Sunday, March 20, 2011

Photography Fees - Breaking down an Invoice

Well, if you have worked with me in the recent months, you will have seen one of my invoices!   They will serve many purposes - namely - standardizing my rates.  Now, if you are reading this because you have been seeking clarification about your invoice - this is the post for you. 
 

The Breakdown:

Sitting Fee - to show up that day and have the photographer keep a slot open in his schedule for you and just to turn his camera on would usually cover the sitting fee. Are usually charged per person in the shoot, in my case, to a threshold where it may get a group fee to save the client in final costs. Some photographers may request something in this amount as a deposit that would go towards the final charge.

Hourly Rate - what is that photographer's time worth based on their raw skill, and possibly hourly wages of their assistants.

Capture Fee - should represent an estimated cost per image captured. but all you do is press a button? wrong. For each time I open the shutter, a flash may fire, batteries will drain, data will be written, then transferred, viewed, judged, and possibly stored for extended periods of time or dealt with accordingly for those not making the cut.
After a long day of shooting (5hr+) it can become increasingly difficult to manage large amounts (8-12GB+) of data in the field. As the logistics of dealing with this data become more complicated, the capture fee may also increase, reflecting the increased complexity of handling the data.

Processing Fee - can only accurately be measured by hour.  I represent it by an average of minutes per image or just mirroring the shooting time - whichever is less.  As a general rule I have noticed for myself - every hour shooting is equal to at least another hour in post processing. This would include a basic white balance correction and curve adjustment, to all photos from the shoot before I will even consider them ready for proofing. Depending on the application or destination of the final product - more or less work may need to be done, so taking more time for those individual, polished and finished images.


Event, Group, or Location Fees - Cover having a photographer in the field, where his equipment is it's most vulnerable.  Almost every time I shoot at an outdoor location, one piece, big or small, will break.  Especially if lighting is involved or assistants are required.  Groups can pose extra challenges whenever it involves organizing many people at once.  Or making sure to capture everyone in attendance at the event.


Hardgoods or Outside Services like CDs, Shipping and Transportation - sorry - can't change the price of gas, or air travel, Canada Post or UPS and the cost of CDs. I just can't do it.  A nice photographer will charge to only cover the cost - as I do.


Finally the price for the final product depending on its intended usage needs to be factored in.  Likely subject to your discretion and probably the most 'grey area' of all the charges.  Simply put - Someone who wants a couple family portraits for display on a social networking site shouldn't pay as much for images as a corporate establishment who wishes to use the photos in printed advertising.   


For the Photographers:

By organizing rates in this fashion you can become very efficient and structured with your pricing.  As with all other industries - consistency is a virtue - you should have some too.  It may take a while of playing with the numbers in an excel spreadsheet and making 'mock invoices' to figure out where your appropriate rates will lie.

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