How Photographers Can Maximize Their Shoot Revenue

Commercial photography revenue tips

And also learn the difference between Editorial vs Commercial vs Personal Usage. 

This article outlines how you can maximize your shoot revenue, and also learn how to easily tell the difference between the three different types of photo usage- editorial, commercial and personal.

While the story is set in a specific location, you can use that creative brain of yours to dream up how this might apply to the kinds of shoots you typically do. 

This strategy is particularly valuable when shooting for small and local businesses. 

Here’s a little story about how you can generate more revenue for your photography business.

1) A local magazine hires you to shoot a restaurant dinner table spread for an article feature in their magazine. They hire you and pay you a fixed fee for the project. (FYI this is considered ‘editorial’ use.) 

2) You reach out to the manufacturer of the wine glasses or flatware (or both!) in the photo spread to see if they’d like to use/license any of the photos for their social media and website use.

You explain what you typically charge for a shoot like this, detail how much money they are saving, and pitch them ‘no-brainer’ rates for licensing.

They say yes, and you have additional revenue from your editorial shoot. (The wine glasses / flatware manufacturer’s use in their social media and on their website is considered ‘commercial’ use).

Bonus tip #1: if the wine glass manufacturer wanted to use an image in a magazine ad in the same magazine that hired you for the editorial shoot, it would still be commercial use.

Bonus tip #2: take a look at your environs and see if there are any other companies that might like to license your images. Bakery that supplies the bread? Florist who provides the flower arrangements? Take a few quick shots of each to highlight other brands.

3) The owner of the restaurant is married to the executive chef. You show the chef the photos and recommend she make a photo album for her husband for a special birthday gift.

You can either quickly shoot more content of the restaurant, or recommend she combine them with some cell phone snaps she takes. She loves the idea and purchases some files for you to make the album herself, or she pays you to put it together and print it for her.

She gifts the album to her husband, he’s thrilled, and shares it with his industry friends, bringing you more business. (This is considered ‘personal’ use.) 

Anton Matyukha
©Anton Matyukha

Determining how much each of these uses costs

The monetary value/price for each of those goes like this: 

  • Editorial: $ (editorial almost always has fixed rates)
  • Commercial: $$-$$$$
  • Personal: $-$$ (usually a fraction of commercial-use pricing, due to the fact that no revenue/profit is being produced from the use of the images)

If you think creatively about each shoot you do in terms of providing value to different parties, you’ll see how you can maximize both your revenue and the value to everyone involved by offering usage to any party who might benefit from it.

What may have started off as just a single photo shoot with a single buyer (the magazine), suddenly turns into a single photo shoot with three buyers. And referrals if you play your cards right! 

Think of how you can replicate this with every shoot, and you’ll easily maximize your revenue, and have more happy clients! #winwin

Are you a photographer who found this article helpful? 

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Comments (2)

This is so very helpful – really clear in the use of the terms and opened my eyes to getting multiple clients from a single shoot. Love it.

That’s great that you found the information useful Peter! Thanks for providing your feedback, and I hope that these ideas transform your revenue!

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