Everything you need to know about hiring a photographer!


Photographers, everyone thinks they are one. It’s so easy to go out, buy a camera and shoot on auto. Though there are the few of us who know what we are doing and can get you more publicity than anyone else. Which is why you hire a photographer in the first place, as part of your promotion. In most cases. You get what you pay for.

People do notice quality.

What our job is and what you pay for:

A photographer’s job is to come in and get a record of the night and make said photos look good. You pay for our time, our gas, our equipment (which isn’t cheap), the fact we deal with shitheads on a daily basis and our editing time. Sure, we may be at your venue for 1-2 hours, but we have to be in danger the entire time (people are dumb and like to break cameras). Not to mention that for every 30-50 photos, we are editing at least an hour to two hours, sometimes maybe more. You pay for all of this.

What costs are behind the photography?

Let’s see, here’s a breakdown of some of the costs.

  1.  i7 iMac Computer with 18 Gigs of RAM: $2800
  2. Offsite Backups: $300/2 years
  3. Onsite Backup Drives: $200-300 running RAID
  4. Canon 7D: $1200
  5. Lens: $1200
  6. Flash: $400
  7. Filter: $30
  8. Fuel and Maintenance for Vehicle: Varied
  9. Taxes: Too much.
  10.  Secondary Computer: Macbook Pro with SSD: $2000
  11.  High Speed internet connection: $70/month

The list could go on with my living expenses. You get the point, it’s not as cheap as you might think.

What’s an acceptable rate?:

For photos being viewed on the web that are easily taken and moved around for promotional purposes, $75-100/hour is acceptable, $150/hour is better. A rate for an event gallery (30-75 photos, fully edited) should be closer to $250. When it comes to modeling photos, or photos that are more heavily worked on, $250/half hour can become acceptable depending on the quality of the work. If a client wants photos without your or the company watermark, they should be paying a minimum of 200-400/hour. After all, that watermark is our credit, the same as a painter’s signature in the Louvre. On the other end, with places like El Hefe, from a photo standpoint, they support slavery. Their photogs have to stay there for 2 hours for $50, and no logo credit. This is unacceptable. Consider 2 hours of shooting and 1-2 hours of editing.

What’s an acceptable amount of photos for an event?

This depends on a couple factors. Who the photographer is, How much you’re paying them, what the event is, how long they’re supposed to stay. In 99% of event cases, if a good photographer it there for prime time, they’re going to get the same amount of photos in 1-2 hours as they would in 3-4. Why? Because at some point you take photos of all the people you want photos of. Typically I tell clients between 30-50 will be average, this allows the room in case the event is a fail in terms of photo subjects, or the opposite if the room is just smoking. Some of this also depends on the quality you get and if the photographer can offer extra publicity (IE. Media Company). I’ve heard of places making their photographer shoot more than 100 photos for $100. This is unacceptable, as editing time alone should be another $100 for this amount.

What our job does not entail:

I feel like I’ve run into a lot of people who tell me that not enough people are coming to their page, event, whatever it may be. Photographers aren’t promoters. It’s not our job to get people to come to your venue or site. We may do it as a benefit of working with us, but it is not our job. Promoters should be using our photos to promote the venue, but again, a separate position. It’s not our job to do any of the following either (unless of course you pay for the service)1. Maintain a Photo Archive. While most of us keep our photos, we may charge you if you request old photos to be resent. 2. Tagging.This comes into the job of the promoter, usually we are blinded by our screens after editing. 3. Creating your custom captions. In most cases we mass copyright our photos. It’s extra work for us to go back through and change what’s usually set as a global copyright field. This goes with buying rights.

Do we work for you or are you our client?

There is a common misconception here. Unless you are paying a good photographer a salary of at least 45-60k per year, they don’t work for you, quite the other way around, you’re their client. For many, photography is their only income, and unless you pay those high prices per night, then realistically, we need more than one client to survive. So if you want exclusivity, pay for it.

Why should you hire a media company over a single photographer?

The simple answer to this is more publicity. By default, we will post your photos on our site as well as yours. This instantly gives you more views, plus people ALWAY know where to get our photos.

But I don’t pay you to promote on our Facebook.

No, you pay us to help out with the marketing team, photos get more respect when they have a respected name behind them. What’s worth more to you? More exposure for your venue or your idiotic marketing by keeping it on Facebook?

People at your venue already know about you!

Sure, you can get views by tagging, but why not get another layer for the same price? Regardless, people that were at you venue are going to check into your Facebook page and maybe like a few things, but what about the people who don’t know your venue exists? What about the newbies from out of town who don’t have mutual friends? What about those who never went out of their way to look for your venue, but because they see an awesome photo on a media site come to your venue. By hiring a single photographer, you are missing out on views.

Should I let more than one photographer in my venue at once?

Yes and no, If it’s a single photographer, you don’t gain much from letting them come in and shoot, even if you get their photos. Chances are if they’re willing to give you their photos for free consistently, they suck. However, if the photographer has a following via their website and their work isn’t going to make you look bad, by all means, let them in. It’s free publicity if someone is willing to shoot your venue for free once in a while.

I’m a photographer, who do I blame for the low pay and lack of allowing logos.

Blame anyone who doesn’t charge a lot of money for no logos and anyone who consistently gives photos away to venues who should be paying for them.

To name names, people like: Tavit Daniel, Peter Speyer, Ryan Hibbert, Steve Thatcher, Christian Banach.


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