The freelance photography industry is booming, and determining your worth in this digital age can be as tricky as nailing the perfect shot. Fear not, because Freelancer Club is here to be your photography pricing guru and career booster! 

In a world where Instagram filters have us all feeling like amateur photographers, let's not forget the true artists behind the lens—the professional photographers who capture life's most precious moments with finesse and creativity. 

Join us as we dive into the facts of how to set your price as a photographer in the UK, and learn how Freelancer Club can help you set up for success.

Click here to apply for paid photographer jobs

Photographers in the UK earn a little over £20,000 on average.

However, these figures are largely based on a full-time photography role ranging from a junior photographer (£16,000 - £18,000) right up to a senior photographer (£30,000+).

In reality, the industry has changed dramatically and, for some, their photography salary is dwindling whilst others are making a very healthy sum indeed. 

How much do photographers earn in the UK? 

Many developing freelance photographers are self-taught, learn how to use their camera via a course or study their technique at a private institution or university.

What a lot of these approaches have in common is they don't teach new photographers the business of photography including how much they can expect to earn.

Admittedly, universities are recognising the lack of business know-how and improving this side of their course but for those who take the alternate approaches, it's a steep learning curve.  

A freelance photographer's salary depends greatly on the success of their business and the sector they choose to work in.

freelance photographer salary

Photography Rates

From the perspective of an employer, the pricing you set as a photographer takes precedence, coming in second only to the quality of your work – but determining your worth can feel tricky.

On the Freelancer Club site, job postings for freelance photographers typically include a budget range. Being aware of your hourly and daily rates simplifies the task of quoting within these parameters.

It's noteworthy that the most cost-effective option isn't always the chosen one. Remember that undervaluing your services can lead to undermining your brand’s worth.

Conversely, exceeding the proposed budget can be off-putting unless justified.

Occasionally, clients, especially those not well-acquainted with the industry, may unknowingly set a budget that's below the market rate.

In such cases, offering a realistic and fair rate accompanied by some education on market pricing is beneficial.

A common challenge for freelancers is uncertainty about what rate to quote. A practical approach is to determine the minimum you need to earn to cover your expenses without incurring a loss. A basic formula to consider is:


In this calculation, account for both personal and business expenses to arrive at an annual total.

Estimate the number of chargeable hours you work yearly, excluding administrative tasks, job hunting, and travel time.

For example, if your yearly expenses amount to £10k and you work 1000 chargeable hours, your baseline rate, after adding tax, would be £12 per hour.

This should serve as a threshold, ensuring you neither undersell your skills nor incur losses. It’s a foundation to build upon, not typically the rate you’ll quote clients.

For a quick tutorial on how to set your rates, check out this quick video:

Wedding Freelance Photography Salary

Wedding photography is still in rude health and photographers can earn anywhere from £20,000 to £80,000 per year.

Where the average rate seems to be decreasing, photographers are diversifying to make up the shortfall.

Selling add-ons to the bride and groom has always been a part of a wedding photographer's approach, be it photo albums, retouching, framing or more cutting-edge services such as a Wedding App or website.

A photographer salary in the bridal industry will also depend on the number of sales they make and their rate. Summer weddings are still the busiest period for wedding photographers and established photographers can land as many as 2 - 3 weddings per week during peak season.

Rates typically range from £500 for a few hours and raw images up to a few thousand for location prep, documentary shots, a second shooter and all the trimmings.

A second shooter, incidentally, could earn around £16,000 - £24,000 per year. 

On the Freelancer Club jobs board, we post a lot of paid freelancer photographer jobs including wedding work. See what is available and the budgets on offer. 

photographer salary uk

Fashion Photography Salary

Fashion has long been a victim of its own popularity.

The lure of the fashion industry has resulted in many newbies in photography, makeup, modelling, hair, styling or otherwise, to drop their rates or forgo a rate altogether just for the chance to experience the world of fashion. This undervaluing of their services has resulted in a very competitive and exploitative industry. 

A photography salary in fashion is hard to come by.

Most full-time photographers work for e-commerce brands who can provide the photographer with enough work every day to justify a contract. These positions are rare and don't pay very well.

We've seen job advertisements from as little as £18,000 for a senior position. 

A freelance photographer salary can reach a lot more but, again, there are still many hurdles to overcome if one is to crack the fashion industry.

Imagery is in high demand particularly in the e-commerce fashion sector as new collections have to be shot all the time.

A fashion photographer must be able to bring a new set of skills as well as their craft. The ability to organise a fashion team, direct a shoot, conceptualise creative ideas, shoot at a highly productive rate and post-produce mass numbers of images to satisfy the brand's demands. 

The freelance photographers doing well from e-commerce sites are typically in charge of content creation as well as the post-production and can earn anything from £500 - £1500 for 2 days of work. 

Many fashion photographers will also offer model portfolio packages (£500 - £1000 per day), actors headshots (£500 - £800 per day) and other related services. 

Other Photography Salaries

The value of a photograph may be at an all-time low, however, new industries are emerging for the photographer willing to diversify.

In the positive column, we're seeing some surprising markets open up that most photographers are not tapping into.

Some of the better-known markets include the wedding industry, corporate events, portraits, private parties and celebrations while the less obvious sectors include photographing bloggers / stylists, online boutiques, profile portraits and content creation for small to medium-sized businesses.

Although many companies are utilising in-house talent for low-level photography requirements as well as tapping into stock photography sites, there is still plenty of work for photographers to get their teeth into.

The trick is know how to land it. 

price photographer uk

What an Employer Wants

James Tiney provides us with an extreme view that the value of a photo is zero - worthless. Controversial, definitely. Accurate, we're not so sure.

It's fair to say that the value of a photo has declined monumentally due to the sheer volume of images taken every day and that numerous companies are happy to use amateur imagery for their content compared to 10 years ago when a pro photographer was the preferred option.

A photographer's role has most definitely changed and a greater divide between a good and a great photographer has widened.

If a business can take a good photo in-house using a phone and a filter, why wouldn't they?

Technology is improving day to day and it would seem we're all becoming amateur photographers.

Take any office around the UK with more than 5 employees and the chances are one of them is a photo enthusiast or was given a DSLR for Christmas.

For a photo to be valued in today's market, it must be great - really great. Simply put, the image must be something that the hobbyist cannot achieve.  

The value of a photo is zero. Clients want a photographer who can bring creative imagination, professionalism, collaborative skills and their own style to a campaign.

- James Tiney, Photographer

Take a look at your photography website, online profiles, portfolio or social media channels.

What do they say about you as a photographer? Do you have a defined style? How many services are you offering and can you back up each service with a collection of stunning images?

A brand is what people talk about when you leave the room. It's important to be hypercritical and ask the tough questions.

Am I conveying the message I want? 

A freelance photography salary will be determined by a number of factors and your brand is one of those aspects.

A clear brand with a confident message that aligns with the look and feel of the portfolio and style of the site, portfolio, social channel, adds a level of professionalism that employers look for. We're lucky enough to have data from 100s of employers who hire photographers and we're going to share that information with you here.

Your photographer portfolio

The number one aspect that an employer looks for when hiring a photographer is their portfolio.

The quality of the work. Style versus diversity. The opening image and the one that sticks in their mind when they look away. A portfolio should contain at least 10 strong images showcasing your work in each specific area.

Quality over quantity every time and avoid repetitious work.

The employer will want to see evidence of your skill and style. They want to match your style with their project so at least 3 or 4 campaign examples showing you're not a one-hit wonder will go some way in convincing them of your ability.

Portfolios are typically viewed online to begin with and, from time to time, a company may request to see your 'book'.

It's becoming far less common, however, and generally only happens in the fashion industry.

Regardless, if you do wish to print your portfolio, invest in high-quality paper stock, a proper printer with excellent quality and an industry standard portfolio book.   

Keep reading to learn of our top insider tips to create a winning portfolio!

photography salary

Know The Basics

An industry standard portfolio is a body of work typically produced through a specific medium.

The number of images in a portfolio depends on the sector you specialise in – however as a rule of thumb should not contain so little that it doesn't provide the viewer with an idea of your style, professionalism and experience whilst not too much that they need to put the kettle on to get through it all.

The core function of a portfolio is to present your work to prospective clients or to generate opportunities. Prior to showing your portfolio, it's vital to understand what the portfolio is for.

You may require a portfolio for an interview or to land a one-off job. A gallery may require a portfolio to ascertain whether to accept your work. 

The Flexible Approach

Your online portfolio (we'll explore this in more detail below) is generally an ever-evolving collection of work that you'll constantly be updating.

If presented well, the viewer should be able to easily navigate through your work to see what it is they require. When presenting your work via email or in person, your choices are vital.

Each presentation will be different and your choice of images to include or extract will often determine whether you land the job or not. 

Choosing Key Shots

One of the most difficult aspects of compiling a portfolio is choosing the images to include and leave out.

You'll most probably have a personal connection to the work which makes it tough to be impartial but it's important that you are ruthless in these moments. 

Open with an image that defines you as a photographer and ideally one that makes an impact.

After all, we want the viewer to keep inspecting your work and in cases when there are 200 portfolios to get through, the first image can often be your last if the quality is not up to scratch.

Take the viewer on a journey through your work trying to keep some level of continuity running throughout. 10 to 12 images would be considered enough in each area you're presenting for.

Fashion can be a little different particularly if it's editorial work you're showcasing. 

Click here to apply for paid photographer jobs


Don't skimp out on the portfolio book. That means no plastic bags or plastic binders. Great work can be ruined if presented in a cheap or tatty manner.

There are tons of choices out there from portrait to landscape size to the type of finish you'd like. Whichever style you go for we'd suggest a portfolio book that is at least A4 or larger in dimensions to allow the viewer to really inspect the work. 

The quality of the print is also an important aspect of your presentation.

We've seen some stunning work destroyed by bad prints and not only does it harm your chances of landing the job but it shows a level of unprofessionalism that you want to avoid.

A professional portfolio book and prints are worthwhile investments to make, particularly as you've spent so much time and effort on the images. 

The Online Portfolio

The single most underrated area for more photographers is the online portfolio. A good tip is to try finding yourself and your work online via Google. What shows up first? How easy was it to find your portfolio?

A portfolio's main function is to showcase your work to prospective clients. You will present this work via a variety of mediums so ensure that you're prepared.

Your online portfolio will most likely be hosted on your website and be the first point of contact for the majority of your clients.

Your digital portfolio is where you can include your entire body of work and really show off your experience. This is not to say that it should be a mess of images for the viewer to syphon through, on the contrary.

Your online portfolio should be categorised provided you have enough work to back up each section. 

Should you be a photographer working in the wedding sector, for instance, you may want to split your work up by weddings. This will allow the viewer to see how you approached each event.

The viewer can then easily say which wedding they like and give you a  really good idea of what they expect whilst providing the potential client with an easy 'menu style' way of choosing your services.

A fashion and beauty photographer may categorise work into commercial and editorial sections then further break down the work into shoots or styles. 

Portable Digital Portfolio

The debate between printed and digital portfolios will rage on but our research has shown that it pays to be covered for both eventualities.

A portable digital portfolio is typically presented on a tablet, laptop or phone.

The latter (phone) should only ever be used in cases when you're caught on the hop and not expect to have to present.

Think of it like your digital business card. You never know when you're going to meet your next client but it's unlikely you'll be dragging our laptop everywhere you go. 

A digital portfolio should be categorised to make it easy for you to tailor based on the job. You should present your most appropriate work to each prospective client.

Printed Portfolio

When an employer is looking to hire a freelancer for a one-off project, they have a few criteria. Near the top of the list is time and how long it's going to take to find the right person.

This is particularly true when the job is a quick, modestly paid piece of work. Their time is precious and if something doesn't take hold quickly, they'll move onto the next option.

Keep your showreel short - a couple of minutes can give anyone a good idea and if they want to see more then they've got your full portfolio to watch.

Check out this video to learn how to upload projects to your Freelancer Club profile:


Building a comprehensive profile is akin to crafting a visual and informational snapshot of your brand for prospective employers. It showcases your quality, professionalism, and pricing succinctly. Elements such as your portfolio, profile picture, services offered, experience, contact information, and links play pivotal roles in creating this snapshot.

If you're not already a member of Freelancer Club, joining and creating a professional profile simplifies the process of applying for freelance photographer positions.

Here's a handy checklist to ensure your Freelancer Club profile is as compelling as possible:

  • ✅ Profile Name: Use your personal or brand name.

  • ✅ Profile Picture: Opt for a professional image of yourself, a sample of your work, or your company logo.

  • ✅ Website and Links: Add these in the EDIT PROFILE section to provide direct access to your online portfolio and social media platforms.

  • ✅ Rates and Contact Information: Still in the EDIT PROFILE section, be sure to include your hourly and day rates, contact number, and indicate if you're available for test shooting.

  • ✅ About Me: Share your professional journey, accolades, and notable clients to give a fuller picture of your experience and expertise.

  • ✅ Skill Set: Highlight specific skills related to your services, for instance, Photoshop expertise or mastery in studio lighting.

  • ✅ Services: Click on ADD A SERVICE under the UPDATE PROFILE to outline additional offerings, like retouching, to give potential clients a comprehensive view of your capabilities.

Completing these steps ensures your profile is not only informative but also a potent tool for attracting and securing freelance photographer job opportunities.

Tips along the way

Ready to dive into the world of professional photography with your polished Freelancer Club profile? Hold that thought! Before you hit that ‘apply’ button, here are some curated insights to elevate your application game.

✅ Tailored Touch:
Avoid the mass application trap. Each job is a unique canvas, treat it as such. When applying, customise your message to echo the specific needs outlined in the job description.

Share vivid examples of your artistic flair, campaign contributions, and team collaborations. Paint a picture of your professionalism but skip adding extra links - let’s keep it succinct and compelling.

✅ Honesty is Golden:
Embrace transparency. Share your strengths with as much zest as you disclose areas ripe for growth. Employers appreciate candor; it unveils your readiness to evolve and adapt, marking the contours of your journey to mastery.

✅ Answer with Intention:
Sometimes, additional questions accompany job postings. These aren't just queries but keys to unlocking the next phase of the recruitment process. Address them with honesty and precision, turning every answer into an opportunity to edge closer to that ‘you’re hired’ moment.

 Resilience is Your Compass:
In the world of freelancing, silence isn’t a reflection of your talent but a nudge to keep forging ahead. Every ‘no’ or non-response is a step closer to that jubilant ‘yes’.

The journey, especially at the onset, is a dance of persistence and patience. Every application is a seed; give it time, and your garden of opportunities will blossom.

Learn how to properly apply for jobs at the Freelancer Club website here:

On the other hand, here are some hard "don'ts" when trying to land that dream gig:

Overreaching Applications:
Steer clear of applying for jobs where the skill requirements eclipse your current expertise. Aligning your skills with job requirements is pivotal.

Portfolio Omission:
A job application without a portfolio is like a story untold. Your portfolio is your voice, ensure it accompanies every application.

Incomplete Submissions:
Every segment of the application - the message section, quote, or additional questions - is a piece of the puzzle. Fill them meticulously to present a complete picture of your prowess.

External Link Requests:
Avoid directing employers to external websites or social media. The Freelancer Club platform is designed to showcase your skills comprehensively.

Unjustified Quotes:
Each quote, whether above or below the budget, should be backed with a rationale. Contextualize your pricing effectively.

Free Service Proposals:
Value your artistry and expertise. Abstain from offering your services without charge.

In the quest to secure photography jobs in the UK, patience and perseverance are your companions.

A sprinkle of rejections is part of the journey to those triumphant acceptances.

Stay the course, and avoid shortcuts. Every application is a stepping stone, refining your approach and edging you closer to your aspirations. Celebrate the journey, each step is weaving the tapestry of your success story.

And if you're still unsure, check out this video on how to land your dream job:

Freelance photography is a wonderful sector with endless possibilities. Knowing your photography salary or day rate is paramount for your business.

Click here to apply for paid photographer jobs

From shooting abroad to collaborating on exciting projects, photographers can gain huge job satisfaction, earn a decent living and have a great work/life balance. If you're not yet a Freelancer Club member, sign up and get you freelance profile started.

photographer salary uk