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How Much to Charge to Edit Photos

Published: 17/09/2021

Real estate photography is more than just shooting properties because you also need to edit them to produce better output. However, creating rates can be confusing when you don't know where to start. We're sharing how much to charge to edit photos to beat the competition and attract more clients.

How Much to Charge to Edit Photos

When setting rates for photo editing, you can start with $2 to $10 per image or at least $20 per hour. You can also develop a package rate for bulk orders or repeat clients. However, you can still adjust the prices depending on the volume, timeline, and project management system.

Since there are various ways you can charge clients for editing work, let's first look into the typical cost of real estate photo editing. 

Camera beside a laptop with Photoshop and Lightroom software

Cost of Editing Real Estate Photos

Photo editing has different levels, ranging from basic to extensive. The coverage of each tier may depend on your skills or how you want to market services to clients. Hence, photo editing prices can range anywhere from $2 to $10 per image.

Basic Photo Editing

Basic 10-minute editing of an image can cost $2 to $3. It shouldn't take too much effort, although the alterations would produce a high-resolution picture.

For real estate photography and landscapes, this usually involves cropping, straightening, color correction, modifying white balance, adjusting exposure and contrast, and resizing

Advanced Photo Editing

Advance photo editing requires more technique and effort. While you may edit a photo for around 10 minutes, you can set the starting price at $5 because of more editing tasks. 

This level may cover tone balancing, removing blemishes, hair masking, skin smoothening, teeth whitening, and eye sharpening. Likewise, advanced editing may include changing lot numbers or removing the background.

Extensive Photo Editing

You can charge up to $10 per image for extensive photo edits. Even if it would only take you 15 minutes to edit a picture, you would be pouring more skills and effort to finish the task.

An extensive photo editing is more challenging because you would try to transform an image to make it look perfect. For example, a client may request you make the body slimmer, add fancy effects, apply digital makeup, and add or remove phone lines.

Pricing Structures for Photo Editing

Photo editing can range from minor adjustments to extensive alterations. The way you present prices can influence whether a client will hire you or not. Hence, these are the ways you can offer photo editing services and their corresponding prices.

Photo Editing Charges by the Hour

You can start with $20 for hourly rates as long as you're doing basic photo editing. More complex tasks can go beyond $30, which should also depend on the number of photos. 

The advantage is that you will earn what you think is a fair wage for your service. However, some clients don't know how long it takes to edit images professionally and may expect you to deliver hundreds of photos on a whim.

Photo Editing Charges by Image

Setting rates by image is a clear-cut way that's favorable for both editors and clients. Per image rates for real estate can range anywhere from $2 to $10, depending on the complexity, editing style, and scope of work.

However, this can sometimes be confusing for clients as you need to set particular prices for different categories. For example, background removal rates can differ from masking services. 

A Canon camera placed on a computer desk

Photo Editing Charges by Project

If you're sealing a long-term photo editing job with a client, you can set the number of images per project. You can even offer discounts on big orders.

A per-project rate is only ideal if there's a fixed turnaround time, as this can be too time-restricting for rush orders. You can compute the final price through a per-image or hourly system.

Things to Consider When Charging for Photo Editing

There's an expected 4% decline in the employment of photo editors from 2019 to 2029. While this mainly applies to photo editing jobs for print and publishing, the real estate market continues to open opportunities for editors.

To ensure you can grab as many photo editing jobs as possible, it's vital that you consider these factors when setting rates. 

  • Industry: Beginner photo editors make the mistake of not targeting particular sectors. If you're more of a real estate editor, you can likely edit photos in this category more efficiently. While you can try other niches, it's possible it would take more time to adjust and finish the work.
  • Location: Location is another crucial factor when charging clients, as average wages vary in different places. For example, photo editors in California earn an average hourly salary of $24.14, whereas editors from Iowa get $15.04. Targeting locations with high average incomes gives you better chances of increasing rates.
  • Skill level: Photo editing is a highly competitive field, as amateur editors can't charge the same prices as seasoned photo editors. The competition can either drive rates up or bring them down.
  • Property type: Real estate photo editors can work on tiny homes to multi-story property buildings because the market covers a broad range of property types. Consider that you may need more time and skills to work on large furnished properties with several features than a small unfurnished house.
  • Time: Avoid underselling yourself and don't charge below $2 for a single photo. Even if it only takes you 5 minutes to edit a picture, keep in mind that clients would be paying for your training and years of experience that led to you being an efficient editor.
  • Equipment: Investing in the best monitor, CPU, or laptop requires money. As you'll be using such hardware for editing, it's important that you earn enough for maintenance. 
  • Project Management: You may feel like $30 for the bulk project is enough to pay for your services. Wait until you have to pay for online storage space, client management software, or photo editing program. Make sure to include these expenses so you won't have to pay for them from your pocket.

Conclusion

It's essential for photo editors to learn how to charge the right prices to make the business profitable. We hope our tips can help improve your real estate photography rates. The next time a client asks for your rates, you can send a price quotation that would benefit all parties.

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