Invoice Templates for Photographers
Time spent behind the lens is just one aspect of running a freelance photography business. When you’re self-employed, there are many other details that become your responsibility to manage. It’s important to factor in time spent following up on potential customer leads, completing paperwork, and managing both payments and finances.
This article aims to help photographers spend less time on the tedious parts of their business - in particular, the unavoidable documentation surrounding invoicing and getting paid. We take a closer look at different pricing structures, what should be included on every invoice, and the best way to customize your invoices to make an impact. Plus, we’ve added a few free invoice templates available to download.
Before jumping into invoicing, you’ve likely already had some time to determine how you’d prefer to charge your customers. Some of the most common options include charging based on an hourly rate, by the project, or by the day.
Much of this depends on the types of projects you work on but also is largely up to personal preference. Regardless of the pricing model you choose for your business, it’s important to make it clear on every invoice you issue.
Charging an hourly rate is a simple way to communicate your prices to customers while also establishing a baseline for your photography services. Photographers who choose to charge an hourly rate will also add on other project costs such as transportation (gas), specialty equipment, lighting, printing, etc.
The primary benefit of charging an hourly rate (plus costs) is that you can be sure that you’re paid for the amount of time that you actually spend on a project. In the event that the project goes longer than expected, you can be sure that you’ll be compensated. Hourly rates are also very clear for the customer, making it easy for them to calculate how much they can expect to spend.
A downside of choosing to charge an hourly rate plus costs is that your customer might try to negotiate by requesting to remove certain items. Another potential downside is that, as an experienced photographer, you might be able to complete a job more quickly than competitors due to your expertise.
If you’re just getting started with your freelance photography business, however, charging an hourly rate with additional costs is the most common practice as far as invoicing for your services.
Another option for pricing is to charge customers a rate based on the project. This means providing a total rate for the project overall based on your estimations of the time, gear, and additional costs.
When using project rate pricing, it’s common practice to request a deposit from the customer or to take payments in installments with a portion paid upfront that secures the work and time of the photographer.
A benefit of choosing to charge based on projects is less pressure and focus on the exact timing. The focus can instead shift more towards quality or the final result. In the case of experienced photographers, this also means you won’t be penalized for being efficient.
On the other hand, choosing project rate pricing often means a large project will come with a large quote, which can come as a shock to some customers. In this case, it can be helpful to provide a thorough breakdown of the pricing and calculations.
Another option for pricing is to charge a daily or even half-day rate. This pricing method involves setting a clear price for the day, as well as a maximum number of hours for that period. Day and half-day rates are common when working on a project that’s expected to take a number of days but won’t be a long-term project.
One of the major upsides of charging a day or half-day rate is that you can depend on receiving at least a certain amount for a project, even if it does end up taking less time. However, some customers might prefer to pay an hourly rate and insisting on a day rate might indicate that you’re less flexible than the competition when it comes to pricing, which can be off-putting for some customers.
For many photographers, a pricing structure that’s adjustable based on the particular project and timeframe is the most suitable option. This makes it easier to accommodate the unique needs of each customer and still focus on your profits.
Once you’ve decided on a pricing structure for your photography business, the next step is to consider your invoicing. Invoices provide a clear, legal documentation of the money owed for the services provided. They help customers to understand the costs and payment options and help you to get paid faster and keep track of money owed.
Therefore, it’s incredibly important to include some basic details on every invoice you issue. Take a look at our article that outlines exactly what should be on your invoices: “What Information Needs to be on an Invoice?”.
In addition to the details in the article above, photographers should also consider including how they calculated the costs; for example, how many hours/days the work was undertaken or providing a project rate with any additional costs.
It’s also always good practice to include how you’d like to receive payment for the invoice - whether you’re expecting cash, check, online payment, or a bank transfer.
Because invoices can have a bad rap for being boring business documents, they’re sometimes overlooked as an added opportunity to share your skills and even promote your business. As a creative, your invoices can help set you apart from the competition and provide important payment details.
Building your own template to reuse for each customer can be time-consuming but rewarding. Alternatively, you can use ready-made invoice templates or invoicing software that makes it fast and simple to create a custom design.
Check out this example of a photography invoice created with an online invoice template:
If you’re familiar with Microsoft Word, it’s likely the first place you turn when you start creating invoices. You can download our free invoice template below which can be customized directly in Word. Keep in mind that you’ll need to manually calculate your subtotals and totals, whereas this can be done automatically with Excel or online invoice software.
Excel can be a decent option for creating invoices if you’re experienced enough to make the most of its many functions. Starting with an Excel invoice template can make customization easier and calculations faster. Download our free Excel invoice template here:
Another great option is to use online invoicing software to create, customize, issue, and manage invoices for your photography.
SumUp Invoices gives you the tools to easily make professional invoices quickly, with the added ease of being able to share your invoices via email, over WhatsApp or Messenger, via text or even print them out. Plus, you can include a payment link or QR code to make it faster and easier for your customers to pay instantly online.