Philly Vs Portland and a Look at Pricing

Pricing your creative fee is a mix of three things: experience, complexity of the job, and usage. I saw this estimate today to shoot a job for a Non-Proft in Philly and thought I would share it. The original post is about bribes and kickbacks, but I want to talk about the photographer’s fee.

The photographer, Bill Cramer, estimated total fees and charges at $32,525 (he got this job, by the way). $18,000 of that was his creative/usage fee. The usage was for unlimited local advertising, web, local collateral, and local publicity use of four (4) images forever. Bill’s been a photographer for over 20 years in Philly. He’s really good at what he does. I’d say that fee sounds pretty good. But, what’s interesting is that he based his fee on suggestions from BlinkBid and fotoQuote. Both those software programs based their suggested fees on averages of past sales all over the country.

In his explanation of how he got to his fee, he talked about how the client wanted to use the shots for billboard advertising. In Philly, one billboard ad costs $8,200 for 4 weeks (or $106,600 a year). In Portland, one billboard costs $10,500 for 4 weeks (or $136,500 a year).

When I originally started this post, I was going to try to justify why creative fees in Portland are (in general) so much less. I thought, surely advertising is less expensive here, thus fees here are less. But, in fact, it’s more expensive to advertise here. Overall, I feel that photographer fees here should be much higher than they are. Photographers are giving away shoots at less than $10 an image. It’s nuts.

In Portland, we are on a dangerous path. A lot of photographers are moving here and a lot of them are young and naive. I was one once, too. But, even then I knew my Cost of Doing Business and priced myself accordingly. Now that I have more experience, my rates have gone up. But my local rates aren’t even close to what Bill is getting

Food for thought.

If you’re an ASMP member, there are discounts for BlinkBid and fotoQuote. Visit for more info.

(Estimate by Bill Cramer via A Photo Editor)