How Much Can I Earn as a Freelance Photographer?

(3 minutes to read)

There are many photographers who decide to take their career into their own hands and join the self-employed sector, with many citing the financial benefits as a main factor.

But how much can you earn as a freelance photographer? Should you charge a daily or hourly rate?

Here, we take a look at what you need to know when it comes to rates of pay.

Financial benefits of working as a freelance photographer

A contractor is able to command higher rates of pay compared to an employed worker within the same role because they’ve usually dedicated themselves to a particular skill, which means that it is likely that they are both highly skilled and experienced in their field.

There’s also the fact that self-employment comes with more risk, plus contractors are not entitled to certain benefits, such as holiday and sick pay.

However, a great benefit that the self-employed can take advantage of is being able to claim back on business expenses, therefore helping to reduce your tax bill at the end of each year.

As a freelance photographer, there will be various costs that you could potentially claim back on, such as photography equipment, training courses and travel costs.

For more information on this, read our Limited Company Expenses Guide.

How much should I charge?

There are many factors to take into consideration when it comes to setting your rates of pay; for example, you need to think about the type of work you’re doing (i.e. commercial or consumer), how much experience you have and the location (London rates, for example, are much higher due to the cost of living being greater in this area).

Currently (June 2023), data from Indeed shows that the average hourly rate for a freelance photographer is approximately £23. This is a figure worth having in mind, but once again, your rate will depend on the points raised above. High-end studios for example could potentially offer a much higher hourly rate.

The best way to work out how much you should charge is to do your research and look at how much other photographers in your field are earning.

Think about how much you expect to earn annually and then divide this figure to get to an hourly or daily rate (taking weekends/holidays/bank holidays into account).

Should I charge a daily, hourly or fixed rate?

With regard to whether you should charge a daily, hourly or fixed rate, this is likely to differ with each project, or you might even have a client that has a preference.

There are pros and cons to all three methods:

Daily rate
A daily rate can be the easier option for both the contractor and the client in the sense that the contractor will have a better idea of how much they’ll be earning for a project and the client will also know how much they’ll be spending, which will help them from a budgeting point of view.

A contractor can also often charge more when it comes to a daily rate compared to an hourly one.

However, it’s worth being aware that if the client asks for additional work within those days, which could essentially be seen as ‘over-time’, the contractor could miss out financially.

Hourly rate
An hourly rate can be beneficial to a contractor if a project takes longer than expected, but, if a client wants to cut costs then they might limit the number of hours that the contractor works on the project.

Fixed rate
A fixed rate means that you know exactly how much you’ll be earning for a project, however, when setting this rate, you have to really think about how long a project will take, because should it take longer than expected then you’re potentially at risk of being underpaid.

Our team of experts are available to answer any queries you may have, so drop us a line on 01442 795 100, email, or contact us via live chat.

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With over 25 years experience in contractor accountancy helping thousands of contractors, freelancers and the self employed, Dolan Accountancy has the specialist skills, reputation and credibility you can trust. Working closely with our sister company, Contractor Umbrella, it means we can offer one low cost, fixed fee package at £105 + VAT per month. This gives you the flexibility of using both our Limited Company Accountancy Services and our award winning Umbrella Service, for one inclusive cost. We don’t believe in tiered packages or hidden extra fees, instead we aim to give you everything you need, including:

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