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We suggest rates for the main categories of photographers' production charges and other expenses. Digital charging in particular requires more detailed explanation.

Digital file fees

Files should normally be professionally processed and charged for individually. The exceptions are 1) for newspaper work where files are delivered on tight deadlines and unprocessed to picture desks, and 2) commissions resulting in an unusually large number of photographs for publication.

In the latter case charging for bulk processing by the hour avoids unacceptably high production bills. Charges should be for no less than one hour, and no less than professional labs would charge for Photoshop processing. In London fees are about £100 per hour. Some labs outside London charge less.

In the former case much lower charges apply as unprocessed files require minimal labour time (though they cannot be produced or transmitted without expensive equipment and software). A flat fee of around £50 is usual for transmitting a small number of such files.

In no case should professionals supply clients with large numbers of unprocessed files. The work is unprofessional, and the low fees do not cover production costs.

Digital Transmission

The figures quoted are minimums and starting points, appropriate for one session transmitting a small number of files. Repeat sessions to one client, or multiple sessions on behalf of a PR client to multiple recipients, should command higher fees. Some photographers charge per megabyte (compressed) transmitted.

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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.