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  • Writer's pictureSarah Harley


So, who is working in the same area - both regionally and in terms of genre?

As I am currently looking at focusing on commercial/editorial photography as the main focus of my business, I’ve been researching local competitors to see how they price their services and exactly what their pricing structure includes. It’s also allowed me to look at their websites and get ideas for visual presentation of my website.

Using the search terms ‘commercial photographers in south wales’, I’ve initially looked at the photographers listed on the first page – these are the ones potential clients would see so will give me a good idea of who I’m up against in an already saturated market-place - there are 10 pages shown in the search!

Prices and packages vary slightly amongst photographers, with a common theme being not to show any pricing. To get an idea of prices I’ve had to look outside the search area of South Wales.

As a fledgling business, although a lot of competitors don’t Include prices, I feel that their experience and portfolio affords them the luxury of pricing on a bespoke basis. I will include pricing on mine in order to provide some level of transparency and to hopefully encourage people to contact me more quickly to discuss work – if they can see what I charge then they will hopefully make contact as they will already know I am affordable.

As clients increase, it may be possible to change to pricing on a bespoke basis but that will form part of my future career development plan – rather than career launch.

let's talk money

Looking at the first page of competitors in South Wales, and searching on 7 websites, only 1 of those show pricing:

Having worked with commercial photographers in the past in my previous jobs, I know that they often charge using a rate card based on an hourly fee, additional hours, half day and full day prices. Although in the past, licensing of images was always an additional cost which depended heavily on where the images would be used and printed – eg advertising, brochures, press etc., copyright was held by the photographer and usage was only allowed in the publication/or types of publications listed. To buy the images copyright free would always add many zeros to the final price. I wonder if this has now changed with the advent of digital production and digital media?

Taking Andrew Miller’s pricing as the first example, I can see that whilst the pricing structure of half/full day rates is used and images are digitally supplied to clients, he still prices based on where the images will be used – distinguishing between web & social media versus print rates. He also offers both of these together at a reduced rate.

Licensing in all instances is offered for 12 months on a global basis. Prices range from £250 - £450 for a half day. An approximation of the number of images received is offered along with production time.

It turns into a confusing website however, as once you start trying to look at portfolio it switches to his wedding business.

Note to self: important to make sure links work correctly.

I also wonder whether given clients will now always use imagery on their social media accounts – more than perhaps in print, is there a need to charge different rates based on usage. It seems a redundant option in the current world.

I also looked at the following sites:

No pricing, but a great range of commercial photography and it is very clear that this is his niche as it’s not confused with any other genres such as weddings.

Good range of work. Showcases weddings as well, but a much clearer distinction between the types of photography he does. No prices.

Nice website. Range of images. Like the tab on the side to switch to Weddings. But again, no prices. Also limited portfolio available.

More Press & PR as previously a staff photographer for Western Mail. Wide range of images. No pricing.

Site is beautifully curated. Very stylish. Clearly commercial. No prices.

Very professional site. Crisp, clean and seems like a London agency. No pricing. Good ‘meet the team’ section.


As I was struggling to find prices from competition based in South Wales, as mentioned I looked at other UK based photographers to get a feel for average commercial/editorial rates.

1st-hour rate from £125 – subsequent hours charged at £75

HALF DAY rate (up to 4 Hours) : from £300

FULL DAY rate (up to 8 Hours) : from £500

For larger or more complex projects with multiple days of shooting a discounted day rate will be offered.

Additional charges:

Post Processing: (general sharpening, colour balance, exposure and artefact removal); generally 1 hour on a half day shoot or 2 hours on a full day. – this excludes major manipulation/retouching. Manipulation and retouching is costed on an image per image basis and is only undertaken after a discussion with the client.Bespoke online proofing gallery. Depending on the client specifications and intended usage of the resultant images, an image license may also factor into the overall costing. This is looked at on a per job basis. Large projects usually require an assistant. Assistants allow us to complete your work more effectively and cover most of the lighting breakdown and moving in between sets.Traveling expenses depend upon the location of the shoot. 45 pence per mile is our usual charge for jobs further than a 20mile radius surrounding Manchester.Travel time to your shoot is charged at £15 per hour, if the travel time exceeds 1 hour.

Hotels, flights and expenses (for UK and non-UK commissions) are charged on at cost.

For PR and corporate portraiture work, the above prices may not be applicable and will be quoted for on a job by job basis.

Price includes delivery of images by one of the following choices: direct download via the proofing gallery, FTP or email (file size permitting). CDs and DVDs are charged at £5 per disc, plus postage.

Interestingly, there are also additional charges, some of which I would have expected to be included in the cost such as general post processing & editing. Whilst I would have expected major editing work to be extra, I feel that general editing to make your images the best they can be should be part of the overall fee. Why would you want to supply work that wasn’t the best it could be?

Another example of pricing was found at:

A half day is typically 4 hrs and a full day typically 7.5 hrs Most of our work is charged at the Standard rate Prices are in GBP and are valid as of March 2018 All photography prices are for guidance only (E&OE) and exclude VAT

What you pay for

The prices quoted above are an ‘all inclusive’ price – we will not make any additional charges for standard processing (which should be all you need) OR usage/license fees. Expenses are charged for sites outside of Leicestershire – please see the details below.

What you’ll receive for the prices above:

· Our time to take your photographs – your costs are based on how long it takes us to shoot your images

· The photographs taken – we don’t hold any back and charge for additional shots later

· Our expertise

· Our time to process your images – they will be cropped, edited for colour balance, basic sharpening and, as necessary, corrected for geometry – and  in general it takes (at least) as long to process/edit your images as it does to take them. There are no extra charges for processing

· Supply of your high resolution images – usually electronically, but CDs/DVDs are available on request

· A license/the right to use your images – we do not normally place any time restrictions on how long you can use the images or how many times you use them, BUT there may be restrictions on HOW you use them and these will be detailed in your quote (this restriction usually only applies to large scale, world-wide, non-web advertising campaigns)

· We aim to store all of our original photo files

· Free post-production advice

· Public Liability Insurance up to £5 million



Any expenses will be clearly detailed on your quote, but in general:

· We charge mileage for all projects outside of Leicestershire at £0.65 per mile

· We charge travel time for all projects over 2 hours away from our base in Leicester. We charge nothing for the first 2 hours (in each direction) then 30.00 for each additional hour (in each direction) – rounded up to the full hour

· Hotels and expenses (if required) are charged at cost

Processing costs

· Basic image processing – cropping, editing for colour balance, basic sharpening and corrections for geometry – is included in the price you pay for us to take your photos.

· Enhanced image processing and Photoshop work – IF required – is charged at £84 per hour or part thereof

· We do not usually offer a cut-out service, as we believe you can source this elsewhere at a much more competitive price than we are able to offer

Although the initial pricing structure is a little complicated as there are four tiers of pricing – without any clear or immediate explanation of how these differ, the additional charges seem fairer and more in line with how I envisage my pricing working.

Finally, I looked at the following site which outlined well how I imagine my pricing will work in the first few years – mainly due to the simplicity of it. Although I might charge different amounts for the four elements, I Feel it is clear, concise, includes the right additional elements and will make it easy for clients to make a decision.

Photography Fee Structure To keep things nice and simple I just charge for my time, no complicated licence or usage fees. First hour £135 Subsequent hours £80 Half day £300 Full day £500 Mileage charged at £0.45ppm from Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, GL6 0NP You will receive the edited pictures on a permanent password protected web gallery from where you can share and download the high resolution files.

I’d therefore say that for the first 1-2 years of business then my pricing structure will remain as straightforward as the one above. Although the prices may change depending on the economy and a hopefully increased reputation, then for now I think keeping them simple will give me an edge over other local competitors. Potential clients will be able to visit my website, see my portfolio and immediately see what they may have to pay rather than seeing no prices and perhaps assuming that I would be too expensive.

For now, client list and exposure to the potential market have to remain my key objectives rather than how much I can charge. That can come with time.

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