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Helping Clients Understand Your Illustration’s Pricing

Question: I have worked with some major illustration publications. Work has been a bit slow lately and I’m taking on some smaller clients. I don’t really want to adjust my rates, but at the same time I understand that budgets vary from client to client. What is the best way to educate a client on my pricing structure, as well as to charge a rate that is appropriate and not too low?

Illustration is one of those subjects where clients have a hard time understanding the price structure, since there are no hard costs to accommodate pricing, like hard drives, equipment rental, etc. The best way to validate your worth for a job is to base it on industry standards for illustration projects similar to what you’re doing for your client.

The Graphic Artists Guild is a great starting place to justify what rates are acceptable in the marketplace right now. The problem is, editorial and other publications tend to pay editorial rates, not advertising rates, and these rates can be half the costs of an advertising project.

8 Must-Haves for Your Next Professional Contract

Question: What are the key "ingredients" or criteria to always have in any contract, even simple ones?

When a photographer creates a professional contract, whether it’s an invoice or an estimate, it is very important that it be clearly written and include all relevant information. Often we refer to contracts months or even years later, so the more information included, the better.

Keeping Up With Digital Usage Rights and Prices

Question: How have digital rights usage evolved over the past five years?

As we all know, the digital distribution of imagery has exploded in recent years.

Where “digital rights” may have once referred primarily to first-party web usage, today that phrase could cover everything from traditional banner ads and website usage to social media, email blasts, tablet and mobile editions, games and other interactive media, kiosks and multi-touch exhibits, apps, e-books, downloads, webcasts and more.

Dialogues Podcast: The Price Is Right ... Right?

Question: How does an artist develop a pricing strategy in today's market?

Pricing your work isn't for the faint of heart. Dip too low and you risk coming off unprofessional, hurting your business, or short-changing your own budget for the project. Float too high and potential clients may turn up their noses. In this podcast, industry experts discuss:

Accounting for all Profitable Areas in a Photography Shoot’s Estimate

Question: Can we garner substantially higher rates in different markets these days? It seems everyone is on a low budget right now and that makes it hard to measure rates since this is not the norm.

I think the best answer to this question is to make any assignment work to your benefit. Don’t look at only the creative fees as a “rate,” but look at the estimate or bid in a big picture context. There are several areas to create a profit center in the first part of the estimate.

Dialogues Podcast: Successfully Battling Declining Photography Rates

Question: What is happening with photography rates right now in the industry?

Today, there’s no set rule, no average day rate. “I think there’s a sliding scale and you also have to understand that there’s a high amount of competition for the work as well.” Consultant Katherine Hennessy believes that this is one of the most difficult concepts for photographers to grasp when bidding for jobs and creating estimates.

Consultants in this Dialogues Podcast will share their thoughts on current editorial and commercial rates, including

  • How to garner substantially higher rates by including cost items – such as tech scouting – into your estimate
  • What you need to do in order to make your bid and estimate the best it can be – with accurate rates and a professional presentation
  • Why and how you – the talent – must sell yourself for the fees you deserve
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