Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How much do you charge?

Commercial Assignments Checklist.

I get a number of inquiries over the phone, with their question after "Hello, is this Azhar Ariff?", asking "how much do you charge for so-and-so assignment?"

For your information, it's impossible for me to answer an ambiguous question without having any knowledge of what we're getting ourselves into. Hence I always ask them to email me their brief and we communicate from there, because you can say a lot more in written communications rather than a 2-minute conversation.

Generally, my commercial assignment charges follow the general International Commercial Photographers guideline, widely practiced in the UK, United States & Australia.

The basis of the total costs of the assignment consists of the sum of Professional Fees and Expenses:

1. Photographer's fee
2. Creative/art direction fee
3. Weather Days (fees to be paid if I'm already on location, but can't shoot because of bad weather)
4. Space fee (location)
5. Re-shoot fee (if applicable)
6. Cancellation fee (if applicable)
7. Re-use fee (*Important: if the images are to be published in printed or digital media, each category where the images are being re-used, a re-use fee is applied. For example, my re-use fee is RM500 per use. An image for a furniture promotion appears in National Newspaper The Star, Berita Harian, The New Straits Times, Malay Mail and Laman Magazine. Therefore a re-use fee of RM500 x 5=RM2,500 is applicable)


1. Assistants
2. Casting
3. Crew/Special Technicians
4. Equipment Rentals
5. Film/Digital and Processing
6. Insurance
7. Location costs
8. Messengers
9. Talent/models
10. Props/wardrobe (not necessarily when shooting fashion, food and product shoot needs props too, for example)
11. Styling
12. Travel/Trasportation
13. Telephone
14. Touch-up for pre-press
15. Media storage (hard disks and/or optical disks)

The next step is to determine what the project is all about: Prepare your brief.
Now, for those of you who's interested in assigning me for an assignment, having a brief would really help us out.

To come up with a brief, simply describe what would you like to be photographed: who, when, where, what, why & how?

Example 1:
I need to photograph the board of directors, at the office lobby, from 9am to 11am, for our annual report.

Who: Directors
When: 9am to 11am
Where: at the office lobby at our HQ
What: Board of Directors shoot
Why: for 2009 annual report

Example 2:
I need to photograph our product line of biscuits, at our factory in Shah Alam, during a full-day shoot, for our new brochure.

Who: biscuits
When: full-day and extend until complete line of biscuits are ready
Where: our factory in Shah Alam
what: photograph a line of biscuits
why: for new brochure

Example 3:
I need to photograph our complete set of food, at our new restaurant, until completion at flexi-hour, for our menu and signage.

who: a line of menu (between 10-20 dishes plus 10 beverages)
when: full-day or extend if necessary
where: at our new restaurant, in Kota Damansara
what: photograph a line of menu (between 10-20 dishes plus 10 beverages)
why: for our new menu and signage

Example 4 (extensive brief, which is good):
I need you to shoot for our print ad commercial, to be printed nationwide in Newspapers, magazines. We're doing a Hari Raya campaign, to feature our furnitures, in a Hari Raya scene with a set of Malay family with Father, Mother, Son, Daughter, Granfather & Grandmother having a Hari Raya meal, in Baju Raya & Baju Kurung, with happy smiles, with our furnitures featured. We need a few different settings/scenes ,possibly one at the dining area, and one where the kids ask for forgiveness from their parents with the grandparents around.

who: A set of Malay family: Father, Mother, Son, Daughter, Granfather & Grandmother
when: Weekday
where: In a traditional Malay House setting, indoors
what: Photograph Hari Raya scene
why: for furniture print ad, distributon nationwide in print media.

I hope this information helps you as my prospective clients to be able to assist both of us in getting and giving the root answer to the original one-liner question of "How much do you charge?"

Should you be interested in assigning me for a commercial shoot, kindly email me with your brief and I'll see how I can assist you in achieving your objective(s), in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.

Best wishes. Cheers!


  1. I always have a problem when people asking the price.

  2. Aziah, by knowing your costs, you'll have an easier time answering pricing questions from your clients. Cheers!