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What Goes into Pricing Event Photography Sessions?
As a contractor or freelancer, you are not paid a flat hourly rate or salary like a standard employee. You generally have to come up with your own fees and price your own work. Event photography is usually done by a freelancer who gets hired by a client to cover a certain event. So, you are faced with a problem common to all freelancers: how do I price event photography?
A lot of items go into this answer. You need to think about what you are worth as a photographer, but not price yourself out of the market. You also need to include your personal expenses like travel, printing and imaging costs.
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What Does the Competition Charge?
The first step is to survey your competition since that’s probably what your potential client is also doing. Find out what other event photographers charge for their work. Usually, this is an hourly rate that can start at over $50 per hour. You want to be somewhere in the middle of the pack. You don’t want to seem so cheap that you look unprofessional. But, you don’t want to charge so much that drive your clients away, especially if you are new to the business.
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Next, you need to consider your expenses. You have to travel to the event, which means that you have to consider gas prices and the mileage on your vehicle. Generally, travel expenses are a percentage of your photography rate. So, if you plan on charging $100 per hour for the photography session, you might charge between $40 and $50 per hour for travel. Some photographers charge the same price for both the travel charges and the hourly rate for the shoot. You should, however, make the travel charges reasonable.
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Now, you also need to consider your post-production costs. Your client may want physical copies of the image. If you are printing these copies yourself, you need to consider printing costs, including the cost of paper or the cost of an external printer. If you plan on printing the images in-house, include the price of the paper and ink. You also want to include the price of processing the images. Call around to local graphic artists to find out what they charge to manipulate photos.
If you are not printing the photos in-house, you can have third-party printers print out the photos. But, this tends to be more expensive. Figure out your client’s budget, and price your printing services accordingly. You can always just burn the images to a disk, and they can choose with whom they would like to have the images printed. Just charge for the time it took to burn the images.
You can also create proofs for the images, and allow your client to select the images that they want printed as opposed to printing all of them. Many photographers offer free proofs as a gesture of goodwill.
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Pricing event photography can be time-consuming in the beginning, but it’s worth it in the end. You’ll know what works for clients, and you’ll offer competitive pricing. Always remember to increase your charges over the years for inflation.
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Brian. “Photography Pricing”, http://www.citynetmagazine.com/lifestyle/photography-prices.html