Ask An Agent / Photography Rates for Advertorial Usage

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column that answers all your dilemmas about the business of photography - a sort of photography agony aunt.

If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to

This month Ask an Agent helps an editorial photographer flummoxed by ‘advertorial’.

I shoot regularly for a magazine and one of their advertising clients have asked me to do an ‘advertorial’ shoot. What is advertorial? Should I charge advertising rates? I am only used to my editorial clients telling me how much they will pay me, so am at a bit of a loss.

Gregory Mackenzie, editorial photographer.

Thanks for your question Gregory, I receive a lot of emails on the subject of advertising usages from photographers who are only used to dealing with editorial clients. The temptation seems to be to assume there are big bucks involved, quote too high and lose the job, so be careful.

The value of an image should be based on how and where it is used, i.e an editorial piece in a local magazine does not command such high fees as a worldwide press campaign for a global brand. It’s vital that all parties clearly understand the required usage from the onset and state this on the estimate and invoice along with your business terms.

This is not only important so you can achieve an appropriate fee but also to ensure you have control of where the image is used, especially important where models are involved as they too quote their fees according to specific usage.

So what is advertorial and how do we quote for it?

An advertorial is an promotional piece for a product or service that can look very much like an editorial piece. Because this might be misleading and readers might think it's subjective editorial you often see the disclaimer  ‘Advertisement’ or ‘Special Promotion’ : this highlights that the views expressed in the advertorial are not necessarily the views of the magazine or newspaper. Advertorials are usually quite text heavy, as opposed to traditional press ads that usually only have a small amount of copy and they (advertorials) often run over several pages.They might also be linked with other editorial content e.g a pasta sauce brand in a magazine with a feature on Italian cooking. Magazines have a certain number of editorial pages and a certain number of advertising pages also known as ‘advertising space’. The latter is sold by the media sales teams to brands relevant to the readers and is important to the profit of the magazine.

Advertorial is advertising in a sense and can be found on the paid for advertising pages. But, due to its slightly different nature, the pages are usually offered at a cheaper rate to those that feature traditional press advertising.  Thus, advertorial photography commands lower fees compared to pure press advertising photography.

Just to round off the full picture - PR photography is the final type of photography that hasn’t been mentioned that can be found in a magazine or newspaper. Images shot for PR purposes are usually sent off speculatively by companies to gain editorial coverage. These images would feature in the editorial pages of a magazine, however, as they are associated with a commercial entity PR fees are higher than editorial fees but lower than advertising or advertorial fees.

Here’s a handy chart to sum up the world of magazine and newspaper photography.

Type of Photography Definition Fees
Editorial Photography that accompanies a news article or feature. Commissioned by the Magazine or Newspaper. Lowest
PR Also known as Press and Publicity. Photography that is associated with a commercial product or service and sent speculatively to Magazines and Newspapers along with a press release for potential press coverage. Commissioned by a PR or Marketing Agency or a Business directly. Medium
Advertorial Photography featured in the context of an Advertorial- an Advertisement for a product that can resemble an editorial piece. Commissioned by the Advertiser directly or an Advertising or Design Agency. Higher
Advertising Photography featured in an Advertisement specifically created for a product/service usually by an Advertising Agency. Usually commissioned by an Advertising Agency. Highest


Negotiating fees with a client is a skill in itself, fine tuned over years of experience. The main trick is simply to listen to your clients needs, clarify the usage and try and gleen what they are willing to pay for what you have to offer.

Good luck, and if you need an expert to negotiate on your behalf don’t forget that LPA Production offer a ‘Pop up Agent’ service for this very purpose. Just drop us a line to to find out more.

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This advice should be taken as a guide only. Lisa Pritchard and LPA take no responsibility for any omissions or errors. Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.