I've agreed to catalog a large group of photos for an online project for a relative. In addition, I will be doing some light editing of the photos for clarity of image, etc., as I go along. I've been asked to determine what to charge. What factors should I consider as I create a quote? What pricing structure is common for this type of work?

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    \$\begingroup\$ How large is the project? What do you mean by "light" editing? My general impression would be to say somewhere around $20 an hour, but that also depends on how fast you work (I'm guessing based on your advanced amateur description.) Depending on the scale of the project, it may make sense to offer a flat project rate instead since that would depend less on your speed and more on the work being done, but that would also depend on how extensive the cataloging and organizing is. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Apr 9, 2014 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


Similar services that you mention are performed commercially. A popular model is that photographers would send all or a culled selection of images to the company and they will further cull and perform basic editing on the remainder.

Charging Method

Charging is rarely done by the hour since speed is greatly dependent on skill level and a customer shouldn't be charged more simply because the editor is less efficient. Instead, industry standard is charging based on the number of images the editor "touches" and the level of services provided.

If you want the editor to cull through your full event, they are essentially touching every image as they decide whether to keep it or not.

Basic Editing

Basic editing (exposure, color correction, cropping, etc) ranges anywhere from $0.10 to $0.50 per image. If you've already culled your images and are requesting basic editing on all images you send, you are often charged more per image than if you send in all images from an event and have the editor cull. This is because an editor is deleting roughly half of your images without editing and still charging you per image.

Check out some commercial editing comapnies to get a feel for the industry standard. Some quick searching brought me to roughly $0.15 per image for basic editing. You can use this for reference: http://www.proimageeditors.com/postproduction.htm For a service that breaks down the costs by task (including categorizing), this is a great reference: http://www.vitaledit.com/Services.aspx

Advanced Editing

Advanced editing can be upwards of $2.00-$5.00 per image depending on the level of advanced editing provided. This can be everything from removing an object from the image to "airbrushing" portraits.

Sorting / Renaming / Collections

The task of sorting into collections is something that can be easily automated. Personally, as long as there is metadata of the date the image was taken, this process is only a few minutes worth of work and wouldn't warrant a significant up-charge in addition to what's mentioned above. The example I found was $0.03 per image.


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