Product photography is an essential component of any successful business. Regardless of the type of product you are selling, good quality images can make all the difference to potential customers and how they perceive your brand. However, many businesses are unsure how much product photography pricing actually costs.
In this article, we will discuss how product photography pricing is determined, types of product photography.
What Is Product Photography?
Product photography is capturing images of physical items to be used in advertising, websites, and other marketing materials. As a result, product photographers must have a strong understanding of lighting techniques and equipment to ensure that their photos stand out from the competition.
It usually involves taking pictures of products such as food, clothing, electronics, furniture or other consumer goods. Photographers must use various camera angles and styling techniques to showcase each item in its best light. They may even need to use specialized software and editing tools that allow them to edit photos for maximum impact.
Depending on the product being photographed, props and backdrops can also enhance the image look or message. With all these elements combined properly, product photography can help brands get their products noticed by potential customers quickly and effectively.
The Basics of Product Photography Pricing
Price of product photography varies, depending on product type, quantity of images and complexity of the photo.
Professional photographers usually charge an hourly rate or a project fee that includes all elements such as shooting time, equipment rental, editing costs and other associated costs. Many photographers also offer packages which include different tiers with different levels of service at differing rates. Here is a breakdown on what that means for the consumer.
Hourly pricing on product photography is becoming increasingly popular for businesses looking to get the simple shots for their catalogues and other marketing materials. Photographers specializing in product photography may offer clients a set hourly rate, which can be beneficial for both parties. Working with an experienced professional saves time by allowing you to get the desired shots quickly.
For businesses, there are many advantages to working with a product photographer who offers services hourly. This type of arrangement allows them to pay only for what they need, as opposed to purchasing packages that contain more photos than they require.
This allows for budget management, allowing them to determine exactly how much to spend on each shot, thus avoiding unexpected costs.
This is very common for simple e-commerce product shots where there is not a lot of production, just a simple image on a white background.
Project fees on product photography are often a source of confusion for both clients and photographers. A photographer’s project fee is typically determined by the project, including factors like the number of images needed, location requirements, setup time, models and other related costs.
The photographer must be transparent about their pricing when working on a project base pricing before working. This helps to ensure that both parties clearly understand expectations and financial obligations.
The client should know that additional costs may arise during shooting, such as buying props or renting studio space.
Photographers should also provide estimates on their services in writing prior to starting work, so there’s no confusion over price later on. By taking these proactive steps, clients can avoid unpleasant surprises with budgeting for their projects.
Types of Product Photography
In order to understand well how much product photography costs, we need to learn some basis first.
There are several types of product photography that businesses can use to showcase their goods, from simple still shots to complex animation.
I know it could be overwhelming to understand the different types of product photography, but I will make it simple so you don’t get confused. In reality, there are only a couple of main types with some subcategories.
The Pack Shot
The most basic type of product shot is to photograph the subject on its own on a solid white backdrop. These pictures help to communicate about a product and are typically taken on a white background.
- It may be a single product or a collection.
- The background tends to be white, but it can be any color.
- These photos are produced in a controlled studio environment. Though simple to make, there can be a lot of technical challenges.
- It is a simple shot without props.
Perhaps you wonder, “Can you just photograph a product with your phone on a blank white background, move it to the computer, and post on the internet?”
Sure, you can do it, but the results could vary from someone else’s professional images.
This kind of “boring white background shots” could be very tricky. You might think it’s a matter of practice to get that pure white background out of camera. This is the most complex part if don’t have the skills.
Many times, one shot is composed of 4 – 6 frames where you use the best of each photo to create one final shot. This is the case for jewelry.
Environmental Product Shot
This is a product shot that produces a visual copy of your product in an abstract or real-world environment. The idea behind this type of shot is to capture a sense of place. This shot is very particular in at the sense that the environment is as important as the item, so both create a very strong image.
Featuring high-quality images of products in an aesthetically pleasing way can allow your products to transform shop visitors into customers. Images that focus on enticing physical characteristics may help create a feeling of wonder when viewers look through your portfolio or website. Also, your product’s size may be revealed when an image focuses on its environment and proportions.
The production of this shot is more elaborated than the “pack shot”, this is usually photographed in a controlled studio where the scene is recreated.
The other option is to shoot on location where the product belongs. A good example of this is shooting a beer can in a bar.
Lifestyle Shot / Product in use
An “in use” shot is a picture that shows how a product is used. Sometimes this sort of image is referred to as an “action shot.”
This shot is often portrayed with some human interaction by a model, whether it is a person or even a pet. A lifestyle shot could be only a tap beer pouring on a glass.
The Hero Shot
For a production or advertising campaign, a hero shot is the one aptly used to define this product. This type of shot generates an emotion, desire, intrigue, passion, and production value. This is a shot that is often used in advertisements, magazines, billboards.
The visual communicates with you. It is a piece of art that stands out. The most important part is to communicate the message with that image.
360 Product Shot
360 product photography is a type of photography that allows the viewer to see the entire product from all angles. It is usually done by taking from 12 – 72 photographs of the product from different angles when rotating and then using 360 photography software to stitch the images together into a single, interactive image.
This allows the viewer to rotate the product and see it from any angle they want, as if they were holding it in their own hands. It is often used in e-commerce to give customers a more realistic and immersive experience when shopping online.
This type of photography is usually categorized within e-commerce and its price ranges from $150 for a simple shot to a $500 per item depending on the requirements and the complexity.
Price Range for Product Photography
Many times the pricing goes directly related to the photographer’s experience and usually you can clearly see it through the portfolio.
Here is a different approach where the price may vary depending on the photographer’s niche and skill set.
Commercial product photographer
A commercial product photographer is someone who specializes in taking appealing photographs of products for commercial purposes. This photographer often works with clients who will pay big money for a Super-Bowl-style image or series of them.
These photos are typically used to promote the products on websites, magazines, billboards, and other marketing materials.
Product photographers of a high caliber must have a sharp eye and be able to take pictures of each product precisely while also making it aesthetically attractive. They should also know their client’s wants to ensure their work fulfills their standards.
They need great communication abilities since they often work with creative or art directors on bigger assignments.If you are after this kind of production, you’re looking at a price range that goes from $400 – $600 an hour.
This kind of service is agency style and these kinds of photographers are also called advertising photographers. To give you a rough idea, to produce an image of this caliber you would spend around $20.000 to $50.000. This involves a whole production team.
To break down the pricing model, the commercial product photographer charges, I added some common fees:
A creative fee is a charge that a photographer adds to their services to cover their time, talent, and expertise. It is usually a flat fee that is charged besides any other costs.
This is typically based on the complexity of the photoshoot, the time and effort required, and the photographer’s experience and reputation.
This fee ranges from $1500 to $5000
It’s a different way of creative fee. Some photographers prefer to charge a day rate, usually 8 hours.
This ranges from $1500 to $5000, as we said before. It is very similar to the “Creative Fee”
This fee covers all the steps in the photo editing process, from organizing the files, selecting the best images, retouching and color correction, to more complex treatments such as compositing. These steps are necessary to ensure the highest quality of the final product.
For e-commerce, retouching pricing goes from $0.5 to $3 per image
For advance product photography, the price does from $70 to $100 per hour
This is related to the project, but the typical expenses are:
- Equipement rental
- Studio or location
- Food and refreshments
- Makeup artist, hair stylist, and talent
- Product stylist
A license fee is a payment that a photographer charges for the use of their photographs. This could be a onetime payment or a recurrent one.
An e-commerce photographer is a professional who specializes in taking pictures of items being sold online. This type of photography requires an understanding of the customer’s needs and what they are looking for in order to create a successful product image that will attract shoppers. They must also be proficient in lighting, composition, and post-production techniques to ensure the images have a maximum impact on potential buyers.
Does this sounds similar to the high-end commercial product photographer? Maybe, but all good photographers must posses these skills, the main difference between both is the image final goal.
Photos for e-commerce purposes usually are required by volume and the production it could be just a one-man band setup.
If you need eCommerce photos with a simple level of production with a white background and several view angles, you will probably pay from $30 – $100 per image or item.
It all depends on the volume of images the photographer will produce. The more images, usually the less expensive per photo or item.
Red flags in product photography pricing
In product photography pricing, there are certain red flags that consumers should know. Understanding what these red flags can help protect buyers from being taken advantage of by photographers who may not be as legitimate as they appear.
One major red flag in product photography pricing is when the photographer offers services at an abnormally low price. While this may seem like a great deal, this could be an sign that the photographer isn’t experienced enough or doesn’t have proper equipment to provide you with quality photographs. It’s important to ask questions about their experience and portfolio before moving forward with any agreement.
Pay close attention when you see a very good deal on product photograph, this could mean the quality is not there.
While these deals sound attractive at first glance, they often mean cutting corners on quality and lack of individual attention. The success of your final images is directly related to the good communication you have with the product photographer you hire.
Finally, be aware if the photographer requires payment up front, especially if you haven’t worked with him/her before.
In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question: “How much does product photography cost?” Ultimately, the cost of product photography depends on a variety of factors, including quality, quantity, complexity, and turnaround time.
It’s important to have realistic expectations when budgeting for your project. Discuss the details with your photographer to ensure that you’re both on the same page regarding scope and pricing.