You’ve finally done it! You have the perfect product and now you want to make sure that people know about it. Product photography may be a tremendous help in this process with over 20 important benefits. But how do you know which product photographer is right for your budget?
Product photography costs can vary from as little as $10 per photo to more than $1,000 per day. To figure out what’s best for you, let’s take a look at some of the options available:
There are three main ways to calculate the cost of professional photo services: paying for final images, per day, or per hour. The final payment will depend on the method you choose, and the type of usage licensing you need. Other considerations include the type of product photos you need, such as: designer, catalog, advertising, hero or lifestyle images.
Many people feel confused when thinking about hiring a product photographer. If you’re searching for someone to do a shoot for you, make sure to continue reading.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about product photography pricing, so let’s get started!
Main Ways To Calculate Product Photography Costs
As mentioned above, there are three main methods to pay for photoshoots. There can be more ways that your photographer might bring up, but below are the options you’ll run into the most often.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that photographers usually expect to receive payment before they send you the final images. Often, they require half of the money before arrival and half before they send you the product.
Each of these options has pros and cons so let’s take a look at them individually:
Paying for Final Images
To start, you may have the option to pay for the final images. You’ll want to consider how many shots you’ll need, as one is usually not enough for an E-Commerce store like Amazon.
Depending on the photographer’s type of shoot and skill level, the prices per image can be as low as $10 or go as high as $500 or more.
Quite the wild swing in pricing, isn’t it?
Now, it’s important to note that this price will vary on a case-by-case basis. It doesn’t just depend on the photographer and what they’re selling; it also depends on how complex your product is, as well as any special effects or props that need to be included in the images.
When considering this option, make sure to discuss it with your photographer. You should ask them for a quote, so you can determine early on if their services will fit in your budget.
Paying Per Product
You can also pay per project, which tends to be a bit cheaper. However, this method only works when you need to shoot similar objects. The photographer will be able to use the same equipment and lighting setup throughout the entire process without as much effort.
An example of this would be for an online tea shop or watch store. You’ll want to have a consistent approach for your branding and it can be extremely helpful if you’re selling products that are similar.
It should be noted that tiered pricing is a popular model for this type of structure. The more products you have, the cheaper the overall photography pricing. For instance, you may find yourself paying $100 per product for up to 3 products, but just $65 per product for more than 10 products.
Paying Per Day
If you need to be on set and give the photographer creative direction, or the type of images you want require models or coordination with a location, expect your quotes to include day rates.
For example, if you’re looking for lifestyle images of your products in a home setting, expect to pay more because this can require an entire day’s worth of work.
If you’re not sure how long the professional will take, you can always ask. Most photographers have a good sense of how long a planned shoot should take.
Paying Per Hour
On average, the price to hire a product photographer is between $25 and $500 per hour. This price depends on the occasion or type of shoot. The pricing levels have to do with the skill level of the photographer as well.
For example, a student is going to charge much less than a top professional. Freelancers tend to fall in the middle of that range.
It would be best to ask them for a quote before getting started, so you know how long the project will take. It’s also essential that you prepare to pay more. If the shoot goes on for longer, you’ll need to pay the photographers more to cover it.
When using this method, you’ll want to ensure that you have everything set and ready for the photographer.
- You shouldn’t spend your time preparing for the shoot while they’re on the clock!
- That means you should have the products you wish to photograph set out where they’re easy to access.
Doing so also helps the photographer move through the shoot smoothly, and why more experienced photographers are able to charge more per hour. Hiring an amateur who takes 8 hours to get the job done is going to cost you much more than an experienced photographer who only takes 1 hour.
Ask About Other Options
Often, product photographers have package deals available too. You’ll want to ask about what options they can offer you.
Sometimes, you’ll discover that you can save some money by choosing one of their other options, but this usually means there is much less flexibility when it comes to creativity because package pricing means package results.
Every photographer is different, so you’ll want to check out their website or give them a call. Some of these options may include:
- All-inclusive rates
- Leveled packages
- Coupons or special deals
Depending on the photographer, they may be able to work something out with you. Freelancers have more freedom to come up with unique payment solutions than those from a studio. However, you must always pay them fairly for their intellectual property.
How the Type of Product Photography Impacts Price
Not all product photography is the same. It’s important to understand how different types of images will affect your overall costs, and you’ll want to consider them before getting started.
For example, you’ll need to pay more if models are involved or high levels of post-production is needed. These forms can translate to commercial or advertising photography, which would have a higher cost than personal projects.
I have covered this in more detail in my article on the different types of product photography, but here are some examples:
Generally speaking, catalog product photography is one of the least expensive forms of product photography that you can get. Product photographers who specialize in catalog work are likely to charge $100 or less per image.
When it comes to e-commerce, the photographer will need some equipment to make sure the photos fit the platform. For example, most e-commerce sites want the background to be pure white and free of other items. To achieve this, your photographer will likely use a backdrop or a lightbox.
If you want to take your own e-commerce photos, you can use this AmazonBasics Portable Photo Studio Box (available on Amazon.com). The lightbox reduces reflections and shadows, making the product the main focus of your image.
Lifestyle Product Photography
Lifestyle photography is often meant to convey emotions and information about what your product does or how to use it. Additionally, the ultimate goal here is to get the prospective buyer envisioning themselves using your product in an environment that they would normally be in.
Lifestyle Product Photography is often used to communicate the benefits of a product, rather than focusing on its features for this reason. As you can probably tell, much more is involved when setting up a lifestyle scene as it goes way beyond a white-background image.
It can take place almost anywhere and should closely resemble how your target market would use it.
Advertising Product Photography is a bit more in-depth than standard e-commerce photos and usually involves compositing complex scenes into a single image. Instead of focusing on the product, you’ll want to capture people’s attention by displaying it in an interesting way that is relevant to your target audience.
The Product Photographer will likely set up a few different shots that they can use on your website or in an advertisement.
As you can probably tell, this type of shoot is more about brand building and comes at a higher cost because it is more time-consuming, and is more valuable to your business long term.
Other Pricing Factors To Consider
You may have heard the old adage “You get what you pay for.” Well, this advice applies to photography as well!
A photographer who charges a high price will likely provide higher-quality product photos. And if they’re doing an ecommerce website shoot? You can bet there are some unique requirements and difficulties involved in making sure everything looks perfect on screen.
It’s important to be aware of other pricing factors that can affect your overall costs. Product photography can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the details of the shoot and the photographer you work with.
Here are some examples of other considerations that can affect your price:
Product Weight or Size
If you have a big, bulky product, specialist equipment may be required to take the pictures or set up compositions. This would mean that you can expect the cost of the pictures to go up. Product photography costs will vary from studio to studio, with most starting to charge after a set weight or size threshold, particularly if assembly is required.
Product Preparation and Styling
The amount of time a photographer spends on product preparation and styling can also affect the total cost. Product photography is often only part of a larger project where models may need to be hired, hair or makeup professionals brought in, props purchased to set up a scene, etc. However, these costs should stay more or less consistent across different projects because it’s not uncommon for them to take place with basic preparation.
Basic preparation is considered anything up to five minutes. If you’re looking for an even more elegant look, prices will increase accordingly and may require the services of a professional stylist with specialized supplies in order get that perfect picture.
Props or Set Construction
If you have a product that requires special props or set construction, the cost of these items may be included in your total. Product photography can get pretty intricate with different scenes being created to showcase your item perfectly, so it’s important that they stay on budget while doing this work.
You may find that the photographer you hire has a standardized price for any props and set construction, or they may simply inform you of the additional costs before starting work.
Take note that this is not true with all projects as sometimes clients will provide their own items if it’s needed within brand guidelines.
Product photography costs are different depending on what you want to use it for too. Product photographs can be used for many purposes, like e-commerce listing photos or advertisements that run on social media.
Licensing your images for each use can affect costs, so don’t forget to inform your photographer as to how you intend to use their images, otherwise you may find yourself with some hefty statutory fines for Copyright Infringement.
Product photography is a pretty significant investment, both for the photographer creating the images and for the client commissioning them, especially if you’re taking it seriously since this type of imagery plays such an important part in converting prospects into customers. Product pictures can cost more if they are for advertising purposes simply because they need to be higher quality and they are more valuable for furthering your business.
Here are some different types of usage licensing you can expect:
- Listing images on e-commerce stores
- Website design
- Social media advertising
- Print advertising
- Product packaging
- Used on the front cover of a magazine
- Model releases
- Property releases
For many large businesses, product photographers charge usage fee’s on a limited, annual basis. Smaller businesses, however, may receive limited usage rights that they only have to pay for once. So check with your photographer to see what type of licensing they offer.
How Skill Level Impacts the Final Cost
The skill level of the product photographer you hire dramatically increases the final price.
Generally, the less expensive the photographer then the less experience they have or the less custom/bespoke your images will be. The results will usually be better than what you could capture yourself. Still, they’re not going to look as lovely as a top professional’s photo.
Professionals who’ve been in the field for longer charge higher prices- but you’re sure to get a much better quality of the photo. If you want pictures of important details or need the images for advertising, it’s best to choose a professional.
The top professionals can charge more than $400 per hour. They’re costly, but you pay for their experience and high-quality equipment. It’s unlikely that you’ll need a top pro unless it’s very important that the project is a success (such as an advertising campaign).
When it comes to pricing, amateur photographers usually charge between $25 and $75 per hour. The top pros will likely charge between $200 and $500 per hour. With such a significant price difference, you might choose the cheaper option automatically. However, you need to realize that the product photos won’t turn out as nicely, which can have negative affects on your brand.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to avoid beginner photographers. It would be best to consider your needs for the project and your budget, then choose from there.
Characteristics of a Professional Product Photographer
When searching for a professional photographer, there are some key differences in your experience with customer service, results, and skills that will set them apart from other options.
They have certain characteristics that should help you ensure a good experience. That way, they’re worth your time and the price for the shoot. The characteristics of a professional include:
- Good communication skills
- Creativity and artistic talent
- Displays a consistent, refined style
- Works well under pressure
- Can meet deadlines
- Has attention to detail
- Has professional photography training (can come from school or job experience)
- Willingness to answer your questions
- Willingness to work with you
- Takes feedback/criticism well
Overall, your photographer should display many professional qualities. They should understand how to best proceed with the photo shoot and help you meet your goals for the project.
You’ll also need to be willing to work with the photographer to make the shoots go as smoothly as possible.
Why Professional Product Photographers Are Expensive
Many people see professional photography as an expensive service. The final photography cost can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on what type of shoot you have planned. However, there’s a reason for the high price, which includes the following:
- Cost of equipment
- Licensing usage rights
- Preparing marketing materials
- Self-employment taxes
- The amount of time
- Buying props
- Setting the scene
- Adjusting photos for your needs
- Prepping images for prints
Most photographers have about $4,000 in equipment and countless hours of honing their skills. This amount includes their computer, cameras and lenses, shooting gear, and photo editing software subscriptions. Top professionals often spend more on this since they need more lenses and other equipment. Some may even pay for access to a studio space and have additional cameras.
Overall, you pay the photographer for their skill, time, and their intellectual property.
While the service can become very expensive quickly, it’s worthwhile when you receive the finished product, especially if you plan on using the images for your business. In that case, they must look nice- you’ll need to invest money to have an excellent first impression on your audience.
Should You Choose a Freelance or Studio Product Photographer?
Photographers can work independently or in a studio with many other pros. Each option has a different price tag associated with it. However, there are still benefits and downsides to each option.
A freelancer usually won’t have access to as much professional equipment as a photographer from a studio. You’ll need to have a larger budget for a studio since they usually cost significantly more than an individual.
You can ask local photographers and studios for quotes, then compare all of your options. Even though freelancers are cheaper, a studio can provide additional equipment and editing services.
Freelance Photographer Prices
Freelancers in your area will charge less since they don’t need to factor in as much overhead. They also have less expensive equipment and usually won’t have access to a studio. However, this doesn’t mean their photos won’t turn out well- freelancers often capture stunning shots.
Many e-commerce sites hire freelancers to take pictures of their products. The freelancer will know how to position the items so that they look great on a website. The freelancer also takes the images and edits them at their home.
Since you won’t have to cover the extra costs for a studio space or as much equipment, the freelancer is usually the much cheaper option. On average, you can expect to pay between $25 and $125 per image. If you want to pay per hour, the average is between $50 and $150, depending on their experience.
Studio Photographer Prices
On the other hand, a professional studio photographer is likely to charge between $75 and $250 per image. The top professionals can charge between $200 and $1,200 per image. Keep in mind that they’ve invested more in their equipment and pay for their studio costs. Most of these pros also make their living solely from their photography.
Additionally, you pay more for their experience. While freelancers can still be very experienced professionals, a studio photographer does this every day, all day. They’re likely to have more experience and familiarity with photoshoots.
Finally, you’re also more likely to have to pay for travel costs. The studio might not be available in your area. You’ll either need to go to them or pay them to come to you- it can be costly to transport a lot of delicate equipment.
Several factors can impact the price of your professional photography shoot. How you plan to pay for the service is one of the most significant factors. You’ll want to discuss your options with the photographer beforehand to know how the price will change.
Overall, professional product photography provides you the images you need to build your brand or get the attention of online shoppers so they will make a purchase. If you want higher-quality photos, you must set a higher budget for the project.
Here at Skyline FBA, we offer both studio and lifestyle photography to our clients. We’re a team of photographers who have worked for years in the field, making us one of the most trustworthy companies available today.
We would love to work with you on your next project! Contact Us Today!