Invoice templates for photographers

Freelance photographers don’t spend as much time behind the camera as you might think. A lot of time is spent chasing up customer requests, building up their client base and completing paperwork. 

This article was created to help photographers spend less time on pesky paperwork, and spend more time behind the lens. It explores the different pricing methods for photographers, what must be included on photographer invoices and how to customise your invoices to showcase your talent.

Free photography invoice templates are also available to download in Word and Excel format.

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Pricing methods for photographer invoices

Prior to issuing invoices, you’ll need to decide how you’ll charge your customers. You can charge by the hour, by the project, or by day. Each option has benefits and drawbacks which are outlined below. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which pricing method will work best for your photography business. Regardless of the option you choose, your rate must be clearly stated on your photographer invoice template.

Hourly rate

Charging by the hour is common for freelance photographers and simple for your customers to understand. Most photographers who charge an hourly rate also charge for costs related to the project, for example, fuel costs, props, and printing charges. 

The main benefit of charging by the hour (plus costs) is that you’ll be paid for exactly the amount of work you did, and if the customer needs more time or extra prints, you’ll be paid accordingly. Another advantage is that it’s easy for the customer to understand and to calculate approximately how much they’ll pay for your services. 

A possible downside to hourly rates (plus costs) is that the customer may attempt to remove any items that they don’t think are necessary to bring the price down. If you’re an experienced photographer, you may also be able to complete a project in much less time than your competitors, meaning that you’ll make less money because of your experience and expertise. 

If you’re just starting your freelance photography business, charging by the hour (plus costs) is the most common way to invoice your customers.

Project rate

Another way you can charge your customers is by the project. This means setting an overall fee for the entire project rather than setting a fee per hour you worked. Typically, you’ll calculate your project fee based on the number of hours you think it will take you to complete. 

With project rates, you can either request the full amount upfront or request partial payments throughout the project. It’s common practice for photographers to request a deposit from the customer to secure the work.

A benefit of charging a project rate is that you can focus more on quality instead of time. If you’re an experienced photographer, you also won’t be penalised for being quick and efficient. 

A downside to charging by the project is that your customers may be apprehensive about a large bulk fee. It would be beneficial to explain how you calculate your project fee to new clients. If you explain that it’s based on your hourly fee, and you suspect that the project will take X amount of hours, then it will help your customer wrap their head around the sum. 

By being transparent about your calculations, the customer is more likely to trust your prices, and if you are only providing a quote, this transparency increases the chance that it’s accepted.  

Project rates are usually charged for long-term projects.

Day rate

The final pricing method you may choose to implement is charging a day (or half-day) rate. This means charging a set amount per day and including the maximum amount of hours you can work within each day. 

Day and half-day rates are commonly used for projects that will take longer than one day but are not considered long-term projects. 

A benefit of charging per day is that you’ll receive a set amount, even if the project takes less time than expected. However, one of the downsides of this approach is that the customer may prefer to pay per hour, especially if it’s a short-term project. Charging per day may put some customers off, as your prices may be less flexible and therefore not accommodate your customers’ needs. 

It’s therefore recommended that your business operates with multiple rates so you’re flexible enough to accommodate the variety of projects you may encounter.

What should my photography invoice include?

Once you’ve determined which pricing method you’ll use, you’ll then need to create invoices for your customers. Invoices are official documents that are sent from your business to your customers when payment is due. It breaks down the details of the sale and is an official request for payment.  

You can find all of the necessary fields in our article: “What information needs to be on an invoice?”. This outlines which details need to be included on your invoices in order for them to be considered legally valid. 

In addition to the mandatory invoice information, photographers should include precisely how the total amount was calculated, including how many hours/days you worked and the related costs, or your project rate. 

You should also include information on how the customer should pay the balance, for instance, bank transfer, cash, cheque, online payment, etc.

Customise your invoices to showcase your work

Since you’re in a creative industry, why not showcase your talent on your paperwork? Customising your invoices is a great way to show off your expertise and set you apart from the competition. 

You can create your own template, or use invoicing software to help you easily design and customise your invoices. 

Here’s an example of a customised photography invoice:

Photographer invoice template for Word

If Word is your program of choice for creating invoices, you can download our free customisable invoice template below. Be advised that you’ll need to manually calculate your totals, whereas Excel and invoicing software can do this automatically.

Download invoice template for Word

Photographer invoice templates for Excel

Compared to Word, Excel provides much more automation with the use of formulas. You can have the totals instantly update as you enter your item lines. We have provided free Excel templates below. There are 2 tabs, the first is for non-VAT registered businesses, and the second is for VAT invoices.

Download invoice templates for Excel

Design photographer invoice templates with invoicing software

The final option is to use invoicing software. There’s a variety of different invoicing software out there you can use to create, customise, and issue your photography invoices. 

With SumUp Invoices, you can create professional, legally compliant invoices and send them to your customers via email, WhatsApp, Messenger, SMS, etc. Every invoice you send will include a payment link so your customers can pay instantly and effortlessly online.

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