It’s simple, do the math. Like any other business I have fixed overhead; rent, utilities, insurance, equipment (cameras and lights), office furniture, computers and software. I budget for vehicle and equipment repairs. I add in the salary that I need to provide for my family and my retirement and not much more. My overhead comes to about $40 per hour. So why do I charge about $120 per hour? Billable hours for client projects occupy 1/3 of my time. Marketing and training consume the other two thirds (along with servicing the clients and doing the books, invoicing and paying bills). So, to be profitable, I multiply the $40 per hour overhead x 3 to get $120/hour.
Marketing: On the web site I update photos, videos, text and the blog as often as possible. I send out a monthly email through Constant Contact and maintain 230 email addresses.
Training: The technology for digital photography and video production is changing at an alarming rate for both the equipment and software used. I have an ongoing subscription to Lynda.com so that I may access the latest tutorials for Photoshop, Camera Raw, Bridge, Photomatix, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Speedgrade (Color Correction) and many others.
Variable expenses: Variable expenses for each project include: crew, rental equipment, travel, film permits, etc.
Usage: Usage is a fee for the duration, media used and the geographic area of your campaign. You wouldn’t expect to pay the same corporate photography rates to get a portrait for a press release in the Phoenix market as you would for a portrait for a national ad in Time Magazine to run for 6 months.
Volunteer: Each year I give back to the community at least $5,000 worth of services (photo or video) to benefit homeless children, Phoenix Children’s Hospital (cancer patients), The Special Olympics or local schools.