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Event Photography Pricing

written by: Caroline Thompson•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/19/2011

How to price event photography shoots. A breakdown of the different services provided in event photography and how to determine what to charge.

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    How to Determine Pricing

    Corporate event photography and special occasion event photography are event coverage services that are usually provided as a work for hire contract. The specific terms of what rights the client needs and is paying for should be determined before the shoot. This article will break down event photography pricing for work for hire and a broad package of rights.

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    Work For Hire

    Pricing work for hire contracts is basically simple. The key is to determine all the services the photographer will be providing and then price them according to the industry standard for that service. The following list will break down the services into sections and give guidance on pricing for those services.

    Photography Services

    • Photography - This would be priced as an hourly rate. The demographics of each area are different and pricing will be different. Many photographers' organizations (such as ASMP) have pricing guidelines for different regions. Calling other local studios and finding out what they charge is also a good idea. This will also let you know what the competition is charging. Some photographers charge a set fee for an event, but this can get tricky if the event runs long. Many times events are delayed or have unexpected special guests that make the event longer than originally expected. The key is to choose a pricing method that will cover actual photography shooting time.
    • Travel - This is another area where photographers have a wide range of pricing. The general rule is to charge a percentage (over half) of your hourly rate for travel. Some photographers price travel as regular time and charge the same rate for travel and photography

    Imaging and Printing

    • Imaging - After photographing the event, the photographer needs to download the images, process the images and either upload to a server or burn a disk with images. The price of image editing is usually close to or the same price as graphic arts imaging. This is somewhere around $65 an hour depending on the area. Call around to local graphic artists and find out what they charge. Another source of local pricing would be to check the chat boards of different photography associations. Many have regional pricing and know what clients can pay in each specific area.
    • Printing - Some photographers print all customers' images in house. In this case, pricing would be the cost of paper, ink, labor and (generally) a 20% markup. Some studios have standard print packages or special packages that can be arranged before the shoot. Other photographers upload images to a professional print service (Shutterfly, Printroom, etc.) and set their pricing minus the charges for the service. It is always important to know the client's budget beforehand. This will allow for better print pricing and package selections.

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    • The event images will need to be delivered to the client. If the client contracted for prints, the delivery method will be from photographer's studio or an external print house. If the prints are coming from the photographer's studio, add the cost of the shipping and handing. If the prints are coming from an external print house, the photographer will not have to deal with charging for the prints.
    • If the event images are to be burned on a disk, the photographer will need to charge for the disk. This charge needs to include the time to create the cover and burn the disk. Another charge will be the shipping and handling. Contact the shipper of your choice and get estimates on these items before the shoot to include them in the bid.
    • If the event images are to be uploaded to a server, an FTP charge (equivalent to upload time) is appropriate.
    • Event image proofs are a convenient way for the client to choose images and the charge is based on labor, the time it takes to image and upload to a server. A great way to build customer good will is to offer proofs free of charge.

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    Licensing Fees

    Event photographers can contract for specific images. If a famous person is lecturing at an event, a corporate client may contract for specific event images to be used in a publication or for promotional purposes. These images would be charged out on a per image price or for a specific number of images and rights usage designated by the client.

    Per Image Rights

    • Event images can be priced per image by arrangement or after the event has been photographed, a standard charge for the image and rights usage. Rights should be negotiated before the event. Image prices can be researched on photographers' organizations Websites, or through other professional resources. Different rights usage would determine the price.

    Broad Package Rights

    • Sometimes event photographers have pre-arranged to shoot specific images and all these images are included in broad package of rights. The broad package of rights and rights usage are negotiated before the event is photographed.
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    Professional Photography Associations

    Here are some professional photography associations that have information boards on pricing and rights usage.

    • ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers)
    • PPA (Professional Photographers of America)
    • EP (Editorial Photographers) Good information on rights and usage can be found here

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