Freelancing: Pricing and Setting Rates

We launched the spring Freelancing Tool Kit Series on Wednesday night with a packed crowd! If you missed it, we had a great panel of three professionals who discussed how they went about setting rates and/or pricing their work. We touched on everything from negotiating fees to working for free and scope creep. Overall, setting rates is a process that requires a strong support team, an ability to budget, negotiation, and a lot of creative problem solving.

To wrap up, we asked each panelist to share pointers for emerging professionals. Here is what they had to say.

Kristyna Archer, photographer and Columbia alum. Kristyna pointed out that freelance photographers have busy and slow seasons. Her advice: save money in your busier times so the slow months are less stressful. And don’t lose momentum when things are slow- strategize and make time for the projects you put aside when times were hectic. Kristyna recommends ASMP, which has pricing guides and a paperwork share that allows members to search past bids. Other helpful sites are Wonderful Machine, A Photo Editor, and Agency Access.

Phil Batta, filmmaker and photographer. Phil noted that it’s ok to say no if a project doesn’t feel right, or you don’t think you create good work within the client’s parameters. Value relationships more than paychecks- you want to establish a strong client base AND have strong collaborators beside you. Phil also announced an available apprenticeship with one of his contacts, documentary photographer Jon Lowenstein.

Louise LeBourgeois, fine artist and adjunct instructor. Louise has been selling paintings for nearly 20 years and she credited her longevity to the supportive group of professionals and friends she surrounds herself with. It’s important to believe in yourself, and it’s equally important to have a support system that also believes in you for those times when your confidence falters.

And one bonus resource for any designers- AIGA has a great salary tool to help you explore average salary and rates in different design settings.

The Freelancing Tool Kit Series brings you information – direct from the experts – to launch or sustain a successful freelance career. Join us for two additional sessions later in the semester.

Legal Basics Part 1: Contracts and Filing for Legal Status
Monday, March 18th @ 6:30 pm

Legal Basics Part 2: Copyrights
Monday, April 8th @ 6:30 pm

Both sessions are in the Portfolio Center, 623 S Wabash Room 311.