The first question I am always asked outside of my availability is “how much do you charge”?
So many factors go into pricing for interiors and architectural photography that it is nearly impossible to give a flat answer without a little bit of clarity on the scope of the project.
Some of the questions I ask in return are:
– What is your budget?
– How many photos do you need?
– What will you be using the images for?
– Will I be limited on time?
– How soon will you need the photos?
The way I price my work always starts with time. How much time will this project take me from initial inquiry to delivery? I have to take all things into consideration including the time spent planning, answering emails, driving, the shoot itself, editing, getting licenses prepared, answering more emails, and delivery.
I have been doing this long enough to where I know that one single standard image will take about an hour of my time in total. If there is more than one image in the same room, that time gets cut significantly. For example, I could take 5 images of one room and it would take me a total of two hours total, but if I take 5 images of three different rooms, that could take up to 4 hours total. If it is a twilight image, that could take several hours depending on the complexity of the shot.
From there I have to pick a wage for myself. How much is an hour of my time worth? I would love to say $500 per hour… but that just isn’t realistic where I live. $100 per hour is where I settle (depending on the job), but it is more realistic depending on the complexity of the shoot. Roughly half of that goes to the government, 25% goes toward my business, and the other 25% goes to my checking account.
$100 per hour may seem like a lot initially, but in that fee includes the equipment I use:
Canon 24mm TS lens ($2000)
Canon 16-35mm lens ($1200)
Canon 50mm lens ($400)
Canon 70-200mm lens ($1600)
Canon 5D Mark II (paid $2500+ for it, but since discontinued)
Canon 7D (Paid $1200 for it, but since discontinued)
Manfrotto Tripods and Heads ($500+)
Flashes (5 flashes worth over $1000)
Misc tools and accessories ($1000+)
Adobe Creative Suite ($60/month)
Website ($10+ / month)
And probably hundreds of dollars more of other miscellaneous expenses and tools I didn’t cover here.
If a client is willing to provide their budget for a certain project, I can fairly quickly say what I can do for them within that budget. That is my preferred method of setting up a shoot (wink, wink).
Next comes the licensing. Why not just give the photos away since they are paying for the shoot? Well, because this isn’t wedding or portrait photography, but commercial photography. When it comes to commercial photography, the photographer is hired to make images that are displayed with the intention of bringing business to the client, they aren’t usually for personal use.
Licensing is the tricky part because it all depends on where and how the photos will be used. If you plan on just using them for Facebook or your website, the fee is pretty low. Each image can be licensed for anywhere between $20-$50+ depending on the image. Twilight images are always more expensive due to the amount of time involved in them. If you plan on using the images for advertising purposes, the fees get slightly higher because they are being used for a wider audience… and so on, and so on.
Hopefully that sheds a little light on how I price my work. Other photographers in different markets may work slightly different, but the fundamentals are usually the same. If you have any further questions on this, shoot me an email or comment below and I would be happy to help.