How to Calculate Your Photography Price


Nobody wants to work for free, but here's how to properly evaluate your work? All styles that photographers usually work with have their prices.  As a rule, photography rates depend on the experience of the photographer and the quality of the work.

However, there is a rule that you can follow and it says that you cannot apply a simple strategy to get prices for your services. Most photographers get confused when trying to price their work because it's not that easy. Often clients can judge you, no matter what decision you make. If you keep your prices low, clients may question your work's quality and professionalism. If your prices are higher, your customers may judge you for your greed and conceit. Let's look at what factors you should focus on when calculating the price for photography and how to set the right price.

Basic Photography Pricing Model 

Basic Photography Pricing Model

Usually, experts say that the price of your work should be calculated based on the fact that you need to cover your expenses and stay in the black.

Thus, the simplest formula looks the next way: 

Incoming Money = Outgoing Money + Profit


  • Money (profit) is the amount that your business should bring in a year. It is worth recalling that in the case of profit, your earnings will be higher than the cost of business. Like any entrepreneur, your goal is to maximize profits.
  • Outgoing money is the amount related to your business expenses and the taxes you are required to pay. This may include office rent, business trips, insurance, marketing services, room renovations, fees, etc. We strongly recommend that you record all your expense reports with modern accounting software. So, you can always control the outflow of your funds.

Don't forget taxes. The state takes its toll on every businessman.

Consider another formula:

Required total income = price per shoot * number of shoots

In this case, the required total income is the money you want to receive over a period of time (usually a year).

Factors That Affect Your Photography Price

Factors That Affect Your Photography Price

When you are trying to set a price for your photography services, keep in mind that the price will be made up of many different factors. The price for the services of a photographer is compiled by taking into account such factors as the experience and level of knowledge of a specialist, the time spent on a photo session, how far the photo session will take place, how many people will need to be photographed, what props will be needed, and so on. Each photographer determines the important factors he takes into account when calculating the cost of a photo session. However, in more detail, we have highlighted the main points that we will tell you about in this block of our article. 
Let's take a closer look at these factors and how they affect the price.

Cost of Running Your Business

The first thing you need to do when thinking about the cost of photography is to determine how much your business is spending. Start by making lists of expenses. Write down in the form of a document everything that you have to spend money on while doing your business.

The main costs are usually:

  • Costs for purchasing, supporting, and repairing equipment. Any repairs to equipment or purchase of additional parts must also be documented by you for a more accurate calculation of the established price for your services.
  • Renting an office or studio where you hold photo shoots. The more comfortable conditions you need, the higher the costs will be and the higher the price you will have to set for your services.
  • Marketing. It also needs to be a part of the price. Marketing costs include exhibition of work, communication with clients, participation in competitions, portfolio creation and a number of other marketing-related items.
  • Paying employees. If you've hired a team to work with, you'll also need to pay people to work for you.
  • Buying props. Often photographers purchase props that they will use for their shoots. Buying props and maintaining it under normal conditions also requires costs.
  • Any other costs. Naturally, we have not listed all types of costs that you may incur in your work. Identify all the little details that affect your pocket and keep that in mind.

Cost of Goods

The photographer often incurs direct costs during the work. This is because the client often needs prints or photobooks, which you must account for as a fixed cost. Use our next recommendations that will help you in making the photography pricing:

  • Add to your photography pricing list the cost of packaging and shipping. Also, you do not have to pay for the material with personal funds.
  • Often, photographers also deal with digital files. It can be hard drives or buying cloud storage. Even if your client does not need printed photos, remember that you also pay for the space where the photos are stored.
  • Most likely, you have ideas to reduce material costs and offer them to your customers. They might appreciate it.
  • If you don't want to risk a price increase, try lowering your costs. This can be beneficial for both you and your customers.
  • One of the best options is to offer your seller cooperation and assistance in promoting his product, for which he will most likely give you a discount when buying his products.
  • You can also use the method of buying in bulk, but you need to be sure that you really need this material in large quantities.

Cost of Your Time

Once such a famous person as Benjamin Franklin said a good phrase, "Time is money." Many photographers do not appreciate the amount of time that is given to a photo shoot. And this is wrong. You can spend time setting up your technique because your client asks you to take photos in different locations in the office or wedding field. And this means you need to constantly rearrange the equipment and set it up again depending on the lighting and other factors. Also, with regard to the time spent, it is necessary to take into account the travel to the place of the photo session, the time of the photo session itself, and the time for editing. Some photographers prefer to set hourly rates for their work. You can consider this option if it suits you.


Do not forget about taxes when you will work with the photography pricing. Today, taxes are everywhere and always. Paying taxes out of pocket alone will be detrimental to your business, the quality of your work, your well-being, and even the way your clients treat you.

Your Profit Margin

When calculating the cost of your services, determine your rate of return. It is also an essential factor that influences the pricing of their services. Consider how much profit you would like to receive and how satisfied you would be if you worked for that money. Although determining your rate of return is highly subjective, it can still form part of the basis for planning your money.

Industry-Specific Pricing 

Industry-Specific Pricing

Depending on which industry you prefer to work in, you will encounter a number of nuances, indicative prices set by other professionals, a bunch of costs for an event, as well as the need to find and purchase props. Let's take a closer look at what events photographers are most often invited to and how they decide to price their photography.

Commercial Photography Pricing

The first case we'll look at is commercial photography. Engaging in this type of photography costs more than the basic and creative payment. In this case, the expenses are too unique from case to case to speak of setting the same price for services for every customer. Usually, photographers receive a large amount of money for commercial shoots. A one-time fee can be in the amount of 25 - 90 thousand dollars and even more. It is impossible to name a specific amount since the price will be based on the photographer's expenses, which are different for each case. Experts say that the price set for this type of work should directly come from the costs of the business and not averaged and taken from nowhere just because it seems to suit you. If you are trying to set a daily rate, you should ask other professionals to find out who is willing to pay for a shoot and how much. However, no matter what price you set, do not be afraid to directly declare it to companies, because your wishes for the price are really important information for them.

Event Photography Pricing

Regardless of how large the event you will be working on, as well as its location and your experience, the price of your services, can still change. Typically, photographers charge around $200-$500 for 60 minutes of their work. Also, discuss with the organizers the equipment that you will take to the photo session. Discussing this will give you an idea of ​​how much the organizers are willing to pay you. Photographing essential events for the customer is a good opportunity for you to earn money. However, don't let yourself get too carried away while shooting, and set the hourly rate for the shoot so that the shoot is profitable enough for you.

Portrait Photography Pricing

As a rule, portrait photography with a photo printout costs between $150-300. To calculate the exact price, it is worth taking into account certain factors such as the amount of time it took to shoot and set up the equipment. Don't try to do installation work for free, this kind of work can take a lot of your time, and you end up with little profit. You should be aware of exactly how much income portrait photography can bring to you. You can ask your colleagues about this or look at the estimated prices on the website of your competitors. Photographers who deal with portraitists are most often invited for school, family, or office shoots. The environment you shoot in will also affect pricing. So, for example, it should be borne in mind that a company will be able to pay more for portrait photography than the parents of a student. The combination of all factors adds up to make your price for services.

Graduation Pictures Prices

Most often, the photography pricing, such as graduation at school, ranges between 100 and 400 dollars for one photo shoot. The price for shooting such an event depends on the range of services required by the graduation organizer, and whether your equipment meets the characteristics required for this event. In this case, whether you have the necessary details with you and whether you will be engaged in their production can play a significant role. Dresses, caps, graduation hats, and other important details can be used as prom props. For those schools that are willing to pay a lot for high-quality graduation photography, the location of the studio, the studio itself, as well as the number of photographs that you can provide for selection might also be fundamental. To understand how much you should charge for this kind of work, you need to talk to the school management. Ask them what quality of photography session they need and what prices were set by the previous photographer. You can also ask your colleagues who have worked with such types of work and look at offers on competitor websites. Please note that schools may not be willing to pay too much for photography, so you need to discuss all the conditions with them and come to a compromise.

Wedding Photography Prices 

Typically, a wedding photographer earns around $2,000 per shoot, but this case, like all others, is individual. The cost of shooting will depend on the duration of the event, its date, location, number of guests who will participate in the shoot, and a number of other factors. Usually, photographing a wedding takes at least six hours, the more time it takes to shoot, the higher the payment will be accordingly. You can include photo prints in your quote, just like the pros do. Also, don't forget to discuss important issues with your customers, such as costs, marketing issues, and liability insurance.

How to Calculate Freelance Photographer Rates

How to Calculate Freelance Photographer Rates

When you work for yourself, it is also important to be able to properly assess your costs for the work performed and be able to make a decent payment for it. The price of your services may vary by a number of factors. Let’s consider some tips from our photographer pricing guide. 

  • Photo-based pricing

This price-pointing method is well suited for product, interior, architecture, and corporate portraits. This will be a pretty good idea for clients who expect high-quality work from you. This is also a good idea if you are taking a photo for your client's newspaper, magazine, or website.

  • Hourly pay or flat rate

Another option that you can look into as a photographer is to set an hourly rate or flat rate. Such methods will be good if you are invited to events as a photographer, such as birthdays, weddings, graduations, and other important meetings.

At such a moment, it is important for you to make sure that you have calculated all the expenses for travel, preliminary preparation, requisites, payment for photo albums, and printing photos. As for those who work with portraits, they are usually in the business of setting fixed prices for their work. The price may also include image editing, retouching, and other types of services.

Average Prices for Different Photography Levels 

Usually, photographers set prices for their photos depending on what level they are at the moment. It’s obvious that photography prices for beginners will differ from prices for the best professionals. But plenty of photographers want to know how much they will receive depending on their level of knowledge and experience. 

Let's take a closer look at the pricing table of different levels of photographers we have prepared for you.

Level of photographer Per H Per Image
Beginner $to $150 $25 to $125
Student $50 to $100  $60 to $100
Amateur $25 to $75 $30 to $50 
Professional $75 to $100 $70 to $100 
The best professional photographer $250 to $500  $200 to $1200

Thus, we can see that the earnings of photographers increase with the experience of the professional. If you want to receive more money, your tasks are hard work, self-development, and participation in plenty of projects for gaining experience.

What do you need to know about PortfolioBox

If you are a photographer, chances are you will be looking for a good platform to create your website to post your work online. This will help a large number of people learn about you as much as possible, as well as attract employers and investors.
We want to advise you our builder for the site Portfoliobox. It is a high-quality platform that helps users create professional, convenient, and beauty sites. We suggest to our clients a free and paid version of our platform with plenty of additional tools. The main pros of using our builder are that people who want to create their site don’t need programming and design skills. Go to our website and take a look at our offers.


How do I price my photography?

If you are a photographer, you can make your own price list, which will consist of the amount of time spent on shooting, the purchase and repair of the necessary equipment, renting a room for photo shoots, and the complexity of the order. These are just a few of the factors you can consider when pricing. Focus on the amount you would like to earn, as well as the costs that you incur in the process.

How many pictures should be expected from a 1 hour shoot?

Usually, the number of shots will be around 40-50. As a rule, for a half-hour photo session, you will take about 20 photos, while for an hour-long photo shoot you will get about twice as many photos.

How much should I charge for family photos?

Usually, a family photo shoot costs $100-400. If you look at the average price for family photo shoots, it costs about $ 150 per hour of work. The price will depend on a number of factors and the level of complexity requested by the client.

What is a freelance photographer?

Being a freelance photographer means working for yourself. In this case, the photographer works to find clients, conducts photo shoots, independently sets prices for his work, and plans further photo shoots.

What is the average price for a portrait photographer?

Typically, portrait photography prices range from $150 to $350 per hour. The cost of this type of photo shoot will depend on whether you need props, what terrain you want to take photos and a number of other factors.

Can beginner photographers make money? 

Each person will be able to find a job at the level of professionalism at he is now. Some people want to find themselves an inexpensive photographer to take pictures. They may not require much experience and professionalism from you and will be willing to hire you for a small fee. For your first experience, you will have enough.

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