It can be difficult to know your worth when it comes to product photography. This is primarily because there are so many factors that go into pricing (experience, location, time spent on set, etc.)
Product photography demands some of the most detailed types of images you will need for commercial purposes and results can drastically vary between two photographers.
Product photography is essential to selling products online. While many photographers undercharge for their services, they don’t always know the revenue of the product. Therefore, it’s essential to know your worth before quoting.
However, in such a competitive field, many freelance photographers have been driving prices lower and lower while clients are expecting more and more.
For this reason, it is essential to know your worth before giving a quote to a client. Product photography has its own pricing structure that can be difficult to perfect at first, but it will come with time and practice.
The rest of this article will discuss:
- Average prices for product photography.
- Why photographers often undercharge for their services.
- The various factors contributing to a person’s worth as a photographer.
- Resources to use to ensure you’re not undercharging.
- How to get the most money out of your work.
How Much Money Do Product Photographers Make?
Everyone has a different experience level when it comes to photography. Product photographers have the ability to make hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single shoot, but understanding what’s going into a specific price is crucial.
Product photography pricing depends on a number of factors ranging from location and time spent set, to the product being photographed and its revenue.
Because so many freelance photographers and photography studios offer product photography as a side offering, the prices can vary dramatically.
The average product photographer can charge anywhere from $10 to $500 for an image. However, paying by the day or by the hour can change the price. Professional photographers or photography studios may charge more, even up to $1000 for an image.
As there is no specific amount that every photographer or photography studio charges for product photography, the prices depend on several factors.
While some photographers may believe the lower they price images, the more business they get, that isn’t always the case.
Some businesses may prefer professional, high-end photographers as they’re more experienced, and typically will be guaranteed to give good work on demand.
Reasons Why Product Photographers May Charge More
As I’ve already discussed, experience plays a vital role in determining how much to charge for product photography images. The more experience a person has, the more they can offer in terms of types of results in delivering the clients vision for their product.
While experience with product photography and knowing which type of pictures have the best results is beneficial, there are other reasons to charge a little more. Let’s take a look at them now.
Professional photographers may have a fully booked schedule or a particular image may need significant planning.
Therefore, they may charge higher prices because of the time it takes for pictures, and the photographer is taking the time to work with you when others also want their business.
Unlike many other products or services, the creative services are not usually scaleable without additional talent and saying yes to one project may mean needing to say no to others.
The amount of equipment a photographer uses can differ depending on the photographer and the client’s type of picture.
While there are basic pictures with white backgrounds, some clients might want more detailed pictures. For example, many studios, such as our own, offer many different styles of product images that require more than just a simple lighting setup.
Various options, such as backdrops and lighting, are also something to consider. The more variety a photographer can offer, the more they should charge.
Having a studio versus working as a single photographer can also change the amount you charge. A studio might have more people working, which meanest that more people need to be paid. Charging too small an amount per image or hour won’t give you enough profit to pay other employees and you will soon find yourself out of business.
Product photos are often used in brochures or on websites and can directly influence the sales of that product, regardless of the difficulty in producing that image.
Therefore, beyond the technical aspects of skill, equipment and labor, the value of an image is also taken in consideration.
Simply put, if the image is used for more then the image is worth more.
This is where licensing comes in. Product photographers may charge more if the image is used for commercial, advertising or other types of business purposes beyond a product listing page.
While this value assessment can usually be arbitrary, there is a way to determine an objective value which I will discuss below.
A Secret Resource That Can Help Determine How Much To Charge for Product Photography
Many product photographers don’t realize how much income their pictures will actually make for their clients, and will usually quote a price based on a small hourly wage.
However, a program such as Jungle Scout is specifically designed to help e-commerce entrepreneurs discover profitable products to sell online, and can therefore give you an accurate estimation of how much your product images will make your clients.
While the revenue of similar products might not be precisely the same, it can give you an idea of how much to expect. Therefore, you can price your images for a fair amount and license accordingly.
Jungle Scout offers information on various products and will allow you to see the revenue being made from specific products. This resource is excellent for people who are selling products and want to improve performance, understand the market, and track the competition.
Therefore, if you want to know how much a product might make, it’s a good idea to research Jungle Scout.
What Are the Different Options To Pay for Product Photography?
Another reason product photography prices vary significantly is because there are different ways to charge clients for pictures, some of which can cost more than others.
However, the photographer’s option for clients contributes to several factors, such as:
Therefore, the way a photographer charges for their work can differ in price because some options have things like time or effort included in the price.
Product photography can be paid in various forms, including by the image, product, hour, or day. Each form of payment will cost differently, as more or less time is needed for each one. However, paying by the image is the type that is most commonly undercharged.
Most photographers who undercharge are charging per image, even if the time it takes to get the right picture is long. This is particularly important when the client requests revisions.
Therefore, photographers should always consider:
- The amount of time it takes to get the right shot.
- What equipment is needed.
- The potential revenue.
While most photographers like to charge by the hour, many product photographers choose to charge by the image simply because they can produce certain types of images very quickly.
Visual SKUs states that charging by the image is preferred by many service providers because not only do they get paid for every image, but it matches their cost structure. This means that the time, editing process, and formatting can all be included in the price.
It’s also essential to consider how many pictures of one product are wanted.
While paying per product and per image is similar, some products might need multiple photos to see various angles or parts of a product. Product photography for a bike, for instance, will need numerous pictures.
Therefore, you’ll need to add up the number of images required for one project and determine how much time you’ll be spending in post production.
What if I’m a New Product Photographer?
New product photographers or students can still charge more than the minimum amount. Since the point of product photography is to take pictures of merchandise to sell, their photos will generate revenue regardless of difficulty. Therefore, your prices should consider this.
Photography students, in particular, tend to undercharge. In fact, many businesses look to take advantage of a students ignorance and seek photographers that are new or outside of the product photography market.
And while low prices might be normal for different forms of photography, product photography is specifically used for commercial purposes and should avoid this type of exploitation.
As long as a photographer has the knowledge and equipment to provide product images, charging a fair amount is normal for any product photographer.
Product photography pricing can be tricky. While some photographers might want to undercharge because they think it will get them more business, undercharging for product photography allows you to lose out on more money than you realize.
Before quoting prices for product photography, you must know your worth as a photographer and do the proper research on the product.
Looking at resources such as Jungle Scout will give you information about similar products’ revenues, which should allow you to quote a fair price. Even newer product photographers should know their worth when it comes to quoting prices.