How Much to Charge for a Photograph so you Can Live the Dream

If you’re like many of us, you want to live the dream.

price a photograph

We’re all trying to make a living as photographers. The easy and fun part is creating the photographs. The tough part is figuring out how the heck to make a living! So what do you charge for a photograph?

Today, we thought we would break it down and help you figure out your minimum price for selling a photographic print.

Step one:

Add up all the time it takes to create a finished product. Here’s an example:

Retouching: 30 minutes

Ordering: 5 minutes

Un-packaging: 5 minutes

Gift Wrapping: 15 minutes

Total: 55 minutes

Step two:

Take the number of minutes you added up and then divide by 60.

Then multiply that number by your hourly billing rate. If you don’t know what that is – this post will help you figure it out. We’ll use the rate from that post for this example:

55 min/60 = .91

.91 x $97.65= $88.86

This number is a great number to know, because regardless of the size or type of product, you need to be charging this for every product you offer. Now you can see why you can’t be selling anything for $20! (Your numbers will be different of course!)

Step three:

Add up all of your hard costs associated with the product. Be sure to add in all of your finishing costs, like mounting, laminating, framing etc. For this example let’s pretend it is a 30 inch canvas on 1.5 inch stretcher bars.


So far, we have our hard costs of $225 + our time which was $88.86. Total so far: $313.86

Step four:

Use the pixel cents formula* to calculate the value of your intellectual property. If you haven’t seen the formula before, it looks like this:

$ = CPPx x PX 


$ is the price

CPPx is the cents per pixel you assign to the image

PX is the length of the image in pixels (30 inches x 300 dpi = 9000px)

For example one – We’re going to use a CPP value of one cents per pixel. This would be the minimum range if you just starting your career and had never sold a print before!

So here is what it calculates out to:

$ = .01 x 9000

= $90

Step five:

Add it all up!

Time: $88.86

Hard Costs: $225

Intellectual Property: $90

Your minimum fee for a 30″ canvas = $403.86

For example 2 – we’ll going to use a CPPx value of ten cents per pixel. But of course, you can experiment with your own CPPx value until you find one that is right for your experience.

So here is what it calculates out to:

$ = .10 x 9000

= $900

Step five:

Add it all up!

Time: $88.86

Hard Costs: $225

Intellectual Property: $900

Your minimum fee for a 30″ canvas = $1213.86

And there you go! All figured out!



* Before the Pixel Cents formula was invented, it was recommended that you multiply your hard costs by 4 to get your retail price. The challenge of this formula was that when digital files came to be a product, there was no hard cost to mark up. Not to mention, that we were assigning value to our work based on our vendor prices – as opposed to the quality of imagery created. The pixel cents formula allows the photographer to choose a CPPx rate based on their experience in the industry, the quality of their work and their local market.



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