Paying for the Services of a Fellow Photographer

So a colleague I respect sent me a few questions on how much he should pay for the services rendered to him by another photographer. I decided to share here because I know a few other photographers that need this info.

Q 1: How much will you charge per day if I want you to shoot a wedding with me?

It depends on the experience and expertise of the photographer that’s in question. The fee I’ll pay Shola Animashaun to assist me on a concert will not be the same amount I will pay a student that just graduated from our photography academy. I would also consider if the photographer would be using his camera or if it will be provided by the “employer.” I’ll recommend paying the photographer at least N10,000 extra if he’ll be using his camera and external flash. Consider that to be the cost of renting the equipment.

In most cases, I would consider paying a seasoned photographer between N10,000 & N40,000 per day for assisting. If there’s a mutual understanding between both photographers, you could leverage on goodwill and trade by barter. I’ve assisted a few photographers without being paid a dime and they’ve equally returned the kind gesture by helping to teach a photography class when I couldn’t make it. It helps if the photographer also is your friend.

Q 2: What if the job is outside your state of residency (eg Lagos state).

I would consider paying enough to cover the 1 or 2 extra days the photographer will spend to get to & from the destination. Sometimes it also depends on the type and location of event. I would gladly not accept a token if I was told to assist some photographers on jobs that might look like the type I eventually want to get.

An example will be the turbaning ceremony of the CBN governor we covered earlier in the year. The job was actually commissioned to Halima Abubakar (L’enigma Photos) shortly after she finished from our photography academy. As it is my custom, I went all the way to help make it work for her. Assisting her on the job was an opportunity to learn more about the culture in Kano. I had never met the CBN governor before and thought it would be an adventurous challenge to cover an event of such magnitude. Although I really wasn’t expecting to be paid, I blessed God for her life when I got a message from her telling me she had credited my account with money I was in dire need of at that time. I would gladly assist her any day.

That brings me to my second point. It also helps if the photographer is your friend. There’s likely to be more freedom in discussing money matters when the person is first your friend. Although, that should not be an excuse to take one another for granted. Although it can be quite difficult to put a price tag if the job is outside Lagos, working with a photographer who is also your friend would probably not cost you much.

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Q 3. How much will you charge if you’re responsible for taking all the pictures and giving me on a CD/DVD?

In this case, I would consider paying the photographer well especially if he would have no right to use the pictures for his portfolio. Sometimes it can be painful when you don’t pay the photographer what you both agree only for you to see the images on the photographer’s website or facebook page. This is one thing that I feel is wrong. If you’re assisting a photographer to cover an event, in most cases you’re actually relinquishing your rights to use the pictures for your portfolio.

There are photographers that do this and I don’t feel it is right. This is one reason why I wouldn’t bother stressing myself to call on some photographers to assist me on any job. At the end of the day, they usually go about posting the pictures online and claiming they got the job and all.

For a guide on a specific amount to pay, I feel it’s fair if you can pay the photographer a MINIMUM of N30,000 especially if you’ll not be providing a camera. In one situation, I have even collected N15,000 from a photographer friend for a day’s coverage and I understood I couldn’t use the pictures for myself. The photographer has returned the favor in more ways than 1 and I’ll gladly work with him again if I’m not busy on the day in question.

That’s my take on that. If anyone know’s of a better & more detailed guide to pricing situations like these, I’ll appreciate if you drop a comment so we can all learn.
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