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Save Money by Cost-Sharing Your Next Architectural Photography Project

Photography is often the last step of a long, often complicated – and expensive project. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears goes into the projects that my clients create. Photography is the evidence to the world that this project not only happened, but was well designed and thought out. As a professional photographer, it is not only my job to press the button on my big, fancy camera, it is my job to represent my clients in the best light possible with all of the tools that I have at my disposal… and the camera is just a small part of that toolkit. 

FIRST OF ALL, HOW MUCH DO I CHARGE FOR ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY ANYWAY?
Unfortunately, there is not an “industry standard” that all photographers follow when it comes to the topic of pricing, but there are some commonalities amongst professional photographers. It is also not as easy as saying “I charge $____ for a project.”. There are too many factors to consider and all things are taken into consideration for each project. Some photographers will include licensing into their shoot fee where others may make licensing an additional cost.

The way I operate my business is that I charge based on a “Creative Fee” and a per-image fee which includes image licensing for the parties involved in the initial agreement to shoot. If other parties wish to license the images after the fact OR only want a couple of the images, there is a separate licensing fee they must pay. In addition to this, I charge a per-image fee for processing to 1. keep me from shooting and editing a ton of work that won’t be used and 2. Because taking the actual photo is only part of the time-intensive part of the process. 

THE COST-SHARING MODEL
For every project, there is often more than one party involved. It is very rare where I shoot for just one client. I might get hired by the architect, but there may be a designer, a builder, a cabinet maker, a lumber company, or any number of parties that were involved in the project that could benefit from the professional architectural photography for their own marketing purposes. This is where cost-sharing comes into play. 

A typical project may run anywhere from 4-6 hours (or more) and we end up with anywhere from 10-30+ images. The costs can add up quickly, especially if it is a larger project. With cost sharing, the total costs of the project are divided amongst all parties interested in licensing the images. 


Exterior photograph of commercial architecture in Minnesota

This project was cost-shared between the architecture firm, the stone manufacturer, the office design firm, and the client.
Here’s a hypothetical example: An architect hires me to photograph a new 5000 sqft modern home. Depending on the number of images we photograph, we could be looking at a bill of several thousand dollars and only the architect would be able to use them. Like I said above though, many parties were likely involved in making this project come to life, so they may also be interested in the images. Instead of the architect taking on the whole bill, we bring on the designer, the builder, and the stone manufacturer to cost-share the photoshoot. We would add a licensing fee for each party and split the cost evenly saving more than half of the original costs. I won’t share my specific rates on this post as they are subject to change and might vary based on the project, but you get the idea. 

The cost-sharing model is the most economical way to have your project photographed. Not only will it save you money, but will also save your partner’s money. Everyone wins with cost-sharing. The way it works is that a licensing fee is added for all parties who agree to cost-sharing in advance of the shoot, and the total invoice is divided equally among all parties. This results in significant savings for each client. Here is an example of what a cost-sharing model might look like using generic numbers:

Typical Project Example (1 party): 10 image shot list
• Creative Fee: $1,000/day
• Post Production: $75/image x 10
Total: $1750

Typical Project Example (2 parties): 10 image shot list
• Creative Fee: $1,000/day
• Post Production: $75/image x 10
• Additional Party Licensing: $500
• Subtotal: $2350/2
Total: $1125/ea

Typical Project Example (4 parties): 10 image shot list
• Creative Fee: $1,000/day
• Post Production: $75/image x 10
• Additional Party Licensing: $1500
Subtotal: $3,250/4
Total: $812.50/ea

It is advantageous for all involved parties to agree to cost-sharing prior to shooting. If a 3rd party comes in after the shoot and decides they want to use the images, they would have to pay my normal licensing rate which is significantly more than they would have paid by cost-sharing. The reason I don’t allow them to take advantage of the cost-sharing savings after the fact is that as my client, you have assumed all of the risks in hiring me and do not know what the final images will look like, whereas a 3rd party who comes in after knows exactly what they are paying for.

If you would like a quote on a project you have coming up and want to see how cost-sharing would benefit you in this project, let’s talk.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION FOR JORDAN POWERS PHOTOGRAPHY
Unless explicitly expressed otherwise, all images I create are owned by me, Jordan Powers, and cannot be used, alone or in part, without my expressed written permission. I hold Copyright © on all my images on this website or off of it — All rights reserved. If I created the image, I own the rights to it wherever it might reside in whatever form. I own the copyright on all original images as well as all scans and digital duplications of the image.

My All Rights Reserved Copyright © covers the following years: © 2005-2021 Jordan Powers

If you’re interested in using an image of mine, please contact me at jordan @ jordanpowers . com.

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