2020 – 78k

2021 – 140k

2022 – 95k

I shoot photo and video Commercial Beauty and Lifestyle predominantly and can shoot still life as well. In Boston, you gotta be good at a lot to survive. I started as a retoucher 22 years ago and have been shooting for 19 years. I have a rep, and most of my income comes from lifestyle work. My video work is about half my income.

I have no employees and share a studio with others to help with overhead which averages $60k. My profit margin is usually a third of revenue.

I work nonstop, and my clients are primarily female. The younger they are, the less budget they seem to have.

It’s been about 7 years where my gross Income averaged 200k, but my bills keep getting higher. And the budgets are getting lower. I normally divvy up my video post work to other creatives, but sometimes I do it just to put more money in my pocket that month to survive.

I have recently lost 2 bread and butter clients—one to in-house hiring, and the other folded.

One-day shoots average about $25K WITHOUT models, catering, props, backgrounds, etc.

My Shoot days average $3500 – $5000 day rate. Plus $5000 – $10000 in licensing fees, usually 1-3 years but no broadcast. I also do my own retouching, which I usually just give a per-image rate—those average $150-$500 per image, depending on how complex it is. I do give breaks if it is multiple days on my fee. I give my rep a quarter of my day rate and usage fee.

My best-paying job, I never knew the overall budget. But I got a buyout on a 4-day job for about 140 assets for 60k

The one that stings the most was a 4-day $270k job That I made $25k in the end. I was supposed to make about $50k on it with retouching. The producer asked me if they could cut my rate because they were way over budget. I wish I had slept on it and thought hard about it. I didn’t have a rep at the time, and instead, I immediately answered you can take my retouching fees out of it and in the end made half of what I should’ve made on an already underpaid rate. The producer even asked me to cut my rate a second time, but I gave him a hard no.

I think people just need to talk more. I have always been honest with my friends and tried to help them and vice versa. The industry doesn’t need to be cutthroat. We should all help each other. I also think people need to assist and find a mentor. Seems like people these days just get thrown into it from Instagram and don’t know what’s right or wrong. Find someone in the field for more than 15 years to help guide you. I am almost 20 years into this, and I am still learning about business and craft.

NOTE: Income is NET.

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