ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Why I Do Not Use Day Rates

By April 6, 2009May 26th, 2016Strictly Business Blog

Like many photographers, I started my professional career by charging a “day rate” for my services. Rather than considering the scope of a project or the use of the images, I simply set a “day rate” or “half day rate” and applied those numbers to each request. I realized quickly this wasn’t working. One day I would be run ragged with a client piling on the number of images they wanted me to generate and the next a client might ask me to reduce the fee because I finished early. With no specifics in my paperwork except “one day on site,” I had no recourse. Today, every estimate I calculate is specific to the job and contains; a detailed description of the project, the number of images being commissioned, the license to use the images and my price. If anything changes, my price changes.

Here is some food for thought …

  • Day rates punish efficiency.
  • One size fits all pricing does not work in this business.
  • The creative process does not work by the clock. Sometimes the elements to achieve a fantastic image come together quickly, sometimes the process takes longer than expected.
  • By charging “per image” or “per project,” I take into consideration the time needed to create the work, but more importantly I consider the specifics of a job and the client’s use of the images.