should so some checking in the New York are what other photographers are charging to ascertain what the going rate is based on different skill levels. You’ll have some of the top guys on way more than that especially for high end products for big brands such as cosmetics etc but then you may also have lower than that for photographers just doing simple pack shot work. I’d imagine the market is much the same as here in the UK so you’ll need to do some digging amongst your most similar competitors. Good luck.

          1. Hector2683

            Hi Karl

            Again, thanks a lot for your advice.

            Yes, I sent them a 2k a day rate for this project. I did some research, but sadly, unlike, lets say Real Estate Photography, and industry that have prices public all over the web, Commercial Photographers doing product shots for agencies, doesn’t disclose their prices. So, it’s been really tricky getting the market temperature over here.

            About the Usage license, I offered them Perpetual Non-Exclusive Rights… me keeping the copyright, but them being able to use the images freely at perpetuity. I’m curious what their comments will be about that one. Although the Agency told me to send them the price for Usage, they did tell me their client was used to get the images rights for free… I suppose its because of what you mentioned: Its a medical, very specific item, and no national campaigns come out of those ever.

            I will reply in this same message once I secure, or lose this client, to keep you on the loop. We’ll see.

            PS: I started contacting Photographer Management Agencies… You mentioned it in one of the many classes I watched yesterday, and for a struggling photographer like myself (I haven’t been able to get actual jobs yet) seems to be a good idea to see how that works.

            Once more, thanks a lot!

            Very Best Regards

          2. Hi Hector, if you have any friends who own businesses that make things or products etc ask them if they would email a few of your competitors with a fake brief that would be about a days work on 3 products. You’d prepare the brief for them and in exchange for your friends help you shoot their products for free for a day.

  9. Hello,

    Great module. I’m a new student, but really enjoying the clear information you provide so far.

    I am wondering if you have a section on quoting or addressing the question “what are your rates”?

    At what point do you give potential clients a cost figure? Do you have a pricing guide for them, or do you quote per job?

    If there is a section in your course that goes over this, please point me that way 🙂

    Thanks a lot

  10. Hi Karl,
    This may be more a question for your video person. How does he/she magnify you at different focal points as you go through your talking? The audio and video are always together. Just curious, in case I want to make a video for future work to make it more interesting.



    1. Hi Mark, we either have two cameras set up on me or one of them is filming in 4K and as then we simply make a cut on the timeline and then increase that cut in scale so it looks like another camera but it was just the original footage enlarged for a brief period.

  11. 👏🏻 Another great video, thanks for this Karl and team.
    It might be worth mentioning; when it comes to working out your desired salary / wages to also consider the realistic local labor market—and what it realistically bears.

    For instance, when I lived and worked in London, I was able to charge 33% more than what I can locally charge Norwich (100 miles away) clients. This is partly down to the prestige of location (London) cost of living and other factors. But does this mean you’ll only work for local clients? Maybe, but maybe not. Your marketing will help with that.

    Also, remember chargeable, billable hours are actually client-signed-off-happy-to-pay-for-it-hours. When you’re not actually working, you’re having to work AT getting work. Making sales, calling people, chatting them up, scrolling through Instagram, sending emails etc. Which, is unpaid and comes at an opportunity cost.

    Everytime I sign in to this platform, I think Karl is smashing it, because he’s got such a great team behind him. The shear effort it takes to think, plan and create this content to promote himself—and keep the standard extremely high is amazing—however, adds to his prestige and gravitas. And doubt, contributes to his daily rate value.

    In summary; Photography always costs less than what you think until you do the numbers.

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