Simple Steps to Estimate Photography Jobs

Estimate Photography Jobs

Whether weddings, the rice ceremony of kids, or any other social functions, people are keen to hold every moment of these memorable occasions. As a result, the photography industry has become an in-demand sector for various commercial purposes. Not just on social occasions, photography is quite in demand in the fashion industry as well. Determining the total cost is not an easy task, as there are lots of factors involved. You may capture the right moment for your clients, but you also need to know how much do photographers charge to survive your photography business.

In this article, we will focus primarily on the most arising question, as to how much do photographers charge. And will also guide you through the steps of estimating your photography jobs. Scroll down!

Steps to estimate photography jobs

Here are some simple steps to create your estimate for photography jobs. With Billbooks invoicing software you can convert them into invoices immediately after job completion. Check out the below section to know more in detail!

1. Figure out the details by consulting the client

No matter whatever business you are in, consulting your clients is a must before providing the estimate. The photography business demands the same thing. Consult your clients and discuss with them a few vital questions before you move on with the estimate. Ask as many questions as you feel are necessary to make your estimates accurate. Some of the probable questions would:

  • What is the budget?
  • The number of photos they want for a particular event.
  • Clarify who is the end-user of the photographs- whether it is for commercial purposes or family photos?
  • Do the clients want more group photos or solo photographs?
  • Check about the location?
  • Make sure what medium they prefer. Whether they wanted printed copies of the photos or digital photos?
  • Figure out whether it is a big event or not? Otherwise, you may need an assistant.
  • Confirm if there is any requirement of props as the expenses will be counted under your estimate.

Once you are very sure about the above points, then you can gradually move on to the next section.

2. Cross-check the competitor pricing

Whether a budding photographer or a seasoned one, how much do photographers charge is a common question. This is where your estimates may go wrong if you do not have enough research. For that follow your competitor’s prices and their pricing technique to have an idea. Remember your clients are also researching before assigning the project to you. Hence, check the prices of your chosen niche and follow the pricing guide accordingly.

Charging comparatively less is a usual tendency for beginners. But opting for that smartly as being underpaid after all the efforts you put in, is not preferable. Check out the competitors’ prices for your preferred niche. Analyze from their pricing model whether they offer custom packages, al-carte options, or add-on. These factors will help you decide your prices smartly and will make your estimates much more accurate.

3. Calculate material cost

If you are thinking that covering an event and clicking photographs involves just a camera, then you are wrong! There is more to it. Add up all the costs of the materials to avoid paying them from your pocket.

Let’ give you a rough idea of what you may need:

  • Creating an attractive photo book.
  • Packaging the photobook and shipping it to the clients’ location
  • Next, comes the requirement of the digital file depending upon the requirements given by the clients.

All the expenses would come under your estimates. Make sure you add the framing cost as well. Try cutting down the material cost to earn more profit. If you buy every month then you may be offered discounts from suppliers which will bring down your material cost. Analyze all the factors before you create the estimate.

4. Determine the labor cost

Running a photography business is much different from any other. As you are fulfilling your passion out of your dream project. Make sure you never undervalue yourself at any point in time. To calculate your labor cost, figure out how many hours you may need to complete the project. Keep a note of the following:

  • Pre-production time to set up the requirements.
  • Shoot time while you take the photographs.
  • Travel time depending upon the client’s location. Include the clients meeting in this as well.
  • Editing the video content and photographs would come under post-production time. Once this is ready, go for an hourly rate depending upon your experience. Here we will provide you with an approximate range of hourly rates which might help you in your upcoming project.
    • Student: $36-$85
    • Semi-professional: $50-$145
    • Professional: $75-$275
    • Top professional: $250-$450

Charging high or low not only depends upon your experience but also on the project complexity.

5. Add the overhead costs

Overhead costs are always an add-on in all business types and the photography business is no exception. Here are some of the overhead costs that you should accumulate to add to your estimate.

  • New-equipments
  • Loan payment
  • Insurance
  • Travel
  • Office rent
  • Repair of old equipment
  • Software implementation
  • Advertising for marketing purpose
  • Pre and post-production cost, etc

Overheads are mostly constant and there might be very few variables. Calculate your weekly overhead cost and divide it with the total number of weekly projects to add an average value to your estimates. For example,

Your weekly overhead expense is $12000 for a total of 24 jobs you did.
Therefore, per job overhead cost would be $12000/24= $500 overhead cost per job.
$500 is approximately 4.2% of the total cost of every job. Hence, you need to add 4.2% as an overhead cost for each job.

6. Add the markup

Lastly, it’s time to make some profit. You run a business not just to work and earn money, you even want some profit on every transaction. Therefore you must keep some room in your estimates to gather a decent amount of profit. The markup depends on a few factors. If you are from a high-income area then you can demand around 3.5% of markup easily depending upon your professional experience. Moreover, keep space for taxes as well. Simple sales tax will get added to your estimate.

Finally, time to add all the expenses and give you an approximate idea about the estimate.

Material cost=$2000
Labor cost= $100/ per hour for semi-professionals for a project of 15 hours, Total labor cost=$1500
Overhead cost=4.2%
Final cost=> $2000+$1500= $3500,
$3500×0.042= $147,
Adding markup, $3647×0.035= $127.65
Add the sales tax(if applicable) and get your final amount.


How much do photographers charge?

Photographers charge as per their seniority and professional experiences in this sector. Here are the ranges of their prices:
1. Amatuer: $25-$100 per hour/ $25-$50 per image
2. Student: $36-$85 per hour/ $25-$100 per image
3. Semi-professional: $50-$145 per hour/ $50 to $150 per image
4. Professional: $75-$275 per hour/ $75 to $350 per image
5. Top professional: $250-$450 per hour/ $400 to $1000+ per image
6. Freelancers: $25-$150 per photo
7. The average cost of a photographer is around $15.62 per hour.

What are the photography rating systems?

Here are the rating systems in the photography business which are generally followed:
1. Hourly rate: $100-$250
2. Day rate: $300-$3000
3. Packages: $150-$500
4. Per-photo: $25-$250
5. Mini-sessions: $100-$175

How much does it cost to hire a professional photographer for an event?

Event photographers have a high budget and generally charge around $150-$200 per hour. This amount ranges between $600-$1000 if someone plans to hire one such for any event. Their rates include post-production expenses, digital filing, printing, etc. They may charge for extra hours as well.

How much do photographers make?

As per the American Bureau of Labor Statistics professional photographers make around $34000-$43000 annually.

Bottom line!

Photography requires an investment of adequate time and expertise. After such hard work, you must get the right bid for your work. Therefore, you must have a clear concept of every know-how of estimating a photography job. This article will guide you and answer all your doubts regarding how much do photographers charge for their photography jobs.

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