David HeadshotWhen it comes to commercial photography, day rate is still used by many potential clients.

I’m writing this page from me (David Williams) personally rather than the way most of the website is written with the exception of my blog posts. The core reason is that when it comes to rates whether day rates, hourly, etc. that’s often when things can suddenly change for better or worse.

Although I don’t actually have a day rate listed on this page, I will share my approach to calculating a day rate. At the very least, you’ll have a solid idea of my approach and the page will not be a complete waste of your time: I promise.

My approach to calculating a day rate is very simple: What is a fair, competitive market price based on other veteran photographers in the market place? Can I make a living at that price as a full time commercial photographer? And, what am I offering for my price point compared to other photographers being considered? So let’s explore all three questions.

What is a fair, competitive market price based on other veteran photographers in the market place?

Raleigh, North Carolina is not New York City. Therefore, I take into consideration what market I am shooting in and what other veteran photographers in that market are charging for their services. I already know the Raleigh market pretty well because when I bid on projects the potential client often provides insights on rates they are getting. I am often on the higher end of Raleigh day rates, but in all fairness, the answers to question number 3 have to be factored in. So comparing day rate 1 from photographer xyz to my day rate may not be an exact comparison. It’s important to make sure all things are equal and not to simply look at a dollar figure for the day.

Can I make a living at that price as a full time commercial photographer?

The way I approach this question is like this: Can I cover my personal and business expenses and still be in business in the future at the rates I am charging? Any good business person who works full time in his or her profession, especially self-employed, will take the same approach. In some cases, I may be a little more on my day rate and in others a little less. If you are getting quotes from full time, veteran photographers, I will likely be very competitive. However, I will likely not be competitive with part time, new photographers

What am I offering for my price point compared to other veteran photographers being considered?

This is an area that can be very confusing for potential clients who are purely looking at a dollar figure for the day because there are so many variables. For instance, I include lifetime, unrestricted usage rights of images that are included in the day rate. I include basic editing of all images included in the day rate. I sometimes shoot with TWO assistants (even on smaller projects) not ONE. For really large projects, it could be more than TWO. So one photographer and one assistant is not only likely to be less for the day but to also be less efficient. In addition, I will entertain the conversation of the client purchasing RAW files. Some photographers will never explore this option. Rather than go on and on, please keep in mind that this list is by no means all inclusive. I’m simply trying to encourage you as the potential client to look at all the details beyond the day rate.

In addition to everything listed in the paragraph above, there are numerous other factors to consider like personality, professionalism, quality of work, professional gear, insured or not, online reviews, references, client list, overall experience, efficiency and much more. So a day rate is not just a day rate. There are times that paying a little more for the things listed in this paragraph are well worth it.

In closing…

Photography rates are all over the board based on numerous factors, but day rates in the Raleigh market are usually going to be in a similar range among full time, veteran photographers. I know based on experience that although I’m sometimes a little more than other quotes that the client does not always base their decision solely on the lowest bidder. It’s still true that you get what you pay for and photography is no different. That also does not mean that someone higher will be better. You simply have to weigh out all the factors and make the best decision for your project.

I hope that you will consider me for your upcoming project.

Thanks for reading this page,