RATES - defined

Most commonly, I quote a shoot based around factors:

1. Who. Referring to the client. Are you a small Architectural Firm with high quality design, with smaller budgets? Or, are you a multinational billion dollar corporation, with offices around the US and Beyond? Working within your budget is important to me, so if you know what you'll be spending on photography each year, let's discuss how we can make this work for a number of different projects throughout the year.

2. What. The physical thing or person being photographed, the subject matter, and how much of it is being photographed? Is this a corporate portrait being used on social media and your company website only? Is this a mixed-use commercial space that will need exterior and interior shots? Are we talking 4 total shots, or 27? See more about quantity below.

3. When. Is this a rush job? Or, can we schedule this within a reasonable timeframe and the imagery can be delivered within my usual turnaround time (about 10 business days)? This won't effect price in a big way, but is a factor that will influence my approach to image making and in prioritizing my workload.

4.  Why. This refers to the intended use of the images. "We'd like to use these photos to promote our business on our website and social media." Or, "We'd like to buy ad space and use these images in advertising." Or, "We'd like to also share these images with the Interior Designer on the project, and publish them in a magazine." The why is one of the biggest determining factors in how I price. The inherent value of the images is determined by how broadly the images will be shared with the world, and where they are seen.

Wait! What about the Where and How?

Well, I'm traveling to every shoot. I'd rather not nickel-and-dime over mileage if that means not being considered for shoots far from Boston. So, I choose not to bill for mileage or tolls. So, the Where won't have an impact on price, usually. Unless, we're flying somewhere or a hotel is necessary.

And, the How? Well, if I ever arrive to a shoot without my camera and lenses, that'd be a bad day.

And, that leads us to...

Pricing - HOW I DO IT

My rates include a combined Fee for Photography and the Licensing of a pre-determined set of final images to be delivered after a shoot, and I call this a Creative Fee. This fee is usually the largest line item on my contract and invoices, and is the foundation of pricing schedule. This price is always determined by the scope of the project and may ultimately depend on your budget.

I almost always try to bring along a Photo Assistant. This person is usually a recent college graduate or a veteran in the field of assisting. They are not my employee, but a subcontractor, and the price of hiring them is passed along to the client in my contract and invoice. Having an assistant along to setup equipment, move gear, move furniture or other elements in a scene, check image files as they import from the camera into the computer, and sometimes to run out and pickup lunch, is invaluable. But, usually costs between $250-450 per day.

I don't always charge for Travel. Like I mentioned above, I have to travel to every shoot I do, so that's a part of the cost of doing business. But, if the shoot is out of state, out of the country, requires a night's stay at a hotel, a flight, parking in a garage or lot, or we need to rent a van for more gear than my SUV can handle... then we'll discuss charging for those job related expenses.

Post-Production. That'd be weird if I just gave you the photos straight of the camera. Every photo I deliver has to be at least minimal edited, to extensively retouched. That's my art. While I do not typically charge for this as a separate line item, it is a part of how I determine my Creative Fee. 

On the rare occasion that it may be necessary to have multiple camera setups, or similar points of view being photographed simultaneously, or we're going to be traveling for a while, I may require additional cameras and lenses - beyond what is already in my kit. And, for this, we'll discuss Rental Equipment. If it's necessary, we'll see this line item, too.

NOTE: Always read, sign and date an estimate from Joseph Ferraro Photography as soon as possbile, or within 15-days of receiving a price quote to ensure the prices and availability are locked-in and to enter into a contract agreement. This protects both you and the photographer, and gets the ball rolling on a project with peace of mind for all parties.

That's usually all that I bill for.

So, who owns the photos in the end? Coming up...

Licensing – How it works.

It's quite simple really. Once I setup my gear, find angles and viewpoints, direct the scene or elements in a scene, light a space, person, or thing, and determine the whens and hows a photo is captured, I click the shutter. And, that is the precise moment a copyrighted piece of intellectual property is created. How a client comes to obtain the right to use the photo(s) is determined by how I license them. 

  • I choose to license photos to each client, respectively, in a format determined by the What and Why listed above in my Rates section.

  • My licensing packages generally do not include third-party rights, meaning a client may not give images away to another business or person for their use. Any magazines, contractors, or manufacturers should be referred to me in the interest of purchasing a license to the images they are interested in. Reputable businesses and publications understand these rights, but may need to be reminded to have third-parties contact the photographer to purchase, and request permission publish, a photograph. 

  • Remember, without photography 90% of magazines would not exist. They have budgets specifically for photography. They love free photos, but publishing photos without permission and without proper compensation is not only unfair, but may be illegal in most cases, and is punishable under intellectual property laws at the federal level.

  • Multiple-parties on a photo shoot will be able to save money by splitting the cost of a shoot. Adding parties onto a shoot increases the price of the shoot incrementally by a small percentage for each additional party, but divided among all parties makes the shoot ends up being cheaper for all involved.

  • Most of the time, for my architectural and corporate clients usually, the license they purchase for the right to use the imagery is granted in perpetuity. I don't see a reason these days to restrict your use to a limited amount of time. Most of the work I do is a document of the work my clients created, a portfolio piece, a masterpiece. So I would hope you'd want to show it for a really long time.

  • Offering me photo credit and assuming traffic through your website and social media will drive my business is a nice consideration - and I'm a firm believer in good karma, but photo credit is not a substitute of any rates and fees that I bill for licensing, or considered a form of compensation.

And, lastly...


The American Society of Media Photographers is a national professional photographers organization and advocacy group, frequently involved in influencing legislation at the national and local level in support of photographers and their copyright protections.

I'm a member, and joined first as a student in 2006. Here's a note from them about Copyright:

“The business of professional photography is broken into three main categories of use. Commercial refers to photography that is used to sell or promote a product, service, or idea. Editorial refers to photography used for educational or journalistic purposes. Retail refers to photography commissioned or purchased for personal use.

The difference between these categories is not in the type of photography, but in the use of the images. Commercial, editorial or retail, photographs are intellectual property. Unless the photographer is an employee or they have contractually transferred ownership, the photographer becomes the owner of this property when they create an image. Licensing this property for specific uses is how a photographer’s business generates gross income.” – ASMP

Copyright gives the photographer the sole right to decide who can use the work that has been created. US Copyright Law, Title 17 of 1976.

  • You create it — you own it. Copyright comes into existence automatically when the original image is captured.
  • Any person or business must have permission (a license) to publish (reproduce) images in any medium, physical or electronic.
  • The photographer does not have to register the work with the US Copyright Office to acquire copyright.
  • The photographer’s name and/or the copyright symbol does not have to appear on or next to the image to have copyright protection.

Phew!! That's the end of the CEO-style rant and administrative side of business. Let's get to the good stuff and put a lens on a camera and make some pictures!

Thanks for reading!

- Joe

Reach out: hello@josephferraro.com 


Copyright Notice for this Website
The images on this website are © 2015 Joseph Ferraro, and may not be reproduced, copied, projected, used, or altered in any way, alone or with any other image(s), by use of computer or other electronic means, without specific permission from Joseph Ferraro Photography.