Why photographers should send professional invoices
As a photographer you are an artist and a skilled technician. It’s a unique combination that you deserve to be paid well for – so make it easy for your clients to understand what they are paying for when you capture those incredible moments for them.
Anyone can take a photo on their mobile device, but you bring images to life in a truly magical way. So while your invoice needs to be simple enough to understand, it must accurately detail the skill and technique that goes into creating those one-of-a-kind images.
Your invoices should look as good as your work. They need to be clear and professional – but also well-designed. Every touch point with your clients should reflect your outstanding ability as an artist.
Once you've downloaded your free invoice template, you'll need to customize it to fit your specific business. Here are the 10 key things to include on your invoice:
- Title and Description: Name the project and briefly describe what type of work your client is being invoiced for.
- Company Details: Add your company name, address, phone number, and logo to the top-right corner.
- Customer Details: Under "Bill To", add your customer's name, address, and contact information.
- Invoice Number: Include a unique invoice number to help you track down this invoice in the future. You can format this based on sequence and customer. For example, if you're sending your very first customer their first invoice, the invoice number could be 001-001.
- Dates: Include the date when your invoice has been issued and the date when payment is due.
- Line Item: Add individual line items for each unique good or service you provided. For each line item, include a brief description, quantity, individual unit price, and total price.
- Subtotal: Add up the subtotal of your goods or services, before tax has been applied.
- Tax: Indicate the tax rate applied to the subtotal. This is legally required to provide on invoices, and your rate may differ depending on where you run your business.
- Total: Outline the total amount due from the customer, after tax.
- Notes: Include any additional info your customer should know, including terms of service and payment terms (for example, payments are due 30 days after the invoice has been issued).
- Browse through our wide range of templates in different designs and colors, and select the one you like
- Download the free invoice template in the format you want to use, such as Word, Excel, PDF, Google Docs, or Google Sheets
- Add in your business name and contact information – this is important for getting paid, but also so they know how to contact you for future work!
- Insert your logo
- Add in your client’s name and contact information
- Create a unique invoice number and add it to the template
- Add the date of the invoice and the payment due date
- Add lines for additional information or take lines out. Customize the format to make sure your client understands how much work was involved by including detailed descriptions of your services and the contract work done
- If you are including a discount for a regular client, or a special event, add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are receiving a great deal
- List all photography services provided and descriptions of each, along with your hourly rate or flat rate
- Calculate the total price of the project, including applicable tax, and list the total at the bottom of the invoice
- Include your payment terms, such as the methods of payment you accept
- It’s a great idea to add a personal line at the end – such as a thank you, or a note about how much you enjoyed working on the project
- Save a copy – and send the invoice off to your client!
When is the right time to send an invoice to your photography clients?
Some photographers ask for payment upon completion of a project. To make sure you are paid as soon as possible, it’s a good idea to send your invoice along with the final images. That way your client can see exactly what they are paying for.
But some photographers request partial or even full payment up front. This isn’t unreasonable as you are running your own business and have a lot of technical equipment to maintain and materials to buy. If a project spans a long period of time, you can ask for a percentage of the estimated cost up front, with the remainder upon completion, or you could send monthly invoices.
Whatever payment cadence you choose, make sure to reflect that on each invoice, and clarify what portion of the final “cost” has been paid to date.