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Inspiration

Hourly Rates Lose You Money?

By Anthony Thurston on April 24th 2013

I came across an interesting guest post over on the Phlearn blog today. The post was written by Jason Wallis a commercial fashion, advertising and corporate photographer in Southern California. I am over simplifying the post, but the underlying theme is that hourly rates will lose you money. I am going to go into my thoughts on the matter below, but you should head over to Phlearn and check out the original post.

money

So my thoughts on Hourly rates as photographers. I agree in part with what Jason talks about, but I feel like there is still a way to get hourly rates that work. Just as he talks about changing a day rate based on the work, why not change your hourly rate based on the work? I mean what’s the difference in charging $1600 for an 8 hour day of shooting or $200 an hour? I mean it’s still $1600 at the end of the day….

The part that I agree with is that you need to be basing your quotes for jobs off of the work that you are going to be doing. For example, I charge a completely different fee when I am shooting sports vs when I am shooting portraits. It’s not just an arbitrary difference, it is a calculated difference based on the amount of work that I put into each service. Obviously it’s a little different in the commercial fashion/advertising world – but the premise is the same.

What do you guys think? What is a situation where you would use the same hourly rate for any job? Let us know in a comment below. 

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  2. Joseph Prusa

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  3. Antonio Carrasco

    The problem with hourly rates is that people usually only feel that they should pay you for the minutes that you are physically pressing the shutter button on your camera. They never want to pay for pre-production, unloading and setting your lighting up. Waiting for hair and makeup to do their job, shooting, then breaking down the set/gear and also post-production.

    Also, I have found that when people ask how much I charge per hour, those are the bargain hunters who have little experience in what goes into a project and they are going to try and nickel and dime you.

    Best to stay away from those types, because they are usually going to call you and five other people for the same job and try to get you all competing against each other. Then it just becomes a race to the bottom and you end up getting paid nothing for the pre/post shoot work.

    If they pay you $200 for an hour of shooting, when you factor in all the marketing, scheduling, set up and break down, phone calls and planning for that “one hour” shoot, you are actually earning closer to $10 an hour. :)

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