covid-19: see advice in the Freelance

We have a problem with this section of the Fees Guide. Regional papers pay badly: and many local papers extremely badly. Some rates have hardly increased in twenty years. Some regionals and a few locals, however, are improving what they pay. So the rates given are in no sense recommendations: they reflect the least-awful attainable rates.

The NUJ cannot recommend that any photographer accept less than £250 a day, for the following reasons.

It can take over £100 per day just to cover the costs of running a photographic business, which for an editorial photographer frequently exceed £20-30,000 per year (see Day/base rates and the Day rate calculator). Annual costs of £20,000 spread over 240 shooting days are £83.33 per day.

Even working five shooting days a week, 48 weeks per year (and this is impossible for a magazine photographer), it still takes over £100 per day just to cover costs. A photographer not working exclusively for newspapers cannot work more than three or at most four shooting days a week: up to two days are occupied with post production on other work, and running a business.

It is no longer possible to earn a professional salary on newspaper day rates without considerable additional sales through syndication - which may never materialise, and are in turn dependent on retaining copyright.

Photographers wanting to survive while supplying this market therefore need to ensure they retain their copyright, and to make an actual living from better-paying markets.

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Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.