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How Much Should You Charge For a Photo Shoot?

Every now and again I will post a tip for photographers in this section. This one concerns what to charge for your photo services. Newbie photographers often underestimate the amount of time that goes into a professional shoot, only to later resent the client and doing the project.

One of the key things I learned with pricing photography jobs is that a photo gig itself involves a lot more than taking the photos. When you hear about a noted photographer getting paid $10,000 a day for a shoot, it's because much more than a day’s work is involved...

1. Pre production - Scouting the location, selecting hair, make-up, model. Meeting the art director or producer of the project. Conceptualizing, story boarding, etc. obtaining permits for locations, insurance.

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2. The actual shoot - Generally, an all day affair. High stress and lots of work. You're "on" the entire time. Don't underestimate packing up everything. If you don't have a crew, unpacking, setting up, and re-packing is a job in itself.

3. Post production - Again, meeting with art director and going over the results of the shoot and most importantly, retouching the selected images for publication.

You know how many hours that is in total? Probably 40 easily, maybe more. And it's probably 1-2 weeks time you're on that project, from the first meeting to the last.

So when someone says "I'll pay you $500 to shoot my wedding,” be careful before you accept. Because you may wind up resenting it; shooting is a lot more than the day you go out and take the pictures.

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