Friday, November 27, 2015

My Cost of Doing Business (CDB) Formula


I do destination photography. I keep it as simple as possible for myself and my client. All of my work is based on the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) Cost of Doing Business (CDB) calculator. (

Studio rate: The studio is the base and support system for a photography business. You must know what your CDB is, and include it in the formula for arriving at your "Day Rate".

Day rate: I have a daily rate for a 10 hour day. I figure for 10 hours to include daily travel time and expenses to and from a job site. I also charge an hourly rate for daily time over 10 hours. This rate is negotiable for times when travel time is short for the day before work on the actual assignment begins. Example: travel and check-in takes 4 hours on a Monday. Project work actually begins on Tuesday morning.

Travel: gas, car rental, tolls, flight, etc. Any expense of getting my equipment and personal needs to and from a job is added here.

Per Diem: Food and lodging.

Incidentals: Any expense over and above normal per diem expenses
that must be met in order for me to complete my assignment.

I use the NPPA CDB calculator to figure what my daily Cost of Doing Business is while working in my home studio. This tells me how much I must earn as a "Day Rate" to keep my studio and myself in business. I then add travel, per diem, and incidentals to the equation.

Studio + travel + per diem + incidentals = Project Bid

I will soon post an article with links on where to get info on calculating each item of the above formula.


Keith Birmingham is a photojournalist with a growing catalog of “Event, Lifestyle, Travel and Stock Photography. If you use articles written by this author for any kind of publication you must include this resource box with the article. For details please contact Keith Birmingham.

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