Hourly Photography Rates: The Worst Idea

It’s easy to charge by the hour but hourly photography rates are terrible for business. I give you an hour of photography, and you give me a certain amount of money. Even Steven, right? That is not the way I would like for you to build your business!


What are the downsides of that though? In this blog, I will tell you exactly why charging hourly photography rates will damage your business.

I’m going to talk about 3 main reasons why charging by the hour for your photography or video business will damage you!

  • Charging by the hour reduces your perceived value: Clients often pay based on the perceived value of any product. If you position yourself in a cheaper way, they’ll be encouraged to pay only low prices. Clients that have bigger budgets will often pay more for an experience and it’s difficult to get that from an hourly photographer or videographer.
  • Charging by the hour corners you into a rate: Once the photo client has your hourly wage, it’s difficult to raise it. In fact, they’ll often be offended if you raise your fees. The other downfall of charging by hour…you can have the client reduce your rate just be deduction. They could easily turn you into a minutely photographer.
  • Charging by the hour kills the client experience: Clients will often pay for the experience. I mentioned this earlier and they’ll pay substantially more for a great experience. Try to have a good experience charging by the hour, watching the clock and cutting off the creativity once the time is up.

Hourly Photography Rates: When is is OK?

I do believe it’s OK to charge by the hour once you’ve established your package rate. Set the rate first, and then you can add hourly to extend the time for the happy client. This only adds to the experience. How does it add to the photography experience?

When Charging Hourly for Photography Adds to the Experience

After establishing your value to the client, you have the option of adding to their positive experience with hourly photography rates. For example, your “all-day package” might be 6 hours total. The client had such a good time, that they asked how much additional hours would cost. This is the highest compliment and that’s when hourly photography rates work perfectly.

In this case the hourly rate isn’t cutting away from your value, but adding to the overall experience.

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Thank you for reading,