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Thread: Calculate your hourly rate

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Calculate your hourly rate

    Though not specifically designed for photography, here is a little calculator that can help you understand all the elements to consider when working out a rate to charge. I hope that even if it doesn't give you a workable rate, that it makes you think about all the aspects of what should be incorporated and considered when working out how much to charge.

    http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/
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    Calculate your hourly rate

    Doesn't apply if you are a hobbyist


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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Doesn't apply if you are a hobbyist


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    Why not? You could still do some calculations and at least it would make you think about the components that make up what you should charge.

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    Calculate your hourly rate

    To what end ?


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    Come on Kiwi, you're saying a hobbyist shouldn't charge for his/her photos. Why?

    If you are going to charge for photos, this gives you a rough idea of how much it costs you to take them.
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    Calculate your hourly rate

    No, I'm saying charge what you think your photos are worth, as a hobbyist the costs are irrelevent as you'd likely do for free largely anyway, you're not running a p&l, paying tax, declaring expenses etc

    If you are a pro you need to know obviously, but not as a hobbyist


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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    No, I'm saying charge what you think your photos are worth, as a hobbyist the costs are irrelevent as you'd likely do for free largely anyway, you're not running a p&l, paying tax, declaring expenses etc

    If you are a pro you need to know obviously, but not as a hobbyist


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    but why should a good hobbyist (semi pro) not use a similar method to calculate their rates? If I employ two staff who both do the same job, one full time and one part time, I would generally pay them the same hourly rate, if they are doing the same job.

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    Not only what Rick said Darren, but there have also been plenty of discussions about "hobbyists" devaluing the profession in general. Yes, there are probably always going to be the low end hobbyists who charge peanuts and deliver .... ummm .... less than exemplary results. However, for the serious hobbyist who is also a pretty good photographer, why should they devalue their time and effort simply because they're not looking to make a profit?

    Anyway, if you're making any income from photography regardless of the amount of skill or the amount of time you put into it, you should be declaring it as income and paying the relevant tax on it. To do anything else would be illegal!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CherylB View Post
    ...
    Anyway, if you're making any income from photography regardless of the amount of skill or the amount of time you put into it, you should be declaring it as income and paying the relevant tax on it. To do anything else would be illegal!
    Taking the site rule about "not giving advice" into consideration, and offering the disclaimer that I am not a lawyer or an accountant, I think you'll find that hobby-related returns are not always treated as income and hence don't always have to be declared. This comes up quite a bit with horse racing and breeding - the tax office are very resistant to hobby breeders managing to declare themselves as professional breeders: the tax on the occasional windfall profit is far exceeded by the potential for offsettable losses, and so the tax office see a net benefit in not having hobbyists declare hobby income. (There are a lot of benefits about being able to convince the tax office that you are professional - the costs of achieving that income become relevant. Think of the photography kit you could buy and write off against your tax - even just the GST.)

    As usual, consult an accountant or lawyer in real life (not the internet) before undertaking any action with relation to what is taxable income and claims.

    Addenda: Sites such as the one Rick pointed to here add real value to this: If you can establish that it costs you $10,000 a year to take photographs, and you can sell $15,000 a year of photographs (I know, in your dreams), you start to have a business case to move away from being a hobbyist.
    Last edited by farmer_rob; 14-05-2010 at 10:31am. Reason: add on topic addenda

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    Calculate your hourly rate

    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas

    but why should a good hobbyist (semi pro) not use a similar method to calculate their rates? If I employ two staff who both do the same job, one full time and one part time, I would generally pay them the same hourly rate, if they are doing the same job.

    Would they work just for fun though?

    Either of them ?

    Do you take photos for fun or to charge ?

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    Calculate your hourly rate

    Quote Originally Posted by CherylB
    Not only what Rick said Darren, but there have also been plenty of discussions about "hobbyists" devaluing the profession in general. Yes, there are probably always going to be the low end hobbyists who charge peanuts and deliver .... ummm .... less than exemplary results. However, for the serious hobbyist who is also a pretty good photographer, why should they devalue their time and effort simply because they're not looking to make a profit?

    Anyway, if you're making any income from photography regardless of the amount of skill or the amount of time you put into it, you should be declaring it as income and paying the relevant tax on it. To do anything else would be illegal!
    It's too late and too little to reverse the tide of hobbyists taking work from pros by undercutting

    The question is should you care ?

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    Calculate your hourly rate

    Quote Originally Posted by CherylB
    Not only what Rick said Darren, but there have also been plenty of discussions about "hobbyists" devaluing the profession in general. Yes, there are probably always going to be the low end hobbyists who charge peanuts and deliver .... ummm .... less than exemplary results. However, for the serious hobbyist who is also a pretty good photographer, why should they devalue their time and effort simply because they're not looking to make a profit?

    Anyway, if you're making any income from photography regardless of the amount of skill or the amount of time you put into it, you should be declaring it as income and paying the relevant tax on it. To do anything else would be illegal!

    Oh, unless you earn at least $20000 income there is no need or point in declaring photography related income, it's a hobby
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    Was reading somewhere the other day that the hourly rate works out to be $846 for a days work (7 hours - 1 hour free).

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I agree with Kiwi. If I want to give away my work, I have every right to do so. I take photos because I love to do so, not because I want to make a living from them (there are much better ways of doing that anyway). I may eventually find a way of making good money from photography, but I suspect that it will be quite different from the "charge for time" method. The only value for this type of calculation is for people who really do want to make a living from photography and who need to streamline their operation. This would allow them to focus on the big time consuming items and try to reduce them.

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    Calculate your hourly rate

    Oh, I didn't say that you should work for free. Just that comparing what a hobbyist should charge based on s per hour profitability calc is not what I think appropriate for most

    Damned fine discussion. Some big issues at play here

    I have tried to levy industry rates, but constantly wonder why I should even try when so many don't and who really cares ?


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    Member James T's Avatar
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    Semi-pro and hobbyist are two different people I thought.

    And I agree, charge whatever you want. Far too many 'photographers' online whinging about being driven out of a job (not aimed at anyone here, just related to what's being said). Get over it.

    No-one has a 'God given right' for want of a better term, to make a living from photography. You can't just decide you're a photographer, and if it doesn't work then the hobbyists are to blame. You have to earn it, just like anything else. If you can't make a living doing what you did 10 years ago, it's probably time you bucked up your ideas and got on with something else. /end rant.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I didn't mean that I would work for free, just that it is my right to do so if I wish. If someone wants to use a photo for a good cause and can't afford to pay, then I usually allow it. If someone wants to use a photo in a profit making enterprise, then I will charge. If someone wants to use a photo for something that I'm unsure of (ethically), then I will ask for a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    If someone wants to use a photo for something that I'm unsure of (ethically), then I will ask for a lot.
    Interesting. Every man has his price, eh?

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    If someone asks to use a photo that I am sure I don't like ethically, then I say "no thankyou".

    If they then offer me one million dollars - I may review my ethics to see how much I am against it. I may still refuse, but I amy not.
    Last edited by Steve Axford; 14-05-2010 at 11:53am.

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    Ah Kiwi, you posted the exact same link in this thread a while ago. I find it highly amusing that you post it and its a worthwhile tool, someone else posts it and you question its validity.

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