Commercial Photography Pricing: What To Know

Hoping to learn all about the wonderful world of commercial photography pricing? Then Peerspace has your back! Commercial photography is a fun and diverse photography field that ranges from food and fashion photography to environmental portraits of people in their work environments. No matter your preferred niche, Peerspace can also help you find the perfect shooting location to demonstrate your professionalism and hone your skills.

But for now, let’s keep our eye on pricing your services. Maybe you are new to commercial photography or just looking for tips on how to set your commercial photography pricing. Either way, we have a few tips that can help you set your rates, determine what to charge extra for, and how to find your niche so you can start scaling up and charging more!   

Determine your hourly rate

cute, bright studio space
Source: Peerspace

Figuring out your rate for commercial photography is about more than how many hours you work. This is especially true if you plan to make photography your full-time gig and not just a side hustle!

Create a spreadsheet to factor in all your costs, including expenses like these:

  • Self-employment tax
  • The percentage you will like to set aside for health insurance and retirement savings
  • The additional percentage for business expenses (this is the cost associated with your equipment, its maintenance, and repair)

Then, add this percentage to your base rate. For example, if you would like to charge $50 an hour, add 12.4% for self-employment tax, 12% for retirement and health savings, and 10% for equipment costs, for a total of $67.20 an hour. Now, multiply that by 8 hours and you have your “day rate”, $500-$550 a day.

You’ll know if your rate is competitive by comparing it to the prices set by other commercial photographers in your area. If you are new to commercial photography, you may want to consider starting at a lower rate than your ideal base rate + expenses and then raising your rate once you have some experience under your belt (we’ll discuss when you know it’s time to raise your rates later in this article). 

Bill for extras and add-ons

portland studio with cyc wall
Source: Peerspace

It’s perfectly reasonable to bill a client for anything that involves extra work, time, or equipment. Just make sure to talk to the client before the event about costs so your commercial photography pricing and rate are clear to them. This ensures the bill doesn’t surprise them after the shoot!

A common cost for photography is travel. If you have to travel outside the city or town you live in, you will likely want to charge the client for travel costs to get to the shoot. You can make it simple by billing the client using the government rate for mileage (the 2023 rate is 62.5 cents a mile). If a client expects you to fly to a location to shoot, make sure you are clear on whether they are paying for you to fly or reimbursing you for the cost.

Also, let your client know beforehand what equipment you plan on bringing to the shoot. This is also a good time to tell them what else is available for an additional fee. For example, you can let them know you normally bring certain diffusers, diffusion materials, and lighting gels but if they require specialized color correction filters or color effect filters, it will cost extra.

Find your niche

Bright Kitchen for Portrait & Fashion Photography houston rental
Source: Peerspace

Once you have a few gigs under your belt, work on finding the niche that sets you apart from the competition. Find your niche by asking yourself what type of commercial photography you enjoy shooting the most, what the largest commercial photography need is in your area, and what sets you apart from the competition.

For example, after a few shoots, you may realize that there aren’t many food photographers in your area. Then you realize there seem to be a lot of restaurants wanting to hire photographers to take photos of their menu items. You’ve found a niche!

Next, we’ll discuss how to set yourself apart in your niche genre.

Use Peerspace to book amazing shoot locations

Graduation Photoshoot Ideas in Vancouver
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You can then start focusing on food photography and offering fun extras that other photographers may not offer — like finding a great venue for their shoot!

You can have a few Peerspace location options up your sleeve to share with the client like a well-lit kitchen space or a chic-industrial space with a stylish brick wall background. This not only shows your commitment to helping them get the best pics with the perfect background but it’s also a great way to make sure you end up with the best photos possible.

So what types of venues can you find on Peerspace to make your commercial work shine?

Here are a few of our favorites:

As you can see, there are lots of options! And when you choose a location on Peerspace, you can talk to the Peerspace host beforehand about the lighting, check out pictures of the space, and even ask about taking a tour of the venue before you book. That way, you’ll be confident before the shoot that the space is the perfect fit. And if you like the space, you can keep on booking it again and again for all your photography studio needs.

Time to raise your rates!

Midtown Luxury Loft with Plenty of Natural Lighting detroit rental
Source: Peerspace

If the demand for your services gets to be too much — congratulations, you are a hot commodity and it’s time to start charging more! With higher rates also comes the ability to purchase better equipment, take new training or photography courses, and let your business grow.

Just remember to keep transparency with your clients about your rates and additional charges and add-ons they may accrue. From there, just keep setting yourself apart in your field by offering specialized and memorable services that will keep clients coming back to hire you over and over again!

Commercial photography pricing: conclusion

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Commercial Kitchen
Source: Peerspace

No matter what stage you find yourself in your commercial photography career, knowing how to charge clients fairly can be challenging. We hope this guide has answered any questions you have and has left you feeling confident as you advance your career.

We also hope you’ve come to see how Peerspace can help you discover spaces that set you apart from the crowd. Already have a commercial photography studio of your own? Consider listing it on Peerspace for other photographers to use when you’re not. It’s a smart way to earn a side income while helping your fellow creatives!

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