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Photographer eCommerce rates

Spring-boarding off a recent semi-viral post, this time I'm providing a positive example of a case where #photographers and a company benefitted together.


As the leader of a major photo studio, one adjustment I made was to help our freelance photographers receive higher day rates while saving the company on the annual #budget. How did I do it?


The company had three major #brands, each distinct from the other, defined in quality from basic to higher to highest. Analyzing their #ecommerce fashion process, I noticed two brands, on average, shot more days per year than the third, both offering a low #photographer day rate. The third was our highest quality brand, which shot the least, yet at a day rate nearly double of the other two.


After reviewing lighting guides for all three brands, it quickly became evident to me all brands were utilizing the exact same lighting, as well as a similar shot matrix (mains and alts). Lighting guides that should have been designed to differentiate each #brand (simple lighting for the affordable product, advanced lighting for the higher quality clothing, and nuanced stylized #lighting and unique compositions for our most expensive line) were basically being shot the same. Not only did this poorly illustrate the quality and price point differences to our customer, it also had photographers working at drastically different day rates yet creating the exact same lighting schemes and image groupings. There should have been a tier system where more experienced photographers shot for our higher end brands, reflected by their abilities and defined by our day rates.


I wasn’t able to gain traction with #creative in making these necessary lighting guides adjustments. So, I decided to apply the rates to match the current lighting guides, raising the two lowest, and lowering the highest, creating one flat day rate across the board for our eCom fashion shoots. Rates hadn’t risen for a number of years, so it was time to bring them up to competitive standards in order to maintain the quality shooters we needed to hire. Yet by lowering the highest rate for the brand that shot the least (and wasn’t requiring top-end lighting), our annual cost decreased while more photographers made a higher and proper day rate. The adjustment matched the current expectations and requirements.


The only way this analysis was possible was to have a deep understanding of #photography, photographic lighting, processes, and #budgets. Thankfully the #experience I brought to the role assisted in this complex review. Our shooters were happier, felt recognized and respected, our ADs had a better understanding of our eCom expectations, our company’s budget was tightened, and we moved on to the next challenge. Success!


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