How Do You Decide What To Charge Stagers and Interior Decorators?

March 2nd, 2016

DesignerLarry in the Washington, DC area says:

Need some advice on setting fees for stagers and interior decorators. I have an upcoming assignment to do before and after photos of a kitchen being remodeled. Since this is one room, and I generally charge $200 and up for 30 photos for an entire home, depending on square footage, how do you price for a single room? I was thinking of charging $125 to $150 as just a minimum charge since I usually charge $150 as a headshot fee/hourly rate for other types of work. Is that the way to go?

I think you should consider the following when you shoot for stagers and interior decorators:

  1. Stagers and interior decorators are going to have very different expectations than Realtors. They are going to demand a higher level of quality and want the color balance right on and they will probably want to see and have input as you are shooting the photos. Better have a way to show them and have them approve of the shots on-site. This will increase the amount of time spent producing each photo. Unlike Realtors, these people are trained in the Arts. For this reason, I would charge them more.
  2. Stagers and decorators will probably have different usage expectations so you’d better tailor your licensing agreement to their specific needs. This will increase the value of each photo.

So you may find that you spend more time producing 5 photos for an interior designer than you spend producing 30 photos for a Realtor. For this kind of shooting, I’d recommend that you figure out what your hourly rate is for this kind of shooting. Certainly have a minimum price to show up and then charge an hourly rate after that. Also, number 2 above suggests that you should factor in photo usage rights into the price you charge.

Share this

7 Responses to “How Do You Decide What To Charge Stagers and Interior Decorators?”

  • Shoot tethered with your client there.
    Mark spots on the floor where you are going to repeat shots.
    Use colour chart to get the right colour and white balance
    These shots will be used for ongoing advertising for a business which will bring in income for your client so if your shots are spot on so should the price.
    Consider some form of referral that benefits both you and that client.

  • I’ve personally found it best to be as flexible as possible with the client but not screwing yourself over in the process:

    “It sounds like you want to invest about $300 on this project and you’re looking for twilight photography?”
    “Well, I can schedule in a two hour shoot at that rate, however the twilight photography would be extra.”

    It’s also important to discuss quality vs quantity:

    “So in these two hours, I would recommend capturing 8 well composed and lit shots of the project.”
    client: “I was hoping closer to 20 images.”
    “We can definitely do 20 images if you desire. However that leaves under 6 minutes to capture each shot.”
    “This realistically isn’t a large enough window to provide optimal quality for your caliber of work.”
    “I would recommend a maximum of 12 images if quantity is important or schedule more time for production.”

    And then there are situations best not to get involved in:

    client: “We need a photographer to capture 50 high quality images of our new storefront in under two hours.”

    Side rant: It’s disturbing to see that even prestigious international brands are trying to pull this last one on us. 80% of my non-referred inquiries consist of these point-and-shoot mentality gigs. It degrades our craft to casual levels of composition and lowers the respect of your branding. I’m a firm advocate of quality and hope others make the same stance against these gigs.

  • This is less real estate photography, which is vastly underfunded than commercial photography, than commercial photography so I would consider coming up with a different pricing formula. As a commercial/advertising photographer, I always charged hourly, half day or full day fees plus expenses. I would also work out in advance with the client exactly what images they wanted and how many finished images they want to end up with. So it is important to factor in a walk through into your final prices that includes the onsite inspection and the meeting with the client to go over exactly what they need down to the angles they want covered. Know before going in exactly what you are being asked to do. Then figure out what post will need to be done and charge per image required based on the time needed to produce them. In the old days we had print prices, digital should work the same.

    All that having been said, these folks can lead to good referrals. This means the results must be top of the line and yet not make the client gasp at the final price. So I would certainly be up front with the estimated final price.

  • Don’t charge hourly for these types of jobs. If you do you are setting the stage for your client to squeeze as much out of you in as little time as possible. Don’t even charge a day rate or half day rate, call it a creative fee. If you call it half day rate the client will still squeeze your effort into minimal time. Predefine number of photos, usage, licensing fees for photos and job description. Take your time with these images and clients, do not rush.

  • We have been involved with interior decorators for several years and always use a tethered ipad for client review as we go along. The decorators review each shot and make minor adjustments, moving a lamp slightly to the right or left and hanging accessories. The final shot is usually 1-2 hours later, and only when the decorator is comfortable with the final shot. She / he becomes an integral part of the process and literally becomes the director. Along with white balancing we require paint samples and color match the walls to the final print. We charge by the hour and the decorators understand that good photography is an art….just like their designs are. It takes time to produce award winning images. Lighting and good post processing are the keys to great images.

  • I agree with Tony Thompson’s approach. Sit down with a prospective client and determine what they want delivered and what their usage will be. More experienced clients will be able to articulate exactly what they need where others will need some help to define their goals. Once that’s done and written down, figure out how long it will take to photograph and finish and calculate your Production/Creative fee. I always book non-RE work in full day increments. Nothing I’ve ever done with a client present has been less than 6 hours. 12+ hours, yes. Chances are good that you have grossly under-estimated the time anyway.

    Charges to license the usage will be a separate line item. You will want to set limits on revisions or any reshoots.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply