There are two kinds of fees: Photography and Licensing. Some photographers combine them into a single number for presentation purposes, but they are distinct in principle and are differently affected by changes in the assignment description.


Photography Fees (sometimes referred to as Creative Fees) reflect the experience, creativity and vision that the commercial photographer brings to the assignment.  This may be reflective of the complexity of the project, and the time it takes to complete the entire assignment. Issues such as the total number of finished images needed, scheduling, site logistics or the need for specialized skills or equipment can affect the overall Photography Fee as well.


In addition to the actual time spent behind the camera, there will be fees that cover a photographer’s pre-production and post-production time. Depending on the complexity of the project, these may be included in the photography fee or listed as separate production fees. Pre-production tasks commonly include client meetings, site visits, set building, obtaining props and/or wardrobe, meetings regarding access to the location, discussions with building engineers covering power, lighting, and landscape maintenance etc. Post-production work required after the shoot–including downloading, naming files, color corrections, image processing, editing and selection, various batch actions, backing up on multiple external hard drives, retouching, burning CDs or DVDs, returning a work area to its original condition, prop returns, digital enhancement, client meetings and preparing images for final delivery, etc. etc.– is infinitely more time consuming for the photographer, and sometimes takes longer than the shoot itself.

Licensing Fees (sometimes referred to as Usage Fees) reflect the value of the usage for each image in the assignment. This is determined by a number of considerations, including how widely and for how long the images will be viewed, reproduced and distributed. Typically, the more extensive the rights, the higher the fee. Similarly the fee increases correspondingly with the number unique views being used.