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Accepting Payments As A Photographer

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Last editedJan 20222 min read

Independent photographers need to establish their payment terms early when talking to a client so there are no problems when the payment is due. Obviously the amount to be paid and for what work must be clear for both parties, but the payment method itself is equally important.

Here we discuss photographer payment terms and how to price your photography work so you know how much to charge.

Photographer payment methods 

Photographers often meet their clients in person so cash payments are common, though direct bank transfers are also popular. Even online payment platforms are growing in popularity for such work, with PayPal being one of the best online payment platforms for photographers.

Each payment method will have advantages or disadvantages for both the photographer and the client, so it is a good idea to be flexible and find the best payment solution for each situation. Of course, an in-demand photographer will be more able to dictate the payment method, while a new photographer desperate for work may need to take whatever payment method is offered.

The best photographer payment methods are:

  • Online payment

  • Direct bank transfer

  • Cash / cheque.

Online payment

An online payment method is probably the easiest as it only takes a few clicks and doesn’t require withdrawing or depositing cash, or waiting on a cheque. However, it is likely that many clients won’t have PayPal as an option, especially if you are being hired for a wedding photography gig and the client is a non-professional. 

It is a good idea for photographers to have a PayPal account though as more professional clients may well prefer it as a payment method. Payments can also be scheduled which can be more convenient for some clients.

Direct bank transfer

One of the most popular wedding photographer payment methods is the direct bank transfer. Often you may not meet the clients in person until the actual day of the gig, so a transfer allows them to forward the deposit or retainer required to book the time slot they want.

Cash / cheque

Offline payments like cash and cheque are still popular for some photography work. Each photographer will have to decide if they want to accept cheques, but usually they will have enough contact information on a client to ascertain whether they are trustworthy.

One major drawback is receiving the deposit which means meeting in person at some point prior to the date of the photography work, and this may not be convenient.

How to price your photography

Knowing how to get paid is important, but you also need to know how much you should be getting paid for your work. 

The first element to calculate is the cost of labour, which basically means how long the work will take. This includes the actual work of course, but also the travelling time to and from the venue, as well as any time spent editing, sorting or processing the images. Add up every single second spent on any part of the project when invoicing for freelance work

There are also costs associated with digital file storage, photo book creation and printing images, as well as battery drain and wear and tear on your equipment. You can also offer multiple pricing tiers such as for digital images only, printed images only or both.

Travel expenses will need to be incorporated into your photography fees, plus also consider your overhead costs. These include the likes of advertising your services, equipment acquisition and upgrades, website maintenance and any other fixed or variable expenses. 

We can help

GoCardless helps freelancers spend less time and effort on getting paid on time. Direct debit, a pull-based payment method, allows freelancers to get paid automatically on a date of their choosing. 

Instant Bank Pay enables freelancers to take one-off, same-day payments via paylink with ease and efficiency. This can prove invaluable when charging for additional services beyond the scope of your retainer. 

With GoCardless you can control when you get paid and thereby save time and stress. Integrations with major accounting partners allow users to raise and reconcile invoices automatically.

If you’re interested in finding out more about photographer payment terms, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts at GoCardless. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 70,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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