A reader asks: 1. what’s the big deal risking a shoot on someone new when you’re only paying them $350-$500? 2. What’s up with those crap rates?
1. If you include all the expenses (assistant, rental, film and process or digital fees, travel, cell phone, messenger, insurance, tips, cab fare, and misc) a one day shoot is easily over $3500. Add to that the availability of the subject and the looming deadline plus the fact that for every failed shoot the editor and creative director give you enormous stink-eye… well it turns into a little more than just $500 out of the budget.
2. The rates. I actually inherited them and while I will agree they’ve been stagnant for many, many years the expenses have gone up considerably and… this is a big and, the theory has always been that you get your clips in editorial and make your money in commercial. Uh, maybe that’s a very bad assumption on the part of photography editors.
Anyway, there should be a better pricing structure for editorial photography. The way writing works and commercial photography works is the better you are the more you get paid. I should be able to pay established photographers more and unproven photographers less.