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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 👏🏻 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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