Why these rates for professional photographers?
Dear reader, I have to confess something… Before starting my activity as a freelance photographer, I also asked myself this question. Why these rates for professional photographers? And why so many differences between professionals?
The first thing to say is that when you choose a service, you don’t just pay the contractor’s salary. Indeed, there is all the operation of a company with all the associated services:
- First, as an entrepreneur, we have to pay social charges (22%), and VAT (20%) (if applicable). Finally, it’s a bit like for your employer when you are an employee who pays social and employer contributions.
- To this is obviously added all the ancillary costs paid by your employer such as mutual insurance, pensions, retirement, and insurance.
- Then there are also fixed business costs and the amortization of equipment (computers, software, photo equipment, photo accessories). This is one of the biggest tasks as a photographer. Indeed, the equipment is often purchased on credit over 5 years.
- Finally, there are also all the additional costs. There are travel, training, paid leave, sick leave!
- Thus, as for a salary job, the difference between the gross salary and the net salary is enormous! For a photographer, the average net salary is 30 to 50% of the gross salary, depending on status and benefits.
The second point is that a photographer’s life is not just about shooting. You see the time we spend with you. Behind, there is a real life of an entrepreneur. On my side, the shooting part is between 10 and 20% of my activity: the shooting time therefore remains surprisingly quite a minority.
Among the tasks that take time, we can find communication, prospecting, follow-up, accounting, invoicing, training, customer management.
Let’s take an example, a wedding takes on average 10 to 12 hours of shooting, sometimes more, sometimes less. This is the visible working time.
Added to this is the upstream work: communication (Networks, Website, etc.), preparations (Engagement Session, Preparation meeting, Visit to the estate, Preparation of equipment), travel. But also all the work downstream: Selection, post-processing retouching, creation of the online gallery, choice of prints, and accounting. Concretely for a visible work of about 10 hours, the work done is between 50 and 70 hours. Amazing isn’t it?
Once you have read this first part of the article, you may be wondering why there is so much difference in price in the profession of photographer… and you are right!
As with many businesses, photography is not a regulated profession, and the prices are therefore not. As for other professions, everyone is therefore free to choose their prices according to their expenses, their equipment, their experience.
In addition, it is quite difficult to compare the performances of different artists. Indeed, not all include the same services in a photo shoot and or a report.
You will then find different prices for the same service, just as it is possible to find a smartphone between 50 and 2000€.
The question to ask is then: at this moment, what is your need? What do you need ? And what price did you choose to put on it?