EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Right Moves: Setting the Right Rate


Right moves large

Myrna Kresh, has 30 years of experience working with emerging and established photographers. Formerly the Executive Director of the Advertising Photographers of New York, Myrna energized and expanded APNY’s Assistant and Emerging Photographer Programs and has a profound understanding of what it really takes to make it as a pro. Myrna is an industry insider, producing and representing visual artists, in their commercial and personal projects.


Dear Right Moves,

How does a photographer know how to accurately bid a job? ASMP stock photography guidelines is a help, but that’s for usage, what about assistants, plus out of pocket, pre production time and my shoot time? I’m still trying to figure out what my rates should be as a photographer who is just beginning to work professionally.   I don’t want to be a bottom-feeder but I do want to share the advantage of my  being a ‘young’ photographer’ with potential clients. 
Where’s the real info on this one?

Looking for a database
Los Angeles, California


Dear Looking for a Database,

The best information on pricing for professional photographers can be found on ASMP Strictly Business.  ASMP has taken surveys throughout the country and has rates broken down by regions of the country. Very necessary information to have.

Bidding a job with any client is 20% knowledge and 80% alchemy.  Who is the Agency? Who is the Client? What rights is the client looking for?  Are you renting a Studio?  How long will the shoot take and for heaven’s sake give you enough time.  To tell a client you can do 40 shots in a day when it turns out you’re able to do 10 shots a day and you’ve priced the job on the basis of a day-rate can be catastrophic.  

Unfortunately, MOST photographers, not ALL but MOST are not very forthcoming about their real rates.  Photographer’s Agents certainly won’t tell you unless you’re their first-born.  Agency art buyers almost never tell you what their budget is, so a dance ensues where the photographer or agent bids and the art buyer, who usually is reviewing 3 estimates, may not tell you real numbers depending upon whether he/she really wants to work with you.  

Join ASMP, speak to other professionals and emerging photographers, get active in the photographer community, learn as much as you can and then logically apply that knowledge to the very fluid dynamic of estimating jobs.

Right Moves

To submit your advice questions to Right Moves, send an email to myrna@myrnak.com.

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