After having established a new service-based business less than a year ago I ended up in a huge dilemma. How much do I charge? I know for a fact that every self-employed creative has to go through this. There's a strange misconception that freelancers charge way too much. Now... is that really true? Read up to find out why you should put up your prices right now.
Being a freelancer of any kind in a fast-fashion, fast-food, fast-everything society can be tough. These days you can buy clothes for £3.99 per item, you can get a return Ryanair flight to Paris for £10, and you can get a frickin' McDonalds burger for £0.89. Why on earth would you pay a freelance photographer £400 for a couple of images?
When purchasing a product photography session people don't just pay for the final images they get at the end of the experience. Brands and individuals invest into high quality visual content that's going to significantly boost their business performance. Yes, that's going to cost a hella lot, but by using a freelance photographer's services you pay for a lot of extra stuff that happens behind the scenes :
Website building (approx. £120 per year)
Email marketing (having an official mailbox costs approx. £20 per year)
Social media marketing
Creating paid ads
Meetings/ calls with potential customers
Accountant services (£200 per tax year) or online bookkeeping apps that are just a tad cheaper
Putting 20% of all profits towards taxes
Researching every photoshoot
Creating Pinterest Boards for every job
Finding, arranging, and paying models
Finding, arranging, and paying makeup artists
Finding locations, arranging and paying for studio/ equipment hire
Hiring office space
Buying camera/lighting equipment
Purchasing photo editing softwares (approx. £120 per year)
Buying editing tools (£300 just for a Wacom tablet)
Repairing camera equipment
And of course, after all that we also do photography and post-production. That's the easiest bit, I guess.
There are probably many more things I could put on this list. Working with freelancers also means that we don't work fixed hours and have no employer benefits whatsoever - no health/life insurance, no paid sick days, no paid holidays, no retirement plans.
However, advantages that come along the way make freelancing the best thing in the world.
The most essential thing when working for yourself is knowing your worth. Choose clients who respect your time and skills and, most importantly, set rates that reflect the quality of your work. It's nothing but a creative process all the way.