I have been invited to submit a proposal/estimate for school portraits including 180 or so young children and 30 or so adult faculty and staff.

I do not know if prints will be involved, but would like to offer a print scenario in the proposal.

Any help with determining pricing estimates would be greatly appreciated!

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a good place to start: photo.stackexchange.com/a/7442/4892 \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 22:07
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ There isn't a huge amount of actual photographers making a living doing this, as Lifetouch is the big corporation in this field. The margins are very slim, and usually doesn't require much artistic ability. Unless you have a burning desire to get into this field, I would leave it to the mass production companies. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 22:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Questions like "what should I charge for this" or "how much should this cost"--although the answers may interest photographers--are so localized in time and space that they don't fit our format well. I have voted to close. (I would have voted to close photo.stackexchange.com/questions/2255, too, but the replies are good: they focus on principles to use for estimating prices rather than providing the prices themselves. Maybe the present question could be reformulated to encourage similar kinds of objective, well-supported, general answers?) \$\endgroup\$
    – whuber
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 22:50
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ This question seems to be asking about principles rather than prices, at least as far as I can determine. Laying out the truth of the situation—what's involved, and where the profit and loss lie—just might be a good idea. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 23:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Although not capable myself of providing, I think an answer like Stan suggests has definite value and worth. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 5:26

1 Answer 1


Ok for sure some pro can give better advice. I would do like this:

  1. Estimate the time you will spend. Multiply by the hourly rate you think your time is worth
  2. Add a percentage to pay you for the risk of being freelance of your job (you may for example work 4 days a week, because no one asks for your services in the 5th day).
  3. Add any consumable (batteries for example) and commute expenses
  4. Add taxes and other charges you may have (pension?, insurance?)
  5. Add a forfeit for equipment use and risk of break (this can be low indeed 1000$ / 200 days in a year is just 5$ for example).
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you suggesting that another user step in and provide real numbers around what they charge and cost for their business? I don't thin that is necessary. The poster can use the guidelines that you provided and fill in their own values as necessary. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 14:48

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