A few days back someone inquired about my photography services. Of course she had seen my work and liked it. As a routine, she asked me to send a quote. After carefully understanding the amount of work and creativity involved in the job I did send one. She called me after a couple of days to find out if she could negotiate on the rates. I said that the rates were carefully calculated and hence not negotiable.
Immediately she asked me as why I charged so much when I was not using film rolls. Most people think that the digital work is cheaper than film for the mere reason that film is not there. (How can someone comfortably forget that the digital SLR cameras and related gadgets are far more expensive than film SLR cameras?). Then, I reaffirmed that the charges were mainly for my skills & services.
Again she argued that she herself was using a digital camera and she knew about photography. But the truth is that, a professional photographer’s rates can’t be attributed only for the cost of materials used (like films and prints).
When a professional photographer finalizes a quote/tariff, the following factors need to be considered,
- The creativity and skills involved in handling the job
- The experience and professionalism of the photographer
- The market value or demand for the photographer
- The time spent on and off the job at the location especially the extended working hours
- The number of final images, prints or other outputs planned for the job
- The extent of post production, machine and man hours involved for retouching & image editing
- The skills and design elements expected in a designer photo-book.
- The cost of printing and making of the photo book (album)
- The cost of wastage of the prints/shots
- The kind of cameras, lenses, flashes and other photography equipment used
- The interest on investment on the expensive professional equipment
- The maintenance, repair and replacement of professional equipment
- The share of capital/revenue/incidental expenses
- The number of assistants working along with the photographer
- The transport or shifting expenses to a location and so on.
Don’t you think that a photographer must consider money value for all the above when the rates are finalized?