One of the hardest things to learn as a photographer is how to charge for your time. I always ask myself, ‘How much should I charge for photography?’. But figuring out how much you should charge is just the beginning – then you need to figure out how you should amend your pricing each year. With the new year upon us, how much should I charge for my photography in 2021 is the most important question on photographers’ lips.
Before I set some recommendations for answering that question of ‘What should I charge for photography in 2021’, let’s look at what the average photography rates were in 2020.
Disclaimer: these are my anecdotal findings and recommendations. You should consider what your time is worth to yourself in making a decision on what to charge.
How much were photographers charging in 2020?
Hobbyists were charging less than $100 per shoot
Amateurs were charging between $25-$75 per hour
Semi-professionals were charging between $50-$150 per hour
Professionals were charging between $100-$250
Seasoned professionals were charging $250 per hour or more
What type of photographer am I?
You need to know what type of photographer you are before you start booking work, or answering your question of ‘How much should I charge for photography this year?’.
Hobbyists are photographers who are not dedicating considerable amounts of time to improving their craft, but enjoy photography. Hobbyist photographers often want to help their friends out to take better photos than their friend could on their own.
Amateur photographers generally have more experience with photography and have an online presence for their photography work, such as a blog or matured Flickr/500px account. Amateur photographers have a dream of becoming a professional photographer, but is very early in their journey.
Semi-professional photographers are experienced photographers who produce work at a professional level, however, are not fully committed to photography as a career. Semi-professionals have jobs on the side that may or may not relate to photography in some way. Semi-professional photographers are often sought out by clients the same as professional photographers would.
Professional photographers are committed to bettering their craft for the best interests of their clients. These are experienced photographers who exclusively rely on income generated from their photography work to get by.
Seasoned professional photographers are those that have years of experience and are known for the standard of work their produce within the industry. They’re the ones that can almost guarantee to have sharp images every time. Seasoned professionals often receive more enquiries than they could possibly fulfil.
So how much should I charge for photography in 2021?
Running a business is all about making a profit. You need to know what your time is worth. Hopefully, the above figures will help you determine where you are in your photography journey. If you’re honest with yourself, your pricing should be fairly in-line with your competition.
Current inflation rates sit between one and three percent depending which country you’re in, so increasing your costs by 10% is excessive and will price you out of the market, but if you look at double the inflation rate, you’ll be protecting your revenue.
I wouldn’t recommend increasing your price more than double the inflation unless you are artificially inflating your rate to offer a discount to all of your clients.
Should I charge hourly or per image?
It’s a personal preference whether you want to charge your clients with an hourly rate or based on how many images you provide them with. There’s pros and cons with each option.
Hourly rates are great for event photography or photography that is not being published in print or online.
Per image rates are great for print and online photography use, as the client will generally be employing you to make standard copy more visually appealing, or to sell a product. They don’t have a use for hundreds of photos – they just need the shots on the brief. It might take you minutes or hours to capture the images on the client brief, but at least you know you only have to edited as many photos as the client has asked for rather than hundreds of images that may never see a single eyeball touch them.
Feel any better about that pesky question, ‘How much should I charge for photography?’