Murabayashi: Why Won’t Photographers Talk About Price?

Chairman and Co-Founder of Photoshelter and Summit Faculty member Allen Murabayashi wrote an incredibly relevant and informative article for PetaPixel titled “Why Won’t Photographers Talk About Price?”

All photographers can certainly take something away from this article, as many amateur shooters face many questions regarding pricing.

Here is an excerpt from the article…



Photographers often harangue one another over pricing. Ironically, very few are willing to publicly disclose how much they charge for jobs. In economic speak, this leads to an inefficient market that has wide ranging pricing for the same output.

More to the point, no one knows what to charge, photographers don’t have an easy way to benchmark their rates and approach, and thus pricing information is guarded like gold. The cycle of opacity continues.

In an age where everyone is a photographer and where even the most popular trade organizations have only a few thousand members, the notion that discussing pricing could somehow be construed as collusion is antiquated. Pricing is vexing. We need to talk about it openly.

There are a few good resources (see here, here, here), but a few resources aren’t enough to alter the status quo. In the meantime, publishing groups work together to devise new ways to appropriate more rights from photographers and issue signing ultimatums. Photographers have been waiting for a messiah, failing to realize that their messiah is themselves.


Why won’t photographers talk about price?

For editorial assignments, pay is often dictated by standard rates, but even those are somewhat flexible with added service fees (parking, mileage, rentals, digital transmit, etc). When it comes to commercial, corporate or institutional work, a dearth of information makes it difficult for both the photographer and the client to assess whether they are getting a fair deal.

Pricing can be nuanced. A photographer might agree to a lower shoot fee because she feels that the resale potential is high. There might be a guarantee of shoot days. Ancillary services like retouching or social media consulting might affect the price of the pure photography.


For the rest of article, visit PetaPixel.

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