If you're a music photographer, pricing your work can be a struggle at any stage of your career. Traditionally, guarding one's pricing and rates has felt like an asset or perhaps a necessity. This approach isn't specific to music photography, but it is one that is very common in this field.
I'd argue that being as transparent about rates and pricing is something only benefits the music photography community. If we can leave egos aside, understanding what our peers charge and earn can give us both goals and the aspirations to set our sights even higher.
To this end, I wanted to create a comprehensive music photography rates sheet that can serve as a community resource to encourage transparency about rates. Enter the Music Photography Rates & Pricing spreadsheet.
If you're looking for what to charge for music photography or have experience to share, read on.
If you want the sheet, skip to the end, but I'd encourage you to read about why this resource was created first.
Why is pay transparency necessary?
Like most aspects of business and employment, pay transparency benefits those doing the work. Conversely, being closed about what we charge only saves egos and protects low budgets.
Not sharing rates gives leverage to those who would take advantage of our passions and talents. It feeds on the doubts and insecurity of creatives and reinforces the narrative that we have to lower our fees or miss out on opportunities.
I feel sharing rates about what we charge as music photographers gives us strength collectively. It gives points of reference — both high and low — for the value of our work.
Rate transparency empowers photographers
Transparency about rates empowers photographers. Here's an example that was shared on the Music Photography Discord recently, where a beta of the rates sheet was shared in advance of its public launch.
Knowledge is power. Photographers being able to negotiate higher rates from the confidence of community knowledge is the exact reason we need rate transparency.
Creating a solution for the music photography community
With this in mind, I've created a Google form and linked Google sheet that I hope can serve as community reference point for rates in music photography.
The intent of this form and data are to give us a transparent look into music photography rates. The goal is to show real world rate reporting as a reference for estimates and fees so that we can help negotiate and leverage our value more effectively as music photographers.
The more we can share and understand what clients are paying and what are peers are charging, the more power we have to advocate for our worth. All submissions are anonymous. All data, high and low, is valuable and encouraged.
Contribute to the Music Photography Rates Sheet
If you're reading this and have ever been paid for music photography, I'd strongly encourage you to enter work history and rates. The strength of this data relies on as diverse entries as possible giving as much detail as possible.
If you're looking to contribute rates, it's helpful to view the sheet first to understand the formatting. Take a look, then add your experience.
From local bands to world tours, if you've done work as a music photographer, we need your data. All entries are anonymous, but you can name the artist or clients if you wish.