FREELANCE RATES FOR FASHION PHOTOGRAPHERS 2020

How much do freelance photographers charge?

 

Whether you’re a startup company looking for someone to capture style images or a fashion photographer trying to work out a rate for an upcoming job, you’ve come to the right place.

In a client - freelancer relationship, the topic of rates can sometimes be an awkward one to broach. It doesn’t have to be though. Clear briefs, strong communication and mutual respect between both parties can help to ensure that the subject of rates doesn’t dominate or sour a job.

So, without further adieu, here’s all you need to know about freelance fashion photography rates.

Based on data from a range of reputable sources, the average daily rate for a freelance fashion photographer in the UK, lies around £600. It’s important to note however, that this data does not take into account the private agreements that take place off-platforms between the client and photographer directly. It also omits the 1000's of exploitative unpaid projects that fashion photographers are subjected to on a regular basis. 

The Founder of the Freelancer Club, Matt Dowling, believes the actual average rate is most likely a lot lower. 

“Through the work we do on the #NoFreeWork campaign, we’ve witnessed how the fashion industry leverages its allure to procure talent at cut prices or for no monetary return at all. There is the fashion industry above the surface that we all see and another industry below it that has bred a culture of exploitation we must unearth and eradicate. This underworld certainly has an impact on the average day rate of freelancers working in fashion that is not represented on most site’s ‘average rate.' ” 

The value, and day rate of a fashion photographer has fluctuated dramatically over the past 20 years due to advancements in technology and the emergence of the smartphone. 

Camera phones and accessible post-production apps have not only enabled amateur photographers to take incredible photos, they've also introduced photography to a new audience who are entering the photography market in their droves. 

This influx of new talent and technology has democratised the technical process of taking a great photo whilst creating a race to the bottom in certain sub-sectors of the photography industry. It has created a clear divide between those who can bring additional intangible soft-skills to a project and those who can’t. Communication, organisation and imagination are becoming as important as the technical skills required to produce a shot. Those who can offer these attributes along with a honed style, are able to command a higher rate than a purely technically skilled photographer.   

 

man taking fashion photos

 

Variables and Add On Costs

It’s important to note that there are numerous variables that impact a freelance fashion photographer’s day rate.   

Such as, you ask?

Equipment, licensing, post production, experience, the quantity of images needed, the reputation of the brand or label you’re shooting for, the shoot location, travel and food.

 

Experience 

As in many professions, the more experienced you are, the higher your fee will often be. Generally speaking, if you’ve been around the block as a fashion photographer, you're highly skilled and your work to date mirrors these attributes, you’ll be paid accordingly.


Equipment 

While freelance fashion photographers are well aware of the amount of equipment needed to create high quality, original images, those outside of the photography profession are often not. 

Specific cameras, lenses, screens, software and other equipment (and sometimes extra personnel like assistants) are needed to ensure that a photoshoot is successful and the final images look on point and professional. 

In order to formulate appropriate freelance photographer rates in the fashion industry, it’s important that clients provide photographers with a comprehensive brief that clearly defines and describes the aim of the shoot as well as the context in which the final images will be used. 

Only then will a photographer know what equipment the shoot requires and therefore how much to charge the client. 

 

Location

The location of a shoot might also add to one’s freelance fashion photographer day rate.

Why so?

If a shoot is based a fair distance from where the freelance photographer lives or works, they’ll have to factor in the cost of travelling to the shoot, food to keep them going along the way and in certain cases, accommodation.

While these costs are not directly associated with a shoot itself, they are indirect costs which need to be accounted for in freelance fashion photography rates.

 

Post Production

Images we see in magazines or as digital content online aren’t necessarily as they appeared on the day of a shoot.

Fashion photographers often run images through software programs to edit them in a manner that ensures they fit in with a clients overall brand look and feel.

Although programs like Photoshop come at a cost to the photographer to rent or buy outright, it’s the hours it takes them to become incredibly proficient at using such software that allows them to charge a higher fashion photographer day rate. 


If you came upon this article with the question “how much do freelance photographers charge in the fashion industry?”, I hope that this piece has helped you gain some clarity on the subject. 

Remember that clear briefs, strong communication and appropriate freelance photographer rates allow clients and photographers to develop positive, mutually beneficial relationships, which lead to quality output for clients and, oftentimes, repeat work for freelancers. 

A win win for both parties.

 

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