Ask An Agent / Photography Rates for Target Markets

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

This months Creative Review features an article by me on photography rates. (you can see the full version here) It’s been great to get such positive feedback on what is clearly a rarely written about subject. For this month’s Ask an Agent I am going to answer a question I received in response to the article, in particular to this table that gives examples of industry rates.

Industry Low Medium High
Consumer ≤ 1500 1500-6000 ≥ 6000
Trade/Specialist ≤ 1500 1500-4000 ≥ 4000
Corporate ≤ 1200 1200-1800 ≥ 1800
Charity/Education /Tests ≤  800 800-1800 ≥ 1800

≤ = Less than or equal to

*I just want to reiterate that these rates are based on usage factors, the higher the fee the more usage factors are taken into account. I strongly suggest anyone reads the whole article if they haven’t already and don’t take these fees out of context. I also want to reaffirm that ‘low’ doesn’t mean ‘cheap’ and ‘high’ doesn’t mean ‘expensive’, they just indicate that the usage factors are either minimal or comprehensive. I also want to say this is just my opinion ( albeit based on 20 plus years experience and thousands of commercial shoots!) it’s not an attempt at price fixing or setting a rate card. ( disclaimer over!)

So here’s the question…

Would you mind just clarifying your Industry categories please. I understand the notion of "Direct" and "Advertising" clients etc, but I'm not too sure what you mean by "Consumer" and "Trade/specialist". "Corporate’’ is, I'm guessing, what I'd classify as Advertising and "Charity" etc is pretty self explanatory. Where would you place, say Editorial shoots? It's great that you bring this up. I think that it's high time that we got a little openness in the industry, not just about fees, but also about demystifying the whole commissioning process. Thanks for a great post.

Andy Kruczek. Photographer

Thanks for the question Andy and it’s really good to hear that the article has been useful.

You're quite right to ask for further definitions, sometimes I think we need a big glossary or dictionary to define all the terms that are used in our business. Anyway, this is how I define the ‘industry’ categories I include in the table. In hindsight the term ‘type of audience’ or ‘target market’ might have been better.

Consumer: The target market is the general public, so the product or service being advertised is something relevant to the general , me and you and everyone else type consumer- eg a mortgage lender or washing up liquid.

Trade/ Specialist: This refers to advertising by someone in a certain trade or business to others in the same trade or business- e.g a supplier of financial software advertising to accountants, healthcare /pharmaceutical advertising to the medical trade, recruitment advertising to graduates. Anything that’s not advertising to the general public basically, but different to corporate ( see below)as it is advertising to external businesses.

Corporate:This term is sometimes interpreted differently by different pockets of the industry. I have heard people refer to corporate as advertising but I don't see it as such. Corporate to me is a very specific area and applies to the world of corporate communications- the type of commissions you are likely to get from graphic design agencies who specialise in report and accounts and internal communications. So the audience here would be employees or stakeholders, never an external business.

Generally, the more limited and niche the audience, the lower the fee is likely to be. It's surprising that so many people think of only two areas when considering how much a photographers fee should be – advertising & editorial- when things can't be simplified in this way. Which brings me on to your last point. ‘Where would you place editorial?’

 The categories I have cited so far are all what I term as commercial , i.e associated with a trading body or organisation, (eg a press ad for a product, a website for a business) as oppose to editorial,  ie the photography would most likely illustrate a real event or a narrative and not endorse a commercial business, e.g in a magazine or newspaper. I chose to do this as most of the LPA shoots are commercial and it seemed relevant to the Creative Review readers.  But you’re quite right to ask about editorial as it’s a significant area. If editorial were on the list it would certainly be right at the bottom as editorial photography in my experience commands the lowest fees and most of the time the magazine or newspaper has a predetermined rate, correct me if I’m wrong!

Hope that helps, keep the questions coming to

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions.

Please state whether you would like to withhold your name.

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