ATTN: Photoshop Geeks and Photographer types

in General Discussion edited January 2014

Anyone know where I can obtain good data or general information on Photoshop salaries / fee standards? I didn't find anything definitive on Google and is worthless, having no matching job description.



  • Reply 1 of 17
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    Heh, that is my summer job and I only get $9/hr

    *I am actually posting from my work right now...slacking off*
  • Reply 2 of 17
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Ah. My first reply. Thanks... thought I was going ot have to re-word in order to get a response (as you can see).

    Where are you working? Is the photographer pretty successful or just starting out? In my case the photographer is not hurting for cash and actually has another assistant who is already doing some digital work for the business. Not to mention a business manager....
  • Reply 3 of 17
    I would say that £10 - £20 per hour ($16 - $30 US) would be a ballpark figure for an average photoshop designer. If you consider yourself particularly skilled / talented then maybe double it... Go for the most you can.

    It also depends on the type of work and if its gonna be regular. eg based on a 37.5 hour week, £10/hour works out to about £20,000 per year, but I could quite easily charge upto £75 / hour for onsite network / hardware support.

    work out the Absolute MIN you would still be happy to do the work for, then have a guess at the absolute top rate you could REALISTICALLY expect to get away with and then go for somewhere in the middle. That gives you a fair bit of room to haggle down to.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Yep. The trick here is that only rarely will I get a standard 40 hours worth of work during a given week. Half that will be a much more common figure, so I think it's logical I should up the rate a bit. On the sliding scale of PS Greatness, I'd rank myself in the 70th or 80th percentile... that is, 30% of the people out there know a lot more than I do.

    I'm thinking my range should be between $25 and $60 an image, depending on the complexity of the image / post-processing tasks involved. Thinking maybe a three tiered approach: Quick Work - $20, Moderate - $30, Complex - $60....
  • Reply 5 of 17
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    Can you give a little more information? I do this for a living (kinda, I do it so I can buy my new iPod and PBook ), and you should think about what he wants you to do and how good he is.

    Things to think about:

    ?Image quality...easier to retouch 6 megapixel picture then 12

    ?Color...if he can take decent color pictures or if you have to play around to get decent color back into the image

    ?Format used....RAW although easier to correct (theoretically) takes longer to color balance and convert to other formats then tiff or jpeg

    I agree to find the min you will do it for and start with the most you can expect to get paid that won't make him give you the finger If you have to negotiate just be sure not to sound to eager to drop it from your highest price, otherwise he'll think you have it planned out. Just do what you feel right doing.

    The photographer I work for has been around a long time (his dad used to own the business) and they make plenty-o-money. They just don't pay me as good as they should I guess because what else am I going to do. Child labor is cheap. I am hoping to get a job at a local ISP next summer...or at least use it as bargaining leverage.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    I charge about $45-$55 a project. I don't really charge by the hour because some projects are pretty easy. Others are darn hard and they kinda even out. I don't do a ton of photo work so it's mostly for fun. Oh yea, I only do touch-up and restoration.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    Damn, where do you guys find an affiliate to pay you to do that? I would love to get that kind of money for doing what I do now and only get $9/hr!
  • Reply 8 of 17
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    Damn... I've been playing with PhotoShop for years. Just for fun. I didn't know you could get paid THAT much playing around with PhotoShop. What exactly do you guys do? Do you retouch photos, create presentations, what?
  • Reply 9 of 17
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member

    Originally posted by ast3r3x

    Things to think about:

    ?Image quality...easier to retouch 6 megapixel picture then 12

    Closer to 6.

    ?Color...if he can take decent color pictures or if you have to play around to get decent color back into the image

    Almost every single image requires color correction as well as spot / dust removal and some perspective adjustment. Photographer is big on shooting the right composition quickly and using post-processing to bring out the rest.

    ?Format used....RAW although easier to correct (theoretically) takes longer to color balance and convert to other formats then tiff or jpeg

    About a most will be JPEG. That might change with Photoshop CS.

    How good are they? I think very good at marketing the brand and getting new jobs, maybe top 30% at actual photography part. That's of the people in the business around here. The service and post-processing quality is what brings the clients coming back, though they don't *know* that. To them all they see is the shoot one day and a finished product a week or two later.

  • Reply 10 of 17
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    I have to call the person today so if you guys need additional info to formulate your suggestions, let me know.

    After much pondering last night (and having a few people tell me I'm lowballing myself by not a small amount), I am tentatively settling on the $30 - $40 range for simpler images, and $75 - $85 range for the complex ones (i.e. require stitching and color / lighting correction of two or more imags to make a single complete one). I think I would have maybe one complex image a week, 2 or 3 at most....

    I derive those numbers from a maximum estimation of what each completed image could individually bring in as part of a larger project, and defining my role in producing that image. I know there is only so much dough generated by a single image (in theory), and so I cannot reasonably charge more than 50% of that amount unless it was a really complex image that would have been worthless without a few hours of hard post-processing work.

  • Reply 11 of 17
    Be careful when you start thinking about charging for the "kind" of work you do rather than a standard hourly rate. It will confuse your clients (many won't understand the difference between types of work) and you'll confuse yourself (if you get busy you won't remember what rate you're charging what client for what type of work).

    I think you're much better off setting a standard hourly rate. After all, what you're selling is your time. If you're not retouching a photo, you could be out golfing - what is that worth to you? I don't care if I'm writing HTML, designing, consulting, training, etc. - my time is my time. If a job is "easy", then it should take you less time so the final cost to the client should balance out.

    Of course, sometimes "easy" jobs turn into difficult jobs because A.) the client didn't tell you all the details, B.) the client makes additional requests during the job, C.) etc. So, if you're locked into the "easy" rate you're kind of stuck there. If you charge hourly, it's easier to go back and say that this is going to take additional time because of reasons A, B & C.

    Keep very good track of what kinds of jobs that you do and how long they take. Ask very good questions before you start the job. These help you make good estimates and keeps you from having to go back and ask for more $. Know your client. If they are new, you may need to make your estimate higher than you would for an older client just because you don't know what to expect from them - a little cushion is nice and it's easier to go back to older client and tell them you're going over budget (done BEFORE the project ends).

    Your rate should be based on 1.) how many other people can do what you do. 2.) what do those people charge for that work. 3.) what kind of budget does your client have and will they still make money after they pay you. 4.) how fast you work and is your work done right the first time. 5.) how well do you respond to your clients needs and anticipate those needs. 6.) what makes you better than others.

    I know that freelance artists in my area (town of 100K) charge around $25/30 hour and graphic designers are close to that even though the best ones charge around $60/hr.

    Hope that helps,

  • Reply 12 of 17
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Thanks for such a great response.

    I agree with most of what you said, and in particular have tried to base my numbers on your conditions 2 & 3. I could try the hourly rate but the photographer knows exactly what is entailed in producing these post-processed images because until now, they have been doing them. My first test was to take some sample images, correct them and then compare to the output they created originally.

    They saw a lot of similarities in overall quality and method, so they wish to hire me on an on-going contractual basis (1099). It was when told this they noted that a per image fee - broken down by complexity of tasks - was their preference.

    Not to say they would absolutely refuse an hourly rate but I'm trying to show some open-mindedness in my approach while keeping things fair. I agree though, it would be simpler to be hourly.


    Well, I think I've arrived at a decent set of numbers. They're pretty much in line with average median salaries for this kind of work, even though I will not have a "salary" in the strictest sense... will let you guys know how it goes once there's an actual contract on paper and we get started. Meantime, feel free to hijack thread as needed for your own purposes.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    Graphic Artists Guild Handbook : Pricing & Ethical Guidelines

    Usually a good resoure for all manner of this kind of stuff.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Thanks for the reference. Maybe when that first contracting check comes in, I'll head to Amazon in order to improve my graphic arts library. Currently rather thin and much more task-oriented than business oriented.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    Side note, NAPP convention is going on in Florida
  • Reply 16 of 17
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Say hi to Scott Kelby from the huddled masses at AI....
  • Reply 17 of 17
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member

    Originally posted by Moogs

    Say hi to Scott Kelby from the huddled masses at AI....

    Haha I'm not there...but my boss is. I'd love to see Scott Kelby's presentation of PS8. My boss was really impressed by it. I thought people here were saying it's nothing special.

    Mayhap (maybe + perhaps) I check out the beta tonight.
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