PHOTOGRAPHY: Behind The Lens - "Show Me The Money"

Sometimes I wish I had the balls to shout that iconic phrase down the phone at clients. Frankly I don’t have the luxury of going through life as a Hollywood Actor who can do and say what he pleases (side eye). The biggest issue with a Photographer is dealing with money. I say money rather than quoting, as it deals with both initial enquires; invoicing and receiving payment.

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As a freelance Photographer, there is a massive lack on clarity on how much you should charge for a job. Therefore, it is many things other than one’s ability that comes into play when gunning for a job. Do you have your own studio? Can you get a free location? Do you have friends that can model? These are all questions that I have had in the past. My aim here is not to dictate how much Photographers should charge, or claim what clients should fork out. Just to bring into the fore what factors go into a job.

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Elements to be considered in a fashion shoot for a fashion brand/Designer: -Day rate (Photographers time on set) -Editing (depending on final amount of images needed) -Casting (dealing with agencies and attending the casting days with client) -Models (Agents may have a fee in mind once they know who/what it was used for. Also add VAT and 20%) -Location/studio (Perhaps through a website or a studio with lighting and range of backdrops) -Make up (Would have a standard day rate to work to) -Hair (accessories/wigs?) -Set Design (design and materials would need to be considered) -Image usage (is the company worldwide or UK only) -Transport (taking four lights to the location? Tube is not advised) -Hiring of extra equipment (specialist lights or props) -Food (The most important factor)

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These are just the mains points to be given thought with regards to a job like this. One great way to consider if a quote is viable is to question how many of the same jobs per month would you need to do (to sustain income).

During one incident, I found myself still chasing payment 3 months after I had sent my initial invoice. After about 12 emails, the client proceeded to query the fee that had already been quoted and OK’d. I finally got my funds. This is after I handed my case over to a Hedge Fund Manager friend of mine. He has a talent for dealing in such situations. The lesson learnt from that akward situation? A contract is always best before and job. So is a percentage of the final fee upfront. In essence, demand your worth!

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